How to “Swim Your Race”
by Chris Hague
“Mission abort, mission abort…Houston I think we have a problem here…self destruct now!”
Red lights flashed across my brain as I frantically whirled my arms and raced (or tired to) across the once placid lake in a vain attempt to catch the lead pack of swimmers.
What am I going to do now?
They had gone out much faster than I had expected and left me choking down their surf.
Moreover, some inexperienced age grouper had elbowed me in the eye, making my goggles cut into the socket. In that moment just minutes into the race, I felt like the race was over, but then, like Obi Wan Kenobi coming to Luke in his time of need, my coach’s voice echoed out of the depths of the lake saying: “Just swim your race, Chris, Just swim your race.”
Instantly, my mental sirens calmed down, my heart rate dropped, my proverbial engines cooled, and I began to swim all the while thinking to myself: just swim your race, just swim your race. I repeated this mantra all the way to the shore where I emerged just seconds after the lead pack! Remarkably, by calming down and focusing on one little think, I regained my swim form and consequently my speed.
We have all been in a similar situation whether in training or racing when one thing, which at the time feels like an entire race breaker, goes wrong and you feel like you should throw in the towel. It is at these times that I rely upon my secret stash of mantras that I can rely upon to save me from these depths of these mental abysses. Here are some of my favorites:
• Just keep swimming…just keep swimming (Yes, I stole that from Finding Nemo)
• Run your race
• Left, right, breathe, repeat
• Control the controllables
• Keep smiling
• You can do this
• Nothing is over till I say its over
• Push it
• Feel the burn
• Do it, to it
• Keep it up
What are some of your favorite mantras?