So, you have already been introduced to one of the other people that lives in my head. That little voice that tells me it’s ok to cram some carbs or sugar every now and again, but there is another. (Yeah, I am starting to think I am pretty crazy too!) It’s the “social me.” You see, I am not a very social person. I don’t go out much, and can count my friends on one hand without using my thumb…. or pinky and maybe tall man too.
Anyway, I am not much for socializing, but at work it is a necessity. In the professional world, you will inevitably have to work with someone you absolutely despise, and you have to do so in a professional manner. In my outside of work “real” life, I never do that. Either we get along and like each other, or we don’t and that’s that. I really try not to be fake because I don’t like fake people and don’t want to be one of them.
My husband is the total opposite. He makes friends without even trying and people just love him. One of the big differences, is he is far less judgmental than I am and doesn’t assume most people are jerks first. He lets them do their thing and it either works out or doesn’t. I’m the opposite in that I assume they are jerks first, don’t bother, and if they happen to prove otherwise well then that is great. That’s pretty horrible now that I think about it.
As I mentioned in my last post, Kristie had come up to me when I was at the pool and introduced me to Sandy, one of the ladies in the Sunday group class. I told them I would go, primarily because I decided to put more effort into my swimming. The training part of me was really excited, but the social recluse in me was not thrilled. Sunday came and it was raining most of the morning, so the recluse secretly was assuming the class would be cancelled. I texted Kristie and she responded that the pool would be opening again right before our scheduled class time, we were still on. Greaaaat news……ugh. I got my things together and reminded myself that as uncomfortable as I was, my purpose lately is to get out of that comfort zone.
As I got to the pool, Sandy was walking in at the same time. She mentioned how part of her was hoping it was cancelled because of the weather, and I chuckled, telling her I knew how she felt. The next few minutes felt like a whirlwind of shaking hands and throwing names out there. I am horrible with names. I smiled and greeted everyone. I felt like I must have just met ten people but once I got a grip, i realized there were only five of us. I quickly got my phone out and listed their names. It helps me to “write” things down…. I practiced remembering Sandy since last week, so I was good there. Ok, then there was Mindy, Eleanor, and Audrey. I spent the first few warm up minutes chanting in my head… Sandy, Mindy, Eleanor, Audrey.
As we were chatting and getting our caps and goggles on, Audrey informed me that she had done the Tradewinds park triathlon twice before, and Sandy was signed up for a relay in the one I am going to. Apparently the relay allows one person per item.. huh, didn’t know that. I had seen Sandy swim before, and she informed me that Mindy was even better than her. Surely, I was going to be the slowest most uncoordinated one there. I had to remind myself that I needed to be ok with that. I was there to learn and get better. I kept repeating that to myself, along with Sandy, Mindy, Eleanor, Audrey.
Kristie had us do various things for different lengths. Sometimes, it was just easy freestyle to the end, sometimes it was freestyle with exaggerated kicking and sometimes it was whatever we wanted. My favorite was when she asked us to all practice rolling onto our back mid stroke so that if anyone got nervous during a triathlon or a swim, they would know how to regain their composure. That is what I practiced most! I was constantly going onto my back when I felt like I could not breath. She watched each of us during the lengths and gave amazing feedback.
I was breathing too late in my stoke, which I corrected. I was tilting my head up even when I thought I was not, which I corrected. I was so thrilled with all that I was learning and experiencing. I was like a sponge, absorbing each and every tidbit she could offer. Then, I started to pay more attention to the others. Not in a competitive way, like I have done in the past when in a group, but in a way that I realized we were all very much alike. We all had challenges in our own way. For some of us, it was breathing right, for others it was wanting the perfect stroke, for others it was all of the above. I found that I did pretty well for the most part, I only lost it once and had to roll over for breath. I pushed too quickly and hard and got panicked.
I asked Audrey her opinion on the best goggles for the lake. Her response was “honey, you can’t see a damn thing, so just use what feels good!” That’s when Kristie had us all swim with our eyes shut and only open them when breathing and sighting. Part of me felt bad that a lot of Kristie’s instructions were very triathlon centric, but no one seemed to mind at all. As the hour progressed, we did various things and all felt very much the same. When we pushed hard and crazy, we all felt like we couldn’t make it another length. When we did a relaxed length on our backs we felt like we could do that all day.
One of the last things we did was a length taking as few breaths as possible. Oh boy, I thought. Here comes anxiety and paranoia. I took a second to calm myself and reminded myself the entire time that I was ok, I was in the pool and not going to drown or run out of air in a way that I could not just get some more. I made it to the end with three only breaths! That was a record for me and I was thrilled! Kristie asked us each how many and when she got to Sandy, her answer was one, in the middle. Mindy and I were amazed! We told her that was awesome and that we didn’t think we could do that. Kristie then asked us all to try. She told us to try to breath only at the ladder in the middle. I told myself I would try, but not be too disappointed if I was not successful, after all a second ago I was thrilled with three!
We all took a big breath and got started. I held my breath at first and then started to slowly let it out. I assumed i was about a quarter of the way when I was out and needed to pop back up for some air. Much to my surprise and delight, I saw the ladder just behind where I was. I knew in that moment, that if I got that far on one breath, I could surely make it to the end. I got to the wall just as I was out of breath. I only took one breath that length. I was so thrilled! I looked over and Mindy had just as much excitement in her eyes. She had done it too! We high five’d each other and were grinning ear to ear. Sandy almost made it to the end without coming up for air at all. Everyone did way more than they thought they were capable of.
I always try to recognize what I may have learned or should learn from situations and today, I learned that if I let my guard down once in a while, I might be surprised. It was hard for me to accept help. It was hard for me to socialize. It was hard for me to swim the way I did, but in the end it was one of the greatest training sessions I have ever had. I met some really nice ladies, all with their own challenges. Eleanor has troubles getting all the pieces of the puzzle to fit and sometimes struggles getting the entire length done. Audrey told me how she waved the kayak guys down several times to rest during her triathlons. Mindy is going through chemo. Sandy has a broken toe. We all have our own situations going on, but we all banded together and encouraged each other through that session, and it two more weeks we will do it all again….and this time, I won’t be hoping for rain.