Lessons From A Snail

I’ve been struggling with the swim portion of my half iron training. I’ve been worried about it since I considered even doing a triathlon, let alone one that included a 1.2 mile swim.  I started swimming last year on October 4th, and I find it fascinating that I can actually swim for a pretty long time without touching the bottom or support or getting winded.  I’m slow though.  Very, very, painstakingly slow.  That doesn’t bother me really, because I’m at least getting the job done.  My goal is to swim only, not swim at a certain pace.

Last week, curiosity got the best of me and I looked up the approximate start times for my half iron race at the end of October and compared that time to the tide charts. My stomach dropped. I won’t even START swimming until after high tide has come and gone, so the thought of having just a tiny little push quickly vanished. I knew that during about an hour on each side of high tide, the water is pretty slack, but I didn’t realize that I would be starting after high tide and probably ending the race against the tide. Lord help me.

I didn’t freak out about this revelation, but I did talk to my coach, who knows the water like the back of her hand, and I seriously considered deferring the race until next year. I do not want to miss my swim cutoff time (1.5 hours), and honestly, I don’t want to train any more than I already am to swim FASTER. I am happy just plugging along and getting the distance in, quietly being the turtle in the back of the pack. I find myself slightly resentful towards swimming, as it isn’t running or biking (which makes me run faster), and I just want to run (or bike because it helps running). I messed around all summer, and now I’m ready to attack my marathon training. This triathlon is supposed to be FUN, not a diversion from running!!!


While all of this has been going on, I’ve noticed some really cool snails at two of my son’s football fields.  They’re pretty small snails, too. But that doesn’t stop them. I don’t know where they’re going, but they have a mission and they don’t stop. I picked a few of them up and moved them to the side of the field so they didn’t get stomped on as the crowds made their way from the field to the bathrooms, but I don’t think there’s been one snail who said, “Hey, I’m just too slow, so I’m going to give up.” I don’t think it works that way for them. They’re determined by nature to go where they need to go without regard to how long it takes to get there.  I’ve never seen a snail with a watch. I’ve never seen a snail frustrated because he was late. Or slow. Or behind all the other snails.


I thought about the irony of the triathlon debacle and my snail discoveries. The message seems to be clear. Just keep going. Don’t stop, don’t give up, don’t slow down, just go.  And I will.


The best advice.

The best advice.


Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “Lessons From A Snail

  1. Jana

    Omg I LOVE the snail analogy!!!! Makes you think too..I’ve never seen a snail with a watch..maybe we all just need to slow down as we will get to where we are going eventually!!!!

  2. Connie

    Just keep swimming — I can hear you and Dorie singing it together:))))

  3. This is a GREAT analogy!! Dori (from Finding Nemo) has it dead on…”Just keep swimming.” You’ll get there and who knows…you may find you even like swimming a little more come race day 😉

    • Thank you. I need to just look at my own tattoo that says “No fear” and let all the worrying go!! I think I need to give myself a little more credit since I began swimming a year ago. If I believe I will be fine, my chances of it actually being fine will be so much higher!

      • There is so much truth to believing in your abilities. You definitely need to give yourself more credit if you’ve only been swimming one year.!!

  4. Good advice! Stick with it, I’m sure you’ll find the fun!

  5. Nothing wrong with being slow. You are still faster than anyone sitting on the couch:)

  6. Gary

    Kelli, I have every confidence in you. You will do fine, and when you get out of the water at the swim finish, you’ll be thinking “all that worrying for nothing”.

  7. “Just keep swimming” worked for my friend who just swam the English Channel 🙂

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