Motivation, goals, talent, anything really, are no good if you’re not focused. You could be the fastest or smartest person on the planet, but if you don’t have the focus to use those skills, and ignore the Lady in the Red Dress every time she walks by with a new haircut, it’s talent wasted. Maybe it’s because I can hardly sit still long enough to watch a movie all the way through for whatever reason, but focus isn’t my strong suit. I do pretty well, but it’s more of me going through the motions. Lots of distractions this week, but more learning to spot the distractions, and take out the trash.
Let’s talk the obvious first. Focus in training and racing can be the difference between a breakthrough session or a podium finish, and just another so-so day. The big example I think of is swimming. Swimming is so form based, and if you lose focus (at least for someone who didn’t start triathlon with a swimming background) then your form slacks. Then your times drop. And you’re setting yourself up for injury from putting too much torque on your rotator cuff. Same thing with running. I have a friend who’s been battling injury for months, and while her ART guy and I originally said that if it wasn’t a stress fracture, it was a biomechanical thing, we went in every direction except that one. Things got a little better with strength training, but there was still pain, and she still wasn’t able to run. She didn’t think she was going to be able to face her first 140.6 event this year, until finding out it all came down to her form. Or lack of. You have to focus. If you’re landing incorrectly in your stride, you’re over stressing joints, and begging for an injury. Most people don’t even know until it’s too late. But once it’s found, and a new way of movement is introduced, then you have to focus on keeping the correct motions. But there’s more to focus in training and racing than just your form in each discipline. There’s focusing on each training session.
Everyone has seen ‘The Matrix'(if not, GO RIGHT NOW!! You’re crazy missing out). Remember the scene with The Woman in the Red Dress? Well follow that link if you need a refresher. How many times have you been running your favorite route when Lolo Jones in her race kit or Matthew Mcconaughey runs by without a shirt and your running form goes straight to hell as you turn to watch them, and your pace drops by minutes… Or better yet when you’re on your bike in full aero position, and you come within centimeters of hitting the curb and going end over end because your eyes(and brain) are on a very different route than the one you’re actually headed down. I know it’s not just me. And yeah; most of us won’t ever see them running everyday, but you get my point. And granted if my abs looked like that I wouldn’t own any shirts, but that’s not important right now. See…focus…lost it. I say all this because the last week, maybe two…ok fine; my entire life since 7th grade has had a distraction. 99% of the time it’s a girl; I even got called ‘girl-crazy’ straight up last night by a friend. It’s true… But I had a revelation a couple days ago. When my coach told me to watch ‘Peaceful Warrior’ a few weeks ago, and I thought about the moral (“take out the trash and clear your mind so you can reach your goals over all adversity”), I didn’t really know what it was. I realized a few days ago that it’s girls. I’ve gone MAYBE 6weeks at the absolute longest not being in a relationship since 7th grade. Don’t go and try to Freud me; I have a doctor for that. And I have no problem with relationships, but I can’t balance anything else when I’m in a relationship. The 4.0 I pulled off last quarter? The majority of that term I was single, and not really chasing; just focusing on fixing my own shiz. And last season when I started finishing top3 in my AG? Single…for the most part. A big build and a couple weeks of nothing but breakthrough sessions in the couple weeks prior to the AG podiums anyway. I can balance solid training and racing while keeping up with school, and some semblance of a social life, but not if there’s a girl involved. There’s not now, but only because EVERYTHING happens for a reason. So let me tell you how I came to my epiphany.
There’s this girl at the pool I swim at. She’s blonde(usually not my type), and a lifeguard(make your ‘Baywatch’ jokes), and goes to KSU, and we’ve been trading glances the past couple months. You know the ones where you’re staring at someone and you try to turn away so that they don’t notice? Yeah; those looks. So while I’m swimming, I’m looking around trying to see if she’s on deck. And when she is, my form improves, because you wanna show off…you do it too wether you’re at the gym or running, whatever; don’t lie. I even thought about pulling the drowning scene from ‘The Sandlot’, which just made me laugh, and laughing while you’re swimming isn’t very funny. See how distracted I get when girls are around? I got her number(without asking) earlier this week, but the fact that it went nowhere fast, I came to my realization. And, as a lifeguard, she wear a RED SUIT… hence the Woman in the Red Dress I’ve been mentioning lately. Distractions… I’m just going to start calling them ‘Women in Red Dresses’ because for me, that’s all they seem to be.
I’ve refocused my…focus… And calling it pretty close too. First race of the season is just 13days away, and as a “let’s see what we’ve got in the tank” kind of race, I need to have all my poop in a group. And there’s been lots of hills in my training in prep for Rev3 Quassy (A race) and Portland, both top-shelf races put on to cater to athletes and thier families, not just put on by a corporation (*COUGH* wtc) to make money… so you need focus when hitting break-neck speeds flying down hills and around pin-tight turns. Not to mention to get on the podium at the events 🙂 So that’s my lesson for you this week. Focus: keep your resolve in line, and don’t stray from the path when lured by The Women in the Red Dress.