Don't look back

It’s time. I’ve been doing this thing long enough that it’s not new, it’s not a novelty. I have the ripped calluses and powerlifter’s sturdy legs to prove it – I’m in this for real.

My first powerlifting meet was terrifying. I was still a novice, unsure of my new strength.  I didn’t feel like I even belonged there going into it.  But I’ve worked hard since then — put in my time under the bar, sweated, cursed, fought the weights and my own body, and have made a lot of progress since February 5.

But I’m missing a key ingredient. I need some serious confidence of the swaggering, bad-ass variety, the kind only possible when there’s no doubt I can achieve my goals. Ben called me out this morning when I crushed a couple of squats at 145.

“That’s what I did at the meet,” I said, expressing amazement at how hard I’d found it then as compared to now. “Is that how much you did?” he asked, not remembering. “Yes, before I failed 160 twice,” I replied. He stopped me there and reminded me what an accomplishment it was to even have been able to go for 160 at the time, just a few months into training. “You’ve got to stop looking back at that as failing,” he said.

Yes, that's me!

And he’s right. Especially about the looking back part. The whole getting strong thing came as such a surprise to me that I’m still patting myself on the back for going from nothing to where I am now. I still marvel when I see a picture of myself – is that me with those muscles?  And when I accomplish something now, I look back to where I was two or three months ago to compare, and to convince myself that I’m getting better. But that’s not helping me. It’s time to accept that I’m strong now, and will only get stronger as long as I keep working hard. I’m trying to break a &#$*ing world record here, and there’s no room for pansy, self-deprecating comments or thoughts.

“We don’t work this hard to fail,” Ben told me the other day. It’s the thought of failure that terrifies me – it’s not the thought of 180 pounds on my back that causes me to wake up with my heart in my throat. It’s fear of not reaching the goal I’ve been working so hard for.  So it’s time to look forward, to keep my head up, and to get ready to go under that bar with all the confidence in the world.

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