I’ve never wanted to quit something so badly as I do trying to learn to swim. I’m so unbelievably frustrated, I have not made progress – which is causing my frustration – and I just have so far to go before August.
I went to the Y this morning even though I didn’t have a lesson and I wasn’t meeting a friend. I realize that I need to get into the pool more and practice outside of my actual lesson time. I got into the pool at 5:05 (so early!) and I had wanted to start practicing and doing drills right away but I didn’t have the confidence right out of the gate. I instead did 9 laps of the backstroke. I thought getting comfortable in the water and just swimming some sort of distance is better than nothing. So I did my .25 mile on my back with no real concern.
When I finished my 1/4 mile backstroke I stood in the pool trying to psyche myself up to do some freestyle drills. I figured I didn’t get up at 4am to do the backstroke!
I did one lap with the kick board. I didn’t do as many strokes as I would have liked, but I did at least two during each length of the pool.
And then I stood in the pool some more trying to psyche myself up to do more without the kick board.
If anyone was watching me, they probably thought I was crazy. Little did they know the internal fight that was going on in my head at that time. I wanted to do a few lengths without the kick board. But I also DID NOT want to do a few lengths without the kick board. And that’s when my inner Sybil (and if any of my readers are too young to know who Sybil is, good lord… google it!) took over. I was having an internal discussion between the person who wanted to swim more and the one who didn’t. Actually it wasn’t a discussion as much as it was a fight. Do you have any idea how hard it is to talk yourself into doing something you absolutely hate? Not something just hard, but hate. Something that could ultimately kill you if you don’t do it right? That is the worst feeling in the world, trying to get the mojo to do something so dreaded.
I was stalling. But nonetheless the fight inside my head continued.
When you fight against yourself you always win, but you also lose.
Which side do you think won the fight? Did I do some laps without the kick board or did I just back float it and go home?
Well, if anyone followed my blog during Fall 50 training, you’ll know I’m extremely stubborn, some would say too stubborn to quit.
So if you said I did some laps without the kick board, you’d be right. I did 2 laps – 4 lengths. And it was not good. I did get a couple of semi-decent strokes in during those 2 laps, but it wasn’t pretty. I actually got more choking and panic during the laps than I did strokes. I flipped over and did the backstroke too, which I saw as a defeat at the time. But now I guess I can see some positive from that. When I started to panic/sink, instead of stopping and standing up, I rolled over and kept swimming. Which I guess is good considering I can’t stop and stand during the Tri. But I still felt pretty discouraged that I couldn’t at least just float on my front until I was ready to do the strokes. Son of a…
As I got out of the pool and headed to the locker room, I was so upset with how I did. The guy swimming laps next to me all morning made it look so easy. I truly can’t comprehend how people can do it so effortlessly and why I just can’t pick it up? What the hell is with me? Why is it so hard? Seriously, I need to know? Are some people just incapable of swimming?
I’m ready to quit, I really am. I don’t feel that I can make enough progress to be able to swim a 1/2 mile by August. It just seems impossible to me. It seems as improbable as me making the WNBA as 5’3″, middle-aged chick with no ball handling skills. If someone said, “just keep trying, you’ll get it”, I know it’s bullshit. No, no I won’t ever sink the game winner 3-pointer at the buzzer. It’s just not going to happen.
That’s how I feel about swimming. How do I know it will actually happen? How do I tell the difference between realistic and just dreaming? I really don’t want to set my sights on being a professional ball player if the reality says – no! Same with swimming – is the reality that I’m just not going to learn to swim?
I don’t know.
I don’t want to throw in the towel yet. Actually I do, but I won’t. But when is it time to cut my losses and focus on a different challenge?
But since I’m not ready to call it quits yet, I’m in search of some motivation. I read the book The Long Run, a book about a NY Firefighter who was run over by a bus as he was training for a triathlon. His story and journey back will inspire even the person with the most hardened heart. I need to reread his book. Because if he didn’t stop, how the hell can I stop? (But ironically enough I can’t seem to find the book… maybe it’s a sign I should stop. Ha!) I need some Matt Long inspiration and I need it now!
Until next time,
Gotta Run (or swim)