Monday, February 23, 2009

ECA New York, here I come!

Only a few days before I leave for New York City! By this time before a conference, I live in a state of constant butterflies. It doesn't seem to get any better even though this is my 10th year of presenting. I guess it's a good thing - keeps me on my toes, and helps push me to stay at the top of my game. I am admittedly Type A (with larger doses of Type B seeping in as I get older) so my perfectionism definitely comes out at conferences. It is usually my goal to make each and every ride I do better than the last time I did them!

BUT, I have to make sure I don't get in the way of my own goal, which can happen when one lets perfectionism rule. This is something I am working on, trusting and letting go.

Goals are good, as I explain in my Moving Mountains ride, but it's not the achievement of them that brings success necessarily, it's the ability to enjoy the process along the way. The Journey is the Best Part! When I let go of the need to be "perfect", when I allow the moment to come over me and rely more on instinct and less on "memorizing" my speech, ah.... that's when a session (or class) truly becomes memorable! In the past if I have been overly critical of myself and a session I've presented, it usually came down to trying to be too much in control.

That usually backfires.

This advice can be extrapolated to any athletic event you want to participate or compete in, to any speaking engagement you might be preparing for, or even just to your regular Spinning classes. 

Set a goal, yes. 
Prepare, yes. 
Practice, of course.
Visualize, yes. 
Believe in yourself, most definitely. 

But when the moment arrives, trust and let go! Your relaxed state will allow you to excel far more than if you were overly concerned with delivering every step (or sentence) perfectly.

There is a quote that says, "Obstacles are what you see if you take your eyes off the goal." This is true, BUT, if you are so fixated on that goal and the end-result and fail to pay attention to the journey, you'll trip over those obstacles and might land on your face. Better to use intuition to get around them smoothly and stay in the moment. So although you do need to stay focused on your goal, you shouldn't do it at the exclusion of the moment-to-moment awareness of what you are doing.

This is cathartic to write this post, because although these words will hopefully help you in whatever endeavor you are preparing yourself for, I'm really giving myself a little pep talk!

Thanks for playing along.

Here is my schedule for ECA this week. If you are not already signed up and live near NYC, then there's still time, and I believe, still some spaces left

Friday 7:30 - 8:30 am
Pedal Stroke Drills
(that's 5:30am my time...)

Friday 1:30 - 3:00 pm
Lactate Threshold Field Test on a Spinner
(I wish this one were first thing in the am - for best results riders should be rested)

Saturday 9:00 - 10:15 am
Triple Threat
(3 types of HIT intervals)

Saturday 3:30 - 5:00 pm
The Tour de France and Alpe d'Huez
(riding the 21 switchbacks of this famous mountain in France during the Tour de France)

Sunday 11:30 - 12:30
The Tour de France and the Suitcase of Courage
(breakaways, attacks, lead-outs and sprints in a stage race)

Sunday 1:00 - 2:30
Moving Mountains

phew, those last two are so close together, barely enough time to change and mentally switch gears! Ouch...

On this page you can scroll down to Spinning and click on the session title for a description of the ride/workshop.

Those are my sessions. Two of my estimable teammates, Iona Passik and Josh Taylor will be there with their own amazing rides and workshops, providing an eclectic, creative and fun mix of Spinning sessions to choose from. I think every instructor should be required to take Josh's Bike Fit, and I am absolutely intrigued by what he's going to do in his Ride of Silence (no music). I'll for sure be there at his Technical Training session. Iona has a session called Result-oriented Visualization which should be awesome as well, and I'm sure I'll get a lot out of her Music Interpretation and Appreciation.

In the brochure, I have circled all of their sessions I want to attend, plus other non-Spinning ones as well (including one called How to Look Good Naked, and Juan Carlos Santana's functional training sessions). But whether I make it to any depends on how prepared I feel for mine, whether I feel I need to practice my powerpoints or listen to my music even more, and whether I need to take a nap and recover! (Presenting is very fatiguing - not just physically, but mentally as well).

I guess that all depends on how much practice and preparation I get done this week. I did ride my Moving Mountains ride last night on my Spinner bike in my basement - talking out loud to no one. My husband came home and came downstairs and giggled at me. (But when I got off the bike he had dinner ready - how great is that?!)

