This time of year is far from my favorite. It's a constant battle to not become firmly entrenched in painful holiday memories. This year I've battled those feelings buy swimming a lot. I've been swimming so much in fact that it became normal in my life again, and I found myself beginning to lose track of just how valuable and profound that time in the water is. In the month of January so far I've logged almost as much distance as I did in the whole month of December. I've also had the chance to swim with people I haven't seen in months and had the pleasure of several blissful open water swims including ones New year's Eve and New year's day in Seattle. That trip grounded me in a way that only the swim community can. It reminded me of how small I am but h dedicated and supportive the community is even of complete strangers.
This is my second road trip to Seattle with the exclusive purpose of swimming. On New Year's Eve I swam just under 40 minutes and 48-degree water and very rough seas. I must say the Seattle swim community is full of vibrant fantastic beautiful (insert all of the positive words in the world here) people. There is nothing at all like swimming out of Alki Beach in beautiful 48-degree water during a storm one day and the next swimming from the same beach into a glassy beautiful calm sea with blue sky and puffy clouds. I love how at home in Portland we know almost exactly what to expect from the time our toes hit the water to the time we get back to the beach, but in Seattle, I love the duality of every swim I've ever done in Seattle. It's so powerful to be in the water when the tide changes and feel its power or feel a storm fizzle out and die.
The Yeti hat I modified in NC found a new home! Congrats sweet friend!
So today is the second to last day of my level 1 fieldwork at a local inpatient mental health facility. And I swam before going in. I got to the pool 15 minutes early thinking I would be rewarded with some actual lap lane availability, but that was not the case. I had to make a very tough decision between constantly lapping people and feeling like a jerk, or swimming with the fast group that swim every morning together for a massive long/fast workout. Thankfully that was decided for me, one of the fast swimmers asked me to join. So I did. Oh my God! I have not done anything that hard in as long as I can remember. One would think swimming in water and the low low 40s is hard, but nope, not even close. Chasing the toes of much faster swimmers for nearly 2 miles- impossible. I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest. Even after getting to my fieldwork assignment my chest hurts so bad I thought I was having a heart attack. The whole time swimming was a reminder of why I quit swimming when I was in high school. I've never been a fast swimmer not by the standards of fast swimmers, and today proved that point. Doing 100s on 1:25 is too fast.
I can't believe I even tried, I can't believe that I'm going to try again tomorrow.
I found myself being very self-conscious of my abilities and abilities in the water in a way that I haven't in a long time, like probably since I was 15. I felt slow, sloppy, and embarrassed. Swimming with the fast kids made me realize several things about my swimming and myself. Let's start with the easy things- what it made me realize about my swimming
2. I breathe coming out of my flip turns
3. I don't dolphin kick off the wall
4. I don't kick.
5. I don't kick.
6. I'm not as fast as I think I am
1. I am very sensitive when it comes to my worth as a swimmer
2. I am extremely uncomfortable not being at least average speed in a group
3. I am extremely uncomfortable being the slowest person in the lane
4. Not being able to keep up in a lane makes me feel as if my effort doesn't matter
5. I quit swimming as a kid because of these feelings
Last Sunday I had a fun swim at the local indoor water park, and while I didn't get to go down the slides, or play in the wave pool, I did treat myself to a corn dog. Delicious!
The week before I had my longest ànd coldest swim ever! Whoot!