The Art of Distraction

As much as I don’t want to admit it, I am TOTALLY FREAKING out about the Boston Marathon registration that starts on Monday. I will try not to check the site daily to see if the race has filled up until I can register on September 16th. I qualified by less than five minutes, so my registration day is after all the other qualification pools (people who run five or more minutes faster than their specific gender/age group qualification time) get their chance. People, I’m freaking out on the inside. Some are saying that it will be full for sure before I get a chance to register, and some are saying that I should be able to get in since the number of registrants was increased an equivalent of around 3,000 runners. I don’t allow myself to believe it will happen and get all excited, and I do this by convincing myself that it will be full and there’s no chance of me getting in. I worry about my wireless internet not working that morning. I worry that it will be full one registration before I get to it. I worry about working so hard to fulfill a crazy dream, but because of some terrorists, not being able to see that dream come to full fruition. I worry about qualifying again. So in between the small moments that I allow myself to worry, dream, imagine, I block it all out. I think about other things. So I’m not really talking about Boston registration right now. Oh, everyone will know one way or the other if I get in. The people in about a one mile radius will probably HEAR me if I do, which I won’t, so I’ll stop talking about it. Why not just believe in it? Well, the way I operate is that I tell myself that it won’t happen, so if it actually did, then the thrill is so much more rewarding. If you look at it the other way around and I tell myself that I WILL get in and get all excited then am not able to get in, then the disappointment will chew at me for months, probably years. It’s the easiest way I deal with things like this. It’s probably not the best way, but it’s how I do it.

How do I keep my mind occupied since the registration issue lurks right under the surface? Ahhh, the art of distraction. So I’m obsessing about swimming, about biking, about my achy leg that I’m still not talking about, of course about my own marathon training, about new eating strategies, about getting moved into my house, about new episodes of House Hunters and American Ninja Warrior and Property Brothers. I’m even sort of obsessing about this blog too.

Today, the day of all days, the distraction was swimming.  I was meeting my sister at Wrightsville to have a nice leisurely swim.


Same place we went last week.

My sister started swimming when she injured her calf muscle during a training run. Since I now live right by her, we’ve spent a lot of time together talking about our training and such. She’s a very good swimmer and will be swimming the first leg of the Beach 2 Battleship 1/2 Iron Distance Triathlon at the end of October, a friend doing the bike part, and I’ll be doing the running part. Because I’ve wanted to learn how to swim for so long and let water-in-my-ear canal thing bother me so much, I never bit the bullet and swam. Until today. My sis has been a very good teacher, has let me do my own thing while providing advice, and I wouldn’t have been able to swim there had it not been for her.  So thanks, Sis!  I went out last week and paddled around a little, and I realized that I liked it. It was open water and I got the gist of the salt, the safe swim course, and the slight current. I also stopped at one tip of the head and didn’t let myself get into it. That’s ok, I got out there, so I was good with just a tiny bit of progress.


I’m quite the goober.

I was a little nervous today about what I was going to attempt. I didn’t know how it was going to feel, and I was anxious.  I also knew that if I didn’t do what I came to do, I would be really disappointed in myself as well as a missed opportunity.  So, I started swimming freestyle, took a breath and then kept swimming. Water made that horrid sound as it went far into my ear as I turned my head. Then it went away. I kept going, and the sound that I hate, the feeling that I hate, went away. I stopped, started again, heard that sound and felt that feeling, and kept going. Small victory?  Actually, for me, it was a huge victory. I can swim now. I can go beyond keeping myself alive in the water and playing with my kids. I can swim. I can go all the way across a pool without stopping or practically dying from holding my breath the whole way. I. Can. Swim. Had I just kept at it the last several times I tried, I would have learned that the thing that I hate only lasts a moment.  Hmmmm, I wondered. Why in the world did I let a few uncomfortable seconds prevent me from participating in a sport that provides a lot of exercise, relief for my tired joints, and well, just fun?  I passed through the gateway for triathlons today. Yeah for me!  Yup, I definitely gagged several times and several hours later, can still taste salt. I certainly did not look like a real swimmer and most real swimmers would be mortified if they saw me and my “form”. But Rome wasn’t built in a day.   With things like this, forward motion, progress, is really all that matters. It does to me, anyway.  That’s probably why I say that I can swim. I did not say that I could swim well. And I don’t care.

As I was doing this new swimming thing, I realize that it’s imperative that you must have a good pair of goggles, and I did not. I was upset about the goggle situation before I even left the house because my stupid cat, Goldie, ate the headband of my new pair that I used last week. This is nothing new in our house, but I was pretty pissed about it. I grabbed another pair and set off to the waterway. I had no idea the lens was totally scratched up, so once I started swimming (I like saying that so I will probably say it a few more times), I couldn’t see. My sister had some anti-fog stuff and that worked to help the fogging as it should, but I just couldn’t see well.


This is basically all I could see.

Lesson number two for the day, have good goggles because SEEING in the open water is pretty important.  Oh, so what’s lesson one? Just TRY it! Try something completely before you say that you can’t do it. Sheesh, the years I wasted not fully trying and hiding behind that water in the ear canal thing? Soooo silly. I learned a lesson today and it will probably seep into other areas of my life. I don’t like heights so am I going to hang the Christmas lights on the roof two stories up? Hell no, but I won’t refuse to go zip lining because it’s too scary. How do I KNOW that it’s too scary? I don’t and in fact, I may LIKE it! Opening your mind to new and different things can be pretty scary and nerve wracking.  But it can also reward you with experiences that you never would have dreamed before. I’m the perfect case in point. Would I ever think I could or would swim in open water? No. But I did.  I wonder what will distract me next week? I can only imagine. Or can I?

(By the way, I can swim!!!!!! Yeah!!!!!)

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, training for marathon, triathlon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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