I’ve only managed 1 swim a week for the past few weeks and nothing at all in the past 5 days. This would normally be a disaster and not jusy because I have the Henley Mile in only 3 weeks (gulp!) but because I’m a confidence swimmer. If I miss a day it is ok. If I miss two then I’m sure I’m going to drown the next time I go. It doesn’t matter that I swam 2.4km last time; it only matters that I didn’t swim in the last 2 days. And with the lack of confidence come all the excuses in the world as to why I shouldn’t go swimming tonight. Start my husband’s tax return? Yup come me in. Have to do some chores? Sure, that’s a priority. Anyone else suffer from this same thing?
The last few weeks have been work, work, work. Anyone who knows me a little will recognise the pattern. I always sign up for a fitness challenge with the best of intentions and then – BANG! – the workload increases. I’m big and brave enough to realise it is both an excuse and my own insecurity kicking in. I feel I have to do more and more work to prove my worth. That’s the reason I’m worked from 7:30am to midnight the last 5 Mondays and 65 + hours a week on average this month. I know that my brain is dead long before I log off but it is just like an endurance event; struggle through the point of pain and I’ll get to the other side. Mind you, I’m rarely thanked for it. I usually end up quitting down the line feeling used and abused; a scenario I am fully aware I’ve created myself. I just find it so difficult to say no. Plus then I have an instant excuse for my poor swim/run/ride. How come it is so very difficult to break patterns that don’t serve you?
I must stress though that being a This Girl Can representative in The Henley Mile has really helped me. I’ve lost 1.5 stone and cleared out my wardrobe, I have found the confidence to join boot camp classes (a HUGE thing for me and something I have stalked for about 2 years on Facebook– I don’t really like group things especially when they involve sweat) and I talk about what I’m trying to achieve rather than hide away. The best part is that I’ve found the confidence to go exploring; I’ve swam in the Wye River after a storm, I’ve done an intro to Open Water Swimming at Vobster Quay near Bath where the water is so clear you can see for what seems like miles, I’ve swam in the salt water pool at Clevedon where i was towed under by a too large wet suite and I’ve found my very happy place at the Triathlon Training Centre at Bristol. Yes, get me – at a Triathlon Training Centre. It is contagious too – I’ll admit I have googled a couple of smaller tris to see if I’d have been last. (No, I wouldn’t.. well, not after the swim but maybe after the rest of it). The people here are lovely. They don’t judge, they just smile. They are welcoming, encouraging and supportive. The lake is so murky you can’t even see your hands and the fish are large, scary and pop up when you least expect them. They are mini Jaws but without the theme music.. The changing rooms are old and there are no showers. But the people are great. They all say hello and have a chat whether they’re in the car park, the tea room or if they’ve just swam over the top of you near the second buoy. It feels like home already and I’m looking forward to ditching the spreadsheets and getting more swimming in. I have booked ‘meetings’ with myself for the rest of the week to go play at my new happy place and where I feel free. Plus I’m making time for some more swimming tourism on the side. Let’s get that confidence sky high!
And then my next challenge will be to learn to take some good photos and maybe a half decent selfie.