Beat the negative mind

Generally, my own ability to be stubborn never ceases to surprise me. I have been battling with the negative mind, as Sara calls it, throughout this endeavour, which, considering my attitude towards all things to do with pooltraining, does not come as a surprise. There have been a few negative-voice-highlights so far. When Elisabeth was here to help with my technique, I had decided to do a max attempt in dynamic. The first thing that went through my mind upon waking that morning was “Am tired, want to stay in bed, don’t want to do any stupid dynamic”. As I drove over to pick up Martin and Elisabeth, I was preparing my excuses. One: I need a break. Two: since Elisabeth is here, it makes much more sense to train technique. With these and a number of other good bailouts well prepared, I was starting to feel less glum already. Until my two coaches got in the car, that is. They were having none of it. Feeling grumpy, I went on to prepare for my max, mostly preparing how it was going to be awful and I was going to just stop. As soon as I pushed off the wall, I wanted to surface. Right, I thought, this is just nasty, will stop at 50m. Then it struck me: if I come up at fifty, Martin and Elisabeth are going to make me do it again. I don’t want to do it again. Ok, I bargained with the by now very negative mind, 75. As I hit the wall, I decided a turn and a push would get me into the safe, non-repeat zone. As soon I had turned, I was thinking: 100m is not so far and will look like I have made an effort. At 100m, ambition kicked in and sent me on to 125, nice and clean and not feeling grumpy anymore at all.

I suspect part of my secret is that I think all stuff pool is so horrible, I don’t ever want to do it twice, so I just keep going no matter what. Sometimes I am able to relax and tell myself that all is well, that contractions are good for me, that it’s not far, etc. etc. Other times, I just want to stop, the whole time, and am mostly bargaining with myself and calculating where I can come up without being too embarrassed. In competition it is usually the latter, or has been, so far. Martin, who is rather good at being encouraging or tough as the moment requires, seems to have worked out that in general, I will do whatever he says, and has used this to my own advantage. The whole of last week I was miserable, with motivation at an all time low. We have been training static and my maxes have been getting shorter every time, so now I am back down to something like 4:30! It’s like some kind of weird reverse-training. The other day, I simply had enough and announced to Martin that instead of doing no fins after static, I was going to swim the 600m and then go home. Just when I was finished, he came over with a neckweight and announced that it was time to do one 50m DNF. Alright then, I thought, just the one, let’s get it over with. Counting my strokes along the way, I realized I didn’t feel too bad, and before I knew it, I was at 75m, clean and easy. The best thing was to see that even though I felt bad enough to want to stay in bed, I could get away with 75m no fins, without preparation. Suddenly, the negative mind was all quiet.

Having said that, it has been busy all week, and I have been feeling progressively more tired. Martin is busy finishing off his bachelor thesis, which has given me two days off training in a row. I have suppressed the urge to go for a run in the Easter sunshine and am beginning to feel more rested and mentally ready to push myself again. Hopefully, next week will be better!

For those of you who were wondering: yes, I do talk to myself all the time whilst diving, and no, I am not mad and do not talk to my potted plants. There.


Ben Noble said…
Hey Anna! Great reading your blog, I think it's hilarious you're doing so much pool training but you're kicking ass so go for it! Martin is clearly a cruel man but it's reaping results. Wish I was over there with you guys.

Ben xx
Anna said…
Hi Ben, I wish you were here, too! I'd have loved to have you as a friendly face judge. I know it's a funny thought, me in the pool all the time. Anyway, I am convincing myself that it is all going to make me go deeper. It better had!! Keep those fingers crossed for me next weekend....

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