Note: To save you the time, I took the liberty of looking up the definition of “swim” in the Urban Dictionary.
Here’s what I found:
S – someone
W – who
I – isn’t
M – me
When I registered for the Triathlon at Pacific Grove, I had to force myself to complete the form right when I thought I might want to take the chance and participate. Granted, I may have had a glass (or so) of wine beforehand, but I knew if I waited even a few minutes, I may have talked myself out of the whole thing and simply gone about my summer without really having to do much at all except maybe catch up on some sleep or television shows.
I do not envision myself an “athlete”, you see. In my head, this type of event is reserved for the athletes around me.
Somehow, some new “friends” I’ve met through my time with Team in Training (TNT) were able to convince me to give it a shot.
“If I could do it, anybody could.” they said.
“It’ll be SO FUN!” they said.
It is only a few weeks into training and I’m already wondering if ‘anybody’ can actually be me. I also have to assume the ‘fun’ begins once I figure out what I’m doing, should that happen at all.
I mean, it is only three events, right? And each event is only a short distance (in comparison to other triathlons), right?
I’ll be able to do the cycle segment, I know this. Initially, the run portion was what I was most apprehensive about, as I’ve never really been able to run any distance without pain. I was told I could walk some or all if I needed to, so I’m okay with it now.
I’m more of the ‘I just want to finish.’ than the ‘I want to finish ahead of you.’ kind of participant. So walking will suit me just fine, thank you.
When I first looked at the course, the swimming segment did not cause any doubts for me. Sure, I haven’t been in a pool in years. I don’t even remember when I’ve been in a lake, river or other large body of water at all for any reason other than to cool off quickly on a hot day.
I’m not afraid of the water. I felt like that was half the battle.
Turns out, the battle is larger than I had anticipated.
At this time, I become exhausted after just floundering about in the pool for twenty minutes (or less). Which has me asking myself this question:
“How am I supposed to swim – with some actual swimming maneuvers sprinkled in for good measure along the way – for nearly a mile?”
We had our first ‘open water swim’ with the team recently. It felt very odd being out in a lake with the sole purpose of swimming to buoys for training.
From the shore, the floating orange oasis looked so far away. But from just inside the lake, while treading water and trying to breathe what will soon feel like my last breath ever, it looked like a mirage and it was even further away than before.
Apparently, I’ve got issues.
It didn’t take long before I determined the swim out to the turnaround wasn’t going to happen for me if I wanted to live. So I turned around and headed closer to the shore in order to get some more practice time where I could focus on my “form”. The coaches force me to call it that.
Some nice young woman saw me bobbing and sputtering anxiously as I searched for the ground beneath the water so I could stand and whine…I mean rest…for a minute.
She insisted I go with her and she was kind enough to give me some pointers on breathing and some tips on how to improve my technique. (Yup – I’m forced to call whatever it is I do “technique”, too.)
Mind you, she did so while sacrificing her own training time in the lake with the team.
In the end, I swam much further than I thought I could and I was able to breathe a little better while doing it.
I know I still have SO much to learn and so far to go before I am ready for event day. Many factors go into this swimming thing that were not even on my radar. I guess I’m naive. But that’s okay. We all have to start somewhere if we ever want to finish anything.
And therein lays the focus of TNT. They are, first and foremost, dedicated to raising money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) in order to fund research which will help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives.
It is the method by which they are doing this that continues to astound me. Together, those of us who run, walk, cycle, swim and hike with TNT are all part of one Team, and it is growing more and more powerful every season.
Along the path to raising funds, the individuals that form the Team actually become, themselves, coaches and mentors to others. Regardless of whether or not they carry the ‘official’ title within the TNT ranks.
The person who helped me stay in the water rather than escape back to the shore while nobody was watching (I know I’m fooling myself, here. There is always somebody watching.) is a prime example of Team.
There was absolutely no reason for her to stop her training and help me work on mine.
She had nothing to gain, yet she stuck with me without my so much as asking for her to do so.
She, and all of the others like her, are the reason I will continue to come back to Team in Training. While the core purpose of funding a cure is certainly motivation enough, having the opportunity to work with other people who have that same common goal and focus is priceless.
We are training most days of the week for some upcoming event all over the country. Wherever you are, as you look around you, you are bound to see TNT purple at some point. Those are the people who are out there raising funds and working towards the day when hearing the words “You have Cancer.” may directly be followed by the words, “But, that’s okay. We’ve got ways to beat it.”
“I can. Therefore, I will.”