Today wasn't our usual Sunday. It was modified by our training schedule for the Olympic distance triathlon we are doing as a team with another friend. My Love started the morning by pedaling out of our driveway for a 26mi bike ride just before 7am. It went fairly smooth. It would have been perfect except he missed a turn and ended up having to backtrack up a gigantic hill. He made it home safe and pretty tired.
Then we went to church! After lunch, a short nap for me with my smallest fella and my Love and big guys went for a bike ride.
Now for the big deal... swimming a mile... it was like eating an elephant... one bite at a time... but you're super hungry when your done even though you have a belly full of lake water!
I write this with aches and exhaustion like I haven't felt since I finished my last tri. Even more so, I think.
It was a warm gorgeous day today, the beach had sunbathers, kids playing and parents watching. My friend met me on the beach, she swam a few hundred yards while waiting for me. Iron Alicia works very hard at her personal fitness. Today, she slowed down her super speed swimming to slowly crawl a mile, about a hundred yards at a time, wait for me, check on me, and swim back toward me when she saw me stop. Her consistent encouragement made me believe I was capable of eating this elephant one small bite at a time.
The water was choppy, just shy of white-caps. Every 10th breath I'd take I would end up with a mouth full of wave. Sometimes I'd spit and sputter it out, other times, I'd have to stop, cough and gag a bit. It seemed to take forever to get my breathing to regulate and get my heart rate to something similar to normal.I think I swam over 700yds before that happened.
I wish I could tell you I received some kind of major spiritual revelation. But I didn't.
I wish I could tell you I didn't cry into my goggles. But I did.
I had to work for it. REALLY HARD. Most of you who follow my blog know I am no stranger to hard physical work, but today was different. I couldn't shake the head games "I can't do this", "how am I going to finish a mile within the one hour time limit?" "Ironman? What was I thinking?!" "I want to quit". And the list goes on. I would chatter to myself that I can do this, I can do this, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.... etc. but deep in my heart, I kept doubting myself.
No worship songs could keep me focused, no fixing my head on what I am capable of. I struggled the whole way, complete with poking my head up every few strokes looking up to see how far I had yet to go, saying "Sh%$!" out loud, then tucking my head back in, swimming a few strokes and looking up again.
Inside I chuckled to myself, laughing that if I was expecting something spiritual to pop up in the midst of my swearing, I was likely crazy. But, it has happened. So glad God "gets" me.
I made it. The pressure on my eyeballs from my goggles, cramps in my calves, crying, and all. Iron Alicia greeted me with her cheery smile and a great big hug as I teared up again. Iron Randy met us at the beach to say "You made it! Good job!"
"Now you know you can do it", one of them said. Honestly, I am so blurry about the rest of it because it took all I had just to get my wetsuit off, dry off, get clothes on and get back to the truck.
Where I sat. Called my Love to let him know I did it. He said I was breaking up, I said, no, I am crying again.
By the time I was headed to get my dinner, I was contemplating my ability to complete the mile in the tri. I was reasoning that if I hit it hard in the next two weeks, swimming almost daily, I should be fine. No need to fear eating elephants, swallowing lake water or giant waves.
After all, I've already done it once, right?