I am home now from our first Olympic camp and I feel incredibly energized and motivated. I feel a huge sense of belief in myself and a desire to rise to the next level...which I guess would be Olympic level!
I wasn't dreading last weeks camp before it started, but I was very anxious about it. I had some restless sleeps in the week beforehand thinking about the possibility that I would fail and leave the camp feeling defeated. I definitely didn't want that to happen, but in times of doubt those negative thoughts can come creeping in and rent way too much space in your head.
I knew the day would come where I'd be put into the uncomfortable position of competing again. I say uncomfortable because when you haven't competed in a while, it's pretty scary to step out there and have all eyes on you. It's unfamiliar and you feel very very naked (plus, the tight gymnastics pants don't leave too much to the imagination!)! You can't hide any of your mistakes because everyone is looking for them. I guess I just doubted the strength that I would have inside of myself to face it and make competing again a positive experience.
As it turns out, it was the ultimate positive experience for me. I was so proud and so pleased at the end of the camp. I couldn't wait until I could get back into the gym and become even better!
Just to give a quick run down of my second day of competition: Firstly, it was a lot less stressful than day 1! I definitely felt a lot more confident and comfortable while I was doing my routines. It honestly felt like I was right back in the mix and hadn't missed a beat. I think that everything on the second day was a little bit better than the first. One thing in particular that was a huge improvement was my floor routine. I went through a more difficult routine and it was cleaner than the first day. I did however almost die on my third pass when I just about landed on my head on a 1 3/4 roll out, but I held my flip position a little longer and bounced off of my back rather than imploding my skull into the floor! Some of my teammates told me that this was the first time I had ever scared them on floor (besides when I landed with 2 straight legs!)...believe me, I scared myself a bit.
But doing stupid things like this is part of the process. You need opportunities to make small errors so that you can come back the next time and get some redemption. If anything, I am glad that I made some small mistakes because it has motivated me to fix everything that was a little off.
Right now, as I am sitting here writing this, I am grinning from ear to ear. 'Inspired Contentment' could be the name of the emotion I am experiencing. I am in such a good frame of mind right now. I feel like anything is possible. I am thrilled that I am now in a position where I can push myself to my limit and really show myself what I am made of. I thought that I wanted to succeed badly before, but now, with less than 2 months to go, I feel like nothing can stand in my way. The blinders are on. Gymnastics is my main priority and everything else must take back seat.
I have no time for distractions, nor any desire to misbehave and let myself down. Now is the time to commit myself 100% to my goal. I feel guilty if I do anything that will not bring me one step closer to being my best. I have been eating right (If someone put a bag of Miss Vickie's Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar chips in front of me right now, drool would disgustingly stream from my mouth...that's why I don't have any in my house. Out of sight, out of mind!), taking my vitamins everyday (have you ever had a horse pill get stuck half way down and then you burp vitamin flavour all day??!), icing after each training session (can you say shrinkage?), saying NO to patio outings (that one is killing me!!! soon, Kyle, soon!), going to bed at a very decent hour (Calgary stays light until 10:30 right now...when the sun is down I hibernate)...I am being a very good boy. Discipline is essential to success. There were some crazy times in the past 10 months where I went to bed not knowing what the next day would hold. It was almost as if I was hoping to feel great as the sun rose. Now though, I am taking control and I making sure to do everything in my power to ensure that I wake up feeling alive, passionate and ready to push myself.
My main priority for this week is to do as many numbers as possible. I need to be tired, both physically and mentally by the end of this week. I need to know that I can do a great routine even when I am tired. This way I will know that when I feel fresh and it's time to do the routine in competition then it will be easy as pie. We have one week of training in our home gym and then its back into another camp starting July 3rd. I am really looking forward to being even more ready!
I love this shift that I am experiencing. I am going from an athlete to a competitor. I knew this time would come, I just didn't know when. The transition that I am experiencing in terms of confidence, focus and presence is uplifting and powerful. I think the past training camp lifted my spirit and my confidence in the exact way that I needed it to. I proved to myself that I am almost there. I showed myself that I am capable of this.
It's no longer a dream, it's right in front of me and it's up to me to make the most of this beautiful opportunity.
ps- I filmed some video's from camp and will get them up as soon as I can.