Three weeks ago, November 13th, I had surgery on my neck to remove a tumor. Long story short, everything went well and I am recovering just fine. A couple days ago I got back on the climbing wall for the first time in well over a month. It was nice to just be able to move and pull on holds. At times the temptation came across me make some big fun dynamic moves or to try really hard boulder problems. However my wisdom got the best of me and I refrained. I held off because I have learned the importance of delaying gratification in order to achieve sustainability. The one thing I did not refrain from though was letting myself contemplate my future success with training for climbing.
Not long into the session I started to get fatigued very easily. Normal warm up moves started to become taxing. I thought how could this be, it has only been 4 weeks since I last climbed and usually after a good long rest you should come back feeling good. By good I don’t mean really strong and at your full potential, but good as in the fundamental moves you are making just flow and there is no tension or soreness in your body while doing so. Then it all suddenly came rushing back to my memory. The reason for my rest from climbing was because of a major surgery. In fact my body couldn’t truly recover from climbing because it was busy recovering from a couple hour long episode of being sliced, diced and drugged up. A reminder I had to consciously keep telling my self.
Based on my situation I came to the conclusion as to why many great athletes sometimes loose their stardom and never regain it (Tiger Woods anyone). When a life situation occurs that interferes with your athletic pursuit (or hobby, carrier etc) especially when you are on top of your game, it can be very discouraging once you begin to get back into the swing of things. Going from the best in the world to not even being a contender? That I imagine would be a total mind scrambler.
Post surgery when I started climbing again, I physically felt and knew how weak I was. For a moment I though to myself, “If I am this weak after only a month off then screw it. The time and work it will take to get back to where I was is not worth it because I might loose it again some day. There are many other things I can do in my life with that time instead of backtracking on some silly climbing training plans.” Well that thought came and went during my time climbing that day but post climb I realized something else. I realized why I climb and why I train to climb. I climb because I love the experience whether I succeed or fail. I train because I love the process and to translate that process to everyone I coach.
Think about the first time you ever participated in your favorite hobby. What you were doing was completely new and un-know, your full potential was un-known. The first time I ever went rock climbing I was doing just that, I was climbing. I was not focused on the grades, how I was doing something or what the greatest climbers were achieving. My point being, when you get back into the swing of things it is easy to get discouraged because you know what your full potential is. Either ignore that knowledge and do what you did your very first time, be a kid and have fun. Or your can use that knowledge as motivation. Which ever approach you take just remember to remind your self as to why you are really participating in the activity of choice. If you are doing it for the right reasons, then you will be back on top of your game in no time.