This month I have been picking myself up and dusting myself off after a pretty poor competition at the London Open in September.
Training has been going well on most pieces of apparatus since then, but I have been having a few issues with pain in my wrist, so I have not been able to train as much as I would like on the pommel.
When my wrist is aggravated, it is almost impossible to train on the pommel due to the immense force generated by my body rotating and the speed that is required to hold my body up while I circle around the horse. It is likely that this will lead to me having a cortisone injection within the next few weeks. I could do this now, but I don't want to rush into getting the injection as I won't be able to put pressure on my wrist for a few days afterwards.
With a trial today in Dundee for the Northern Europeans, a Commonwealth training camp in Wales next weekend and the Malar Cup in Sweden the following week, taking a few days off training now is simply not an option. Hopefully after the Malar Cup the injection will help with the pain and allow me to train fully on the wrist in the run-up to the Northern Europeans which take place in Ireland towards the end of November.
It was really important that I got back into the gym as quickly as possible after the gut-wrenching disappointment that was the London Open. When you're feeling low and walking back into the gym to start again from scratch, it always helps to have a training partner to help you along the way. In that respect I'm very lucky; my main training partner is one of my best friends and 2006 Commonwealth Games finalist, Andrew Mackie.
I have been training with Andrew since I was 11 and we have seen many gymnasts come and go in our 20-plus years in the sport. We have grown up together, travelled the world together and been there for the highs and lows of both gym and life in general. After 16 years side by side, we can still give the younger Scots a good run for their money when it counts!
Andrew and I both retired before the Delhi Games and are now both back in the gym training for Glasgow, but this time around things are very different. In our youth we would warm up by burning off extra energy with a little game of football or a wee jump on the trampoline. We now start with a cup of coffee then sit back conserving what little energy we have after completing a full day of work; slowly stretching every part of our old sore bodies while putting the world to rights and reminiscing about our glory days. Now we are veterans, apparatus training has changed too. We can now do the job in half the time we used to because we feel comfortable with the skills in our routines; essentially, we don't make as many mistakes on the apparatus as we did in our youth.
Growing up, we worked under the "Tan Jia En" regime. Tan was the Scottish national coach as well as our personal coach. While other Scottish gymnasts only had to worry about the endless amount of skill repetition and conditioning required to appease this perfectionist every other month at national squad weekends, Andrew and I endured this on a daily basis and quickly realised we would need each other's support to survive.
I have worked with many coaches all over the world and I have never worked as hard for anyone as I did for Tan. In my opinion, we would not have got as far as we did in the sport with anyone else. With his excellent technical knowledge of skills and brutal work ethic we quickly became mentally tough and physically strong, which in turn led to success.
I remember when we went to Kunming in China for a three-week training camp. On the first day, Andrew, after using the bathroom, came back into the gym with his face as white as chalk. He went on to explain that the bathroom was nothing more than a dark room with a little river running through the floor. People were squatting over this stream in plain view with not a piece of toilet paper in sight. Thinking he would save some dignity, he went as close to the wall as possible. Unfortunately, he didn't take into account that he was standing downstream. After this we decided collectively that we were prepared to run back to the hotel to use the toilet if the need arose again while in the gym. Later, Andrew swore that he had nightmares about his experience.
Gymnast Adam Cox is a junior world and Commonwealth Games medallist and the reigning Scottish senior all-around champion