Monday, June 20, 2016

The struggle

It's easy to write about the fantastic races and breakthrough training days. It's easy to write about the days that seem almost magical, fluid, as though you became superhuman overnight.

It's much harder to write about the bad days. I'm not talking about the days that you are pushed to your limits and beyond.

I'm talking about the days that are utter and complete disasters.

Today was one of those days. Not every day is going to be rainbows and pixie dust.

These are the days that really test your character. I see many athletes give up on these types of days.

Let me tell you what happened. Liz scheduled me for masters. I got to the pool a little early and started warming up. I wasn't feeling quite right, but sometimes that happens.

The workout was a big one. It was 4000yds. It consisted of 12x 100's, 4 x 200's and then a 400 all out. (Obviously, there was other stuff thrown in there).

On the 8x 50's, I missed the wall FOUR times on my flip turns.

I hit my shoulder, knee and achilles on the lane lines.

When we got to the intervals, I couldn't hold my normal pace. I normally feel fluid and relaxed in the pool, today was about as opposite as it could be.

Coach came over and asked how I was doing. I told him, "I can't do anything right today. Everything is just HARD. Nothing is easy. For goodness sakes, I'm getting lapped by the slow lane! Ok, so they're all wearing fins. STILL."

This was the type of day where I would see an athlete post on strava and say, "I just didn't have it, so I left." (We've all seen it, right?)


It's ok to get frustrated. It's ok to get mad. It's ok to have bad days.


As I was swimming, the thought didn't occur to me to "just call it a day"; get out of the pool.

Do you know what I did think about?

It's always darkest before the dawn.

Over the years, I have seen a trend. Right before a huge breakthrough, I have a really bad swim. As I was swimming, I started thinking about how many people quit at this point.

"I'm just not a swimmer."

"I'll never get it."

"I just suck at swimming."

What they don't realize is that they are going through growing pains. If they just hold on, they'll see the athlete they always thought they could be.

On these days, don't give up. Don't let that inner awesome slip away, just as you were going to get to see it.