Fear of sharks in open water swimming
edited June 2015 in General Discussion
Sad news news out of New Zealand...
For those of you who live in "hotspots", what are some strategies you use to deal with your fears in the open water?
For those of you who live in "hotspots", what are some strategies you use to deal with your fears in the open water?
"I never met a shark I didn't like"
OK, but my interest in this topic is more about taming emotions and fears, not rationality and statistics.
2012 was a busy year for GWs in Cape Cod and I can’t tell you how many emails I received the weeks prior to our P2P-Town swim with articles about sightings and attacks. Even the Plymouth harbormaster felt the need to rattle on (just a few hours before splash time) about the latest sightings in Truro.
We had a pre-swim chat and informed the crews that if there was any sighting that could not be identified as other than GW that they should pull us.
If there were members of the crew with experience in shark behavior, I would gladly yield to their judgement, but it would be selfish to put others in the position of trying to second guess our safety.
...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
Western Australia had a rash of shark related fatalities in the last couple of years so it has definitely made the fear of shark attacks much more prominent. I saw a poll of voters (there is a state wide election coming up) that actually had shark protection as a top issue amongst voters who live near the ocean, and this despite the fact that the only recent incident anywhere near the metropolitan area was unconfirmed (they only found the bathers of the victim with tears "consistent with a GW attack").
This is definitely a new development, brought up obviously by the increase in incidents involving sharks (which in turn is probably brought about by the increasing amount of time folk spend in the water). When I was growing up over here the only shark fatality was before my time in the 60's.
Personally I know I tend to rationalize the attacks by thinking of them as occurring in places I am not swimming, or at times I am not swimming. This is not an actual rational process, but it does help me avoid thinking about visits from men in grey suits.
Swimming with someone else also dramatically reduces my tendency to worry - I think probably because of the additional distraction of trying to stay with the other swimmer consumes some of the excess mental capacity that might be prone to fantasizing.
http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
I swam in the Santa Barbara for years, specifically from Rincon Point west to what has been know as the Chevron, or Venoco, Pier. I had been doing it for years before I learned that my turn around point was a mere 100 yd from a seal haul out. Talk about dumb. After that I never came closer than 400 yd. Not much smarter, but it didn't bother me.
However, grizzly bears are another whole thing. I lived at Denali National Park for a number of years. There were certain places that I had to hike through to get where I wanted to go. I was always spooked just seeing their scat or the large areas of tundra they tore up like sod to eat tubors they found. It's the bear that you don't see that can be your biggest problem.
It seems as though most attacks occur on single, isolated individuals. Naturally, if the shark really wants you---even if you're in a group of people--- it's probably going to get you, but having a group of people around increases the likelihood of both reducing an actual attack, and surviving an attack if it occurs.
As an aside, I was fascinated by Ned Denison's swim. I truly thought he'd be doing very well until being pulled due to too many fins in the water. As it turned out, he and his crew nailed it. Perfect execution. Which raises a question: How effective is the Shark Shield, and how effective was it on that day?
Keep moving forward.
Over the last couple of years, my fears have lessened, and I've done more swimming in the gulf. Here's what has helped:
1. Being honest that there is some risk involved. Before I ever get in, I've found it helps to think carefully and educate myself about the risks, and make a conscious decision that the risk is something I'm willing to accept in order to enjoy the pleasures of swimming in a particular locale (or, if it comes to that, that there might be certain conditions that make the risk unacceptable). At first I thought of myself as silly or tried to convince myself there was nothing to be afraid of. It worked better to say, hey, there's some risk involved, but it's really quite small, and it's one I'm willing to take. Going into the water thinking "I'm more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a shark" was not reassuring--once the fear kicked in "it would be very rare" didn't calm it. Saying "I share the water with some big fish, and I accept the risk in that" has worked better for me, both in my winter swimming grounds and in the Cape Cod swim that others have mentioned.
2. Visualization. This may seem crazy, but visualizing encountering a shark--seeing a dark shape below me, swimming over it, feeling how scared I would be, imagining myself nonetheless swimming calmly until it was past, then heading into shore quickly but safely--has helped me be more sanguine about the fact that there probably are sharks out there somewhere in the waters where I swim. Since it's unrealistic to expect myself not to think of them at all, I try to preempt any terrifying thoughts that might come to my mind unbidden by grooving innocuous or empowering images in my mind. For the CC swim, one of my favorite images was of sharks swimming peaceably below, us swimming on the surface, each of us going about our business and not paying much attention to the other.
