Sunday, July 24, 2016

On Confidence

Got up early this morning and drove up to the North Shore for the 4th swim of the series. It's the last one I get to do this year b/c we will be on the mainland for the last one... This 1.9(ish) mile swim from Lani's to Pua'ena has never been my favorite and today was no exception.

I thought about skipping the run before the swim (in the name of 'taper' and all) but then I've been swimming so well at these races this year I didn't want to do anything different that might screw it up! So I headed up early and trotted my 5 miles first... super easy HR <140 for the first mile and <145 after that. La la la. It was a pretty pleasant run b/c it was drizzling rain (not hot!). On my way back a dog was running around loose and he escorted me all the way back to my car (about a mile and a half!) Really friendly guy. I felt bad that he was running so far from home but he seemed like he knew what he was doing and there was no stopping him from coming with me. I sure hope he made it back home ok. He had a collar but no tag.
Anyway, on to the swim... We were all bused to the start for the one way swim return to Haleiwa. There's a tropical storm heading our way and consequently a high surf warning for much of the state, but its more the east end of the state and the east shores of the islands that are getting the biggest surf. North shore was sort of rough but not really dangerous. Lifeguards put the buoys out further than normal to help us avoid the surf and while they said it was recommended we swim outside the buoys, it was not required. So. Let the pounding begin...

Here's a file from one of my athletes... I love it that google maps shows the surf.
The horn went off and it felt like all hell broke loose and my goggles immediately started leaking (argh!). It's funny how much I feel like I need to be able to SEE in order to swim hard. I immediately lost Nalani and then got rolled over by a white water crashing wave then actually stopped to fix my goggles (which I almost NEVER do during a race!). Anyway, my biggest issue today was that I don't feel like I 'know' this water very well... meaning I don't really know where the shallow reef areas are. They pop up randomly along this coastline and the problem is that where it gets super shallow is also where the waves crash (its the reason waves break b/c of the change in depth) so you're kind of screwed when you end up in the shallow area because you can see this reef like 2 feet underneath you and then you breathe and look to the side and see the big wave that's about to crash on your head... but you can't really dive under like you normally would to avoid that wave b/c there's no room underneath you... Anyway, felt like I swam right on the middle line where the shallow reef was and consequently it was a giant mess. I should have just gone right along the coastline! Anyway, buoys were few and far between so most everyone had the same story at the end... I was all alone and saw no one around me and no buoys and I had no idea where I was... Eventually I saw a swimmer and recognized that it was my friend Kathryn (her Timex suit is the give-away!) and then saw another guy who stopped to get his bearings- so I stopped too and was relieved to see it was a guy I know named Steve... Prior to that point I'd assumed I was having a terrible swim but Steve and Kathryn are both strong swimmers and when we found each other we all felt relieved like ok we are not doing as bad as we thought... We finished together and I was just glad to be done with that one.

I won my age group again which is cool but don't feel like I really got what I wanted out of the swim. The lesson was interesting though... I had a thought about confidence while I was out there... and how when I was alone and wasn't sure I was on the right track how I was not confident enough to swim hard... but when I found Steve and Kathryn I think we all gained some confidence from that so we were able to push again. Clearly there was no physical reason why I couldn't push when I was alone- it was 100% mental and it was the lack of confidence that was the problem. I'm not sure I know exactly how to 'fake' confidence when I'm alone in the ocean, but clearly that is the key.

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