Monday, April 25, 2011

Mental Training

‎5: days left of classes
4: days left of babysitting
3: papers (and Shakespeare posts) left to write
2: Classics finals
1: take home exam and portfolio to construct
0: motivation

I'm down to the last crunch of the semester, and I'm spent. I feel like I have nothing left - and it's really not a good time for that. But this past weekend I reached a new level with my mental training, and I wanted to share this with the class (/y'all).

On Saturday I had the most difficult of all of my MTELs (read: crazy Massachusetts teacher tests). I had less than two days to prepare for it because of school work and babysitting, and this is not an exam you can NOT prepare for. Basically, I retaught myself a semester's worth of information in one night. It's not that I didn't KNOW the information, it's that ever since I've learned it, I've applied it. I know how to apply it. Follow me in a classroom (or even while I'm babysitting) and you will see it left and right. But the exact definition of phonemic awareness v. phonological awareness? Ugh. This is where the studying came in.

On Saturday morning as I angrily got up and got ready, everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. In my exhaustion, I stubbed my toe and jammed it. (Also, this was my barely healed broken big toe... so that's fun.) I couldn't find my favorite sweatshirt. It was raining and FREEZING (yay for New Hampshire in April). I was starting to get that feeling - that feeling like "if my morning is going this poorly, why do I think I can do this test and pass it?" I was getting down on myself the entire drive to the exam, and beating myself up for not quitting my job sooner, not asking for that paper extension sooner, not studying sooner.

I just wanted to give up.

And then it hit me - all of the best races I've ever had came after an AWFUL morning. They always start with no good very bad days, and then I set PRs and have a blast. So why was I allowing myself to get so cynical?

Because I wasn't in the racing mindset. Because this is an exam, not a race. But isn't everything related to racing at this point? I tell myself that I can crank out a paper if I'm in the "right mindset," just like I tell myself I can crank out 10 miles on the treadmill if I'm in the "right mindset." Why is it any different? Well, it's not. At least it shouldn't be. So I changed my mindset.

I told myself I was going to have an awesome test. Our kitten Barley (or as I call her, Cat #2) was "helping" me take a practice test on Friday night, and I passed that even with the little leech climbing on my shoulder, licking my glasses, and eating my hair. If I can pass a practice test under Extreme Kitten Duress, of course I could handle this.

And, while I don't know if I passed or not yet, I do feel good about it. And I would be genuinely surprised if I failed.

This was originally going to be a post about my new bike pedals (clip-ins, baby!) and how much I ADORE them and how I desperately need a road bike instead of the bike I have now, but I got sidetracked. All of you with these pedals understand how awesome they are, and the rest of you... just go get them. They're worth it. It's crazy how much more power you get. But more importantly, work on your mental training. It's just as important (if not more important) than the physical aspects, and it can have an effect on the rest of your life. I credit my athlete's brain with my success on Saturday, and I'm grateful that I am capable of this kind of mental manipulation at this point in my life. It's a powerful thing.

Now to kick this mindset back into gear for the rest of my semester...


When do you think this mindset helps you the most (outside of sports)?

Definitely anything academic.

Did you do anything fun for Easter?

We visited Jake's grandparents and aunts/uncles/cousins down in Massachusetts. I ate ALLLLL this food.

(Not really. I ate the spinach pie, potatoes, veggies, and rolls. I'm the token vegetarian everywhere I go.)

I also got to play with one of my favorite dogs ever - Oreo. He is a standard poodle and the most huggable pony on the planet. If we get a third dog (ha), I want a standard poodle.

I need some new music. Recommend something.




  1. Extreme Kitten Duress---- LOL!!!!

    I hate tests. A lot! But there definitely comes a point when I just throw my arms up and say: "screw it, I either know it or I don't." For some strange reason I relax from that point forward! I hope all goes well for you.

    The clip-ins? Yep, they truly rock. It's a little scary knowing you are "locked in" especially when you are cruising at about 22 mph, but thats the thrill of biking. See if you can find yourself a road bike off of Craigslist. I betcha there are a ton of 'em for sale because people want the latest and greatest....

    Keep rockin' Meghan!

  2. Music recommendation: Frank Turner."Love, ire and song" is a great album. Look up the following songs on YouTube to give them a listen:
    "Love, Ire and Song"
    "Long Live the Queen"