3. Distraction. If I'm out swimming and find myself getting that uneasy feeling and wanting to look all around me to make sure nothing's there, I focus on something else. It works best if I rehearse what I'm going to distract myself with before I get in the water. One of my favorite things is to think about how the water feels as I'm moving through it--on my fingers, my palms, my forearms, my shoulders, my face, my lips, etc. on down my body (and back up again if that's necessary). Do the waves make one side feel difference than the other? Can I feel water passing over my tongue if I stick it out? Is the sun warming up my back? This seems to relax me and makes me pay attention to something besides shadows in the water. In Cape Cod, I planned to distract myself with thoughts of sunfish--a creature I very much wanted to see--anytime I imagined I was seeing something in the water below me. It's hard to feel too jittery when you're saying "Sunfish sunfish sunfish sunfish sunfish" 5 time fast.
Finally, something I've thought of but haven't tried--yet--is enlisting the help of one of the dive shops around here to go out for a snorkeling tour. I don't scuba dive, but it occurs to me that people who do tend to have a much more positive view of the possibility of encountering ocean life than I do. It would be nice to go out for a swim thinking "Hey, I wonder what cool things I will see today," rather than thinking "If I see anything moving out here in the water I'm going to jump out of my skin." I think being around people who have that more positive attitude, and learning more about the local wildlife from them, would probably help allay my fears further.
Sorry for the long post, but that's what worked for me so far. I haven't gotten rid of the shark fears yet, but they've lessened considerably. Let me know what works for you!
It’s up to your rational mind to overcome these fears. And of course it helps to follow basic shark encounter avoidance guidelines. The Florida Museum of Natural History (http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/education/questions/Attack.html#avoid ) has good list. My favorite is “do not harass a shark if you see one!”
"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy."
Insanely great advice.
Now to prepare for a race I head to the Circle K, get a straw and suck it up
I think I most relate to @gregoc's response. I have a fear of sharks, but for the most part, it is "managed." It does not prevent me from attempting big swims I want to do (in Greg's case P2P, in my case, the Santa Barbara Channel).
However - also like @gregoc - there are moments of panic that are disturbing and uncomfortable. For me, even seeing a sudden and unexpected clump of kelp below me can trigger a momentary panic response. I wish I knew how to get beyond these momentary lapses in rationality.
For me, the most effective strategy is distraction (@Janet's point #3). On my two big swims in this area (Catalina and Santa Cruz Island), I remained calm throughout. I was distracted by my kayaker and crew, and most of all, by the purpose and mental focus of a big channel swim.
In everyday training swims, I'm more likely to panic because I'm less focused and purposeful. My mind wanders to the irrelevant things below me. In this case, it helps to have a training partner to provide distraction.
If I find myself getting derailed by kelp, another thing that helps is simply to close my eyes under water (only opening them to sight).
PS, Janet - really amazing post. Thank you.
I came upon this blog post a few days ago. Some beautiful imagery and some thoughts relevant to this discussion. Among my favorite paragraphs:
I have given instructions that when I die my body will be cremated and that some of the ashes will be dropped into the ocean where I swim. While I sincerely believe that no harm will come to me from a shark, if I am wrong, oh well, it cuts out the middleman. What could be hipper than a green burial.
Om Mani Padme Hum.
...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
I think the distraction method will keep the momentary panic responses coming back. I'd suggest the opposite. Indulge in it when it next occurs. Detail an excessively dramatic scenario. Pump it for all it's worth.
As an off-topic aside, I don't know of any existing data that allows one to assess the risk of a shark accident during a distance swim. Looking at the sharkattackfile, for example, as a source of data to assess risk may calm one's nerves, but would do so irrationally.
I'm not very popular around here; but I've heard that I'm huge in Edinburgh!
I have a rule of telling people who ask about sharks (sometimes incessantly or in a phobia-like froth) that if something happens while I'm out there, to know I died doing what I loved most and that I likely didn't suffer. We accept risks when we go in the water -- a risk that non-swimmers don't grasp or want to accept. That's their thing, this is mine. I make it a point to almost obsessively study the body of water I'll be in and therefore I know what I'm up against (at least for the most part.) Knowledge is power and it also allows me to accept what's there and move on emotionally.
