The title of this post came about as I reflected on my swim this morning in the locker room. I realized that I had a number of thoughts on my mind this morning as I drove to the aquatic center and when I arrived I even sat in my car a few minutes longer thinking about them (the car itself is one of those problems right now!). But sitting in the locker room, I realized that the entire time in the pool those thoughts did not exist.
Have you ever read the book Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi? It is an amazing book chronicling the idea of flow in multiple disciplines. Musicians and athletes are two of these disciplines and I fall in to both of those. Let me share with you how he describes flow:
A state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 1990
This is the state that many of us experience in multiple areas of our lives. I do not want to go into every aspect of flow because you can, and should, read the book for yourself (no need to thank me after you finish reading it). A hallmark of being in the state of flow is that time seems to disappear. You realize that more time has passed than you thought because you were in the state of flow.
This state I almost always find myself in during swimming. Cycling comes second and running is a distant third. However, I am working on mental exercise to allow myself to enter flow more easily in each of these disciplines as well. By the way, you can’t really “enter” into flow intentionally. You only realize it has happened after the fact.
My swim routine was the same as usual. But I almost missed the timing to end because I had forgotten about time other than counting my pauses between laps. The entire time I was swimming all of my personal baggage was the furthest from my thoughts. This is something that I am beginning to take great comfort in when training. Your baggage stays in the locker room (metaphorically when riding or running) while your focus is on the work you are pushing yourself to complete. It was an incredibly freeing feeling this morning as I sat thinking before leaving and picking up all the baggage I had to carry for the day.
I am sure this is true for many. But for me, it is becoming an important element in my progress. Week 2, Day 4. Done.