Monday, March 29, 2010

Shoe on the Other Foot

This weekend I came to a startling realization: I'm dating a competitor. You may say, "Um, Kari, how could you not realize that Jerry is a competitive bodybuilder? You two MET at a bodybuilding show where you were both COMPETING." Ok, so I knew he was a competitor ... but this is the first time I've gone through a contest prep with him. He just suffered through my prep with me, and now it's my turn to support him as he gets ready for his shows. And as I watch him prep, I realize just how he must've felt when I was prepping.

When I was prepping, I was tired a lot of the time (except the times when I took caffeine, of course), and every little thing seemed like such a chore. I remember dreading having to bring a laundry basket full of clothes up a flight of stairs - something that most people wouldn't think twice about. But it was a huge deal for me, and I cried about it. Literally cried.

This weekend, Jerry and I attempted to put together a bed frame, and then switch one frame out for another (talk about a 3-ring circus!). Since I wasn't starving, depleted, or tired (normal contest feelings), I had a lot of patience. (Plus, it was my idea, so that may have helped my patience some.) Jerry got frustrated and aggravated really quickly, and at first I didn't understand what the big deal was. Then I thought back to my own prep, and immediately sympathized with him. It wasn't so much the physical motions of moving beds (although that wasn't much fun), it was the fact that not everything was going absolutely smoothly, and his whole body was begging him not to move or expend any extra energy.

It was an eye-opening experience for me, because I've never been on this end of prep before. I've always been the one going though the rollercoaster of emotions, giving myself pep talks just to move out of the chair, feeling frustrated and angry when little things go wrong. Now I understand just how much patience he had with me. At the time, I realized he had patience with me, and was grateful, but I don't think I realized just HOW MUCH patience he had with me.

Every night on the way home from the gym, when I'm driving, he's leaning back in his seat with his eyes closed, exhausted from the day. He's been doing double cardio sessions, and even though his cardio intensity is nowhere near what mine had to be, his body is still burning up calories at a fast rate, making him feel wiped out. When I see him sitting there, very clearly suffering from prep, my heart weeps for him. I don't want to see him in pain; I want to make all his aches and pains go away. I want to reach out and hold him until he feels better.

Now I understand what he meant when he'd tell me that it hurt him to see me cry in the gym. And how difficult it was sometimes to be my trainer and tell me what I needed to do, and then watch my face crumble in pain while struggling with tears. As a trainer, he knew what he needed to tell me. As a boyfriend, it hurt him to see me in pain, to watch me stumble on the treadmill, to see tears run down my face while I gasped for air during lunges. But he had to set those feelings aside and encourage me to put my body in pain, to push past my natural limits, and to continue to stick to the plan of getting me into a winning condition.

I'm not his trainer ... I'm just his girlfriend. And even though I know what he needs to do, and even though I understand better than most because I also compete, sometimes I want to tell him to not push so hard simply because I can't stand to see him in pain. But as a fellow competitor, I know what he needs to do. I know I need to watch him suffer. But boy, does it hurt!

So now the shoe is on the other foot. I'm the one standing on the sidelines watching the most important person in my life struggle and push through aches and pains. I know it's all part of the process, and it's so exciting to watch his body change every day. I can't wait to see him stand on stage, and know that all his hard work was worth it. It'll be weird to be in the audience instead of on stage, but you can bet I'll be cheering louder than anyone else in the room!

1 comment:

  1. Sooooo true. Loved this post. I deal with all this with the hubs too. My ex husband competedd as well so I was used to it...
    And because of that I try SO HARD not to be 'that chick' during prep but hey, it happens to the best of us. I can totally relate to the laundry basket thing. I literally cried over spilled (almond) milk last fall. LOL! Sounds ridiculous now but I know you can relate.
    Tim is far less patient than me normally, and prep only intensifies it. If you can make it through this prep with Jerry, it will be a true test and he will appreciate it more than he shows. Tim never realized how much easier prep was until me, when he had someone who would actually HELP him with things like food and house work, instead of adding to the pain.

    What show is Jerry getting ready for??