I have been struggling with my swim for the past few years...well, since I learned how to swim. Anyway, most of what my struggles center around is my head. I have worked really hard on my "mental skills", but for some reason, as soon as I dip into the water it's a whole ball game. My mind goes right back to the place of fear and doubt, the place where I'll neve be good enough. Sure I may never be a swimming super-star, but I'm sick of being where I'm at, I work too hard to self-sabotage every chance I have at progress.
The reason I'm writing this is not to talk about my moments of weakness. What I'm writing about this time is a moment of triumph. As I approached swim #4 of my week this past Saturday, I knew I was going to be tired. I knew I had already overcome a ridiculously difficult swim just 2 days before and was concerned about what might happen when I started to break down. So, I came prepared.
I had just read a blog post by Hillary Biscay (http://hillarybiscay.com/2013/01/25/are-you-all-in/), where she quoted one of her athletes getting through a tough swim set by asking herself, "are you all in, or not?" Being doubtful doesn't change my goals and doesn't leave time or room for areas of doubt.
Not only that, but I had earlier that morning, taught a group bike class. The class was REALLY hard, but not one person complained, they just stuck their heads down and got it done. When I said "GO", they did, when I said "faster", they went faster...so it wouldn't really be fair for me to get to my workout and allow myself an "out". So, I imagined all of them there at the pool, cheering me on and pushing me to do my best, just as I had done for them.
Let me explain a little. I doubt myself so much in the pool that on most tough workouts, I give myself an out before I get to failure. I see it coming, I know I'm going to fail, so I back it off, or throw my fins on, or give myself extra rest or...my deal making list goes on and on! Pathetic, but true. I've bee quite fed up with myself for a while and know I need to bust out of my self-sabotage swim workout rutt. So. I. Did.
Ok, I did make a deal with myself. This time it was to go as hard as I can on the effort at hand. My main set was 8x50 AFAP :10 rest, 200 kick 25 hard/25 HARDER (ouch) :10 rest, 8x50 AFAP :05 rest (keeping the same pace I started with), 200 pull with paddles 25 hard/25 HARDER (double ouch), :10 rest, 8x50 AFAP :02-:03 rest (same pace), 200 kick 25 hard/25 HARDER. Seems pretty straight forward but bare in mind, I had already had a tough swim week. Oh yeah, I was given a specific target pace of :32-:35 on the 50s...:32 being my BEST 50 time EVER - woof!
My goal was simple. Stick to the workout, as if I didn't have a choice and go as hard as I could go on each 50 and not ask myself "can you do 7 more", but instead..."can you do one more" after each one, until before I knew it, I was done! AND, I had stuck with my goal pace, for the most part, finishing the last ones in :37.
I might not have set the pool on fire with my blazing pace that day, but I did light-it up with a soaring spirit and positive attitude.
Please don't let yourself down like I have done so many times. You are capable of much more than you ever imagined - trust me, I proved it on Saturday!!
So while I may not be quite a fish yet, I'm definitely showing much more fish-like qualities.