Fall Down Seven Times

Well in comparison to last week, this weekend left much to be desired in terms of my performance. To open our 2015 season at home, I scored 60 points less than the week before on 3m but managed to rally a win and a decent score on the 1m board.

To keep it brief, my warm up went down like this:

Which felt like this (skip right to 12 seconds):

“Yup, I’m flying through the air this is not good”

Which resulted in this:

Smack

Sorry, hope this isn’t too risqué for the interwebs. 

Soooooo, err, yeah. Not my best day. Makes for a humorous story though! While I would love to write meet recaps all the time that sound like this one, life doesn’t work like that. Sport doesn’t work like that.  Sometimes life happens, and you have an off day or a bad day. That doesn’t mean you are a bad athlete, and it doesn’t undermine any of the work you’ve been doing- it just means a bad day. As my coach graciously put it: “Sometimes you just sh*t the bed, for no rhyme or reason”.

Three years ago I would dwelled on this meet- tortured myself over the results and the score and the placings. I would have replayed every moment over in my mind about what I did “wrong” or what I could have done differently. I guess that’s the funny thing about maturing though; eventually you learn to let things go. The first thing my coach said to me this morning was “I hope you’re not stressing over this past weekend,” and I assured him I was not. The beautiful thing is I’m really not stressing. It was a bad day, not a bad season. It wasn’t even a horrible day- I still hit a lot of my dives after that smack and still came out with a first and third.

Sport, and college, and life, is about learning to trust the process. It’s not about torturing yourself for the times you slip and fall, but recognizing that four steps forward, one step back is still progress. This doesn’t mean anything long term, and it doesn’t affect my life at all from here on out. Is this what being a senior student-athlete means? Have I actually learned to let the little things go and focus on the positive?

Today, I went to the pool like I normally do, trained for a couple hours with back-to-back practices and tomorrow I will do the same thing. The good and the bad results just come with the territory, and today every day, I am choosing to focus on the positive.

What do you do to bounce back from a poor performance?

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“Whatever you feel like you should do…”

I’ve never been one to give something a half ass effort. I will jump in, head first, feet first, or belly flopping. While I may not having my mental competitive skills up to par yet (if anyone can teach me how to “visualize” hit me up, I’m starting to think it’s not really a thing), I love to train. In fact over the summer at the Iowa Diving Camps, I said it was my favorite part of the sport when asked. I love putting in the hours, seeing dives change and improve within the span of an hour or a year, love feeling like I really accomplished something by the time I head to bed that night. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always happy about being tired, sore, and constantly busy, but overall I’m more than happy to go to the pool every day. I wouldn’t have it any other way- why else would I be doing it if I didn’t truly enjoy the work I put in.

When it comes to practices, and competitions, I put impossibly decently high expectations on myself. Outside of the pool no one would dare describe me as a perfectionist, but inside the pool, well…guilty. I want to fix problems and I want to fix them right now. So when it comes to a new dive I learned in the late fall, that still isn’t competition ready, old insecurities started echoing in my head. It wasn’t just going poorly, I swore it was getting worse. The little voice in my head was telling me that I might never achieve my goals if I don’t fix it TODAY, and that this ONE dive is going to hold me back from everything else I had learned. Not healthy thinking, I know. I felt the stress of this dive seeping out of me ever since I came back to training in January- obsessively brainstorming ways to “fix” it. I know I had done some in the fall that were high point scoring caliber, and I felt like it had become nearly out of reach to reproduce those performances.

Fast forward to practice this morning, working on the category on 1m.

Todd: “You look like you’re trying really hard”

Me: “Uhhhhh, yeah”

Todd: “Why? You’re strong enough to make it off a concrete stand.”

Me: “I feel like if I don’t give it everything I have, I’m not going to make it. I’m going to land on my back.”

Todd: “Whatever you feel like you should do, do half. However hard you want to try, do less. You get too tense- trying too hard and trying to force it. Let it happen. Relax. Everything you want to put into this dive, cut in half. Try half as hard. Give it half the effort.”

Me: *brows crease in confusion at the thought of doing less*

I’m sure anyone who has ever seen a Disney movie or read a book can predict what happened this afternoon when I attempted the dive for the first time since last week (where I balked 8 times and may have shed tears in the shower because I was sick of smacking). After approaching the 3m with the self talk running through my head filled with “do less,” “try less,” and “40% effort,” I kid you not the dive was easier to make than any other day in my life. The first once even went flying over, with the second and third easily making it around with no balking or feelings of anxiety. Every time I hit the water my thought process was “huh.” Todd got to look proud and say “I told you so.” I’m still slightly confused as to how that worked out, but I’m trying not to question a good thing!.

I feel like I broke the laws of physics. Putting in less effort=better results. Doubting this has a strong chance of success in any other area of life, but will report back if I find ways!

