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.