Ireland

Well, I’m not sure where to begin with this.  I suppose everything good in my swimming life came out of Kingdom Swim last year.  Really and truly, the reward of that has just been phenomenal.  I cannot even express the exponential return I got just from finishing.  It didn’t seem like something so hard to do at the time, just finishing.  Looking back, it doesn’t seem to warrant such incredible, amazing, extravagant goodness as I have been blessed with.

I will be off to Ireland soon for open water training.  Over the course of nine days, we will be swimming twice a day in approximately 50 degree water.  Some of the swims will be in the ocean.  Some will be in rivers.  Some will be in lakes.  I believe there is even one in a river that will be timed so that we swim off with a release of water from a dam.  The total distance is projected to be about 55 – 60 miles total.  In 9 days.

As if that isn’t enough, on the second to last day we will all participate in a Torture Swim.  The idea is that everything that can go wrong absolutely WILL go wrong… and then some.

As if THAT isn’t enough, on the very last day, after being exhausted, swimming everywhere, and being tortured, we are swimming for 6 hours straight.

I had started off getting ready for this in January and February with extreme strength.  I was so excited to be ready!  I worked so hard to get my mileage up, to perfect and improve my technique.  I was looking great! Read more

Dedication

I get up at 3:00 am on Mondays to make it to Masters.  I get in the pool and start the workout and I’m always a 1/2 an inch from tears before the first ten minutes lapses – I just feel so insufficient by comparison to everybody else.  They are so fast.  So darn fast.  And I am not.

When I leave, I usually play the theme song from the Karate Kid tournament scene on repeat until I feel like I AM the best around.  I dread the next time we meet, always have to fight the excuses and justify the extra $20 I have to pay for the class.  I always go, though.  I always get in.  Always.

At this point, when I talk about this, people have often admired my dedication and my motivation.  It always catches me offguard.  After all, it’s an easy enough thing to do, a Master’s swim class.  I mean, I have to drive an hour and a half and pay extra and watch the angry clock tell me I fail; but it’s not hard.  Not really.  The thing I hate about it, is the way I feel about it.  I don’t know how to not be so close to tears and to not feel insufficient and to not be miserable.  I keep hoping that every time I go, I will learn some new way to not feel quite so bad.

That’s just Masters.  Swim meets are worse.

So when this swim meet came along, I already knew I was in for feelings and upsets and failures.  I didn’t know how it would go.  I didn’t know how I would do.  But I knew, somehow, in my head… it wouldn’t be good enough.  (I actively hope that there is a remedy for this.)

Anyway, in the real world where there are real troubles and fights and things to overcome, a dear friend of mine was back in the hospital.  As I prayed for him and considered his life, I felt Holy Spirit telling me to dedicate the swim meet to him.  Of course, I thought that was weird.  A swim meet?  It’s not really glorious or exciting or anything… really… Dedicate a swim meet?

But I took the words to heart and purposed that I would. Read more

45 Minutes

The thought of getting into 51 degree water is always harder than actually getting in.

There is an expectation of pain and suffering associated with it that will absolutely root you in your tracks, if you let it.  And let’s face it, most people do.  I have taken up explaining to people what I feel, when I feel it as I get into cold water, so that they understand and know what I’m going through and the toll the water takes on me.  I mean, otherwise, it would just look like I’m swimming along merrily and when I get out – they maybe don’t get why I’m staring off into space or uncommonly quiet.

Today, there was very little lolly-gagging as I got into the water.  The muck on the bottom of Lake Memphremagog was thick and trying to swallow my sandals.  As soon as I could sink in enough to float, I did and threw my shoes up on shore – one of them coming within an inch of hitting my friend who was watching me.  I apologized to her, profusely.  Of course, the one time I could hit somebody with a shoe would be while they are watching me do something crazy like this.  Read more