Bragging Rights

I can hardly believe it.

I didn’t quite think I would make it today.

My arms and legs are still a bit shaky.

I am exhausted.

But I did it.

I reached my 200 lap goal!!!

And just in case you think by any slim chance I miscalculated, I did an extra 10 just for good measure because when you are swimming for over 2 hours your mind does begin to plays tricks on you! :)

As I stood on the side about to dive in, the most beautiful butterfly landed on the ground just centimeters from my feet. Beautiful black with the most brilliant blue on its wings. Butterflies are incredibly symbolic for me for a certain reason I do not wish to go into. I knew I wasn’t swimming alone today. Where the energy came from I have no idea. The last thing I felt like this morning was swimming, but I did it anyway. 10. 20. 30. Just 170 more to go. I can do this. 40. 50. Quarter way there. It’s a start.  Just 150 more to go.  Ok, maybe just 10 more than last week. Next week you can reach your 200 goal. The dialog in my head kept on. I pushed on. 60. 70. 80. A little bit of a smile broke out on my face. I was feeling good, my body felt light. Maybe I can do this today. 90. Just 10 more and I’m at 100. One Hundred!!! I was half way there and I was still going strong.

One stroke after the other, one breath after another. There was something different about this swim today. I usually push hard at the beginning and by the end I’m much slower and I’ve normally swallowed enough water to over-hydrate me!  This time I kept a steady pace with each lap. Maybe the difference was that it was still early morning and I usually swim in the late afternoon. In previous swims I would often find that I hit this mental wall where my body just wants to give up.  I gasp for air, I am tired and I feel like I can’t go on anymore.  It’s an awful feeling, but you know it’s going to happen so you just have to keep pushing through until it lifts because you know it eventually will.

Something urged me on today, one lap after another. My goal was in sight. 110. 120. 130.  Just 70 more to go and I was still feeling good.  You come up for air, the world is real, you hear the sounds, everything is alive. You go under and suddenly you are in this surreal world where there is nothing but silence and effortless ~ everything feels free.  So much fills my mind, memories and images of people who help pull me through. Sometimes these images make me smile, not good for stopping water intake I might add!  140. 150. 160. By this time I was taking a breather every 10 laps. Just a few deep breaths to get me through the next 10.

My fingers and feet were wrinkled, I was going numb, my shoulders and neck were sore but somehow from somewhere I knew I could do this. I was so close. During one of those laps as I turned my head to take a breath I got this mental image of Emma and a little boy by the name of Gabriel, walking hand in hand, the length of the pool encouraging me on. It was like I was in a race with 6 others and I was so close to winning. It was in that moment I knew I was going to do this. 170.  Last week’s limit. I pushed on. 180. Just twenty more to go. I was so close now. 190. 200. I had done it!!! There was no splashing the water in celebration, there was no jumping for joy. I quietly just let my body go backwards and floated with a huge big smile on my face. No effort, just the water lapping at my body, my body resting in celebration.

My hands were wrinkled

My feet were wrinkled

But who cares, I did it!!

I started swimming as part of my exercise program to get me ready for Kilimanjaro. One day a conversation ensued with one of my friends after one of my status updates on Facebook. I think at the time I was managing 100 laps. A bet was made and although I can’t go into detail of what that bet entails other than the winner would be the first to reach 200 laps. I do believe I have won. If only you could see the smile on my face now…. ;)

All you have got to do is create your goal, and work to achieve it.  Sometimes all that is necessary is perseverance.

I work full-time, I study part-time and I get up three times a week at 5am to work on getting fit. I hike on weekends and swim when I can. It is not always easy as I’m tired and have a 101 things to do and often I look for reasons not to do it, but I have learnt that if I have the energy to complain that I’m tired or have too much else to do, then I know I have the energy to swim, exercise or hike. You just got to keep going.

And no matter what your goal is, so can you!!

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Aaron Schulefand M.S., A.C.S.M. C.P.T.
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 21:49:12

    Great post! I can completely relate to that high laps. I am not sure if you tried or not, but speedo makes an underwater mp3 player. It has made such a difference in my distance swims. I blog about exercise advice and motivational tips if you are interested in following. Keep up the great work!


    • Walking 4 Air
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 23:21:02

      Now an underwater mp3 player would really help pass the time! Will definitely check out your blog tomorrow when I’m online (currently on phone). Glad you enjoyed the post!


  2. Ciaran
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 01:33:16

    Nice one!


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