The Power of the Mind

This week was another good training week. I have done a little more mileage than last week but am still building very slowly to where I need to be. I have learnt from many previous experiences that it is better this way and with a 24 hour swim just days away, there is no more training I can do- this will be primarily mental training.

I had an epiphany last week during one of our sea swims. I came to realise that the mind prepares the body for the task set before you and it is incredibly powerful. Now this is not actually news to me, I have always stated that ‘the power of the mind is very powerful’ but there was a new realisation about this fact last week as we were really just messing around in the ocean looking for fish and dolphins to distract us and play with!

In the first 30 minutes of the swim my arms were a little tired and sore and I was ready to rest or turn around and yet no once during the Cape Point swim did I feel tired, sore or want to stop. My mind had prepared my body for the task set before it, I had spent hours visualising and planning the swim with great expectations for many different scenarios. Less than a month later, I was struggling to swim more than 1km in the pool or sea! My mind was not yet in that mode of training and achieving a specific mileage.

With the 24 hour swim looming and all the banter, questions and chats on our whatsapp group chat, I have already started preparing my mind for the task ahead. It is something I have never attempted before and never dreamt I would attempt it, but I have no doubt that when I am in lane 2 in the JCE pool surrounded with like-minded swimmers in a highly intense and competitive environment my body will obey the commands of my mind. I have relatively low expectations of what I may accomplish in this swim, but I have a suspicion that my mind will beat my body and I will surpass any expectations I allowed myself to have and hopefully surprise myself in the process.

I am trying to keep the process as simple as possible and just swim at a slow steady pace and be very diligent with my eating plan. Watch this space next week for the results!
I upped my mileage from 9km to 11km in these last 2 weeks and on Saturday did my longest training session for the year in the most incredible conditions. We decided to swim from Marine life saving club to Bike and Bean, just under 5km. The sea was 25 degrees, the cleanest it’s been all year and we started the swim with dolphins and as we continued at a very comfortable steady pace we got the honour of seeing an Eagle Ray. As I was swimming I was struck again how much I love swimming in the sea and why I love it. It is a constantly changing environment with the possibility if encountering so many different types of marine life.

My passion is fuelled even more and it drives me to swim further

The best is on a day like Saturday when the water is warm and glassy clear and the swells are pushing you to ride some waves and you get to see some amazing sea creatures along the way. Unfortunately we also picked up quite a lot of litter that had probably come in from the river after all the rain. I pick up what I can, but it angers and saddens me greatly that we have to contend with pollution and the impact it has and will have on the environment and our future. It has always been a passion of mine (environmentalism) but as I see growing evidence of the negative impact and footprint we are making on our planet my passion is fuelled even more and it drives me to swim further and do more to try and change things before it is too late.

Author: Jenni Petersen

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