Mental Toughness

Treading water for what seemed like an hour, the diving instructor put us to a stress test to see how comfortable we were.  First, we had to test our buoyancy and hold our breath, stop kicking and just see if we were a floater or sinker.  Probably 10 secs of holding breath – terrified me although I can swim decently well when I am by myself.  Then we had to lie face down breathing to the side (which I know how to do well) to use least effort in case we were conserving energy – another terrifying exercise.  Then we had to use arms and bob up and then shoot down underwater a few times.  I secretly touched the bottom a few times to lesson the fear – feeling guilty.  I do not understand the panic in a group situation when I can do any of these things alone without issue.

Brings me back to the mini triathlon over 10 years ago where we had a very short swim in a pool and I choked – had to dog paddle my way through – couldn’t breathe.  That incident I may never understand.  I need to put myself in this type of situation and prove to myself I can swim with others around.  Kenny has me holding my breath to prove I can hold it (OK – 45 secs and 30 secs on 2nd try).  Then do the same with face under water and lastly doing it sitting on the bottom of the pool – a fun thing for the weekend….you can find me at the Nashua Y with my snorkel gear on Sunday.

So, because of this I’ve b,een doubting if I am mentally tough or not.  How can someone be tough yet panic in a pretty inocuous situation?  My conclusion – also after listening again to David Goggins’ audiobook – is that mental toughness is continuing to try even if you fail.  It doesn’t mean you are never afraid of anything.  It means you go back.  It is grit.  And that I know I have.  So I’ll be back in the pool tonite for class #2 of 6, practicing slow breathing and relaxation techniques, as I sit on the bottom of the pool in my scuba gear for the first time (and then doing an hour run in prep for the Ultra afterwards around 10pm!).

Also, I was in the top few of my crossfit box yesterday for the WOD which included 100 box jumps and the same # of reps for abs.  I started out one of the last (due to a weakness with the assault bike) but am good for the long haul and finished first in the class.  For the first time I was hopping up and down off the box fairly easily.  I also hit under 140 lbs two days in a row which is significant.  Leaning down and toughening up!


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