floatieI’ve been meaning to post this up for a while. I’ve been marinating on what I want to say and how I’ll say it for a few weeks now but haven’t gotten around to putting my digits to the keyboard on this subject until now.  I’m going to kind of stray from my original topic of remembering why you ride and save that for another time.  For now the point has morphed into remembering the last time you did something that scared you and the beauty that comes with overcoming that fear.

I was sparked to finally start this by my wonderful athletes. We had our first swim workout today. For many aspiring triathletes, the swim is the scariest part. We know how to walk, biking doesn’t strike fear in most, but swimming- that’s a whole different story.

I was very lucky as a kid to have parents that put me in the water when I was in diapers and I took lessons when I was very young.  I became a certified scuba diver when I was 15 but swimming in a competitive-non lazy river style was not something I had ever done.  My family had a pool so summers were spent tanning on a raft and rolling into the water when it got too hot in the Texas sun.

(As a tangent, I remember the summer after I graduated undergrad before I went to graduate school I was home and did some looking into what a triathlon was.  I looked up the distances and figured I’d start with the swim since I had a pool in my back yard.  I don’t now remember if I had the distance as a sprint, olympic, or even a ironman but that didnt matter.  I took out a tape measure and measured the pool, calculated the number of laps it would take to get that distance and started off on a swim- no cap, no goggles, no stroke form, no idea….I made it half the distance and felt like I was going to be sick.  I barely ate dinner that night because my stomach was so upset from turning back and forth, back and forth in the pool.)

splashI remember my first day back  in the pool.  Though I loved the water, the idea of “swimming” and following a format where people were watching my moves and judging (coaching) me was terrifying. I tried to reach inside and find that kid who would run full speed into the water or would step in line with all the college kids as a 5 year old to jump off the high dive without fear but I wasn’t sure she was still there.

I didn’t want to wear my swim cap, now I wont swim without it.  I swam my heart out for 33 meters and it was one of the hardest things I had done.  When I came to the end of the lane, I grasped the wall for dear life, trying to catch my breath the best I could and thinking that there was no way I could go back.  I did.  I did again and again, slowly at first- painfully slow at times- but I did and I worked up to the point where now I really love swimming.

If I’ve had a hard day at work there’s nothing more that I love than the smell of the water, the feel of my goggles, and the touch of the sun on my back as I’m freestyling.  This is a feeling I hope that my athletes will feel soon.  I believe they will.  Each of these women have so much potential and I feel lucky that I’m the person who gets to see them get that potential.

swim1Take a second and remember something that stole your breath when you thought about doing it- whether it is with a sport or something else- and think about how strong and powerful you felt once you overcame that.  That fear quickens our pulse but is also such a gift to make us feel alive and learn about ourselves.  As my good friend E says, “when was the last time you did something that scared you?”

Ride blessed, ya’ll.