Today during swim practice I felt like I was fighting the water. On Wednesday during swim practice, I felt like I wasn’t moving forward. On Monday at swim practice, I was exhausted and could barely swim 25 meters.
These are all good things. Yes – that’s right – feeling slow, uncoordinated, exhausted, and confused in the water were all good things for me.
A year ago, I wouldn’t have felt these sensations in the water. I wouldn’t have noticed that I was fighting the water and becoming needlessly tired. But today I did. This is progress.
To be frank, it’s not the kind of progress I want to be experiencing. I’d rather be enjoying the kind of progress that sees me swimming faster, higher in the water, and completely relaxed (and moving out of lane 1).
Today after swim practice I talked to one of the coaches who coached me last season. He confirmed what I was feeling. And in fact he said “your upper body is not in sync with your lower body.” I was also reminded of something this coach said to me last year “swimming is not easy.”
So now the plan is to forget all the things. To focus on a nice long reach, glide, and roll. To find the sensation in my hips/abs that I found last year when I’m reaching.
Forget about the pace. Relax my body. Don’t stress. And just let go.
Easier said than done. But I can confirm that trying to do all the things at the same time – well, it simply doesn’t work. And this applies to everything.
Sometimes when I’m starting a challenging writing project I get bogged down by the complexity of the messaging, the topic, and all the things. This makes it really hard to get started.
The words are forced. My fingers are left hovering over the keyboard. Nothing happens. I start drowning in doubt and lack of confidence.
I’ve learned to recognize this pattern. And now I tell myself “just write. This is what you do. Take it section-by-section.” It has taken me years of writing to get to this point.
It’s very easy to forget that progress is not linear. And it’s easy to forget that some days, it’s just not going to happen. And this is okay. Whether it’s in the pool or on the page.
What is important is the acknowledgement of this. And not spiralling into a not-great place.
Tomorrow I’m back in the pool at 6:30. I know what I’m going to think about (nothing!). I know what I will focus on (relax and reach).
And I’ll remind myself of the really good news – I have lots of progress to make – this means I will get where I want to be.