 

 

The Most Telling Sport Psych Advice I Have Ever Received

February 7th, 2013:

“It’s like you’re a hammer. You just want to hammer away at all the time and at all the different things you can hammer at. And when something isn’t going well, you just want to hit it harder. You want to do more, try harder, train longer. You feel the need to hammer in the things you want.

Sometimes, you don’t need to be a hammer. You need a screwdriver.”

The Blog Post I Didn’t Write And Why

The blog post I was planning on writing yesterday was going to be a long one. It was going to be kind of sad, and kind of angry. The blog post I was planning to write yesterday was fueled by getting bad news left right and center and fueled by an afternoon on the couch finishing an entire bowl of popcorn by myself. The blog post I was going to write yesterday matched the weather to a Tee- rainy, cloudy, gray, cold.

The blog post I was planning on writing yesterday would have been written if I didn’t have the greatest friends in the entire world.

With my trip to Montreal for the CAMO Invitational officially cancelled, my first international meet, and news that I would not be allowed to dive exhibition at our upcoming Invite did not put me in a good place. “I’m not happy, and I’m not motivated” I told my coach. He told me to persevere, to focus on the road ahead, and to use the discouragement as motivation for the future. All excellent advice, but not what I was willing to accept at the time. My mood continued to drop like the temperature outside, and by the end of practice I was no closer to feeling motivated. After speaking with my coach one more time, he told me to take the afternoon off. I burst into tears. I was crying because I felt like I was hearing no from every single angle, and crying because I was relieved to have some time to myself to work through the rut mentally. I was crying because I knew he understood where my head was at, and I appreciated the acknowledgement.

Fast forward about six hours and I was getting fro yo with my two best friends and team mates, the girls that have been with me since the beginning of our time at Iowa. We sat there for two hours. Fast forward another hour and my room mate brought me a cupcake. We talked about boys and school and anything but training. Fast forward to the evening, where after an hour and a half of skyping with the boy my best friend showed up from out of town to spend the night and go out for breakfast in the morning. We spent two hours at Brueggers early this morning talking about every issue we were having with our training right now, me feeling a little lost and her discussing her first meet since winning the USA National Championships in August. We talked about where we had come from and where we were going, and what we could do to support one another. We made goals to laugh at ourselves, and made promises to hold each other accountable to our attitudes.

I gave up a lot to come to Iowa to dive. I know this, and I understand, and I choose to accept all the trials that come with it. No one said it would be easy, but you can never truly be prepared for the days that it seems some one punched you in the gut. The best you can do is persevere. Sometimes the only thing you can do is let time pass. I know for me taking 24 hours of my time away from the pool makes me look forward to going back. And I know, without a doubt, that I would not be able to do this without my support system. Everyone back home I know loves and supports me, and the girls I have found here will never let me down. For them I owe my sanity. For them I am thankful, and for them I can only hope to return the favor.

NYC Marathon

Post Halloween Sunday=lazy day for Lauren. November 3rd for thousands of other people? The New York City Marathon. And while I’m sitting on the couch with my second cup of coffee, wearing a spandex and sports bra but DEFINITELY not running, ESPN was showing live footage of the elite races. I kid you not, I was invested in this race. I couldn’t tell you a single racers name before today, but I found myself rooting for the girl in the lead who got over taken with three miles to go and couldn’t get it back. These women are SPRINTING. Like they are running faster than my pace if someone told me to run a single mile, and they’ve been running for two and a half hours. The woman who crossed the finish line first was too exhausted to even crack a smile, and she just won half a million dollars with her title!

The woman who crossed second, who had a substantial lead for a chunk of the race, looked devastated. Turns out, it was back to back NYC Marathons she had crossed second. That just struck an emotional cord for me. The image of her crouched on the ground in front of her husband, flag around her shoulders but head hanging, was such an honest sense of the word loss.

Buzunesh Deba, the Ethiopian woman who came in second, is my new woman crush. Let’s discuss a moment of her lead here- there she was casually booking it through the streets of New York, when I see her spit. And the announcer, just casually, says “Oh, yup, she just threw up.” Are you kidding me?! That is. So. Bad. Ass. This woman is sprinting through the streets and doesn’t break her stride for a second to THROW. UP. THAT is evidence of how bad you want something. That is giving an event your 110% effort to achieve your goals, and putting everything on the line just to see the possibilities. That is an inspiring performance.

I know someone out there is going to think “while she should be proud! She still came second!” While this kind of thinking makes logical sense, I find it infuriating. It’s like earlier this year when my goal was to make top 8 at Big Ten’s, and came ninth. Twice. By a point and a half combined. People were saying “well wow, coming ninth is great,” and while you can smile and appreciate the compliments it’s the hardest thing in the world to do. Coming second was not this woman’s goal. She wanted the win. She didn’t train all year, thinking of the last moment she came second, envisioning anything less than the lead. The loss she felt was real.

To conclude, congratulations to all marathoners today, and those training for one in the future. Set your goals today! No need to wait for a birthday or New Years :)