This has taken me some time. The reason for this have been varied but let’s say I have been laid up, distracted, reflecting, spending time with family and basically working out where to next with this process of sharing with this blog.
One thought I had was to look for suggestions. Another has been to wrap it up. Another is based on a good friends suggestion of completing this stage at least in way that honors the journey. I figure I will make this post and to be fair to anyone out there I will at least complete and close off the journey that was Beijing. After that I may move focus and look at the next stage.
Before I get off track here was the objective three years ago. Not for the blog but rather the experience of preparation and competition.
It is funny to look at this now as I wrote it some time back.
Objective: Win Gold in Beijing
• Row with the best people – Inspire each other with Awareness, action and integrity (Leaders of the sport)
• Have the best equipment – test, quantify and qualify
• Work with the best coach – Who suits us and is on the same page (no resistance)
• Train in the best Location – what do we already know?
• Find opportunities to compete that will advance us, but not give much away
• Create alignment – Be clear about how we will row, compete and operate together and why we do what we do
• Have unity – stand for what we believe will create objective success
• Practice and expereiment with various ways of moving to improve harmony and function
• Communication – be open, clear, honest, challenging and supportive
• Go Beyond the limits imposed by others – 6.08 pair / 5.37 four / 5.15 eight
• Improve understanding of how to move a boat
So that was the idea. This was a way to share it. So what next?
Here is what I began many weeks back…
The time has come were we must wrap up this activity of connecting. It was brought to my attention recently that the title for this blog is about the journey toward the peak in Beijing. Obviously that peak has past and I have not been sure as to how best to bring this to a close. It is not that I wish to cut things off but I am aware that the story to this point had been about the last three years. What I have learned from all this now is that it is great to connect and share. Those who have follow the journey now have a greater insight not so much into me but into the life of another, striving, testing, changing, trying, overcoming, learning, realising and finding a way to be as best one can with what one has.
We are all these things and through this expression I hope that many of you have come to see what I see. We are all the same and although I have taken up a certain challenge, we are all engaged in our own challenges. So this story to date has been told, shared and quiet often in such a state that you could be mistaken for being confused, berwilded and even amused. The intent was always to expose the deeper side of the challenge, the truth within the journey, the honesty of the process and the reality of the situation. Measure this by that I say and find what makes sense for you. It is by no means perfect and with the many spelling and grammatical mistakes it is more like what really happens out there, on the water, or with in those combinations.
When I started out I like the idea of sharing. What I didn’t expect was the amount of support. Obviously a visit marks a level of interest, but with each and every post the visits grew. As I mention this is only one level. Add to it those who subscribed and those who left comment and I was amazed at the interest.
A few stats include:
77 000 visits
40% New Visitors
Referral sites 430 including:
Blogger Blogs of Note-August http://blogsofnote.blogspot.com/2008_08_01_archive.html
Top content (This being the content most visited outside the opening page with various posts):
I love stats always have and so I figured that keeping this record of the story would be interesting. Learning about blogging has been fascinating too. What a great medium to use to connect. Getting my head around how to make the site work and how to enable readers use and get access to these elements was lots of fun.
So back to the purpose of this post. It is about finding a completion to this journey and to point to what may be the next phase of what may be install. It has been joy to express myself and I know that at times I have been cryptic and lost a few of you, but that is just showing that when you get the chance to get in someone heads it is not always clear and straight forward. That has certainly been the case in my head anyway. I never wanted to edit the thought process to much. Not because of laziness, but rather out of a need to show or draw in you as a reader to the variety of thoughts, feelings and conceptualisations that are ever present in our minds.
One things is for sure on many occasions I looked back to notice the length of some posts and thought boy if people hang in there I will be impressed. That is what the training can be like at times. It isn’t for everyone and not all want to go to the end. What I didn’t want to do though was to write about things in a fashion where you might read about a list of events in cronological order. That is not me and I really don’t enjoy when people cite there experiences in this way. The old I did this then that sort of stuff bores me and so I was very much keen on not being like that. It require more effort at times which made me appreciate the experiences more anyway.
On occasion I did promise to write some more on a certain post and one that I was recently reminded of was my 2000 back injury. I think I indicated that there would be a part 2, but it never came.
Here is the short version:
Getting back on the horse…
Well this should be boat I suppose, but why not use a cliché. They work for a reason and as such I am full of them like the rest of us. The recovery from 2000 like the recovery from surgery after Beijing has been similar. It was just last night Melanie and I were questioning each other about how long it took last time to be sitting and back to being normal again, what ever that means. We found ourselves struggling to recall parts of the recovery and the time line. There was lots of walking though and heaps of laying down. What I do remember is that once I was getting better I began coaching, which really helped me think through the process more. The key this time and then has been baby steps. Taking time to progress with care for self and the limits of what one can and can’t do is and always will be important. The term I used back then was infant development and it referred to how and developing baby learns to roll, crawl and walk. Taking myself back to this was a great part of the process back then and in the next few weeks I will visit it again. I must mention a significant person at this time who made and huge impression on me before the injury then and during the healing process after. This person has lived in my thoughts since and his guidance has been very powerful. Mark McGrath from Bluearth Institute was really my first mentor and friend who enable much of the though process I have used to come to the surface. Functional movement and the wisdom of our bodies has been and still is a large part of what Mark uses to guide his relationship with those he works with. I should not single Mark out solely, there have been many people who assist back then and all the way through my life. When recovering I have been fortunate to have had great support from family and friends. This has enable me to focus and getting right.
