Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A lot of hooey?

The instructor at a spin class last night had us spend a significant amount of time thinking of our "strength phrases" and power animals.

This slipped in right after a visioning exercise, which just freaked me out because I'm not good enough on a bike (even one locked into a trainer) to close my eyes yet. Apparently, we all need to come up with a key word or phrase that will give us strength when we repeat it over and over in our heads. Whatever we come up with should be our touchstone of power for the whole triathlon season.


Our instructor, bless her, is an accomplished athlete and I don't doubt her ability to get us sweating. However, when strength phrases led into a discussion of power animals -- specifically the pros of picturing yourself as a polar bear rather than a fish while swimming -- made me think I'd crashed my trainer and hit my head.

It's true that strange thoughts come into your head (or at least mine) while exercising. I've mulled over lost loves, penned letters to my grandparents and even dreamed up short fiction stories. Sometimes little phrases get stuck on repeat and are motivational (see past post about "you can run four miles") but I don't think I've ever consciously chosen one.

Sometimes I sing Tim McGraw's "It's just the cowboy in me" when I feel like I'm running something incredibly ill-advised, like hobbling 3.5 miles down a trail after falling on my face. I picked up "Grind it out" after some guy yelled it at me as I ran down the incline in Nisene. "Kick it in" has stuck with me since high school track meets.

I can appreciate the power of positive thought and know it's important to focus. But picking one to meditate on? I don't know. Suggestions from the spin class instructor included "strength", "flow" and "I am strong." I think I'll stick with singing "Sometimes you've got to learn to walk with rocks in your shoes."

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