Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Confident actions produce confident thinking

One of the nice things about pigeon pose in yoga is that if you reach just the right threshold and hold it just long enough, your hips will slowly start to release. You can move a little more forward and hold (while breathing!); hips will release a little more.

Similarly, my mind is slowly releasing its death grip on this idea of what I 'should' be doing. I am coming to terms and becoming comfortable with the fact that I just don't have any desire to run right now. I am confident that it is completely OKAY for me not to. (And you know what? I realized I can stay in great shape still doing all the other things I'm doing!) Why do it if I just don't want or need to right now? There are no triathlons for me until May.

On that note, one of the things I have been thinking about is to try a new approach with the triathlons this year. It is to simply not care. This does NOT mean 'not try.' Just simply not care about what my times will be, how they compare to what I've done in the past, or what I think I 'should' have been able to do. Instead, the goal will be to do as best I can given what I've put into it and ENJOY the race for all that it is, being confident in my abilities. The bottom line is, I am fully aware now that when I put the time and effort into it, I CAN be fast. I could be faster than I ever was, if I put the practice into it.

Simply put, it is no longer where I want to be. 15-hour training weeks don't appeal to me right now, especially with the changes that are taking place in my life and other commitments I am making. Actually, I'm still figuring out exactly where I want to be, and I am having SO much fun doing it!

Last night I went to swim practice. I met one of the coaches for the first time and we were discussing which lane I ought to jump in. "Well," I said, "I've been a little slow lately because I'm trying to get back into a swim routine but only swimming about 3x/week." I told her I'd been swimming in a lane that's been doing about a 1:35 pace. It was comfortable to me.

She said "yeah, but I have a feeling they're going to be going a little too slow for you. Why don't you jump in with AnneMarie?" Panic briefly struck me. They swim FAST! Usually 100s on the 1:25. Could I hang with that? It's been awhile since I swam that speed. The coach confidently said to me "you'll be fine, just leave after 3 seconds if you need to and hang onto the draft!"

Our main set consisted of 2400 yards. One set within was 6x100 on 1:30. It meant I would have to try for 1:25 intervals if I wanted 5 seconds of rest. Somehow, by the time we reached the 6x100 part, I was feeling incredibly confident. I knew it would be tough, but instead of worrying about whether I would make the pace, I just put my head down and did it.

What do you know? I did it all! And I was actually feeling strong making all of the intervals! I smiled at the end and said "well, I guess I'm officially back in this lane now." Swimming was so fun. Last night made me realize that I've really missed it and I'm ready to get back in the pool on a more regular basis. The challenge, the pushing yourself (I tried to make 75 fly in under a minute...that failed miserably but it HURT SO GOOD!), the fun of having others around to push was all great. It was so encouraging to feel so strong and confident in myself, especially after having started the workout feeling like I've been so slow lately.

My subject line for this post also works the other way around - if we think confidently, our actions will be confident as well. But I think too often we don't act confidently because we wait for our brain to feel confident first. Why not try it the other way? Put yourself in a position to act more confident than you feel and see what happens.

You might just walk away with different thoughts altogether!


Devon said...

I absolutely whole heartedly agree with you. Not only the confident actions producing confident thinking and vice versa, but also that letting go and not caring, can be freeing and also produce so much success. I have found that the races where I went in not caring (again, as you said, not to be mistaken for not trying) that I relaxed, had confidence and did extremely well. That is exact circumstance under which I have won all my "training" marathons. Good on you for continuing to work on and discover what is right for you. Glad you are enjoying yourself so much! That is what it is all about.

Benson said...

Wow, very good for you.
Your confidence and enthusiasm shows. Keep it up.

jameson said...

I wish I could find that feeling in the water... i guess for me swimming is like running is for you right now... and I am definitely OK with it. I love to run and ride so that's what I am gonna do... and swim just enough.

triathlon and triathlete's are weird (myslef included). it seems like we "force" ourselves into spending a lot time doing things we don't "like" in order to fast or faster.

you approach to the season is a good one. just have fun, enjoy the lifestyle, and be healthy.

D said...

I'm in the same spot as James... just swim enough. Coach said I have natural swimming ability (bahahaha, dumbass) so I don't have to swim as much and we can concentrate on the run and bike more. Don't know if that's a good thing really. Though, I'm more likely to skip a swim than either of the other workouts.

beth said...

great job on the swim. that confidence needs to be there every day! you ARE fast.
and, gld you decided not to be too hard on yourself this what your body wants and your mind will follow

Lee said...

Great perspective Sarah. You and I have really been on the same page mentally recently. I think the most profound thought for me was "given what I've put into it". It was similar thinking that led to my new philosophy of "if you can't be fast, have fun being slow."

It will be interesting to see how your event times measure compared against your fun meter at the end of the year. I hope the fun meter wins.

rr said...

You are a wicked fast swimmer :)

I'm with you on so many levels here.. I don't feel like swimming, and triathlon is not about what I HAVE to do, it's about what I WANT to do. So F it, I'm not swimming! Someday you'll miss running, and I'll miss swimming.. and then we'll get back at it. Hey, we should meet for a bike ride :)

Great attitude!!

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

This is so awesome and inspiring Sarah! Embrace it all and enjoy.

Eileen Swanson said...

Great job Sarah! That's a good set, way to hang on and feel great!!

rocketpants said...

More fun is a great way to approach the next season. That *is* what it is about. But it is true, when I 'talk' myself into or out of something it really is just a matter of confidence. If i'm not confident on something i end up talking myself out of it. When I went up to the velodrome up in LA yesterday, I just had to tell myself: Yes...i *can* do this, I *can* ride fast enough not to slide down the wall...i *will* be fine...and you know what...i was. (maybe a little full of adrenaline, but part of me did want to 'talk' my confidence down.)

Confident thoughts also produce confident actions.