That's what cousins are for
I taught myself to swim, and not very well. My entire life I've been swimming with my face sticking out of the water and sort of moving my arms around in a part dog-paddle, part freestyle type of thing. It's not very effective or efficient.
Knowing my swimming wasn't up to snuff for a swim of any serious length, I signed up for a 20-week adult stroke clinic at the YMCA. It took exactly three lessons for panic to set in. Not only don't I have nearly the endurance I need, but my lack of form was actually alarming. During that lesson, I realized I don't really like putting my face in the water. Trying to will myself to keep my head in the water, I swallowed it or sucked it in through my nose several times and had to stop and grab the edge of the pool while I sputtered and coughed. My instructor criticized me for being too tense and hurried. Really? Ya think?
This is bad, I thought. Very, very bad. What the hell was I thinking agreeing to this?
And then the doubt: I can't do this. I'm going to need to get pulled from the water. I won't be able to finish.
I left that lesson in a state of depression and angst. I slept that night with the taste of chlorine still in my mouth and dreamed of being unable to breathe; of sinking slowly into deep, dark water.
Lesson four did not go much better. I started posting my weekly anxiety on my Facebook page, where my cousin Laryssa, who works for a sportswear company, saw it. She sent me a link and a blog post from Linsey Corbin. Linsey is a professional triathlete. She recently set a new personal record and finished fifth - the fastest American - in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. She is, in a word, awesome.
She has become my new hero. My inspiration. My muse. I've read her blog and looked at her photos and, while I have no desire to compete at the level she does, reading about her has given me a much-needed boost.
With renewed gusto, I decided to focus solely on swimming for a while. In the last two weeks, I've gone to the pool seven times. And you know what? It's getting easier. I still have a ton of work to do, but I actually feel like I'm going to be able to do it. It won't be easy. But I can do it. I will do it.
Despite that, I had kind of a bad swim today. I'm fighting a cold and I have a stiff neck (I know, I know. Bitch whine, bitch). I had to rest a lot and I found myself once again struggling to maintain my rhythm with the breathing. I left there feeling sort of meh.
Then the mail came. And there was a big envelope from my cousin. So I opened it. And this is what was inside:
How AWESOME is that?
Rys -thank you, thank you. I don't think I can even tell you how much this means to me. This picture is going in a very prominent place in my bedroom so I can see it everyday. I will treasure it and when I cross that finish line sometime next year, I will have you and Linsey to thank for it.