For the third year in a row I arrived at Dynamo EARLY to start swimming at about 4 am and get in 10k to close out 2015, and celebrate the New Year.
This event continues to grow in popularity with 76 people swimming this year. Not everyone did 10k, but everyone did a distance that challenged them, and everyone started at 4 am.
Even though I had done it twice already, this year was the scariest for me. Last year I had upped my swimming to prepare. This year I was actually only swimming twice per week. I kept remembering how much my shoulder hurt after the first year, and was afraid it would happen again.
So many emotions going in to this. I made the deal with myself that if my arm started to hurt, I would get out. But I still dragged my butt.
I knew the pool would be crowded. And I was afraid I would hold my lane back, or fail. Or…you name it…I feared it. Why did I worry? Because there was a lot I couldn’t control but rather I had to face. Swimming is a weak spot. I swim, but every time I get anxious about being left behind, holding people back, or …yeah…irrational stuff. I have the group I love to swim with as we know where everyone goes when circle swimming. But sometimes things get mixed up, and often new people drop in and we have to re-establish our order.
I am asking myself Why worry? Really who, besides me, cares if I fail? Or if I get lapped in the pool? No one. Who does it affect except me? No one. Well…maybe my coach will comment, but that’s between us.
There was also an option for a 3 hour trainer ride. Oh…I was tempted. I KNOW I can ride my bike – trainer or road – for 3 hours…ez. But that wasn’t an option for me, per my coach who knows to coax me out of my safety zone. Sometimes you have to face your fears. And know you can. And so I did.
I got there early, and as the lanes sorted out I realized I was in the lane with friends: people I swim with regularly and other friends who swim at lunch, but I have swum with in the past, and knew. Also, I swam with them all LAST NYE. I started to settle down. But like a race, I don’t really until I get to fall in to what I am doing; forget about everything else except that moment.
With little fanfare we were off.
Maria was on deck, and has a gift at sorting lanes. In the first 1000 meters or so she swapped people around in lanes.
For most of the swim I was third – behind either Libby (who I swam behind last NYE) or Gretchen…depending on who lead. And behind me was Laura or Lynn, as well as Lora. We all did 10k. Also in our lane were people I usually swim with: Tom, Susan, Linda, and also a couple of other people I didn’t know.
And, as expected, once I started swimming, I was comfortable, confident, and had no worries. I had fun. I was all in for the swim.
After the first 6,200 meters with no equipment. After that first set, I used paddles for about 700 but otherwise had fins. Others used paddles for a bit longer, and I was OK with that as it meant I could swim EZ with the fins.
We had one bathroom break at the end of 6,200 meters too. First year with only one bathroom break!
With the last 800 our group was the last group still swimming. Everyone else had either gotten out (did less than 10k) or had finished 10k. We moved over to the last lane so that the swim team could start their practice.
And apparently we had the awesome lane. We swam together and communicated very well. People stayed together. And we got it done! 3:04.
But that wasn’t all. I also had a 5k run written in. There was a group running 5k or 10k, and I headed out (after changing) to see if they were still there. Once outside I didn’t see anyone. So I started running on my own. I had forgotten my Garmin, so was just going. As I ran I saw the big group headed towards me – they were running the loop in the other direction. Of course it didn’t dawn on me to join them. I had only gone about 1 mile or so, and could have easily turned around. But that is neither here nor there. I kept on…alone. And I saw them again as they started their second loop for 10k. I stopped at 5k.
Afterwards, I was pleased with how good I felt, that my arm never hurt, and I swam strong to the end. I actually was in happy dance mood as even though I had been swimming less, I felt stronger and better this year. Maybe there is hope…not necessarily to get faster, but better. Maybe? Swimming is a skill. I watch the young kids and teen agers, and they make it look so easy. I see the people in the lanes above me that have been swimming all their life and….it is so effortless (in appearance. I know they are working). It’s one of those things that picking up later in life is a disadvantage. Just like learning a new language. It isn’t impossible but….it just isn’t as easy either. But, I won’t give up, and I won’t overlook each advance I make, and each fear I overcome, and will never overlook each time I have a fantastic time swimming.