On Progress

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.

Can’t wait to be back in the open water with the awesome Britannia Swim Gang

On Confidence

Phrases I’ve said out loud and inside my head this past week:

I’m really really slow

I don’t think I can do it

I’m so tired of being slow

My technique is terrible

I’m trying to boost myself up

Maybe I should quit

I’m nervous

The thing is, I’ve signed up for a big swimming challenge next week and I really want to get back to playing hockey again. And both of these fun things that I really want to do are messing with my head. To the point where my brain is flooded with stress and rumination.

I know, it doesn’t make sense! Or does it? I told myself that I’m on this low-confidence thought pattern because I care about doing well. But is this right? Or am I having these feelings of self-doubt and negativity because I’m looking for a way-out of putting myself in what could be a stressful situation?

I think it’s both. Essentially it’s a mixture of fear and anticipation. Whatever it is, I was struggling to get out of this rut of self-doubt, low confidence, and brain muttering.

And then, last night I watched Kipchoge: The Last Milestone.

It’s not often a movie clicks for me. This one did. Listening to Eliud Kipchoge talk about training, life, running, and hearing from others who know him, helped snap me out of my low-confidence mindset.

If you don’t know who Eliud Kipchoge is, here’s what you need to know – Eliud is the first person to run a marathon under 2 hours. He is the best marathoner of all-time. But he is more than his marathon results, he’s a good person – it’s hard to explain – just watch the movie or the live coverage from Vienna, or read some interviews with him.

Maybe these quotes from Eliud Kiphchoge will help me explain myself better:

No human is limited.”

If you want to break through, your mind should be able to control your body. Your mind should be a part of your fitness.

Mentality is where the success is.”

I would like to tell every living soul in the world that anyone can do whatever they want, all they need is to believe and trust in themselves.”

My secret? I run with my heart and my mind.”

So you get the idea. Anyway, watch the movie – you won’t regret it.

It’s funny as I sit here and think about the quotes I just posted here, I’m reminded of 2008, 2009, and 2010. Back then I was fully in on trying to achieve a big goal. A goal that many people told me was impossible.

But I believed in myself. I believed in my training. I trusted my coach. I had an amazing group of people who reminded me to trust the process and to keep digging hard. And it worked. I did it. It wasn’t easy. There were many tough days – but somehow I kept on going.

Looking back on this time now, I really think it came down to my mind. I believed. It’s funny though when I think back to this time, I do wish I could have had even more confidence and self-belief. I wonder what I could have done then?

A while ago I was luck to talk at the Bushtakah SWEET night. I talked about goals, controlling the controllables, support networks, and self-belief. I guess it’s time I reread my speech and listen to my own advice…

Reset button is pushed. I’m ready.

Oh So Goode in the ‘Goode

I’ve written this blog post multiple times in my head, but haven’t been able to get it out of my brain, through my fingers, and onto the keyboard. This is likely because of my day-to-day routine.

I write all day, everyday. I am very lucky to do this for a job. But some days, some days I just can’t push on and write for fun. Some days I feel like the words are gone and I don’t trust my fingers to give you something worth reading.

I feel like this right now. I’m not exaggerating when I write that I don’t know what will come next. You know how authors talk about their characters communicating through them and feeling their characters come alive on the page? Well, it’s the same thing for me. The words come and I don’t know where they come from – they just come.

Some days the words come easily. And other days. Well, other days I sit and stare. I reread my notes. I scroll through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, I drink tea, I pace, I fold laundry, I take a shower, and then the words come (if I’m lucky).

So yeah, this is my excuse for not writing sooner or more often.

Life has been a bit hectic I suppose. A little over a month ago, we moved from our home of 22 years to a new-to-us house in Osgoode. It’s been a lot. A lot of boxes. A lot of planning. A lot of managing. A lot of unpacking. A lot of looking at boxes and avoiding unpacking. A lot of a lot.

But it’s been a good thing. I’m finally feeling like myself again. I truly didn’t realize how on edge and stressed out I was living in the old place. It wasn’t the house. It was the environment. It had changed drastically in the last few years and I truly could not enjoy being outside or even in our house.

And now we’re here. And it’s good. Really good. We have space. The pace is slower. There is a community again. Sure, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. There are bumps and learning curves. But this is as it should be. If I told you it was perfect, I would be looking through very heavily tinted rose-colored glasses.