That said, I definitely have days when I'm a little nervous in the water because I have a hunch I'm not alone (and when I get on land and put my glasses on and can see the bird patterns, I'm often right.) I have moments where, like @evmo, I have random panicky moments because I touched something weird or I can't see. I also have days where that hunch gets to be too much and I just cut my workout short and go in. When in doubt, get out. I have firm rules about safety practices and if I'm in water where I know the fish might lack bones and have big teeth, you bet I will defer to whomever I've put in charge of my safety or my own self-trigger if I'm alone. I think I've just rationalized that these moments are part of the experience, if you will. When was the last time you had an adrenaline rush in the pool?
This summer I had a few weird moments, including getting bumped hard by something pretty big. I swim about 100 yards from shore, often in water I can stand in. The water was shockingly warm all year and there had been numerous reports of bull sharks in water similar to what I'd been in and I had just written about the issue, no less. You better believe I turned around and went in. I didn't go back in for a few days. It happens.
disclaimer: Not all sharks are tagged
I could not have been more misinformed. The tagged GW sharks have been up and down the East Coast, at times, within 200 yards of shore, and these are just the TAGGED ones. I will never have the same sense of "ignorance is bliss" in my ocean swims again. I will come to terms with this knowledge, and it remains to be seen how it will affect my ocean swimming in the future. Reading the posts on this thread has given me some tools to help regain my sense of comfort and safety in the ocean. I know that I will never feel the same sense of "sharks are the other guys problem" again. And, I will be more inclined to worry as my kids and grandkids race with great glee, into the surf each summer. But our love of the ocean will remain.
Should I check on her whereabouts before we head to the beach this summer? It is tempting, now that the information is available. Certainly she is not the only one out there anyway? What would I do with that knowledge? What would you do? Any advice from forum members? This is just a hypothetical question but one that I am going to have to give some thought. At one point, the knowledge that she was within 200 yards of a beach (Jacksonville, I recall), forced the closing of that beach for a time.
Yes, I also do fine as long as I'm swimming with others, or accompanied by a kayaker, or doing specific events--it's those more casual solo swims that can be a problem, especially when they're in less familiar waters. There's something about being out there all by my lonesome that makes my mind turn to what else might be in the water with me.
And I didn't mean to suggest that it's possible to completely know what the risk of shark accidents is at any given locale. My point was more to do whatever information gathering and consideration of the odds you need to do before you get in the water. I know that for me, trying to reassure fears by telling myself just how very very small the risk actually is is a failing strategy . . . mainly because myself will argue back that the sample size of those venturing beyond the sandbar along my particular stretch of beach during the winter is . . well . . . just me, plus the very occasional surfer, so that makes any statistical analysis suspect. And so what was meant to be a reassurance turns into an internal debate, and I'm lost.
Info that I do find reassuring is how little interest sharks tend to have in humans generally. I know we've all seen those overhead shots of beaches crowded with bathers happily cavorting, with the dark outline of a shark startlingly close to the action. Yet for the most part the big fish find their elevenses elsewhere, and rarely even let us know of their presence.
I think of one of my elderly relatives who has become afraid when she's alone in her house. She's convinced that the world is full of bad people who are intent on breaking into her home, stealing her things, and harming her. It's sad to see, and no amount of reassurance--crime in her area is very low, she has multiple locks and an alarm, etc--seems to help. I don't want my own sense of vulnerability to make me that person in the water, startling at every shadow and thinking the ocean is full of beasties out to devour me. I set out this winter to do what I could to lessen my uneasiness. It helps to remind myself: Sharks--they're just not that into us.
So this is how my reasoning goes: it's entirely possible that I will at swim in the vicinity of sharks, it's unlikely on any given swim that I will see one; it's extremely unlikely that I'll ever get bitten by one; and the odds are infinitesimally small that I would end up maimed or killed from a shark accident. Those are odds I'm willing to accept to do something I love.
