The Pleasure And The Pain
Jen Schumacher talked about the pain that she felt during her 9 hour 2 minute Catalina Channel swim, “During Catalina, I averaged 155 heart beats per minutes with a maximum of around 200. I wanted to swim as consistently and fast as possible for the entire swim.
[When we talk about pain perception], I think it is more about how you appraise the pain than about how much pain you are feeling. Previous experiences would have a lot to do with that.
Personally, I did experience shoulder pain during my swim, but I had experienced that during training and knew what to expect. What really interests me though, and has come up in some of my interviews with channel swimmers [from around the world], is the idea that pain is not real.
For example, the notion that pain is simply the mind trying to trick the body to slow down or stop. If you can just acknowledge the pain and recognize that it is not real, it will eventually go away, thus reaffirming the original notion that pain is not real. I would imagine most marathon swimmers deal with pain at some point during the swim and just have effective coping strategies. So they have relatively high pain tolerance for this type of pain.”
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