I got to the pool late on Saturday. It had still been snowing on the mountain, and I was not about to be on time at the cost of my car… or my life… or especially the life of my dog. So I took it slow. And I was late. Too late.
No Master’s workout. Fail.
I decided to do my own workout, instead. I had previously held myself faithfully to times around 1 minute 40/ 45 seconds per 100 yards. Up to 6 miles! I thought for sure doing another 5 miles or so today should be no problem.
I was 6 100’s into it and I couldn’t make the time anymore. I watched the clock perpetually chastise me as I fought and clawed my way through the caramel sludge of the pool water – willing myself to be faster and yet, still unable. Really?! I begged myself as the time slowly increased, a few seconds more and more. I tried working harder, but to no avail. I might have even been close to 1:50 or 1:55 by the end of that first mile.
Well… maybe I just need to warm up some more. I did some more drilling and really worked on my coordination. It dawned on me that I had completely reinvented my kick since that last 6 mile venture in 3 and a half hours. Completely reinvented it! I used to kick a lot more and a lot harder. Now I’m way more efficient, but perhaps my body isn’t used to my kick yet… and especially not going fast for a while. Maybe, I just need to… I don’t know.
I decided to go for longer sets. 200s on 3:30. Those will be good. I know I can do that! I know it! But the clock told me a different story. When I hit the wall, I usually have a good ten or fifteen seconds the first time to breathe and then go again. By the ninth, I would be down to five. This time and on the first set, I barely had two seconds before I had to push off from the wall, again. Fail.
I finished my second mile, dragging my emotional basket case along behind me. I was working hard! My heart rate was up! I was not dawdling in my effort levels. What the heck is wrong? I can only take so much perpetual failure.
I knew that if I continued, I would feel bad every last length of my workout.
And I would fail.
I knew that if I quit, I would feel bad for stopping.
And that would be an epic fail.
I weighed my options. Fail vs. Epic Fail. In my calm acceptance that today was going to be a “fail” kind of day, I decided on a new course of action.
All right, so I couldn’t go fast… but I could still go as fast as I could!
In the middle of my endurance training, I threw myself a curve ball and changed workouts. I decided I would do my pure speed workout. Shorter distances, harder work, sprint-able misery. I had never introduced myself to working this hard or going this fast after already having swum a couple miles or more. I was probably close to three miles (including my warmup) at this point.
But I made myself do it. Sprinting as hard as I could. I was already miserable, why not add sprinting to that? It didn’t occur to me to cut myself a break for having already swum 3 miles, and I was upset when my 50s were at 43, 44, and 45 seconds. Every time I looked at the clock, I saw “Fail” in the red time stamp. But that was okay.
Some days, you’re the king of the world, and some days, you fail. Part of training is to fail, to push yourself and push yourself to a newer expectation. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing unless you let it be a bad thing.
I finished my sprinting and did my cool down. Rounding myself out to 4 miles, all in all. When I pushed myself out of the pool, I heard a Voice in my spirit,
“That’s my girl.”
I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. Really? Even on a day like “fail”?
I could see His smile. That one that says He’s proud. Maybe today wasn’t about a clock or a timestamp or distance or anything. Maybe it was just another fail vs. epic fail battle, quit vs. no quit. Maybe it’s about a desire being great and a girl who just gets in the pool day after day, knowing that that is her path and walking on it no matter the result.