Taking time off training was disconcerting. Even while loving every delicious moment in Paris I had training anxiety dreams. I’d become so accustomed to working so hard that my mind freaked out when the hardest thing I subjected my body to was carrying groceries up 6 flights of stairs. Even the little workouts I did here and there –100 push-ups one day, 100 squats or 100 burpees on others — did nothing to allay my subconscious ‘what the hell?’ going on.
Even though I come back from trips like that and usually go into a funk, it also provides valuable perspective. I’ve been known to quit jobs and/or move to new cities after big overseas trips when I come to realizations thousands of miles away. (In fact I quit a freelance gig this time– from Paris–when I realized there was nothing making me put up with the b.s. I endured except some pocket money, and it just wasn’t worth it.)
Before the trip a missed lift was cause for a day in the pits of despair. It was reason to question my strength, to wonder if I really had what it took. It made for a miserable day, frankly.
I came back wondering where I would stand. My first squats showed me, brutally, that I have some catching up to do. Leaving with a 200lb max and coming back a month later to 120 for 8 (4 sets) leaving me reeling was humbling. But I buried 150 for 6 three days later — last night — and regained a bit of confidence.
Today I went in to do some mobility work. Ben was squatting and asked the most rhetorical question ever — “Do you want to squat?” He said I could work up to a heavy single, my absolute favorite of favorites. Now I could show myself that I still have it! And I did, up to 175. It felt easy. I thought about adding 20 for the next rep, but Ben suggested adding 15. That was 190 – close enough to my max that I could feel redeemed, only 5 days into squatting again.
“She’s back!” I was already thinking. Down I went, and that was it. I didn’t stay tight. There just wasn’t a chance. I didn’t even get to fight for it. My own fault – lack of focus, lack of aggression, whatever. I was disappointed, definitely. Very disappointed. But you know what? It wasn’t the end of the world. Ben gave me a talk about forgetting the numbers, about how I had just squatted last night. and he’s right, of course, but the difference is, this time, I took it more to heart. I don’t ever want to make excuses, but seriously — a month without squatting, then multiple reps 24 hours ago — I can be proud that I got 175.
Of course it sucks to fail, I hate it, hate it! But I came back stronger in a way that counts more than numbers. I have more faith in myself. One missed lift doesn’t mean I’m weak. I’ve missed before and I’ll miss again. I’ll also make it again. Because now, now I know that I’m strong .