"Your moods are unpredictable and if you let them control your actions this will cause problems.
There is an ancient classic text called, The Book of Changes, or more commonly known as The I Ching.
Over two millennia old, etched within the pages are sixty four hexagrams which can unlock timeless wisdom. One of these hexagrams is known as Heng, translated it represents Perservering - something I came to face to face with at the Southern Area Qualifiers for Britains Natural Strongest Man.
Trojans gym in Bristol is a welcome throwback. Fully kitted out for people who lift. No frills. Just a welcoming community and all the toys you could possibly want. It was also where I was about to experience my first baptism of fire in a Strongman competition.
In a nutshell here is how it went down,
"Perservere and allow things to take their course because rushing ahead will bring problems.
These lines from the I Ching were to come back to haunt me later.
My performance on the Yoke was my worst ever, bar none. My legs wouldn't work, I couldn't get a good position. It was ugly as sin. It left me surpised and deeply concerned. My confidence was shaken.
For various reasons I wasn't one hundred percent, and I knew it. I went outside the back of the venue, took myself to a corner, sat on a lone beer keg and had a word with myself.
Me: "I should just pull out now - that was shocking. I still have another 4 events."
Inner me: "This is what you trained for. Get a grip of yourself Cj. Take it one event at a time. No one here is at 100%. Do your best and let the chips fall where they may."
Me: "Ok. I got this."
Inner me: " Good. Focus on your next best step."
Over the next events I began to make solid progress and claw back some ground. My focus, endurance and nutrition were begining to pay off.
It came down to the last event - Atlas stones. I was in with a chance. The picture you see above was my first and last rep on the atlas stones....
The first rep flew over, and then the words from the
I Ching were to prove prophetic.
I rushed the set up on the next rep, and as I lifted the stone to my lap, I felt my bicep and forearm tear like paper. I heard the sound and dropped the stone immediately and stood up.
It was over.
I pulled out.
I smiled to myself knowingly as I walked away. The pain was nasty. There was a deeper lesson for me to learn from this experience.
The other athletes continued to put on a brilliant performance. The crew down at Trojan's gym helped to administer first aid and made sure I was ok.
Over the next 24 hours I put my recovery strategy in place. Soft tissue care and nutrition were key. My aim was to hope the damage was minimal but in the mean time create an optimal environment for my body to begin to repair itself.
Since then I've had a few days to reflect on my experience and the hard lessons that I have learned. I'll be embodying them, to carry me forward into my next competition.
The important thing to remember is that the delay of your goals, are not the nail in the coffin of your achievements.
"Your regrets will soon be behind you. Apply the right amount of effort at the right time.