And nvr2late, I don't know what the answer is to your questions. In the area where I swim in NW Florida, sharks are also sometimes caught by shore fishermen, and not just baby ones. Fishing for them intentionally from shore is illegal, as is chumming. I kind of keep an eye on anyone fishing in the area where I swim, and ask them whether they are catching anything (in the winter the answer is almost always no), what sort of bait they're using (usually just shrimp, but be prepared for a long drawn out answer on the pros and cons of various things), plus I make sure to ask how far out I need to swim to avoid their lines (so they'll think of me as friendly and cooperative, hopefully). They're actually a pretty good source of info about what wildlife might be in the area, since they stand around staring at the water most of the day. You might want to consider them as a resource if you're inclined to gather more info about the areas where you'll be swimming.
Great post Janet, I especially agree with your last thought above. Whenever my travels have put me within a reasonable drive of a coast, I would always be sure to have my mask and snorkel (and when possible a surfboard). Although I maintain a healthy respect for wildlife, after years of surfing, spearfishing and exploring I find myself looking for wildlife(and happily excited when I spot it) instead of fearing it.
While visiting La Jolla on a surfing trip about 10 years ago(before I ever considered open water swimming) I had a particularly cool experience with the leopard sharks there. While my friend assured me that they were 'harmless' it still took a few minutes to get used to snorkeling with schools of good sized sharks. After the initial breaking in though, I was transfixed by the sheer numbers of them in fairly shallow water.
I'm sure the Cove regulars could add some more details though...
But then I thought of that ubiquitous bumper sticker "Snark less, Help more". So I googled the query "how to behave like a shark", thinking it would lead to helpful tips gleaned (via text-analytics on big-data) from research on shark behaviour ... that is, helpful tips regarding how to not freakout at a circle-C in the sand, as the sharks in the photo seem at ease with at least the one they're amidst. Anyway, one of the top search results was this page:
... which is a French to English translation by Richard Johns of Voltaire Cousteau's Landerian advice to sponge divers back in the wee 1800s, as given in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 1987; 30: 486-489.
Well, of all things, PiBM is online only back to the year 2000. Interestingly, though, the journal has since published another piece on sharks, this time by the late Gordon Bendersky:
Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 45.3 (2002) 426-432
He titled it The Original "Jaws" Attack. At length, it spares no facet on John Singleton Copley's 1778 painting Watson and the Shark:
(notice the absence of a wetsuit, hail to the true marathon swimmers!)
A pediatric cardiologist turned medical historian who studied sports injuries, Bendersky promulgated that Copely's painting "documents what appears to be the earliest authenticated record of a shark attack". Bendersky goes on to footnote his statement with "The earliest non-attested image of a shark attack is the 12.5" terracotta effigy of an anthropomorphic shark swallowing a small human, dating from approximately 100 AD, and found in Colima, in southwest Mexico. The earliest image of a shark per se is that of La Mojarra Stela, dating from the late first millennium BC or early first millennium AD, and found in the state of Veracruz, Mexico."
Copley produced the painting in 1778 under commission by the victim, Brook Watson, who had as yet not entered onto London's political stage, though the work (now curated at the USA's National Gallery of Art) would imbue a notoriety sufficient to allow Watson to rise to great heights thereupon thereafter. Apparently, Watson attained his key to political success in 1749 when, at the age of 14, he was out swimming alone in less than channel-attire in Havanna harbour. Bendersky provides this newspaper excerpt:
Being at a distance of about one hundred yards from [the merchant ship] the men in the boat, who were waiting for the Captain to go on shore, were struck with horror on perceiving a shark making towards him as his devoted prey. The monster was already too near him for the youth to be timely apprized of his danger; and the sailors had the afflicted sight of seeing him seized and precipitated down the flood with his voracious assailant, before they could put off to attempt his deliverance. They however hastened towards the place where they had disappeared, in anxious expectation of seeing the body rise. In about two minutes they discovered the body rise at about a hundred yards distance, but ere they could reach him, he was a second time seized by the shark, and again sunk from their sight. The sailors now took the precaution to place a man in the bow of the boat, provided with a hook to strike the fish, should it appear within reach, and repeat its attempt at seizing the body. In less than two minutes they discovered the youth on the surface of the water, and the monster still in eager pursuit of him; and at the very instant he was about to be seized the third time, the shark was struck with the boat hook, and driven from his prey. (Miles 1993)
Yikes! With adrenaline thus flowing and appetite thus whetted, I, some how, frenzied over to this bit of enlightenment:
Hunnh? then I realized that the accepted response, very well written by @bobnice (I complement you on your 4431 reps), was actually intended to be a Wygantian allegory on the futility of addressing our primal fear of sharks with regexes. Nicely done bobnice!
