Yesterday I met some folks at the tri site to swim. I thought it'd be great practice. My swimming is really coming along well and I thought this would be the perfect thing to do a week before the race. Ummm.... not so much. The beach where the tri will be is very erratic and unpredictable. Sometimes the ocean is smooth and still as a lake here. Other times it's like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, waves, currents, wind, it can be pretty miserable. So we got there Sunday and once everyone arrived we got ready and headed out. Now the water was cold. I mean cold enough to take my breath away. Big Time. I literally could not breath. Then, with the waves there, I started having one of my panic attacks. Only this one was a biggie. I couldn't breath because of the cold and now I couldn't breath because I was panicking. I rolled over on to my back and just floated trying to calm myself down. I was really having a hard time.
It was right around this time that I decided the others were on their own for the bike and the run. I was not getting out of the ocean until I had this damn panic under control. Anyway, I ended up spending over 30 minutes in the water swimming around trying to get a grip. I kind of got one and called it a day, but I wasn't pleased with the result.
I spent the rest of yesterday and all day today trying to figure it out in my head. Why does this happen?? What caused such a huge attack yesterday, I mean it was a the worst I've ever had. I don't have any answers but I do have a couple of thoughts.
First, they took off running into the water and I followed. I can't start that way. I always have to get in the water and warm up first. I use that time to adjust to the water temperature and to start calmly and get over the panic. I've found that works pretty well and I'm generally able to rein in my panic. I didn't do that and the reaction was bad.
Second, I'm trying to nail down my panic. I don't have a fear of the ocean, I love the ocean. I love being in the ocean snorkeling or diving or paddling or whatever. So it's not a fear of the water. I do question my swimming ability and I'm thinking that may be the root cause. I'm also really afraid of getting hit in the water, that scares the piss out of me.
Third, I need to get back into the water at Kailua Beach. I need to swim there a couple of times before Sunday to get this fear under control. I'm considering going there tomorrow morning though that presents some logistical problems I'm not sure I can get around. Plan B would be to go tomorrow night and I think that's what I'll do. I can hit there by 5:30pm and have a good 45 minutes to an hour to swim. So I think that's what I'll do.
Fourth, I can pray that Sunday the wind is gone and the water is lake like :)
I just wish I could get to the root of this panic. I really just don't get it and I know if I could figure out the root cause I would be able to conquer it. I'm reading/listening to Oprah and Eckert Tolle and I know it's my ego that is making me scared but I can't quite get a grip on what my ego is afraid of. Oh well, I'll keep working at it and hopefully I'll get it.
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