I don’t know if you have a bucket list, but somehow a triathlon made it onto mine. This was a great idea in theory, but when it came down to it, I realized I needed to learn how to swim.
This came as a big surprise to people who knew me, because I’m an avid water skier, and I love being in the water. I mean, I can tread water like nobody’s business!
And don’t get me wrong, I can also swim, but it’s just not pretty. Not the kind of swimming you want to do in a triathlon.
So yes, as a 35 year old adult, I got to take swimming lessons and prepare for my race.
This was scary for me, and a little embarrassing. But, I was always throwing my kids into new lessons and preaching all about trying new things. So I figured I needed to walk my talk, face my fear, and I did.
I remember my coach nick naming me “pretty fingers” because she could always find my bright pink painted nails coming up out of the water when she needed to correct my stroke.
I’ll admit I dreaded leaving my warm house and heading out in the cold Maine winter to jump in a pool to swim, knowing I’d return home with my wet hair in the often-snowy cold. It was cold!
I would jump in the pool and feel like a sinking ship. I just didn’t float easily. I also wore that really awkward nose plug, because I had such a hard time not breathing out of my nose. It just wasn’t pretty!
But guess what? Hard and new and even somewhat scary turns out to also be good, and not just for our kids, but for adults too.
I remember race day, I was scared to death. I was pacing in the bathroom, feeling sick to my stomach.
Once my turn finally came, when trying to get through my laps, in my mind I was singing “just keep swimming, just keep swimming, what do we do? We swim, we swim” thanks to Dori!
Then there was my trainer and good friend, Nicky, crouched at the edge of the pool cheering me on… “you can do it, just one more lap, your almost there…”
And I knew she was right, I could do it! I can do hard things! That was always my training motto.
And I did! I finished the swim and felt like I could do anything! Never mind the fact I still had the bike and run part (that I wasn’t as nervous about)… I conquered my fear and completed the swim! I did it!
It’s amazing how that feeling of accomplishment never gets old. But it does take sacrifice to get there. And the work is so worth the effort. Because, not only did I finish that race, but I went on to do more.
And not just more races, but more things. Things that were even harder, because I knew I could do it. I could try new things, hard things, and get them done.
I could push through the comfort zone and endure a challenge, and count on myself to get through it. My hard was just that, hard, but not impossible.
You see, once you push through your fears - not abandon them, but simply acknowledge them and do it anyway, you realize you can do what you set out to do.
You learn to trust yourself a little more, and dare a little more, and as a result you count on yourself to be the creator of your dreams.
So, get out there and do the hard thing that’s been holding you back. Let go of any fear, and be patient in the process. And don’t worry about what anyone else thinks about you.
You’ll realize you can do just about anything you set your mind out to do!