If you are coming to ECA, whether you're taking one of my sessions or not, please come and say hi. For those who are attending, I look forward to seeing you there. It's because of you that I do what I do, and helping you become better instructors brings me great joy.

I am grateful for you!

PS  I know some people are coming down just for Josh's One World Spinning Nation ride on Thursday night - it should be an amazing event - he never fails to deliver. As of now, there are no more bikes left, but if you're coming for that, email me, maybe we can connect. I'll be there after the ride (though I'll need to go to bed at a reasonable time due to my early session on Friday morning).


Anonymous said...

Hi Jennifer,
I signed up to receive your blog posts via e-mail. What a great site and with valuable information!! I was scanning one of your older posts and you mentioned a fellow spin instructor who loves U2 and uses a lot of their music in her class. I'm curious as to what she uses. I'm a huge U2 fan and have implemented several of their songs but am always looking for more. Thanks! Should I be e-mailing this message? I'm new to the blog world. I'll set up a blooger identity. Again, thanks so much!

Jennifer Sage said...

Hi Jennifer,

So glad you found this site - spread the love!

No, this is a great place to leave a message, but I also welcome emails. That instructor who is the U2 fan is Amy and on that post (about teaching off the bike) I have a link to her blog where you can contact her about what U2 songs she uses. She's told me about some fun ones that I didn't have.

There's some cool remixes of New Year's Day (I used for my New Year's Revolution ride), Desire, Two Hearts, and Beautiful Day that I've used.

lamspin said...

You are going to ROCK at ECA New York, Jennifer! No doubt.

I took all of the workshops on your list except The Suitcase of Courage at CFP conference last summer. I am blessed!

Do you ever practice yoga? Here are some yoga tips to get rid of butterflies:
-Deep breaths and say: inhale, "I am"; exhale "all that is" How true is that?
-You got a couple already: letting go. moment-to-moment awareness.
-Forgive and laugh at yourself with the riders if you make a mistake. So what?
-Lower expectations of yourself will avoid disappointment.
-YES, "The Journey is the Best Part"

I also have a supportive DH like yours. Aren't we lucky?

"Break a leg" :>)

Robert said...

Busy preparing myself for New York, although not as much as you must be! I'll be at Josh's ride, if my flight's not delayed - coming into JFK at 2pm, time to taxi to hotel, quick shower and change... and hope straight onto a bike. Jet lag be damned!!

See you Thursday!

Charles said...

My Group X Director at my club is coming to ECA. I told her to take your classes. Her name is Michelle Warner. Have fun. I'll see you at WSSC! BTW, I thought of a blog topic I'm going to write about when I have time. It has to do with "Showing Ownership" of your fitness. Your goals. This Class! I told that to my class this morning and it sparked the thought of writing about it.

Jennifer Sage said...

Awesome Charles! That's a great idea, - Own Your Fitness! Great way to describe buying into your own goals.

It's a little bit like the session I'll be teaching at WSSC called "How Big is Your Why". When the 'why' behind your goals is big enough - you'll be more likely to buy into them - or 'own' them as you suggest - and therefore, achieve them. I'm looking forward to your post and see your take on it - let me know and I'll put a link to it in this blog!

Tell Michele to come by and say hi! Look forward to meeting her. Sorry I can't meet you there, but only a few months more until WSSC!

And Robert, I expect you to do a lot of climbing this weekend! I have an interesting opportunity to tell you about, something having to do with a bike and Italy... I'll leave it at that! See you soon!


Jennifer Sage said...

Le, thanks soooo much for your words of support and encouragement! I will take them with me to NY! I love yoga but don't practice much, so I will work on your suggestions and do some deep breathing as well. I practiced my Moving Mountains ride again with my class tonight (but only an hour) and had to do it off the bike. Another challenge. I tried to teach from the heart, and use intuition. but I still used my notes (9 components of Flow - still can't memorize them in order!)

Working on lowering my expectations somewhat! It will be fine, I'm sure! :-)



Shannon said...

Good luck at ECA, you WILL rock. I wish I could make it, but I'll get to see you in MIA. I can't wait to take your sessions then.