And now, now I’ve come to the point where the words have stopped flowing through my fingers. I’ve paused and stuttered. Typed and deleted. So this is where I end. Not the perfect ending but it’s the reality of writing and letting things happen. Kind of like life, I guess.

We like it here

Trying to be Regular

It’s a new month and I thought it made sense to try to get back into the habit of regular posts. Remember when I used to post every single day?

Geez those were the days. I had tales about riding and racing my bike in Belgium, food discoveries, and the highs and lows of trying to get my bike to go faster and faster.

And now here we are. Many years removed from the life in the bike lane. Well, I’m still in it – but not really fully in it.

Life is more now. I’ve finally learned that I’m not a bike rider/racer. I’m a person who has lots of interests and does lots of stuff. The bike is part of me. But it is not all of me. It’s taken a long while to get to this understanding. This is probably a good thing.

So yeah let’s see if I can post at least once a month.

There is some stuff going on that will likely be post-worthy. This reminds me of a key message from CopyCon21 – what is important to you (the content person/brand/company) is not necessarily what is important to your audience.

So yeah, who knows if what is happening with me is post-worthy for you – but it is for me. And since it’s my website, well, you get the message.

Upcoming – moving to Osgoode. But first final packing bonanza (this weekend). And next movers taking all of our heavy stuff away. Then we move. In between there’s the Feist concert. Cyclocross season starts (I’m not racing) – but I’ll be there with you in spirit – yes, you can do it. And I’m splashing around in the pool. Oh and I finally have a library card. Bring on all the books.

Quick edit here: forgot to remind you that Adele’s new album hitting the airwaves on November 19! Woohoo. Can’t wait to listen to my second BFF’s album. Save the date!!!

Learned the fly yesterday. So that’s a big thing. Well, a version of the fly. Maybe more like an uncoordinated semi-drowning taking on lots of water thrashing fly.

Oh, and I’m fully hooked on daily journaling. Every single day I scribble a few sentences or paragraphs in a black note book I keep on the kitchen counter (so it’s visible and obvious to me). This is a great way to calm the brain and get stuff out of my head. Probably also why I’m posting less here – a lot of the stuff is going in a little black book instead of on the big black hole of the Internet.

K – that’s all I’ve got. A lot of rambling. I’d like to blame the cold brew (my latest liquid obsession) – but it’s decaf. So yeah, maybe it’s just me.

Lucky in Life

Life is what you make it – blah blah blah. But honestly, I think there is a big part of luck that comes into making the life you want. And I am very lucky.

This past month has been a whirlwind with buying a house, getting a house ready to sell, selling our house, and continuing through this chaos with work and staying active. To say August was a lot is an understatement.

Now that our house is sold, both of us have had a chance to sit back and realize how lucky we are. From the day we started getting our house ready to sell, our friends and family volunteered to help us in anyway they could.

Moving furniture, loading the POD, listening to me stress about every little thing, building fences, replacing Calvin-scratched screens, and generally doing every little thing that needed doing. You know who you are. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

We’re super excited to be moving to Osgoode and creating a home in our new house. We’ve been here in Barrhaven since 1999. And honestly at the start of the summer we had zero plans to move. But life has a funny way of pointing you in the direction that makes sense.

So here we are. Living with minimal furniture (it’s in the POD or in the garbage heap) and not a lot of clothes or belongings. Someone might have even been a bit overzealous with the packing, so now we need to go buy some fall jackets…

We learned a few things during the three weeks of constant house chaos. Primarily that we can do a lot when we put our minds to it. We had a very long list of to do’s and I honestly didn’t think we’d get through it – but we did (again, thank you to all the people who helped us).

Secondly we learned that change is good. Scary but good. Now that the selling is behind of us, we’re much more excited about what lies ahead. We bought our new place in Osgoode on Monday August 2nd and from then on until this past Tuesday, it was non-stop go. We didn’t really have a chance to think or talk about the new house, the possibilities, ideas, and our plans. And now, both of us are looking at furniture, talking about gardening (what!), and our dream ideas for our house.

If you’re curious about our new place, here is the link: Osgoode.

And in case you’re wondering what else has been going on – here are a few photos that sum up the awesome summer so far (no, it’s not over – September can still be summer!):

Yes, very lucky in life. Can’t wait to see what happens next.