Thursday, October 30, 2008

Zoning Out

You know it when you get there, The Zone is the place every athlete wants to be. This year, it's been elusive. The ankle injury back in January that decimated my run for the season, the fact that my coaching took me away from my beloved Master's swim workouts, the lack of racing, and all the preparations for our Italy trip as well as the trip itself all combined to keep me from the level of training most likely to induce The Zone.

But this week has been the business. It started out with a swim on Monday that finally clicked. Like finally really clicked. Dang skippy, I felt fast, in a way I haven't experienced in awhile. Tuesday was a run full of hill repeats that actually felt enjoyable (figure that one out!) Then on Wednesday, my volleyball game really came together. All of a sudden everything I touched went where I wanted it to. That's a sport where even a small bit of time away throws my timing way off, but I've been playing pretty consistently since we got back from Europe and I can finally feel it taking hold. Today was just a moderate trainer ride, so no great leaps there, but I'm looking forward to the rest of my workouts this week.

I think some of this can be attributed to just having some time off. Even though I wasn't actually doing much training this year, a little vacation from the routine usually makes everything feel fresher. And the rest of it, well I don't know where it came from but I'm going to appreciate it while it lasts.

Before I go to bed for the night, I'll mention that my favorite book on this subject is Flow by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, I can't think of anyone else who has mined this subject to such a depth and covered it so well. From case studies and experiments to the experiences of famous folks to ordinary people, he examines the state of "Flow" (or being in the Zone) from every angle.

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