Friday, December 21, 2012

In The Zone

As I documented in my last post, its been a rough go at getting back into the swing of things due to intermittent time off. Well today, I finally felt like I was going to have a great WOD. Today's WOD:

Tabata This!
Tabata Row - (67 calories)
Rest 1 min
Tabata Air Squat - (130 reps)
Rest 1 min
Tabata Pull-up - (61 reps)
Rest 1 min
Tabata Push-up - (100 reps)
Rest 1 min
Tabata Sit-up (abmat) - (82 reps)
Total number of reps completed: 440

Pretty much from the moment I walked into the box I was determined not to take any breaks longer than a two-count. Just enough to take two deep breaths and get back at it. The prescribed rest associated with Tabata exercises and the one minute in between each movement was enough to let me slow my breathing down to the point where I would be able to get after the next movement with full intensity.

Damn I love being in the zone. Our coach commented to me right before the WOD, "how you feeling today? You look like you're in the zone right now". Well I hadn't really thought about it, but as it turned out, hell yes I was in the zone. I felt like Sly Stallone in Over the Top! In other words, I was a machine.

Just look at the intensity in his eyes!
There's nothing better than knowing you are having a great game/workout once you realize there is nothing that will get in your way. You have just a bit more strength. You aren't getting quite as tired as usual. You have the intestinal fortitude to power through the pain and fatigue with the singular focus of reaching the end. This has never happened to me during my brief CrossFit experience. I've had a few moments in my less than stellar basketball career where I was locked in and performing at a level I had rarely achieved in the past. You know, those times when you score 45 points in a championship, or average 30+ points over the course of a weekend tournament, or tell your teammates "give me the damn ball, they have nobody who can guard me". If you haven't had the chance to experience those fleeting moments of being in the zone, then you haven't had the chance to feel like you are performing at your absolute apex. These moments rarely happen. Once they do, savor them. It may be months or years before you experience that feeling again.

Being in the zone in psychology terms (thanks Wikipedia) is called: flow. At its core, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate experience in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. In other words, "being in the zone" influences movement patterns as the conscious and subconscious reflex functions become efficiently integrated which results in improved coordination. You don't know what exactly you did to put you in the zone, you just ended up there. It is not something that is forced. There are some spiritual applications to being in the zone that many professional athletes try to emulate.

Today is a WOD that I will remember fondly for quite some time. I finished every round until the clock hit that 20 second interval. There wasn't the usual stopping one or 1/2 second short. It will be depressing when I'm struggling through future WODs knowing that I'm not performing at the level I had during today's Tabata This. But I know deep down that I have it in me. I will know that when I least expect it, I will once again have the chance to get in the zone.

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