God, I suck at swimming. Seriously, my inability to swim in open water amazes me. A bit of swells freaks me out. Hell, calm water freaks me out. I CANNOT GET OUT OF MY OWN HEAD. I went for two open water training swims this weekend, the last before the Chicago Tri on Sunday, and they did not go well. I could not stop freaking out – for no reason. And I tried everything to distract myself. You don’t believe me? Here’s a list of things I tried to do to stop myself from freaking out.
- I sang to myself. It took about two strokes to realize that I don’t actually know the words to any songs if I’m not listening to them. I can sing along to songs in the car like no other, but come up with the lyrics on my own? NOPE! That’s a big ol’ negative on that.
- After a failed attempt at singing the National Anthem, I realized the only two songs I knew all the words two are Happy Birthday and Jingle Bells. And Happy Birthday and Jingle Bells aren’t really great at distracting me.
- Neither are nursery rhymes. I realized I only know The Itsy Bitsy Spider and Humpty Dumpty from start to finish. And really, those are kind of messed up nursery rhymes. Why are we singing to kids about spiders and broken eggs?
- I tried counting. That doesn’t work, all that does is makes me realize that I can only get to the count of 17 before popping out of the water.
- Being “mindful” is very on-trend now and I’ve been trying to be more “mindful” in my daily life. But you know what being “mindful” means when you are in open water… it means you are VERY MUCH AWARE THAT YOU ARE IN OPEN WATER AND YOU SHOULDN’T BE!!! So needless to say that didn’t work well.
- I tried to concentrate on my form and on my strokes. That actually worked okay for me. Right up until the point where it no longer worked to distract me. Just like that, I was out of the water.
- And when all else failed, I just started crying in my goggles. That distracted me because I had to defog my goggles!
So, what does all this mean? It means I’m scared to death for my tri on Sunday. I was so hoping that in a year, I’d have grown comfortable in open water and I’d be writing a blog about how excited I am and how I’m hoping to do well. But I honestly feel like I’m doing worse than last year. I should be more comfortable, but I’m not. And it’s beyond frustrating.
How do you train for something that’s mental? I guess if we had the answer to that, golfers wouldn’t develop shanks, NFL kickers wouldn’t go far right and I wouldn’t be crying in my goggles.
Until next time,