Monday, May 26, 2008

Are Pain and Exhaustion Rewards or Punishments??

Hard work leads to so many things. It leads to progress, increased confidence, improved strength and a sense of pride and accomplishment. But what I am finding lately is that hard work also leads to pain and exhaustion!

For the past couple of weeks, I have been coming home after training and struggling to keep my eyes open. My usual routine is to get home around 5 pm, have a visit with my best TV friend, Ellen, and make some dinner. Well, recently I have been adding a 20 minute nap session to that routine. It's all I can do to feel alive enough to cook. I hope Ellen doesn’t mind my absence for the short nap. I know, I know, I should really just dance, but it’s hard to bust a move at half effort.

The reason I am so tired is because I have been working hard. So hard that when I am not in training; I am in a constant state of pain and exhaustion.

Yesterday I went to my parents for dinner and I was unusually quiet at the table. I am usually blurting out stupid things and embarrassing my family (they always tell me to remember my "family dinner filter". I don't have one, I'm sorry!), but not yesterday. I was too tired to be a joker. Then, right after we were finished eating, I just had to lie down. So I did so right in front of the refrigerator in the middle of the kitchen floor. I planted myself there and didn't move. I couldn't move. It was 7pm and I was ready for bed!

Luckily my little cousin, Delaney, thought that it would be fun to crawl over her big cousin Kyle, which kept me awake for an extra little while. If I didn't have a rug rat digging her chubby legs into my chest then I would have been out for the count right there!

So here's my question: are pain and exhaustion rewards or punishments??

I believe that there are two types of pain and fatigue. There is the type that I had right after surgery...I'm pretty sure that was a punishment, if not for me then for those around me! haha. It was brutal and I never want to experience pain like that again. OUCH! Then there is the kind of pain and exhaustion that I am experiencing right now. I would have to say that this type has been well earned.

When you are an athlete and you NEED to close your eyes, your body is telling you that you have done well. When your brain says "sleep", it's actually telling you that you have put your full effort forward and you need to recover. When your body says, 'please don't move' or "holy crap, your back is broken", what it is actually telling you is that you've done well and you need some time to rest.

I try to recognize these feelings as rewards. But why oh why does a reward have to feel so awful sometimes?

I guess it's because success is a process. If a task provides instant gratification, then it's not worth doing. Rewards need to be earned. Sport is all about pushing yourself through the times that 'feel' like punishment. This is the factor that really leads to accomplishment of your goals.

The past few weeks have been pure hard work for me. I have been trying to approach each day knowing that I need to squeeze out every ounce of potential that it holds. I know that every day, and every turn for that matter, is going to make a difference. I guess I've always known this, but now I am facing a time line of 2 months and I seem to feel the urgency a little more than usual.

I am making up for a lot of lost time. I haven't had the luxury of doing routines for the past 9 months. In fact, I just started putting them together. What I have to do is to find a balance between reaching my maximum potential each day and going so hard that I end up killing myself and my body. There is a fine line between the two sides and I am trying hard to stay firmly on the edge of one (the maximum potential side of course!).

Right now is the time when I have to take 3 turns to my teammates 1. I have to practice extreme focus on each turn as well because I don't want to get hurt. I don't think I can handle another setback and so I am trying to protect myself while still pushing myself. This is an incredibly tiring time for me because I am giving everything I have when I am in the gym. I am not saving a bead of sweat or a millisecond of focus for when I am finished. My day is basically done when I walk out of the gym and get into my car (My mind and body are complete mush as I'm writing this actually...).

Even though I have been extremely exhausted as of late, I feel great about the way things are coming along. This hard work that I have been doing has already produced awesome results. The blinders are on and I'm on a mission. For those of you who know me, you know that this can be a very powerful thing!!!

I just hope that soon the rewards are a little less tiring and painful!



Anonymous said...

Kyle, you are such an inspiration to not only gymnasts but everyone. LOVE your blog - you are so honest and genuine...Keep on pushing - hard days make us appreciate the good days - easier said than done of course - but we're all routing for you. No matter what happens in the next 3 months you will be remembered in the history books for not just a gold medal, you turned the gymnastics world around and got Canada on the map...we're praying for you and hope you fulfill the dreams you still have yet to conquer! Luv from T.O.

Anonymous said...

Hi kyle, you make me just want to give you a kiss, if that helps to ease away your pain and exhausion.

Anonymous said...

No pain, no gain.

Anonymous said...

For pain try accupuncture or sweeping the meridians with your hands several times a day. Also there are corresponding points on the ears which when held firmly will lessen the pain. Just massage the ear all over until you find the sore spots. I have used these techniques for a twice broken leg and for tooth extraction. Works great! Best of luck, Kyle.

Janna said...

Oh Kyle... your "family dinner filter" comment made me giggle out loud... but the lying down in front of the refrigerator... I laughed.
So great. Thanks for sharing that impossibly cute moment.

The exhaustion will pass...(err, I hope!!)

You are working it and it shows.