Jocelyn and Ryan have done a really nice job of allowing me an opportunity to blog for them on here. To be honest, they literally gave me no limitations and no requirements on subject. It’s been nice to sit down and reflect while writing over the past few months. I plan on continuing to do so for the foreseeable future. While I’ve tried to stick to a broad topic for each, this blog is intended to be two-fold. The first bit will be an examination of where I am right now and why. The second, being the first opportunity I have taken to express gratitude for the support I’ve had recently.
Let’s start where I am.
A rough past 4 months of mental battles led me astray. That’s not to say there haven’t been successful on track moments, it just means that my perception of everything, good or bad, was negative to an unacceptable extent. From late January on, my mental talk had progressed the wrong direction.
There were some extremes:
- I made major changes to my diet just before a national championship. This attempt failed, nationals went poorly, and I blamed myself.
- I nearly dropped out of a decathlon that ended up being my 3rd best score because if it wasn’t a personal best, it didn’t matter.
- I did a solid job preparing physically when at the track, a decent job of balance my overarching needs (job, relationship, diet), and completely neglected any mental development within or outside the sport.
- I even successfully put on a positive ‘face’ in my most recent blog.
I was fooling myself.
In neglecting the mental aspects of competition, I failed to prepare for any high level stress environment I could enter. With that being the case, Canada was a failure from a performance standpoint. However, in realizing I needed to continue to develop my self-talk and appropriately perceiving what is going on, it ended up being an excellent practice run.
I had some performances that would’ve completely derailed my competition previously. I finished day 1 having executed well in 3 of 5 events. While the numbers weren’t there, I made significant strides between the ears. While I won’t admit failure on day 2, I did have a rough first event and shut down my competition early.
I knew I had to fix something.
I came home, set up a call with a close mentor of mine for the next weekend and began to dive into removing the mental landmines I have been battling. In speaking with Dan for an extended time, honesty from him and resources he was able to provide for me opened the path for me to begin addressing it.
A takeaway that I consider to be the most important from the conversation was requiring myself to develop a gratitude portion of my training journal. 3 things everyday that I am grateful for. Turns out, that goes a long way towards appropriate perception and a positive attitude. The rest of this is my attempt to communicate a bit of gratitude publicly for those that continue to help me along the way.
I’ll start closest to home.
I recently got engaged. My fiance moved 4 states from home with me. We did this with one guarantee, we had a 2 month sublease, I had an unpaid internship, and we were hopeful. It’s turned out to work in our favor that we both have an enormous passion for our desired careers and there were opportunities for us here. One of my core beliefs is that the whole should be greater than the sum of its parts. In our relationship, that’s the case. We contribute to each other’s pursuits positively and grateful is an understatement. I’m grateful for Allison.
One of my core beliefs is that the whole should be greater than the sum of its parts.
Beyond Allison, my long distance support system is family. My grandparents, my father, some extended family. They all contribute to what I’m doing. It can be as simple as asking how things are going, or helping me with a random place to stay, they’re constantly willing. I’m grateful for family.
Mike Young doesn’t have to do what he does. If any of you know who Mike is, you know he’d be an asset in most exercise science driven organizations. I’d actually argue he’d be an asset elsewhere.
The man is one of the best in the world. He has major contracts with local clubs, has a thriving and growing business in Athletic Lab, and works more than anyone I know. With all of that, he continues to coach and support Athletic Lab Track Club. A group that ranges from 1 to 8 at a time, we’re together for a piece of 50 weeks of the year. He does it because he enjoys it. Mike does us a favor in doing it well below what he’s worth, and has served as another mentor for me professionally, in a coach-athlete relationship, and personally at this point. While I don’t know where this decathlon thing ends for me, I expect Mike will remain an important person in my life for years to come. I’m grateful for Mike.
Jocelyn and Ryan. If you’re reading this, there’s a decent chance you know the Midgetts.
In a startup company, there really isn’t much ‘extra’ to go around. In managing Athletic Lab South Wake, I continue to understand the challenge of being a young company on a daily basis. When they approached me about utilizing ALSW as a drop off location, it was a simple decision. It benefited both parties and cost us nothing. However, when I approached them about supporting me. I felt like I was reaching. I had done a bit of research on how new they were, loved what they were doing and their commitment to it, and was aware of the challenges that regularly hover over companies like Living Fit.
With no hesitation at all, they were not only interested, but passionately committed to sponsoring me. Having gourmet quality meals on a consistent basis that are within my dietary needs is enormous to my success. Living Fit kitting me out in apparel? That just added to the fun for me. I love repping them, I appreciate what they do for me on a day to day basis. I’m grateful for Living Fit.
With no hesitation at all, they were not only interested, but passionately committed to sponsoring me.
Dorothy is new to my world. In the past few months of battling some injuries and trying to stay healthy, I sought out a massage therapist. Like most of the people I found myself naming in this post, Dorothy runs her own shop. Rapid Recovery Sport Massage has been enormous for me. From aches and pains to general maintenance, I believe firmly in massage. As an athlete, I’ve never once been accused of being too loose- as a competitor or technically. I get bound down and start to compensate in one way or another. I believe Dorothy has contributed to my body remaining healthy as often as I have this year. I’m grateful for Rapid Recover Sport Massage.
Dan Pfaff is a legend in the sport of track and field. I won’t waste my time with his incredible resume but I had the pleasure of interning under Dan for a 3 month period. The man is one of the best storytellers I have ever met and is able to communicate some of the most complex aspects of athletics in the simplest terms. He also serves as a model for personal development. I got to see the long term result of Dan. I’ve heard the legends of old times and can appreciate where he’s stemmed from. However, not only did he allow me to follow him around for 12 weeks. He kept in contact, continued to support my endeavours, helped me find my way to AL, and is the catalyst for this attempted change in behavior. I’m not sure exactly where I was headed recently. However, he certainly helped me shift the sails. I’m grateful for Dan.