Admittedly, all this is so tl;dr.
But if you found this entertaining in the least, then please consider making a proportionate donation directly to a charity of your choice. On the otherside, if you found this irritating in the least and would rather that I had spent the time swimming, then please consider making a disproportionately large donation to my personal swim fund.
That said, now all Aquatic Cove needs is a sign that says "Warning: Shark infested waters. Swim at your own risk."
I made this following a recent blog post about swimming in the pitch black lake water of Glendalough, and @emkhowley liking how I deliberately summon monsters to entertain myself.
I've always like the mythical notions of Leviathan and Kraken, and Nietzsche's "gaze long enough into the abyss and the abyss will look back" as applied to open water swimming. Both the eye and the feet are my own. :-)
Stop me if you've heard this one...
A grasshopper walks into a bar...
True story... I was a swim instructor for the Fresh Air Fund in upstate NY. This is a program where they take kid from the poorest sections of New York City and send them to the country for two weeks. A great program. Kids raised to be tough as nails get a different perspective on life.
Anyway, they had a pond and this pond had an aluminum dock that floated on Styrofoam(?). In one particular spot there was a nesting Sunfish. She was about 3 inches (10cm) long. If you stood there, she would come out and bite you! This was around the summer decade of Jaws! And so if a tough guy thought he was going to give me a hard time, I'd have him stand over there. Sure enough, the sunny would come out and bite him. He never gave me a hard time again. Worked every time.
As I was swimming this week, a thought came to me to help me get through the "Shark" excuse. It has to do with the idea that a shark looks up and thinks you look like a tasty seal. What occurred to me was that, given my swimming style and my long bony legs, any shark looking up is more likely to think I look like drift wood than a seal!
I think it was Woody Allen that said, "I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." (if not then I'll lay claim to it.)
We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams
Good friends from SF moved to Saipan(!!). They obviously both love the water... and are semi-retired. Emma has found that she is wonderful w people who no NOTHING about swimming... and yes there is alot of fear about the water on these islands. I asked her what her trick was.. as I have NO skill in teaching you if you can't swim at least 25 yards...Here is what she wrote***
I fall in love with them.
I hold their hands and speak softly and combine that with jumping up and down and screaming happily like a maniac when they do ANYTHING in the direction of improvement. I had a little boy who was so afraid, he almost left fingernail marks in my arms the first day. Yesterday he could've floated forever totally relaxed. I was shocked. Then he streamlined off the wall kicking and blowing bubbles and did five "switch" (aka rotary) arms when I had only asked him for three. Again, I was totally impressed. I love turning them around towards the wall and saying "look how far you swam". I pushed him back to the wall. When he got there his little face (5 years old), that is usually so stoic/frightened/concerned, looked towards the parents bench and completely changed to lighthouse brightness. His smile was like the heavens opening up. So unexpected. So priceless.
I basically teach the same way with the adults. I had a woman who was deathly afraid of the water. During the first lesson, I taught her to float peacefully for minutes enjoying the clouds. How often as adults do we get to do that? Well, you and I whenever we like, but the average woman who lives in poverty, not so much. By the end of class I had her kick off the wall streamlining, gently flutter kicking, and using her arms like a breaststroke pulldown repeatedly until she got to the flags, then turn over and float, then stand. We both cried. ****
So, it's a little "out there" maybe for this post... but I think that the LOVE of swimming and the LOVE of sharing and teaching... can overcome some of the FEAR. If we remember WHY we swim... then the fear and even maybe sometimes the pain can be mitigated.
I love teaching 4-5 year olds for this very reason, the "lighthouse" moment....when the little guy who cried and clung to my neck like an octopus suddenly realizes he can swim like a beaver. Yep, priceless!
It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.
We talk so much about prepping and training and feeding and finishing and stroke, and the only thing we don't talk about is fear.
