Seeing the Future

I assume that the ability to visualize a goal is a relatively recent addition to my repertoire of skills; however, the more I think about it, the more I am realizing that perhaps I’ve been a visualizer all along. After all, I am a thinker, a dreamer, a planner, purposefully constructed and controlled. Isn’t visualization really just a combination of all those things?

I am thinking heavily on the subject of visualization these days. With my previous powerlifting competitions and running races, I was generally able to visualize the process of competing. Even while training for the marathon that I didn’t get to run, I could envision my steps through the course, through the suffering, through the finish line. Naturally, with my upcoming competition, I have already been seeing myself through that day. Almost. Most of my visualization for this competition involves just one lift, the one that is the most important to me…a world record breaking deadlift attempt.

There is something different with this visualization though, and that is the way that the imagining affects me physically and emotionally. When I picture the minutes immediately before my attempt, my heart begins to race, my breathing quickens, my body begins to shake from the flow of adrenaline. I actually feel as if I am in that moment. When I picture myself successfully pulling the weight, I feel those same physical feelings but I am also besieged with an overwhelming emotional reaction. Tears well up in my eyes; they might even spill over and roll down my cheeks. It’s crazy! It is amazing and frightening all at the same time.

I have never been so affected by visualizations until I began envisioning this one deadlift, and it feels as if I cannot even control it anymore. Even when I am busy with something else, my mind will often turn to that deadlift without any cognizant command on my part. I can be trying to fall asleep, walking down the street, at work or at church, and the next thing I know I am choking back emotion and trying to calm down the physical forces that are threatening to make me look like a fool. In a way, this intense response to visualizing me achieving my goal is empowering. I believe 110% that I can make that lift, and I can hardly wait to get on the platform and just do it.

As empowering as my ability to see this goal achieved is, I cannot help but feel overwhelmed by the emotion of it all and slightly afraid. The physical and emotional reactions is frightening. It is frightening, because I wonder if my visualization has gone overboard. What if I am hyping myself up for something that will not happen? What if I don’t even make my weight class? What if I make weight but suffer ill-effects from it? What if I make weight and feel great but simply cannot make that lift? What if I fail? How would I respond to failure after months of seeing myself succeed? Am I putting too much pressure on myself? Are my expectations too high? What if I can’t?

It’s funny the things your mind can tell you as you are out for a walk. That’s where all these questions and doubts raised their ugly heads…after yet another unplanned visualization of making that lift and choking back tears. I have a feeling that the next 7 weeks are going to feel very long, at least in terms of my emotions. I’ve been furtively swiping at random tears since Tuesday night, and I suspect that this is going to be common practice.

This goal…it is a big one! How many people have the opportunity to try to break a world record for anything? This may well be my only chance to do just that, and I want it like I need oxygen to breathe. While I cannot control everything that happens on the day of competition, I believe whole-heartedly that I am capable of pulling that weight. My husband believes it. My coach believes it. I think my friends believe it, too. Forgive me if I come across as an emotional wreck over the next couple of months, but at least you don’t have to live with me!

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