So, I finished my last post with all fine intentions of documenting my training for the upcoming Port Macquarie 70.3 Ironman event. Needless to say, that idea went down the gurgler and as it did, I watched my motivation swirl away into the depths of a draining few months. As a means to float my mojo, I decided to dedicate each day in March to a swim streak challenge. While, ‘streak’ to me generally conjures up someone doing a nudie run (and for authenticity, there was a naked swim!), I thought it appropriate that it enabled me to really expose my thoughts. There were also times where my mind was parched of insight where I literally bathed in the frivolous droplets of rumination that trickled across my mind.
1. Enjoying the first swim with my son, who tends to over-estimate his laps. I must admit, I often lose count of laps and always decide it is purely just positive-thinking to round-up if in doubt, ie. “Was that lap 3 or lap 7, yes it must have been lap 7, I’m sure it was, it seems like it was, I’m sure I’ve passed that person in the lane next to me way more than 3 times, it must be lap 7…and so the justification goes. I guess I’m just a ‘cup-half-full’ type of gal 😛
2. Karma really does bite! I had told a younger counterpart, Mitch S. to suck it up and giggled at his bad luck of being the only one in a crowd of swimmers to be stung by jelly fish, and across his face no less. Turns out, the only purple-people-eater in the whole bay decided to give me a little love bite across the leg, and love hurts. I apologized promptly and limit my laughing at Mitch to other catastrophes, mostly.
3. It was a long day spent with my dad getting chemotherapy. While they pump hard core drugs into him, it conversely seems to suck out my energy. However, I was determined to get my swim in and had prepared to stop at the local pool on the way home (a Friday night) where I was promptly un-welcomed because swim club reserves the pool. Annoyed, but undeterred I tied myself to the back fence and embraced the cold, dark, rainy night for a swim to nowhere. My amazingly supportive pool boy (hubby John) truly lifted my spirits by jumping in the pool with me and attempting to take some cool pics (they didn’t make the cut, but it was the thought that counts). He was all for the ‘streak’ idea, so it gave me something entertaining to look at while I swam!
4. Pure Bliss. The planets aligned where I got my own lane AND randomly met up with my most lovely, fascinating friend Amanda, who I haven’t seen in a while. After 15 minutes of hanging off the lane ropes and Amanda’s every word about her cool doctoral work in psychology, we parted the water for a decent swim set.
5. Hmmm, I think the novelty is starting to wash off in all this pool water. I had all the toys to play today, but couldn’t bring myself to round off the effort to 2km.
6. A 2km straight swim really allows thoughts to go through a full rinse cycle. I was amazed at the menagerie of items that distracted me during this time: a leaf, a bandaid, hair band, gum, little plastic jewels (maybe the chlorine was soaking into my brain?). I also thought about effective ways to count laps, by which time, I had forgotten what lap I was on, but mostly I thought ‘I deserve a bucket of ice cream today’.
7. Just literally toeing the line today. But I got it done before there was a ‘Code Brown’ and the pool, like someone’s bowels, was evacuated.
8. International Women’s Day. I have heard so much about being a feminist lately, that the term has become so diluted with wishy-washy ideals. I think I’m a ‘person-ist’ where I think everyone should be treated equally, with kindness and respect, and I celebrate being me (who also happens to be a woman) everyday!
9. Another dark, cold, windy night but I did it anyway. Plus it’s a great snot detox…the stuff flows out of me, I’m sure I could come up with some hydro-snot scheme to power the country!
10. Because I can…I’m sure I significantly topped up the water levels in the pool as I cried for the entire 27 minutes, ranging from somewhat composed weeping to big ugly sobs, it kind of turns consistent swimming into resistant swimming. My dad’s cancer is giving him progressively more grief, and I feel completely helpless. So who am I to complain, when I have the ability and opportunity to do this, then I should.
11. I have never failed to complete a swim here…except for today. I anticipated swimming across and back, but got 3/4 of the way across and felt like I was in a dirty washing machine. I was the only person in the water and allowed freaky thoughts to filter through, so promptly turned around and retreated to the certainty of solid ground.
