The Calm Before the Storm

“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” – Haruki Murakami

This past weekend, the coaches at my gym held a meeting to go over the training for the Freeze Fest Challenge.

I was out of town at a wedding, so I had to do a quick download with my coach Peter on Monday evening to review what was covered.

I have been a bit quiet on the subject so far because the fact is I am a bit overwhelmed.

This upcoming Monday marks the start of a 16-week training program that has been carefully programmed by Teddy, the owner and head coach at my gym.

Without getting bogged down in details right now, the short of it is that I will be attending the Advanced-level class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and regular classes on Tuesdays and Fridays. This leaves Thursdays and Sundays as rest days.

It has been highly recommended that I do not do anything outside of this training, except for mobility work at home and some light double-under practice.

For now, I have to put my weight-lifting on hold and eschew any plans to go for a weekly swim or run.

As Peter went over all of this, I am sure he could see the fear and surprise in my eyes. When I got home, my teammate Alice and I exchanged emails on the subject and I wrote, “Wow, this is going to be intense.”

I am not afraid of hard work. I am not afraid of the time and commitment that training will require.

I am aware that it will require great focus and it will be very demanding, especially as I will need to pay close attention to my sleep and diet so that I can perform my best.

I have put in the long hours before for projects and have had to demonstrate that I posses the needed discipline and passion. But up until this point in my life, that’s always been off the field.

I have excelled in the classroom and in the office, but I have never truly put in the effort in the sports arena.

As a swimmer, I went to practice but did little outside of the pool. As a golfer, I took lessons and played numerous rounds but did not spend the hours necessary to perfect my swing on the driving range.

And as for other sports, many were cast aside because I didn’t display natural talent and I did nothing to make up for it.

Famously, Michael Jordan didn’t make the Varsity team when he tried out for basketball in high school.

Rather than give up, he just practiced that much harder. He explains, “Whenever I was working out and got tired and figured I ought to stop, I’d close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it… that usually got me going again.”

I want to be like Mike.

And now I have the opportunity to be the athlete I always wanted to be but was too scared of because of the risk that is involved.

The risk of it hurting and being uncomfortable. The risk of sweating too much and breathing too hard. The risk of failure.

The next sixteen weeks are going to be physically, mentally and emotionally tough. For now, it is the calm as I have the weekend to be with my family and friends and relax and not think about it too much.

But on Monday afternoon at 6:30pm that storm is going to start rumbling.

But I truly believe that this experience can be transformative and I am ready to brave the storm.

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