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The Zone: Velocity = Distance/Time

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I've been thinking a lot about science lately. I never really got much out of my science classes - to me there were just a lot of equations to memorize and not enough practical applications. I'm a hands on learner in every sense of the word. My dad always used to help us with practical applications of science - and he made it so much fun to learn, I had trouble sitting in class and drilling numbers into my head. Life is about experimentation, and having something in front of me that I could pick apart and explain just made learning so much easier.

Weight loss is not an exact science by any means. You're supposed to adhere to the "3500 calories = 1 pound" rule for the weekly deficit, but I can't tell you how many times that has not worked when it comes to my body. But one thing that I do know is that speed, velocity, will always equal distance over time. And more and more, the fitter and healthier I get, velocity is now something that I can control - in both my exercise and my weight loss.

I think about this equation a lot when I'm swimming. Swimming, over any other sport, puts me in THE ZONE. Something about the rush of water past your ears as you're swimming laps, that feeling of being weightless, but working hard at the same time, puts me right inside my head. I get more thinking done in the pool than anywhere else in my life. I talk to myself a lot in the pool. Sometimes it's about pushing myself harder, faster. Most of the time it's about counting (I count my laps in sets of 5 and 10 - I can't tell you how many times I've counted to 5 in my head while swimming). But sometimes, when I really get into my rhythm - breathe in, stroke, stroke, breathe out, kick, kick - I go to another place altogether where nothing hurts, nothing is hard, and I'm almost flying. This is The Zone. This is where I want to be.

More and more I've been trying to transfer this feeling into other exercises. My running is one of those places where I can almost get there now. I know I'll need The Zone when I run my 5K in a couple of weeks. I'll need to go to that place to push through - to ignore the other runners, to breathe through any fatigue in my muscles, to settle in to it and burn it and just do it. Velocity = Distance/Time. And I can control my velocity. I can monitor my breathing. I can slow my pace if I need to. But bottom line is that I can do it.

We're all on this journey together. Everyone is constantly moving. The earth is hurdling through space as we speak. But only I have the power to slow it down when I need to. Get in The Zone, and all of a sudden the speed at which I'm moving doesn't seem to matter any more. Time goes by, distance goes by, and I'm moving through it. As fast or as slow as I need to.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I love the water too there is just something about it. I don't swim laps yet just two tire me out but I will get there. I mostly do water aerobics and PT exercises for my knee. I spend hours in the pool. emoticon
    2773 days ago
    You are so right. That zone is important, and only we can slow ourselves down. Great blog!!
    2773 days ago
    I've been trying to figure this out all day but I think it's above my head. Did I ever tell you that I *hate* science? I feel like the profs were always speaking some unknown, unspoken, lost language to me. I kept looking at them going, HUH?
    2774 days ago
    I knocked on the door of "The Zone" the other day when I ran a 5K, I even peaked through the window! Now that I'll be training without music maybe I'll kick down that door and make myself at home.
    2774 days ago
    lord knows the science of 3500 calorie burn= 1 pound loss never actually seems to add up on the scale with me either. I like your take on things.
    i love the ZONE... it's the only time i ignore everything around me, but it's so hard to accomplish.

    p.s. where do you swim? i'm DYING to find a pool in chicago!
    2774 days ago
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