Friday, February 20, 2009

26 letters = 26 laps

I am still new enough to swimming that it doesn’t bore me. I have friends who are swimmers and they say that swimming laps is so mind-numbing, they can’t stand it. I get excited – every lap I swim is one more than I was able to swim a year ago. Usually in the middle of my swim I think “wow – look what I am doing!” Sometimes I am so overcome with self-pride that I could almost float! This past Thursday, I swam 40 laps - 2000 meters. wow.

I don’t find it boring, but I do it find it hard to keep track of the laps. If I am going to swim 30 laps, it is hard to keep count. Next thing I know, I have done 12 laps and for some reason I always go back to the number 1. Like I am counting time, not laps – 10, 11, 12, 1, 2, 3….damnit! Then I can’t remember WHAT number lap I am on. I have tried breaking it up and that helps, but I still end up losing count…am I on the second set of 10 or the third set of 10?

Here’s what I have come up with and I think it is genius. I go through the alphabet. I determine how many laps I will swim and what letter I need to get to in order to be done. For each letter I pick a word/words or a phrase and repeat it to myself for the entire lap. Here are some examples….

A – the first time through I usually say “all in”, the second time through from Rocky IV – “All your strength, all your power, all your love, everything you’ve got”
B – Be better, be stronger
C – Calm – I always say this to remind myself to stay calm.
L – let it go
N – is usually “no pain” from Rocky IV
R – relax – again to remind myself to relax
Z is the wildcard and anything goes

As you can see a couple of the words I use are from Rocky IV – I love that movie – it is one of my all time favorites, maybe I could do an entire swim workout with only quotes from that movie!

I have found that counting this way really gives me motivation and it makes me feel good, not just during the workout, but all day long. Self talk is probably the most powerful force in our lives. We constantly tell ourselves who we are and what we are capable of doing. Most of the time we aren’t even aware of how we are talking to ourselves. I find myself thinking and saying things about me that I would NEVER say to another person. It is difficult to take compliments from others and so we often brush off kind words instead of embracing them.

I have been trying to find ways to work this self talk into the rest of my life – during my runs, while riding the bike and when lifting. I know I need to be nicer to myself – the world is full of people who will tell you what they think you are worth. Usually that is determined by what they think THEY are worth. I think its better to decide for yourself that are worthy of all the things you desire and that when you commit to something, you can accomplish it. I think I’ve said it before on this blog – we are worthy just by being alive. Being alive deserves our full worth - giving it all we've got. Next time I swim – W will = Worthy.

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