A woman who recently rowed in the Great Pacific Race put training for the race this way- "It's the first thing I think about when I wake up and it is the last thing I think about before I go to sleep."
Yes. Exactly. I think about The Race when I am training. And, while I am planning my sessions. I think about it when I am eating- and grocery shopping and cooking as well. I think about The Race when I am writing and reading and it seems like basically any time I am breathing.
Except, when I get overwhelmed by how big this race really is- and it's not just the rowing across the ocean part that gets me. It's all the prep and work that needs to be done before I even hit that water. And so, I focus and I use that focus to distract myself.
I find myself breaking my stroke down into parts- catch, drive, recover, catch, drive, recover. I take the advice of Val, an endurance swimmer/massage therapist/everything else friend of mine and count 3 strokes, "You can do anything three times," she tells me. So, I row 2 hours on my indoor rower 3 strokes at a time, training myself to focus on 3 for when the going gets rough. I also sit in a meditation class and try to count to 7- and not get distracted every bloody time I get to 3 or 4- finding my breath and letting everything else pass me by. I have to hone my ability to focus so I can distract myself from the suck that will most definitely want to engulf me when I am 1000 miles from who knows where.
I find I focus on the focusing. It's more positive, more active. It gives me something to do and not just something to get away from. But, it does also make me come across as a little...obsessed maybe?! A little, focused! Luckily, my children have the ability to break the spell- get me out of my own head and get me back. There is nothing like the urgency and "nowness' of being 17, 15, or 12 years old. And, that is also a lesson in focus- what is happening right now and right here that cannot wait? What gets my attention, my focus, first?
I am liking this place I am in. Small details. Big picture. Small boat. Big ocean. It works.