I’m feeling very prepared PHYSICALLY for Anacapa, but mental preparation is just as important. And I still have a ways to go in preparing myself mentally over the next 5 weeks.
Night swimming has always been a huge fear of mine. Feeling so vulnerable and small in such a massive body of water, plus the fact that you can’t see where you’re going – it’s terrifying. But dealing with the dark is part of our sport, and the only way to overcome a fear is to confront it, over and over.
And so, last night I jumped in the ocean 2 miles offshore and swam for an hour. A very insignificant distance, but very challenging for me due to the psychological factors. Time seems to pass by differently at night – sometimes when you’re swimming, you can’t tell if it’s been 5 minutes or 45. The water is the blackest black you’ve ever seen, and all you have to go off of are the cabin lights of the boat that are bobbing up and down in a sea of black. It’s terrifying, not knowing what’s beneath you or where you’re going. Something could be swimming 3 feet away from you and you’d probably have no idea. But once your heart rate slows and you get into your rhythm, it’s a beautiful experience. Seeing the bioluminescence beneath you every time you pull and the stars shining up above you – it’s magical. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. And of course, once I’ve finished a swim, I feel so empowered and so proud of myself for facing my fears.
I’ll go for a few more night swims before my big day. And every time, it’ll get a little easier and a little less terrifying. This journey is teaching me how to step outside my comfort zone and do more things that scare me, which is completely changing how I view myself and the world around me. These experiences are always the most rewarding, anyway.