The summer is nearing its end, school is looming ahead for the kids, and there are only a handful of races that I have left on my agenda before the fall. Fortunately for me, the next one is another adventure race! This will be the first urban race that the "Dirty Mamas" will be participants in and it is in our hometown this time which we hope will be an advantage (because it will be very humiliating if we can't navigate in our own city). Everyone is mended now, so we have no excuse to not go full force and give it our all, but hopefully not to the detriment of losing the incredible amount of fun we had during the last race when we were not even trying to be competitive! Training for this race has been nill, other than our usual tri-training regimen. No canoeing practice, no map reading classes, and the mountain bikes have been left untouched since the last race (although hopefully 'Here' has gotten hers repaired by now). Once again, the Dirty Mamas' are expected to have quite an adventure... race report to follow.
I am experimenting with a new format for keeping progress on my open water swim training that will not bore my readers with redundant accounts of every swim practice: by this time everyone knows my issues and I am kind of tired of blogging about them (and wonder if giving the fear this amount of exposure just drills it home more). I am going to try and take a more objective measurement of each open water swim experience so I can monitor my progress and identify potential triggers. At the end of every blog week in which there is an open water swim I will log my anxiety levels going into it and during it, and note any conditions or situations that might have affected it. So feel free to ignore the information if it is not of interest to you as it is more for my journaling and identification of factors that may help me.
My Open Water Anxiety Levels:
0 = I have conquered my fear!
1 = I could swim for days!
2 = Wow! This is actually enjoyable!
3 = I'm relaxed, have a strong stroke and a clear mind; no fear
4 = Bit anxious, but confident I can succeed
5 = Heart is racing, I'm tense, stiff in the water
6 = Negative thoughts, panicky, shallow breathing
7 = I've lost my stroke, can't put my face in the water, "Why the hell am I doing this?"
8 = "This sucks", crying/angry, asthmatic, oh so frustrated
9 = "Get me out!", frozen by fear, "You can't make me do it!"
10 = Physically ill, "I quit", full-blown panic
7/18/2010 False River Swim Practice:
Main Set: 3-4
Water Conditions: Mild chop, no wind
Time: 7 - 8:30 am
Took 20 minutes to lose anxiety/panic feeling; managed to avoid becoming emotional during panic - accepted that this is my "normal" and didn't become angry or upset at having to pull away from the group until I got myself under control; it helped to hold on to a noodle between drills to calm down; focused on "relaxing" stroke and calming breathing; drills helped keep mind occupied.
1) Need at least 10 minutes in water pre-swim to "chill", preferably with a flotation device for now.
2) If I can calm myself down, the anxiety will lessen. It was much more tolerable when the anxiety hit to just let it hit and not fight it or get emotional, but just stop until it passed.
3) Having a task such as a drill keeps my mind busy and it's easier to focus on swimming rather than negative thoughts.
4) I had a little bit of "fun" for the first time ever during the drafting drills.