I wrote this yesterday, but forgot to post it last night…
The alarm goes off. It’s 4:45 am. I sit upright in bed, blinking the sleep out of my eyes and petting the nice, warm dog curled up against me. The image of the finish line of Twin Cities flashes into my mind, and I get out of bed. Sean wakes up.
“What time is it?”
“Oh, then you can come back to bed…”
“Nope, I’m getting up early for swimming. See you in a little while.”
I pad downstairs, grab my swimsuit and clothes, put them on, and pin up my hair. I brush my teeth and splash some water on my face, still trying to rub the sleep from my eyes. Jacket, gloves, sneakers, grab my swim bag, and I’m out the door.
It’s cold, in the twenties, and I turn up the heat in the car and shiver. About 8 minutes of driving gets me to Southdale, and I’m in the building and into the pool almost before I wake up.
Long, slow laps and parts of laps. Trying to remember to relax, to breathe, how to do that side stroke kick, struggling with the breaststroke (which everyone says is the easiest stroke, but somehow, my body won’t recognize it). 50-yd laps without much of a rest at the far end of the pool. Trying to learn right-side breathing (I innately breathe on my left side every other stroke) and 3 and 4 stroke breathing. That darned whip kick again. Remember that you will float, even on the deep end, so relax, and breathe. 550 yards later, one half-hour of my day, filled with the sound of blown bubbles under the water and the sharp intake of breath above it. My body awkwardly slicing through the water, propelling me down and back.
I can’t do continuous swimming yet, not for more than one lap at a time, and most of the time, not even one full lap. Somehow, I have to get to 18 of them, without stopping… because there’s no bottom to touch or wall to hold onto in a triathlon.
But I’ll get there, one lap at a time, over the next 8.5-10 months. Now that I think about it, I’m sure I felt like running a mile was as daunting as swimming 1/4 mile now seems, almost 3 years ago when I started sort-of-running. And now I can go and do a 10k without a lot of notice.
That’s how I know the comfort will come, if I just stick with it. And that’s quite possibly one of my favorite lessons out of all of these athletic endeavors: perseverance.
I took another bad cell phone photo after I got home from the Y. I really need to invest in a full-length mirror placed somewhere in the house where I won’t get such a bad photo.