12. I jumped into the most amazingly clear and warm water, swam through the oddest swarm of benign clear jelly fish (that had an odd brown spot in them). I was thinking this swimming everyday business must be really paying dividends as my swimming stock was at an all time high. Then I turned around to swim back and realised that the current had inflated my sense of self! It was a metaphorical representation of life. When you go with the flow, everything seems effortless, but when you’re faced with opposing forces, sometimes you just have to stop and move in a different direction before you can move forward. It took me nearly 3x the amount of time to get back!
13. I shared my swim streak challenge with family and friends, in the hope they would choose something to benefit themselves, commit to it and make it a habit. My mum chose relaxing for a set time each day (which is difficult for her to do regularly). What we all realised during the challenge was that it was hard, a lot harder than I thought!
14. Sometimes my thoughts can be taken up by the most trivial concerns. I swear someone has shrunk my cossies…so I spent most of the 3km justifying this as a completely plausible excuse for them riding up my butt and showing some side boob. I am so unintentionally trendy! ;P
15. & 16. This is where I hit the pause button on the swim streak. I spent 16 hours (on my birthday) travelling and renovating a property, so the only strokes I took were those with a paint brush. When birthday celebrations were postponed to the following night, I fell asleep at a swish dinner, so unless wetting my appetite counts, I couldn’t complete a swim. Excuses, excuses!
17. Living life in the fast lane…ok, well it’s good to have goals to make it there one day!
18. I really do love racing, 4th Place AG at NSW Club Champs. Unfortunately for the people of Orange, I peed in your drinking water reservoir during my swim (well, at the start while waiting as I find I get stage fright trying to do it while actually swimming). The water was chilly, so it was a lovely warming sensation in my wetsuit.
19. Serious hangover cure after a weekend of partying at Club Champs.
20. Chasing time is the story of my life at the moment. I want to fit everything I possible can into my days but I understand that certain compromises have to be made, like wearing sunglasses inside to hide the dark circles for my photo.
21. The reappearance of my pool boy. He really is my pool buoy, keeping me afloat with support and encouragement.
22. I went option B, the 2km time trial, mainly because I didn’t have to think or challenge myself with the ‘fast’ stuff. Only problem was the actual keeping of the time, I forgot to start timer, but it felt fast 🙂
23. I felt tired all day, so kept putting off the inevitable. I have a wide repertoire of procrastination tools, but sleep rates highly for me. I went to the pool to do an easy 1km swim, but alas, only 1 lane available with walkers in it, so I was forced to jump in the squad lane and do their set. Talk about peer pressure!
24. I seem cursed by swim clubs. I ran to the ocean baths only to discover they were about to set up for their evening of racing. I jumped in anyway and told them to pull me out when they were ready to start. It became a fun obstacle course of swimming over, around and under lane ropes, flags and kids warming up. All to the amusement of parent spectators, who I’m sure thought I was a nutter, confirmed by their pinched smiles at me as I departed the pool, sopping wet in my joggers, about to run home.
25. Some days just require special fuel to tie yourself to the fence and swim. I think hubby thinks I might be up for a bit of bondage action with all this masochism.
26. Just call me ‘Bond 007’ Coolest race number ever! My first time at the ‘Enduro” format (2 small triathlons run consecutively) and boy oh boy, trying to swim the second time after a swim, ride, run literally feels like a fish out of water, flailing about everywhere!
27. Something is better than nothing, right?! Even better, something done in the nude is naturally better than nothing, right?! My official skinny dip 🙂
28. Aggression is not my usual style, but I am so frustrated with my local pool. They changed the opening hours to ‘winter times’ (in MARCH) without notice or consultation of members. I was refused entry at 7.45pm, after checking before I got there that the pool didn’t close until 9pm. FYI – Angry swimming is not good for your shoulders.
29. I did this 3km in sets of 200m. I used every toy and tactic to get through this set. It made me focus solely on each 200m at hand, and reinforced that by wading away at small goals I can eventually propel my way to achieving big goals.
30. I have submerged myself in this challenge, with 1 day left I admitted to my family that I enjoyed it, but was also looking forward to the finish line.
31. I was happy to share my final swim for March with the very lovely and super fine athlete Mel, who accompanied me across the bay and then for coffee.
I’ve learned lots from this challenge and I like the ‘thinking time’ swimming affords me. Swimming is the ultimate solvent, flushing the unnecessary and infusing me with perspective.
Always trying my personal best!