Boy how powerful is the mind !
I’d been thinking about, and visualising getting into really cold water without my wet suit and by the end of my Croatia trip I had got my head around it all and was raring to go. The previous year even in my wet suit (admittedly sleeveless) I didn’t manage a two hour swim due to feeling too cold even in the middle of the summer.
The water was 11/12 degrees it was bitterly cold, but I dived in, swam breathlessly for a few minutes, then relaxed – I was enjoying the sensation on my body.
I thought I would just be swimming to the Spire or the Bandstand (9-12 minutes) but I just kept going. It was what I was expecting it, it was what I needed and ‘wanted’ to do.
Three years ago without realising it I had used imagination and visualisation to good effect when preparing for my first trip to Hawaii for the Ironman. Up until then I had found the heat unbearable, overheating terribly running my first 10k run at the end of a triathlon in Weymouth on an overcast day.
I like to know what I am getting myself into so I had immersed myself in hours of videos of the Ironman in Hawaii and imagined myself running in the searing heat along the Queen K highway. I arrived early allowing myself over a week to acclimatise, but I didn’t need it at all. I was out running in the midday sun in Kona, Hawaii and loving it right from day one.
It wasn’t until I met sports psychologist Dr Karen Howells, at a South West Masters Development Day Swim, that I realised it had been scientifically proven to work.
It had now worked yet again to tell myself, and prepare myself, for the cold water.
But I did come out rather blue and was quickly home to a hot bath to unthaw those frozen feet !