Saturday, August 11, 2018

Hold my beer...

So, tomorrow I’m doing this thing. It seems kind of crazy, even to me, and especially FOR me because well… who signs up for an ultra swim when they’re not a swimmer? Well, me, it seems. Chalk it up to a chain-reaction of crazy ideas beginning with my 2019 Ultra520K application, followed by a little post-Hyack hot-tub encouragement peer-pressure from super swimmer Ann. And hey, it was so far away, surely I could become a better swimmer by then, right? 

Well, then is now, and despite spending hours and hours of time in the pool and the lake, and Sunday after Sunday (after Sunday) of early morning swim coaching, I’m no faster than I was before. Le sigh.

Speed matters because here because this race has a cut-off. If I swim straight enough, and conditions are favourable, I should be OK. Should be.

Ten years ago, I embarked on a journey to transform my body, my health, and my life. In those early years, when I was well at the back of the pack of running races and triathlons, I feared being last. And in those early years, I came close a few times. Very, very close. Like… I think I was 3rd from last once at an AIK race but although spectators warn us with signs that race results last forever, I can’t find it to confirm!  Over the years, I’ve worked my way up to the middle of the pack, and every once in a while, I’m closer to the front than the middle. It’s been a long time since I feared being the last athlete across the line.  Well, tomorrow, I expect to be the last athlete across the line. And that’s 100% OK with me. It will mean this non-swimmer who can’t seem to work her way out of the slow lane will have made all the cut-offs and hauled herself through the water over 11.8 km. Crazy, right?

No matter the outcome, I want some people to know how much I appreciate them when it comes to tomorrow’s crazy. Shelly, who took kayaking lessons to prepare for this and will paddle all day and manage my snacks… Andrew, who may tell me I’m crazy when I get these ideas, but supports me all the way anyway… my Coach Liz, who has never said a single negative thing about my swimming (and chastises me when I do) despite the fact that I am sure she must look at some of my swim workouts and wonder how the hell someone can go so.damn.slow …she always makes me feel like she believes in my ability to be successful, even when sometimes I’m not so sure myself… and my swim coach Ryan, who has yet to declare me hopeless. 

At my last session with Ryan coaching, he kayaked alongside me and shouted (he’s good at the shouting):

“Karin! Karin!! You can swim all day…” (I mmm-hmm’d my agreement) “…you need to swim faster.”

I’ll try Ryan, I’ll try.

See you at the finish line.