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Time to focus

Back in my college days, Wednesday night was the night at the student newspaper. That was production night, when we would stay up until the wee hours of the morning, writing, editing and designing the weekly paper. (This is the dark ages, before we all had school-issued email addresses and there was actually such a thing as "paste up.")

Inevitably, my friend Michael and I would stay up all night working on the edition then wander over to the dinning hall when breakfast opened. The only people there at that ungodly hour were the newspaper staffers and the varsity swimmers. (Yes, an odd combination we made.) The swimmers, however, presumably had the benefit of sleeping before they had practice. It took everything for Michael and I not to fall asleep over our hot tea and cereal.

"MORITZ!" he would shout at me across the table. "FOCUS! BREAKFAST!"

And I would shake the cobwebs from my head and, in all seriousness, focus on eating my breakfast.

This came to mind as I was endlessly swimming individual medley laps at master's swim practice this morning.

The individual medley consists of four strokes: butterfly, back, breast and free. I don't know how to do the butterfly and frankly it looks too exhausting, so I substitute freestyle when it comes up in the rotation.

But the final grouping of IM drills we did in my lane were tough. I couldn't keep up with the time interval and basically just swam IM for 300 yards instead of the four sets of 75.

I was tired. For a moment I thought about bagging some of the final freestyle sets.

Focus, Moritz.

Swim.

It's human nature, when we get tired, we lack focus. In anything -- work, relationships, athletics. Heck, even watching TV can be difficult when you're tired (seriously, did you ever zone out and forget what you were watching?).

My goal today is to focus. When I do that, I instantly know what I need. Perhaps I do need a rest, or a nap, but perhaps what I really need is to push myself. Maybe I need to make that phone call to my friend/family member or maybe I need to wait a bit until I'm in a better frame of mind.

For the record, I finished all 2,900 yards of my swim workout this morning. I have an hour endurance bike ride to go.

If I focus, I'll get through it all with time to take a nap before covering the UB-Canisius men's basketball game tonight.

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