Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You just gotta push through that.

I swam about a mile this weekend, which consisted of six 300-ish-meter (or yards ... whatever) legs. My first half mile was weak. I continue to struggle during the first 300 meters (or yards ... whatever). The second half mile felt strong.
In talking to a guy at work who has been doing triathlons for a while now - he's even completed a few Iron Mans - I told him I still struggle with that first leg. I stop several times to roll onto my back and catch my breath.
"You gotta just push through that," he said.
Why didn't I think of that?
Seriously. Why didn't I think of that?
I push myself through so many other physical endeavors, so why don't I push myself through that first 300 meters (or yards ... whatever)?
Each time I enter the water, I know that I will struggle through the first half of my swim. Then I know that I will find my stride, relax and enjoy it.
I've been swimming now for nine months. I thought I'd ridden myself of the water anxiety. I no longer use my wetsuit as a crutch, and I look forward to swimming, especially the weekly lake swims.
Yet I continue to allow myself to feel anxiety for the first 10 minutes of my swim.
This morning, for my pool swim, I tried something different. I told myself I was going to push through the anxiety.
After all, when I'm doing my track workouts, I push through running the stairs as my heart rate spikes in the low 180s. Talk about pain! And, I push myself to maintain 10 mph when I hit big hills on my bike and my heart rate hits record highs. Shoot, when I'm in the pool and I experience that initial anxiety, my heart rate hasn't left the 130s! I'm no where near running out of breath.
This morning I pushed through the first 300 meters (or yards ... whatever) and did just fine. Isn't it funny how something so simply stated by someone else is like a thump on the forehead to you?
Now, if someone could simply tell me the difference between meters and yards (whatever).

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I was walking in downtown Phoenix to meet a good friend for lunch recently, when a woman crossed paths with me and handed me a small tome. "Would you like a New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs?" she asked.
"Sure, thanks," I said, and I really meant it. I tucked the light-blue pocket-size book into my purse, and since then have moved it from purse to purse, bag to bag. I haven't opened it and read it, but I like having it with me.
I thought about what my reaction might have been as recent as a year ago, had I been "accosted" by a "religious zealot."
Several years ago, when my son was a first grader and I was married to his dad, we were living in a tree-lined street in Holt, Mich., when two women knocked on our door.
"We have an important message to deliver," one of them said. "Are you happy with the way the world seems to be moving these days?"
I glanced down at their name tags and saw they were there on behalf of their church, the Latter Day Saints. Our street seemed to be a favorite route of Jehovah's Witnesses and members of the Church of LDS.
"I'm not interested," I said firmly.
"But, ma'am, don't you care about the world?"
"I'm not interested in what you have to say," I said.
"Our message is really important," she insisted.
This time, I raised my voice and said, "I'm not interested in what you have to say, and I want you off my porch immediately."
"But, ma'am ..."
I closed the door, slid the lock in place and turned around to see my sweet-faced son staring up at me.
"Mommy, what did those ladies DO?" he asked. I'd used my angry mommy voice with those women, and he assumed they'd done something REALLY bad.
In those few seconds between sliding the lock in place and turning around to see my son's innocent concern, I went from feeling violated and angry to feeling like a complete asshole.
"They didn't do anything wrong," I said. "They believe in something so strongly that they want to tell the world about it because it makes them happy and they want everyone to feel that happiness. I didn't handle that very well."
"No, you were good! You were really good!" my son said.
I still don't like it when someone knocks at my door and pushes their agendas on me, whether they are political, religious or business-related - and whether I agree with them or not. That's my home!
But I've softened my defenses because, one, I respect their beliefs; two, I believe we cross paths with each other for reasons; three, I actually admire someone who can embrace any cause or issue enough to take it door to door (thought I still prefer they'd skip my door); and four, I feel better about myself when I handle something with grace and class, versus being a complete asshole about it.