I love the morning of competition. There are no nerves anymore. I’m too old for that and I’ve come to a better understanding of what this day means and why it’s important. We often wonder during training “Why am I doing this?”. Our training is never easy or comfortable. In fact, we often push past the boundaries of decency and common sense into the realms of pain and failure and yet we love it. Why? Common sense is for the common. We love it for this moment, this chance to set aside all questions of self-doubt and truly know ourselves. Today we know who we are.

It strikes me this morning that I may not have many of these left. My body resists in every way that it can. I still have never seriously injured myself in the gym but old sports and work injuries return like vengeful ghosts. My traitorous nervous system seems to be welcoming my disease, adding new shakes at night and softening my voice. Today though, is the time to remind all who would follow this story that the back is still strong and the voice can still be loud. Today is a record-breaker event and a chance to show that despite all weights and wounds, slings and arrows, disease and injuries, we can always rise.   swordforge      We have labored long at the forge, rendering our steel. Folding it repeatedly for strength and the ability to hold an edge. Today is the day our steel is quenched for the final time. The edge has been whetted, the hilt joined and wrapped in fine leather. Today our blade is born and when it next sees the light of day it will cleave or it will be cloven. Today our metal becomes mettle.