Saturday, April 14, 2012

FOCUS, Let Off the Brakes and Just RELAX

Has it really been almost two whole months since I've posted??  I haven't been gone for this long since I started this blog in January 2010.

I've started several posts, but haven't finished any of them.

My life feels like it's spinning out of control; there is so much going on right now.  It's ironic, because my natural reaction would be to "throw on the brakes" but I'm beginning to learn that might not be the very best option for me.

Everyone is different, so I want to be clear, I'm only talking about me here.


When I was about 17 I went on my first "mountain biking" adventure.  I was in Les 2 Alpes in the south of France.  A group of my friends and I took a lift to about the middle of a mountain, rented bikes and were going to ride down.  Thye all told me how important it was to test the brakes, which I did.  However, as soon as I got to going very fast...toward the edge of a cliff (which was protected by a giant pile of rock)...I couldn't get the bike to slow down.  I hit the rock and flew off the bike which then landed on the inside of my thigh.  I rode my brakes the rest of the way down the mountain.

It was NOT fun.

Fast forward to present time.  I actually LOVE riding down hills.  I'm able to tuck in and just fly, unless there's someone in front of me who doesn't enjoy that experience.  Unlike hitting the brakes going UP hill (which causes me to fall over), hitting them going down just slows me down.  Just tapping them one time makes a HUGE difference in speed and effectively ruins the rush for me.

My first half ironman is in EIGHT DAYS!!!   I'll leave for New Orleans on Friday; the race is on Sunday.

When I said my life feels like it's spinning out of control...the truth is it's my thoughts that are out of control.  My thoughts are like my hands tapping (or in most cases SQUEEZING) my brakes. 

(Going with the bike analogy/experience...)  As long as I know I have a properly functioning bike, when I'm careening down a steep hill toward a huge pile of rock meant to block a cliff, all I really need to do is, focus, steer the front wheel, tuck in, and enjoy the ride.  My first (and ONLY) mountain biking experience would have been much better had I done just that.  There was no need for me to freak out thinking I was going to DIE.  There was no need for me to freak out because my brakes weren't slowing the bike as fast as I wanted them to.  There was no need for me to learn the hard way that a) I wasn't going to die because the pile of rocks were going to stop me from going off the cliff or b) my brakes were working just fine-I had checked them earlier-I just wasn't in control because I was freaking out!!

One more story...I'm now teaching preschoolers how to swim!!  ((I know, right??  Maybe I'll get around to telling that story later on.))  It's funny because most of them beat the water up trying to swim.  They kick with all their strength and flail their arms about, splashing water in a 10' radius!  And...they go NOWHERE.  When they begin to relax and focus their energy on moving forward they swim right out of my class up to the next level. 

Same goes for floating.  When they are TRYING to float, they usually sink!  When they learn to RELAX they naturally float!  I had a child the other day trying to hang onto me as I was trying to get her to float on her back.  She couldn't understand she was sinking because she was hanging on.  You should have seen her face when I got her to trust I wasn't going to let her sink.  She let go of me and just relaxed her body...just like that, she was floating.

Focus and relax have never seemed to go together to me.  It seems one is counter to the other.  But I'm beginning to learn that is not the case.  For someone whose mind tends to spin out of control, the key is to focus on relaxing!!  That's what this week will be about.

I can't say enough good things about my coaches, e3 Multisport.  Eric and Karen have done so much more for me than just given me daily workouts.  You can get that anywhere.  Coaches are more than just a training plan on paper.  They continue to remind me to slow down, relax and FOCUS.  When I think I'm not ready, they remind me I AM.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!

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