In Between - 3 days out from USAPL Raw Nationals

I started writing this post in August. And it was like I couldn't gather a clear thought to put it down. So we will just pick up where I left off and any insight gained since then. 

Oh hello. Yes I am still alive. Yes I know I am terrible at updating my blog. 

Last time you heard from me I had just wrapped up my last meet prep for USAPL NC State Championships and had walked away qualified for Nationals and with a pretty successful meet. And I wish I could tell you that I let that win propel me forward with a new found intensity for my Nationals prep. Unfortunately that has not been the case.

Now that has not to say that life has been terrible and I've hardly lifted. That's not the case at all. I've just been in a "in between" space - both as an athlete, a person and a professional. I read a devotion recently that described it as "one foot nailed to the floor and the other is running around it in a million different directions" and that's exactly how I feel. Transition blocks for Powerlifting are kind of weird anyway. I felt like I was going through the motions and kind of just doing a thing. As we got closer to October, I definitely found my focus narrowing in on the task at hand and I've really prioritized things the last few months. And as programming does, momentum has built and tomorrow is my last day of my taper before I compete Friday at Raw Nationals. 

Raw Nationals. It is surreal considering this was just a goal in January and now it's almost a reality - I leave tomorrow for Florida. I brought Ryan Doris, my coach, on board in January and Raw Nationals has been the goal the entire time. We are at like Week 39 of working together and so much has happened - I moved up a weight class, qualified for Nationals, fixed my deadlift, broke it, then fixed it again, and fixed my squat. If you think about it we've basically made a baby - a full-term 9 month incubated powerlifting baby that's bout to be born Friday (This is the weirdest analogy ever, but let's roll with it).

Unfortunately during my little weird life time and as Summer typically goes for me I've gained a little weight. Only about 5 lbs which still leaves me several pounds under my weight class, but I've had to really rein things in the last couple of weeks to make sure we stay in that position. I've been shifting towards more of an intuitive eating approach, eating more of a particular macro if that's what I'm feeling that day while sticking to a calorie goal and eating less when I'm not hungry. I've also been walking 30 minutes every day during the work week with my coworker which has been great for recovery and my mental space. I have a noon weigh-in Friday so I should drop another pound or two just thanks to that, but I want to be as low as I can for the sake of my Wilks (while not doing anything extreme because that would just be dumb on my part).

So that's training - we're doing the thing and shooting for PRs. I'm excited to have Ryan there to handle me, as well as my nutrition coach Paul and lots of my strong friends there. I know so many amazing athletes that will be competing and I can't wait to see everyone crush it. Two of my best friends are coming along for the ride and we have a lot of fun planned (I hear there's a really famous Mouse in Orlando that has a castle?) and my parents are also going to fly in Friday to watch me compete. Then the next week is Team Pro Physique Camp in Tampa so basically two weeks of meathead things :) 

As far as life.... it's been weird. Training is my constant and once my cut ended and the June meet was completed, I had a lot of mental capacity up for grabs. When training for something it tends to take up a lot of your focus so once that's over you have to kind of figure out what to do with the excess. The past few months I've felt like something needed to happen/change/evolve and I couldn't really figure out what. I think this period of "in between" has been part of what has led to the lack of luster in my training. I'm not sure that I ever figured out quite what it was that needed to change, but I've been really examining many areas of my life and paying attention to my thoughts about each one. A lot of prayer and soul searching and just focusing on me and my little family lately. I don't know that any progress has been made one way or another, but I do feel less of that stirring lately. 

In the month or so its taken me to finish this post and the small, if even worth considering, amount of clarity I've had, it's made me truly appreciate this fitness thing. The gym is my constant. No matter how I feel physically or mentally or what's going on in the world around me, 200 pounds on the bar will always be 200 pounds. The task never changes - the execution, the focus, the technique will - but the task is the same. Lately I've had to fine tune some issues with my squat and deadlift and while that can be frustrating, I'm grateful to be able to do so. I have this thing that I love that consumes me and causes me to focus more than I do at 90% of the other things I do in life and it has no expiration date. It doesn't affect my finances, my marriage or my relationships. It is a challenge that will always be a challenge but brings a peace and level headedness to life. 

When I first made the goal for Nationals I was worried about where I would fall in the rankings - would I be a little fish in a big pond or would I hold my own? I guess that's a common thought among rookie powerlifters but now I see things in a new light. I'm grateful to say I met my goal - I'm going to Nationals and that I get to experience it with some pretty special people. I get to do this thing that I love, this constant consuming thing, at a high-level of competition in a room with some of the best in the nation. If nothing else in life makes sense, this makes sense. I will squat, I will bench, and I will deadlift and then the current challenge will be the old challenge and we will start working towards the new challenge. And life will continue to be weird and confusing and my feet will continue to go in opposite directions. But on Friday, October 13th, they will be planted on the floor and moving weight. Regardless of what happens before or after that day, for those few hours life will be moving weight and it will be peaceful.