Oh my gosh life has been so busy good since the start of the New Year, so please forgive my lack of posting. However, this is one post that I have enjoyed sharing every year since January of 2012 when I joined Davis Aquatic Masters (DAM). Every year it’s become somewhat of a tradition to participate in the US Masters Speedo 1-Hour ePostal Swim since I joined. The One Hour Postal Swim has been a great way to get baseline swim fitness and evidence of swim progress from the previous year. I love participating in swim team event like this because there is flexibility in doing the swim on a day and time that works best for me (as long as it is during the month of January), but I also get to contribute to our teams yardage in hopes of winning the national club team competition.
This year I knew I was going into my postal swim with less yardage in my body. My mindset going in was to be realistic in my goal yardage (because I have been less consistent in the pool and have less pool time in me since last July after Vineman 70.3), stay steady in my pace, and to be mindfully focused on feeling the water with smooth breathing. I chose to swim it at my home pool at the 6 AM workout because DAM got a new pace clock at that pool so it was going to be easy to see the bright red numbers in the steamy dark morning.
Mentally I broke the hour into smaller time segments, 30 minutes, 15 minutes, 9 minutes, 6 minutes. When I got to 30 minutes I was able to tell myself “I’m half way done. Time to go home!” For me I think of being half way done like I would an out-and-back run. When I’m at the turn around I call that “going home.” Mentally it works for me- it gives me a feeling of accomplishment and like I’m head back to a good place.
Throughout the swim focused on keeping my breath steady. This is where my yoga practice has significantly helped me. Yoga has helped me develop breathing awareness and control. In yoga it’s called “Ujjayi Pranayama – the victorious breath.” I like the sound of that, don’t you?!
“Ujjayi (pronounced oo-jai) is an ancient yogic breathing technique that helps calm the mind and body. Commonly translated as “victorious breath,” Ujjayi has a balancing influence on the entire cardiorespiratory system and releases feelings of irritation and frustration.”
So between focusing on my stroke efficiency, smooth kick, and steady breathing I was able to grind through the next 15 minute and 9 minute segments. I also used some mantras and cue words such as “this is temporary” and “smooth and steady.” I started my swim at 6:06 AM so I told myself that when the clock hit 7:00 AM I would make a harder effort to make 400 yards in the last 6 minutes, which would be a 1:30 pace and something I am fairly confident in doing. I managed to do it and finish my 2015 One Hour Postal Swim strong with a total yardage of 3890, only 20 yards less than the year before.
Big thanks to my hubby that sat out in the 40 degree morning to time for me and the coach on deck that morning that cheered along side my lane:) Much love.
I love doing challenging things like the 1-Hour Swim with DAM. I know many of my lane mates were turned off by the thought of swimming for an hour straight but that is exactly why it’s worth a shot…to experience the challenge! Nothing is a sure bet in sports and if it is then we are playing it way too safe. Stepping up to new challenges is a risk. Going out of our comfort zone is supposed to be uncomfortable but that is the space that tells us we are alive – alive to breath, feel, to be challenged, to be disappointed, to get back up a again and breath. I need to to constantly remind myself of this. That’s why my New Years intention was “to do more things that scare the $h*t out of me.” Scared I can do, but staying fearful of the “what if’s” is something I will not do. We only really learn this by experience and facing fears with courage straight in the eye.
So, my friends what are you doing to remind yourself that you are alive? What new challenges are you scared to step up to but deep down you know you want to? What areas are you playing it safe? and do those areas make you feel alive?
In the spirit of my 2015 intention I decided to close out my 2015 year racing the 50k The North Face Endurance Challenge Championship in San Francisco, CA. This both scares me and excites me! Anyone else want to join me out there?
Side note: Chris Bagg professional triathlete out of Bend, OR recently published a great post on LavaMagazine.com on his 1-Hour swim experience. Check it out here: “The (Wet) Hour Record”