I decided that it was fitting to let this blog resurface. I am committed to one more run at being the best strength athlete in the world. This article shows you just how far I was willing to go. I am just as committed, but I believe that I am much wiser now. I also believe that my priorities have shifted. Enjoy!
Three months of sweat and tears had boiled down to this moment in time. I’d neglected everything in my life to be the best in the world. The best ever! I was called the Icon of Powerlifting, and I wasn’t satisfied. Nothing could satisfy me! All I longed for was more domination, another goal to conquer. I was a two time world champion in the 220lb weight class and four world records to my credit, but that wasn’t enough. I was considered the strongest pound for pound powerlifter in the world, and that wasn’t enough. At that point of my journey, nothing was ever enough, and I wouldn’t let anything or anyone come between me and my next conquest. I had decided to drop down to the 198lb weight class to demolish that World Record as well. I was on journey, and I had no idea where it would take me. God had a plan for me. It just wasn’t my plan!
I had made the cut from 230lbs to a now 203lbs. 5lbs to go! 5lbs on what was an already lean 230lbs, so that 5lbs was an eternity. I was determined! Nothing would stop me from reaching my goal. I found myself in a bathroom of a hotel room that I had made into a steam room. I had taken hot towels and covered all cracks of the door. I had the shower on full blast hot. I was wrapped in a sauna suit with burning hot towels around my neck and head. I was feeling weak and dizzy, but I was determined. I started to experience and eerie sense of quiet in the room. I felt like I was in a space ship lost in space. All of a sudden time stood still, as I watched a bead of sweat drop from my nose. The bead of sweat floated in slow motion to the floor. When it finally struck the floor, I heard a distinct echo, whuwhuwhuwhu! I had just enough time to gather a confused look on my face before collapsing to the floor. At this point, I had absolutely no sweat coming from my body. I was completely dehydrated!
I crawled out of the room in desperation. I made it to my phone and called my friend Ox. All I could say was, “Help!” Thank God he rushed to my aid and took me to the hospital. Four IV Bags later, I was told by the Doctor that I had experienced a mild heat stroke. I heard the words, “Lucky to be alive!” All I cared about was my ability to compete. The doctors told me that I shouldn’t, but it was my call. Of course I was going to compete. Remember I was the Icon! The best! Unbeatable!
I wasn’t going to make the 198lb Class, but I still could go into the 220lb class. That’s what I did. I knew during my warm ups that I was feeling weak. I wasn’t myself. I dropped my opening squat to 903lbs. That was a weight that I could easily handle in normal circumstances, but this wasn’t a normal circumstance. On my opening attempt, I was bent forward way more than usual. I was bent so much that I cracked two ribs. Somehow I was able to complete the lift, but that was all that I was going to squat on that day. I competed the rest of the day in survival mode. I managed openers in the bench and deadlift, but that was it. In my opening deadlift, I was actually dripping blood from my mouth due to internal bleeding. The day was a disaster! I had failed! I had totaled 2235lbs to a normal 2400+. I took 6th place! That was my lowest placing ever in my life. The unbeatable one was no longer unbeatable. I had been dethroned!
This event lead to low in my life that I had never experienced. Failure wasn’t something that I had ever experienced. I was mortal! I was just like everyone else. My identity was stripped from me when they placed that medal around someone else’s neck. I didn’t know who I was. It was like my very name was taken from me. I turned to fast fixes! Temporary fixes! I turned to anything that would take my mind off of failure. I was on a journey that would take me to who I am now. When I was in that dark hole staring up into a small glimmer of light, I started my climb out. It was to be a long and slippery climb that sometimes led to slips, but I eventually found all things that I love.
It was during this climb that I found Christ. Around the same time, I found my amazing wife Emily Drew. My focus had shifted! Now I want to be the best husband, father, and friend. Now I want to follow my God. This dark road led to a city of lights! Failure can sometimes lead to success. Maybe it isn’t the success that you were after, but it will always be the success meant for you. I would go through the experience all over again to where I am now.