It’s funny how something I wrote in my journal three years ago can re-appear and be so very relevant. Here is an example, “With every sacrifice, with every commitment and with each passing day I’ve built myself up for this present moment. Learn from the past, live in the present and manifest your future!” This was an entry from March, 2016 before winning the Ultimate Waterman. The image above expresses how i felt at that moment.
In sharing my story of the past just a few weeks since my injury at the Aloha Classic Windsurfing World Championships my hope is that each of you will find something valuable to your own situation or challenge.
First of all, a lot of you have asked what happened when I was charging out for that “one more wave” at the Aloha Classic.
Unfortunately, I sustained a knee injury during Heat 27, which was one of the only heats to be completed that day because of waves up to 20 feet tall and winds that were very light. Despite that, I still advanced in second place, behind Julian Salmonn.
Any of you who compete in any sport can feel how frustrating and disappointing that injury was. Then, once I had a full assessment of all the parts of my knee that were damaged including my MCL, ACL, LCL, the tibula and fibula joint, and quad tendon, I knew there was a lot of work to do – inner work and outer work, both mentally and physically.
Looking ahead from that day and knowing that I would be missing the World Cup event in Barbados took a toll on me. Lying around nearly immobile for several weeks was also a daunting task. If you know me, you know I am a man of action – so I took action with my thinking and perspective on the situation.
There are certain mantras I live by. Most were an inspiration for the chapters in my book, BENEATH THE SURFACE. As I follow the journey of healing that my body, especially my knees and legs need, certain ones are most relevant.
DIG DEEP – INNOVATE AND INSPIRE – BELIEVE AND CREATE – EVERY STEP MATTERS
This down time became time to reflect and look within. Taking it easy has always been a challenge for me. During the first week off the water being mostly inactive, I started to feel the need for the ocean’s embrace and mana. Ahead of me was at least another 2 weeks or so committed to rest and rehab.Time to DIG DEEP and find the motivation to BELIEVE AND CREATE my inner game and focus that will serve me best going forward.
A Wake-Up Call: Patience – and learning about the biomechanics around the injury. Each injury is different for each person. For me, I had not taken the time to really be conscious of how important preventative care was. I always trained and thought I trained smart – but there is so much to know about how both the big and the little muscles work together. Talk about teamwork!
For me, since some of my injuries were old and I hadn’t even been aware of them, I learned that my bigger muscles had been compensating for damages tendons and the smaller (injured) muscles. As I learned, the truths became so obvious. As in sports technique, the muscles need to work in sequence to do and be their best for efficiency and results.
Think of the sequence in paddling technique. It is important to have a good reach and depth, then to engage the hips and core all the way through the release. Using anatomy and gravity to paddle efficiently makes sense.
With my new understanding of anatomy, I became more motivated for a different “outer game.” I usually like to be the one to INNOVATE AND INSPIRE, but at this time it was incredibly uplifting to seek out the innovation and inspiration of others. That was how I could make best use of the hours and weeks of immobile down time.
An over-riding theme in the book is “working on the inner game.” There is a lot of information on the neurology of top performers. New projects, hobbies, and endeavors spark new pathways in the brain. This is similar to how exercise generates new pathways in the muscles. Engaging even the most minuscule areas in the brain turns into huge output that even affects physical ability.
Just as in my body, I had wandered away from proper movement and training for best preparation for the demands of my sport. Forced to rest, I started learning about the inner game – and balance. Thankfully, I been keeping a daily journal since I was 11 years old. I thought back on my main categories of intention, focus and manifestation. For the most part it revolved around community, environment and competition.
Self-reflection on balance in my life over the past weeks showed me an obvious imbalance. I did not take time for personal downtime. I was not making time or habits to get adequate sleep. When there is an imbalance it is our responsibility to fix it. I decided to think “inner game” while asking myself “why do I want what I want?”
What I want will be more likely to come to me when my life is in balance. This includes having my inner game and my outer game in balance. It was eye-opening (actually eye-shutting, lol) to realize how important adequate sleep is to the entire life balance equation. Maximizing outer game efficiency by having adequate sleep is a new pathway for me to explore and include in my daily practice and intention.
Committing to my inner game with not such an over arching focus on the outer game is one of the best take-aways from this whole injury experience. I believe I will come back at my peak.
I hope that sharing this has provided something of value for you. If it has, you can #inzanetraining on IG and share your photos and insights or questions.
I 100% BELIEVE I’m gonna be back in action with more control of my inner game with this time to focus. I will be back stronger both mentally and physically.