Whitewater

5 Steps to Dealing with Mental Changes

by adriene-levknecht
Monday, November 14, 2016
   Whitewater
Monday, November 14, 2016
I had my first panic attack this year; surfing on the Outer Banks, I fell off of my board and couldn't get back on...
Adriene Levknecht
by Adriene Levknecht

   Full Bio

Pushing The Panic Button:

I had waves pounding me, I couldn’t see which way to swim, I felt like I was out of control. I lost my mind. I started screaming and crying, I couldn’t control my emotions. I felt helpless in an ocean, literally. I made it into shore where Snowy came quickly to my side, there I was, feeling ashamed. We all come to a point when we push the panic button, it’s an eventuality when you’re pushing yourself and discovering your own limits, though it’s not a place we should find ourselves often, you can learn a lot about yourself when you do.

Paddling vs. “Just Hold On!”

Back up to three months prior, when I was training for the Little White Race in Washington. I was terrified running every drop on the river, I was afraid I’d end up surfing one of the many terminal looking holes along the run. I wasn’t having “bad” lines but I was just holding on. My good friend Brad McMillan had been keeping the training light-hearted and he just sat in the eddy while I bawled my eyes out because I wasn’t comfortable and I was really scared.

My Past Does Not Dictate My Future:

20 minutes later, I found myself at the top of Spirit Falls, a beautiful 30 foot waterfall landing in a magical cauldron of bubbles. Of course I wouldn’t walk it, even though I was still shaken from the rapids prior. Coming into the drop, I knew I could have a good line, my past does not dictate my future. Changing my mindset to a positive one, led to a very positive outcome.

Adriene Levknecht running Sportit Falls on Little White Salmon River
Adriene Levknecht aiming for Brad on Little White Salmon River

I had the line of my dreams and all of my worries left like dust in a windstorm. I raced the Little White Race with less than 10 runs under my belt, a run that has 30+ rapids with a lot of spots you don’t want to go.

Understanding Why We Push Ourselves Is Key:

I love a good challenge. Being able to get out of my head on race day is what makes it fun. It reminds me I am in control of my head, deep breaths and confidence get you far.

Adriene sets new women's record at 2016 Green Race - photo Clark Merle
Adriene sets new women’s record at 2016 Green Race - photo Clark Merle

The Power of Positivity:

The strength of positivity is more powerful than anyone could ever imagine. Fast forward to November 5, 2016, I had the race of my life at the Green Race. My time showed it, I tied John Grace and Andrew Holcombe, both men who I have paddled and trained with for over 10 years. Even though I had hit my head very hard at Gorilla only days before, I was confident at the start line. I had only positive thoughts flowing through my mind!

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