Making It Through A Mental Collapse & Physical Shortcoming, But I'm Ready To Swim Under The Stars...
I'm only a few days out from my first swim. It's a bit of a weird one. Almost as if a switch has instinctively flipped, now that the weekend has passed, and it's the week of, my mind has gone straight into things structurally.
The past couple weeks were fuckin' brutal! I beat the shit outta myself really hard. My expectation is so high that I can never live up to it, and so I constantly feel like I fail, despite crushing it in many other's eyes. I just believe in my potential, but I never get there, and always find a way to faceplant it. It drives me insane. It has for the near 20 years I've been into triathlons. I'm 100% my own worst enemy. The devastation I have shredded myself to pieces over for so long is the very reason why I have thrown myself into the intense challenges I have gained attention from the world around me in one way or another.
It is hard though when impossible is the starting point that I want to jump in from, for what I envision, and then anything less than perfection from there is a complete and utter failure. It eats at me every day.
Swimming in the smoke while Fennario checks out stuff...
This swim has started turning into a whole different thing than what I had initially envisioned. I knew it was gonna tear me down, but I expected that to happen in the swim itself, not in the time leading up to it. I have put so much pressure on myself that I'm terrified of falling short of that perfection.
I'm hedging every bet I have on the complete unknown, only knowing full well that the first part alone will be astronomically hard for me, and it is completely unknown in itself. From there, it only gets way more difficult to reach the outcome I see in my mind for the vision that I have. (I'll say what that is if I get through the first part.)
All I know, well, all I feel, is that I'm really setting myself up for disaster in my mind if everything doesn't go absolutely perfectly. I don't mean about physically getting beat up, or the mental fortitude to do my part in that. That kind of pain is easy, so therefore, irrelevant. It's what I can't control that is eating at me.
I've busted down 40lbs in exactly six months in preparing through what I could. I had my eyes on at least 12lbs higher. I went hard for what I could, but I learned something from a CT Scan that ate up about five weeks, and then the smoke slowed everything down because you can't toughen up your lungs to that, so I wasn't gonna blast my lungs on my bike to suck that down. "I may be foolish, but I ain't no fool!"
Had to ride my bike with no seat for a long while...
Regardless of the reasons, I feel like I failed in that regard, and that's just the beginning. Now, because of that, I'm unsure about zipping up my wetsuit on the back because of how it will impede on my breathing if it is too tight on my chest and lungs! I've been thinking about that for the past week and a half or so because of the temperature of the water, and the duration I will be in it, but now I'm where I'm, and I just have to deal with it.
"Ready or not, I gotta roll!"
So, now with the weekend having turned, I have to put everything else behind me. Being terrified of failing, regardless of the attempt...that's gotta go. Fear of hypothermia...that's gotta go too. I have to clear my mind of all the shit.
Challenge 1: Get body ready!
Unexpected Challenge 2: Fight an eagle!
That was an easy one. I passed!
(I did not expect the aftermath of that one though...which still hasn't stopped.)
Challenge 3: Battle through a mental collapse!
This fucked me right up, but I barely scraped by. I definitely came out a lil' scratched up though. In honesty, it did lead to me issuing a few very warranted apologies from when I was all twisted inside and cracked. Thank goodness for good-hearted people who are patient. I'm lucky.
So, my test of the mind...
It was a close one, but I believe I passed, although I think the jury is still out on that for me though...
One of the things that got me through that mental fall was diving into some art. It in itself has been challenging, but it has been like swinging a blanket of soothingness over me at the same time. Some of that art has now become a pivotal part of this night swim though.
Only being a small handful of days out, I have to put everything behind me and get my head in the game for the task ahead. I feel like I am kinda on track now, even though I know I'm not fully prepared the way I would like.
That's life though...
When are we ever truly prepared to throw ourselves into the fire? If I only ever waited for perfect conditions, literally nothing would ever happen, because perfect doesn't exist.
(Well, there was that third set by the Grateful Dead at The Fillmore East in New York City on February 13, 1970...)
Outside of that, if we wait around for perfect, we're all gonna be waitin' a long-ass time!
All preparation is over. Mind-Body...done!
Now I am feeling my way through three things...
-Taper off of exercise
-Flip over my sleep/awake times
The foundation of my nutrition...
With the odd little meal scattered around, for the most part, I have been on a pretty strict diet of only water, juice, and nutrient blasted smoothies for the past few weeks. I met my friend, Mike, for lunch four days ago, but it was really hard to get through half of a sandwich. It took me the rest of the day to eat the other half...and it felt like rocks in my stomach.
**One time I met Mike for lunch right after that stretch of doing 81 triathlons/duathlons at the end of 2015. I was equally as strict, and went hard for the four months I was doing it. Then, I stupidly had a burger, onion rings, and chocolate shake when we went for lunch. It felt so heavy in my stomach, and greasy, and just shitty, that it whupped my ass so bad that I literally started sliding under the table in front of him.
That sandwich I had last week has been on my mind since the start of my day today. It made me think about adjusting my nutrition again. Obviously I cannot put the kind of energy output needed on a stomach of water, juice and smoothies...
"I'm gonna need some proper food."
Because of the sandwich, I know I can't just hit a meal before I head to go for my night swim either. That would be a big mistake!
"I'm not swimming with rocks in my stomach. Hell no!!"
So, the nutrition adjustment is now taking place. As for tapering off exercise...
I wanna keep doing stuff, but I know some of that serves no purpose for the big picture, only satisfaction in the moment. The rain cleared out the sky though, so I am gonna go out for a ride before I have to go get Fennario from the vet.
(She had to have two cracked teeth fixed today. My heart is heavy from that. She was freaked out when they carried her away from me. I'll never get over how fractured her little soul is from her beginning before I had her. I hate being away from her because of it, and seeing the panicked look on her face, even through the sedation, hasn't left my mind. What can I say, I love that pup so much...)
Testing out my camera in the water while telling my eagle fight story...
I do have to get in the water in the dark tonight though. I have to get a feel for that, and I have to try out my camera from out in the water in the dark. There was no sense in that before because of the smoke, but things look OK for that now.
The last of the adjustments I need to make is my sleep time and awake time. I have to do a fast turn on that so I am used to being awake more through the night than in the daytime. The key to that is visiting Siesta Land. That's pretty easy to do. I enjoy that place.
I still feel the knocks from the mental crack, and I'm not as prepared in my body as I know I should be, but really, I just wanna get at it. I can't wait!
Three days to go!