Saturday, August 18, 2007

6 am

There is something pretty surreal about getting up at 6am on a Saturday morning and driving to the gym when no one else is on the road. I guess it puts you in a weird state of mind because you know that most others in the city are sleeping in...or maybe just going to bed!

I have always been hugely inspired by and maybe a little envious of those who can wake up early and get an ambitious start on their day.

I have never been the type who likes waking up at the crack of dawn and going to the gym. This is maybe because our primary training has always been in the afternoon and morning training was just a wake up and warm up type of regime.

Not anymore though. Not for the past 2 months. Right after we received our draw for Worlds and learned that we would be competing in the 5th subdivision, first thing in the morning on the second day of men's qualification, we immediately changed our routine and started making the first training (8-10:30) the time when we do routines and get the bulk of our work done. I must say that I have adapted pretty well, but there are still the days when I feel a little sorry for myself and my body that I have to pound and swing just after the sun comes out!

I am proud of myself though because I have taken the high road and accepted (not like I had much of an option) the fact that I need to be energized and focused in the morning. I have been going to bed early (seriously, who goes to bed at 9pm?!) and I've been getting up ready to go. I have actually embraced the change, and I kind of like it now. I am able to get in to the gym, get my work done, leave and still have some time in the rest of the day to accomplish all of the other tasks that life throws my way. I guess that's the reward. When everyone else is just starting the grind, I am done with the hardest part of my day and I can just laugh at everyone else who still has major tasks to accomplish!

Maybe this draw was a blessing in disguise because it does cater to my work ethic. I am not one who likes to waste time and draw things out. I like to keep a fast pace and move from one event to another. "Get in, Get it done and get out!". That is one of the motto's I live by.

It's a pretty cool feeling when you have adopted a characteristic of a lifestyle you envy. For me, that is an early riser who embraces the day...even if everyone else is still in their cozy, warm beds catching up on sleep!


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Locking Doors

Many say that you should unlock every door that you possibly can in order to achieve success. I heard something different the other day and it has changed my whole way of thinking.

I was visiting my sport psychologist, Dr.Hap Davis, and we were talking about how things are going with 3 weeks left until Worlds. I told him that I am feeling good, training has been going pretty well...but there is one thing that I feel is missing. I have been having a lot of random thoughts lately. Before I go up to the highbar (I almost put bar here, but then I read it back and it seemed like I'm a booze hound!) or step onto the floor, I have been thinking about a lot of random things rather than my actual performance. I don't know why I do this and I don't even really know what the thoughts are...all I know is that they have nothing to do with what I am about to do and it freaks me out a little bit!

It might be because I am ready and I am trying to distract myself from the routine so that I can just let it happen in a 'zoned' state, but I don't think that's it. It might be because I am so afraid sometimes of making a mistake that I just want to think of everything and anything possible that will distract me from this negative self talk. It could be because I have been doing gymnastics for 19 years of my life and sometimes it is just impossible to get into an adrenaline rushed and painfully focused state...who knows. I could go analyze it at so many levels and I probably wouldn't figure it out completely. I don't really want to either...I just want to be able to concentrate on my performance and feel present and confident while doing so.

Here was Hap's theory:

He asked me if I ever drive away from my house, but turn around a couple of blocks away to make sure I put the garage door down...I hate to admit it, but I do this at least once a week (If not embarrassingly more!). He asked me if I ever drive to the gym, start walking away from my car, but then stop and turn around and walk back to my car to make sure I locked the door. I do that! I really really do...I think I might have a bit of OCD, maybe more than a little! I always have that little voice in the back of my head saying, "did you do this?". That voice is so annoying and I think I would call it "Self Doubt".

Hap said that I am probably doing the same thing with my gymnastics. Doubting myself and my ability to do something when I want to. He actually said that after 19 years as an athlete, one has to start being really creative in their ways of self-doubt because everyone has it and many have already exhausted most "normal" forms. My creative way is to completely stop trusting myself, think totally random thoughts and to start questioning things that I have been doing fine for the past 10 years. Not cool.

So here is the challenge:

I have to make a conscious effort everyday to get out of my car, shut my door, point my keys at the door, say to myself, "I am locking the door", push the button, and walk away knowing and trusting that my door is indeed locked. How do I know it is locked? Because I consciously locked it. Sounds easy enough.

Here is the comparison:

I have to treat my performances or turns in the gym like my car door. Before I go I have to make a conscious effort to be focused. No random thoughts. I have to say something positive to myself like, "I am going to do a great routine". This will make me present and give me some clarity right before I go. I have to trust myself and my declaration. I have to know that when I say I am going to do something good then I am going to put forth a great effort to do it good.

I applied this theory today at the gym. Before each turn I thought to myself, "Lock the door". I pictured the feeling I have when I have consciously locked the door and the trust I get from doing it and knowing that I have done it.

I had an amazing training and I haven't felt so present and strong in a long time. I have to be honest though...I still need a little bit of work on the whole locking my real car door thing. It has become such a horrible habit for me to be thinking about a thousand different things at once and forgetting to focus on the task at hand. I promise I am working on it and one of these days soon I am going to get through an entire day knowing that my crap won't get stolen from my car!

No more opening's all about truly knowing they are shut and LOCKED!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Bloggin' It!

Hello and welcome to my blog! It has been a long time coming, but finally here it is.

I thought it would be appropriate to start this as the one year count down to the 2008 Beijing Olympics begins.

My goal is to share my thoughts and my journey as the games approach. I want this to be more than a "Gymnastics Journal". I want to keep everyone informed of what's going on in my world, but I also want to share some of the more intriguing views, insights and perceptions that I am continually gaining from life.

I hope you come by often. Enjoy!