When the inner voices just won’t shut up

Two half mile swims, just 2 days apart.  Same body of water and relatively the same water conditions.

Swim #1 was away from shore with no music.

Swim #2 was along shore with music.

Swim #1 had no less than 6 panic attacks that lead to stopping and periods of rest.

Swim #2 had no stops and was pretty much panic free.

This tells me that my struggles with swimming (outside of swimming in swells and/in waves – that’s another story) are mental. I can’t calm the voices in my head unless I’m distracted. The voices telling me I can’t do it are too loud.  I count my strokes, I try to say the alphabet backwards, I try to see how high I can count in Spanish, I try to list all of my cousins, I name bands that start with the letter A, then the letter B, etc.  I have a lot of tricks and nothing helps.  Music helps.  And so does having a good sight line nearby.  But I can’t listen to music during the tri and my site line for it will be a big body of water and not the shore.

So what’s the training plan to toughen me up mentally?  I can do swimming drills until I’m blue in the face but if I can’t overcome the mental hurdles I’m facing – my form really won’t matter.

I’ve always said that running a marathon, running an ultra or learning to swim isn’t about physical toughness, it’s about mental toughness.  And I’m not mentally tough enough for swimming.

If only the voices in my head weren’t so loud and crazy!  And mean, they are mean!  They have never once told me anything positive, they are always negative and sometime down right bitchy.  Yes, I have bitchy voices in my head. Go figure!

Until next time,

Gotta run


2 responses to “When the inner voices just won’t shut up

  1. Hmmmm, would it terrify you to jump off the high diving board into water? Curious if it’s the large body of water or the swimming. If it makes you feel any better when I went swimming at Aswaubame Park Monday, I tried to overcome my fear of heights. I could not do it. Low dive yes. High dive… I got up there and couldn’t even turn around to walk off. I was so frozen that I had to turn sideways and scoot off that way. But I hope to overcome by the end of summer. You are my inspiration!!! You’ve come so far Marla. Take some time in graditude for yourself on how far you have come. Thank your body for how safe it has kept you all these years. I know it sounds crazy. Remind tourself that you have angels watching over you. Remember 444? We should have a drink just you and I. I have more thoughts on this!

  2. I do remember 444… I’m surprised you do!! Yes, I’d love to chat over a drink sometime. Would love to hear your thoughts.

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