Sunday, May 31, 2015

tonight i swam a mile

Last season, when I was marathon training, I updated this blog almost every day. It's not difficult for me to write about running, or to write about the people in whose honour or memory I continue to train with TNT...

But this season, it's been incredibly hard. Let me tell you why...

Until today, I didn't actually have the confidence in my ability to swim the course. I was afraid that I was going to have to admit I couldn't do it. I was afraid that I was not going to be able to actually complete the swim, that I would not be able to complete the race...

That fear has tempered my excitement and enjoyment of training this season. And it has made me not want to write.... I didn't want every post to give voice to my fear of drowning, my fear of failure... And so, I've hardly written at all.

I took swim lessons at the local pool, but once the lessons ended, I found it incredibly difficult to get myself to the pool to swim lengths on my own. I had such anxiety about the team practices that I made myself sick. I had panic attacks in the pool where I would get the shakes and hyperventilate so badly that I could hardly breathe. One night I threw up. There have often been tears in the car on the drive home.

Things got a little better when I started swimming in the lake near my house. It's peaceful there. There is no side of the pool to cling to, and so it is easier to just keep moving. But still, team swim practices with so many other swimmers (no matter how sympathetic or supportive) have continued to be enormously stressful.

This past week has been a rough week for me. My autoimmune condition has flared, and so I've been struggling with overwhelming fatigue and painful joints. I took three days off training, but then was stressing about missing the practices. Stress is like gasoline to the fire for many people with autoimmune conditions. So I've been battling with my need to rest and relax and give my body time to heal, and with my fear of falling behind on training, and of not being able to achieve this goal.

Saturday morning we had a 2 hour ride and 15 minute run on a very hilly course, and a hot and humid day. It was a struggle. I was not able to go as far as I had gone the week before, in a shorter period of time. And so, it's no surprise that I anticipated this evening's swim workout was not going to go terrifically well. Frankly, I was dreading it...

This evening's team swim practice was a five minute warm up... and then 64 lengths of the pool. One mile, non-stop, swimming until you got it done no matter how long it took.

I got into the pool already struggling to control my anxiety. The lane lines had been removed, and the water was getting choppy from all my teammates warming up. By the end of the first 3 lengths of the pool, I was breathless and starting to panic... so I slowed everything down. I did a lap in my recovery stroke and caught my breath. And just kept going. And going. And going.

Until I had completed 54 lengths of the pool and started to believe that I actually might be able to do it.

I kept swimming, concentrating on counting down the lengths... until I reached 64. Then I stopped at the wall and burst into tears.

Tears of relief. Tears of happiness.

As of today, I finally have the confidence that I will be able to do this. Not only am I capable of swimming the distance, but I was able to do it in 41 minutes, 40 seconds. Well below the cut-off time.

In 4 weeks time, I will complete my first triathlon. I finally believe that is possible.

I am so enormously grateful for the support and guidance of the awesome Team In Training coaches. I would never have got to this point without them.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


  • Do you like drinking wine? 
  • Are you free on Saturday night? 
  • Would you like the chance to take a whole lot of wine home with you on Saturday night??
We're having a party/fundraiser and you're invited! Bring a $20 donation for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and a bottle of wine to add to the draw prize.

We'll provide drinks, snacks, pool table, stellar conversation, etc...

At 10pm, we'll draw a name and the winner will take home all of the wine.


If you are not able to attend, but would still like to make a donation... you can do so here:

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

open water swimming - it's not as scary as i thought

I faced my fears last night and did my first open water swim practice on the lake near my house... as you can see, we have heavy pollen at the moment, but it was a beautiful warm evening and very quiet out on the lake. Started the swim feeling scared but determined, and finished feeling elated... can't wait to do it again!
Lake Jackson - May 12 (no wetsuit required, thankfully!)