Actually, that's not true - over at the forums there's an entire thread about fear and open water. But it's a thread about sharks and monsters and the like. Those are easy fears to talk about. We can all tout around statistics and talk about occurrences and laugh nervously together and feel better.
There's another fear that I find much more interesting, much more deep. The fear we don't talk about is the fear that you--trained, experienced, athletic you--won't be up to the task. That you'll fall short. That you'll be found wanting.
That the niggling dull sensitivity in your biceps tendon will turn into pain, and you won't get the pain out of your mind. That your feet will cramp. That the new idea you had about feeding won't work. That your body will punish you for undertraining, for not training properly, for your laziness, your errors in judgment, your human vulnerability, with some craptastic surprise hypothermia.
That the dark voices in your head, saying What Are You Doing This For and Why Not Give Up and Is This What Life Is Made Of will win. That you'll become bored and unmotivated. That in the middle, the voice that always--always!--says, What's The Point will poison your insides.
That your friends and relatives, who click refresh obsessively your SPOT tracker page will see the orange line end in the middle of a body of water, and will know that you failed yourself. That all the people helping you, your kayaker or your boat or your crew or the race director and all the volunteers will see you come back on shore on the boat. That the immediate relief of not swimming, of being on the boat, will convert into shame and disappointment. That you will forever speak about the swim feeling that shame reincarnate within you.
That it'll be cold. That you won't see the landmarks. That you'll sight wrong. That you'll be so slow that they'll have to reposition you, remove you from the water, ask you to pick up the pace. That in your frustration and pain, you'll say things you regret to your crew.
In short: What you really fear, in those long hours in the dark, is that the race will show you who you really are.
My lovely, beautiful, driven swimming friends: You only live once. Go out there. Whatever needs to happen, will. It will be whatever it will be. In the grand scheme of things, all that matters is love and belonging. And those who really love you, where you really belong, will love and embrace you no matter what happens tomorrow at the race. Love yourself and embrace yourself. Tomorrow is just one more day you get to swim.
When my 'tracker' (an android app on my brother's phone) stopped updating during the Rottnest swim last year my friends decided to start dividing up my worldly possessions. I have the best friends!
http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
What you described is exactly the sort of fear that I sometimes experience, now that my swims get longer and longer after I finally switched to OW (so no longer any fear of OW) and since there are no sharks in my swimming territory. Preparing for how to deal with this sort of fear became as important for me as the preparation for the physical, logistic and nutritional challenges of marathon swimming. Luckily, I have a coworker who works part-time as a personal trainer and mental coach and we’ve had a lot of good, long lunch breaks to talk about strategies to deal with it. As with everything else (like nutrition) I tested a lot and what it finally boils down to are three components that so far work for me:
(1) In case of any doubt (“I can’t make it…”, “It’s too cold…”) I remember my gained competences and my training with everything that I did to prepare for this swim (e.g. “I did swim xx sessions with xx kilometres”, “I did xx hard series of intervals and I felt a lot worse than now”, “I did swim longer in colder water than this”) and with everything that I put myself through already (“These waves are not as high as the ones on the xx swim”).
(2) In case of pain, cramps or any discomfort I intentionally shift my focus to other and smaller things (e.g. the next feeding break, the next stroke, how my fingertips are entering the water) – the more discomfort, the smaller my focus.
(3) In the inevitable case of the occurrence of the uncountable variations of the “Why-Question” during the swim (“Why on earth did I choose OW-swimming and not playing the triangle for a hobby?”) I have already prepared and tested answers, that I give myself in an sometimes very loud argument in my head (e.g. I remember myself that I love swimming, I think of all the fantastic “flows” that I already experienced swimming, I visualize myself reaching the shore in a picture with intense colours and try to imagine, what I will feel and do at this point).
In addition to how you deal with it yourself is the question, how your crew should deal with you in this situation (e. g. Do I really want an answer to my “How far is it”- questions?, Do I need to be pushed and screamed at or do I need the exact opposite? When is the right time to throw in the jelly beans for motivation?) – but I think this was already covered in another discussion.
This all may sound crazy, but I am very glad to have some sort of a strategy for how to deal with this dark mental side of marathon swimming, because I felt very helpless the first couple of times that I was in that place. I also think that this needs testing (there are a lot of different strategies out there and what works for you will be as individual as your nutrition scheme) and training, too – like everything else we do.