I just got back from swim practice and I’m feeling a bit down. I had no idea that I didn’t know how to put my face in the water and breathe. It turns out you can forget how to swim if you haven’t done it in decades. When I got to swim practice this morning I felt like I couldn’t do anything. My legs weren’t straight when I kicked and I wasn’t really breathing when I turned my head so I was out of breath and tired. I just wanted to go home. I watched some of my other teammates swimming laps and I wondered if that would ever be me.
Things got a little bit better when Shafiq, one of the swim coaches came over to help me. Actually things got worse/better. My goggles were all fogged up, I had water in my ears and up my nose. I suppose this was payback for making my son take all those swimming lessons. Since I needed so much work we broke everything down into mangeable parts. The first goal was to conquer the breathing, kicking and to relax. So I held on to the side of the pool kicked and practiced breathing. Seems simple enough. I can tell you that when you are tense, nervous and your nose is full of water it’s impossible to relax. That was my first problem. I kept at it with very little progress. I was very discouraged but I haven’t given up on myself. I will keep at it until I can do it. I decided it was OK to have a bad practice day, not everyday will be smooth sailing. I’m still glad I woke up early and worked at it. Today was a far cry from the elation I felt after my first day of cycle practice.
Last week during our first team cycle practice I was very anxious. Eric, our coach, was kind enough to lend me his bike for the day. When he asked me to sit on it so he could measure me it looked so big. As we split up into groups based on ability I turned to my friend Kim and told he I couldn’t do this. I seriously considered switching to the marathon team at that point. I felt tears welling up in my eyes. She told me that I would be fine and that she would help me. I trusted her, so I felt better but still very nervous. I got on the bike with two friends on either side of me. I felt like a kid just learning to ride a bike, in a lot of ways I was. I didn’t want them to leave my side even when I found my balance. After many attempts something finally clicked and I could do it. I felt very happy and grateful for their help. I rode around a small trail the rest of practice to get a feel for things. I went home feeling very happy that day.
The next practice, which was this past Saturday I rode in the street! That was huge for me. Thanks to Eric and his tremendous patience I worked on turns and rode for a while on the road. I ended up riding 5.58 miles that day and running 1 mile. It’s not a lot but it’s a great start. I now feel like I can ride a bike and I have enough skill that I can practice on my own. It’s a huge relief. I just hope that I can get to that point with my swimming. I do know that if I keep working at it and try to relax before practice I will get there a lot sooner. I’m taking the rest of the day off today and I’m going to put my not so great swim practice out of my mind. Every practice is a time to start over. If other people can do it there is no reason why I can’t as well.