Friday, February 21, 2014

Rising to the occasion

I know I shouldn't be worried about what other people do, but I can't help it. Sometimes they make me crazy!

I have been swimming with the same master's group for going on 4 years, this coming summer. When I started there I was swimming about 2:45-3:00 per 100's. For those of you who don't swim, for someone who swims for fitness, that's ok; for a triathlete....ummmm.....well, good for you for trying!

In other words, it's slllooooooowwwww. Now, I could argue that I had a number of really good qualities that offset my poor swim times.

When I joined, I was put in the "injured"/old guy lane. Seriously, that lane is used for two very old men who swim every day AND for those athletes currently dealing with an injury. It was not good.

Once Coach gave me a few things to work on, and I pretty quickly moved up a lane. I stayed there for quite awhile because even the slow lane in masters is pretty fast compared to swimmers who swim on their own.

Over time, I jumped again and again.

Yesterday, I had an easier swim because I'm racing this weekend. So, I decided to go down a lane and swim with my old group.

Two things happened:
1.) When you shave off seconds on your 100's time, I had not realized how much time those seconds add up to over time. I didn't realize how much faster I was than my old lane. Good thing it was an easy day because I was getting ample rest.

2.) People are afraid of discomfort. People are afraid of their own power and speed.

This isn't just about swimming, but I see it in running and cycling. I see it at work. I see it all over the place.

It frustrates me because I see myself as just like everyone else. I didn't start out with some kind of super power that meant I could handle high levels of pain. I wasn't born with any type of athletic ability.

The only thing I had was drive, ambition, and I have a lot of that.

So, when I started master's, and I'd swim and sure enough someone behind me would catch me and tap my toes.

I got mad.

Not mad at the person, but mad at myself.

And it made me work harder. When working harder didn't work, I took lessons. I swam smarter.

And at my first triathlon, where I went as hard as I could on the bike, but I only managed 12mph and I was passed constantly, I got mad. That wasn't going to happen again.

And on the run, the entire field would pass me, and I got mad. I knew there would be a day that if another woman was going to catch me, she was going to have to have the best run of her life.

Years ago, finishing almost last in my AG, I had goals to be a top 3 Age Grouper.

Of course, when I told people my goals and told them my times, they just shook their heads and said, "Good for you."

We all know what good for you really means.

I haven't reached all my goals, yet. If I laid them out here, even with everything I've accomplished, I know I would be met with, "You're crazy." "Good for You".

There are people who truly believe they can. And people who truly believe they can't.

People who truly believe they can will show up every day and work and deal with the discomfort. People who believe they can't will say "I'm not like you."

And they are right.....but they COULD be because that's where I started. It's not easy. There are days where I think I will never reach my goals, but I go home. I rest. I eat. I sleep, and I wake up to go at it again the next day and the next.

When those swimmers or cyclists or runners say, "I'm not like you." I want to say to shake them and say, "YES, you are!"

Set your goals, big goals, dream big. Then, start working at them piece by piece. You're going to have setbacks, but when you care enough about your realize that those setbacks are part of the process. Setbacks do NOT derail your progress. They are part of the process. Improvement is NOT linear.

I truly believe that I can reach my goals, even back when I swam a 25:01 750m swim at my first triathlon.

It's not a matter of watching it happen. It's up to me to make it happen. Just like you. You have to have those big goals. A goal isn't big enough until someone tells you "You're crazy. Good for you." As soon as someone says have a good goal and one worth working for. Don't EVER be embarrassed by your goals. Be proud of your goals. Write them down and yell them out.

Remember one thing: 

The only person who truly has to believe in you, is YOU.