Begin by laying on your back. Use your eyes to glance from side to side focusing on object near you. Use your eyes to direct the turning of your head. Notice that with this simple intention driven action your body begins to rock slights. Start to take one hand then the other to reach as you focus on that object. As you do this notice the shoulders turning and rolling. Follow the natural process of looking, turning, rolling and rocking to find your ability to reach towards an object and to get on to your stomach. Exploring the movement activates many of the core structure we use to crawl and eventually walk. Rolling from side to side is a great way to stimulate deep stabilising action. Full rolling from back to front to back to front enhances this. Take as long as you feel to increase you body temperature. With this you will have increased blood flow to areas that we use to mobilise our bodies. Once you have accessed these movements you can explore getting into a crawling position and obviously take that to rocking and crawling in multiple directions. To continue along with this you can explore how to get up off the floor and then back down repeatedly. Really it is simple playing around with how you roll, crawl and walk with a fluid, thoughtful and re-learned movement.
Well well there it is not quiet the secret, but a pretty cool activity that interestingly I used not only back during recovery in 2000 but also during the games in China while I was struggling to hang in with my failing back. Combine it with stationary bike and walking and you have the activities we used to keep me from slipping off the edge. Actually ad all the physio treatment and then you close to the complete picture. Actually include the many conversations with a core group of people and that’s the guide to getting through tough times with a back problem. Or was that a problem with a back? You know with all the laying around I have simply become confused. Unclear about what was the problem I guess I will start telling myself some sort of story about the heroics of the moment which I could live with for some time but only until I wake up to realise that boy I got luck. So many things could have gone wrong. So then I am not only lucky, but grateful. Well even we could throw in happy go luck and grateful which is a great way to be.
Where to now? I would love to say I knew, but it doesn’t quiet work that way. I am very satisfied even though I have been through a difficult time. I figure it is a small price to pay. I also figure it could have been much worse and there are may people in the World far worse off.
Where to indeed, one lost sole swimming in a fish bowl, year after year. Running over the same old ground, how I found, the same old things. Wish you were here. Thanks Pink Floyd. For what wonder is in those words having been played for so many aloud. Shared. Many times groups have gone full circle re-inventing themselves. So what then may I decide? It is time to re-evaluate and adjust to the change the is naturally going to occur. Things move on and before I make any decisions I need to be sure that I am aware of where rowing is heading in Australia and across the World. That is not to say my body would even allow it.
Another and even more important element is my family. They have take a back seat over the last few years and even though I have tried to keep them at the forefront of my mind and focus it is near impossible to hold that caring mindset at the same time as the hungry, competitive and somewhat selfish one that is often needed to thrive in the World of elite sport. Funny thing is I am in a sport that while requires so much it still is not a high profile activity that I imagine would swallow up ones life. I have the ability in this sport to do and be other things that bring joy, excitement, frustration and reward.
Stop here for a moment. I have something new to add.
As the thoughts and questions continue to pile up. My attention is easily distracted. It’s different now. Things have changed. The World has obviously kept spinning and the view I am taking on things has evolved.
Alright then what will I do? What do I want? What responsibilities do I have? Who do I share life with? Is there any more I have to offer, give, take, enjoy or gain from continuing in my sport? What do I have to loss? What are the risks?
They don’t stop there, the questions but I figured I would pull them up and concede to this. It has been a most remarkable journey. It is about time I face some brutal facts. I may never be able to row again. At least I can walk and play with my kids. The most important things to me are still here. There is a glint in a far off distant place of my mind which plays with an idea in contrast to this. We will have to wait and see. For this moment it appear like I need to bring things to an end.
The time is now and here I go. Sorry if any of this has not made or doesn’t make sense. The aim was to have a perfect race, but in reality it is never truly like that. Just like sharing thoughts and feelings. The idea may be to present them as clear and articulate when in truth they are a mix of streams of conscious activations layered and stirred in such a way as to blur and confuse.
Finally I leave this here. It was part of what I scratched down during the period of the games:
It makes me feel like I am loosing my mind. Unable to decipher the code, find an answer or access a way through this maze of discomfort and pain. It is much more and much less also and for that I will need to explain. From the outside I must appear reasonably normal. Normal for me anyway. Obviously the inside may not be that far for normal either. Something small, very small has changed though. They say it is in my back, well not they but the Doctors. A few ideas have been had and yet we wait to see what happens. We wait for some change. Personally I am not one to wait, or enjoy the hanging around that on the occasion has been ordered.
Change happened then and it happened before then. It has happened since. I really think for athletes it is hard to let go. The ending of anything is hard I guess. Part of who and what I was finished the day I crossed that line in Beijing. It was a huge relief and deep down I think I have some fear about what it would take to get back. What it would do to my body and what it could do to my family. So for now it is easier just to let things roll on and really get back into other things I enjoy and are challenging. It’s hard to let go though. That oar, the grip, the hold, the thriving and the sheer intensity of the race. To compete and combine are opposite forces. In the experiences of rowing that have been afforded to me I feel the thrill has been finding the sweet spot. Right there I can taste it, imaging it. That is hard to let go. But things have changed and I need to move on.
This is not the last post but soon I will stop or re-frame the next stage. Any ideas send them through. The blog journey to Beijing is now over.
Thank you and good bye.