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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

When did THAT happen?

Back in November of last year I started taking private swim lessons.  I knew how to tread water and get myself out of trouble if I was in trouble but I didn't know how to do the various strokes properly and I definitely didn't know how to breathe and swim at the same time.  I was completely out of my comfort zone.  I loved swimming because it was something completely different from anything I'd done before but I hated it because it was extremely difficult.

An oldie but a goodie!  This race seemed
absolutely impossible.  Guess what?
Small goals and a coach who wouldn't
up on me got me to the finish line.
When I started I could barely make it down the length of the pool without stopping to catch my breath.  I doubted that I'd ever be able to actually swim laps and my goal of competing in a sprint triathlon (with a half mile open water swim) seemed to be getting farther and farther away.  However, I bought all the lessons so I didn't have any choice but to keep going.  My swim instructor, Ann, is very encouraging and keeps giving me new twists to keep swimming interesting.

So, I keep going and I keep trying.  I've been setting small goals for myself (does that sound familiar?!) to do the front crawl 6 or 8 laps.  Over the weekend my goal was to swim 10 lengths without flippers and without stopping.  I swam 12 lengths.  I felt so proud of myself and figured that I'd kind of hang out and swim 12 lengths this week and just keep increasing by 2 lengths every week.
In the meantime I've gotten some new swimming gear namely a swim cap and flippers.  The flippers have given me little blisters on my toes though so I wasn't terribly excited to put them on today.  So I just started crawling.  I knew I wanted to swim my 12 lengths before I put on the flippers to really fly but as I started swimming there was just something so peaceful about the rocking and rolling motion.  Listening to my breath.  Counting my strokes.  Before I knew it I had gone 20 lengths of the pool without stopping so I just kept going until I needed to get a drink of water.

I guess my point is that when we first start things the goal seems so far off and that we may never achieve it but we just have to keep going because as long as we keep trying we will reach the goal.

What is your big goal and what small steps will you take to get there?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Focus

Me:  Nervous as hell
Mark:  Chill as can be
Back in 2012 at a family reunion my cousin Mark and I were talking about the upcoming Las Vegas Half Marathon.  Shortly after that I got a message from him that he'd entered and was going to run it as well.  So, we bonded over that and hung out together at the start line.  I was a mess of emotions.  Mark was as cool as they come.  Anyway, a few days after the race we traded messages again and I admitted I was disappointed in my performance and he gave me a pep talk that I will never forget.  I had the pleasure/honor of having another one of those memorable conversations with him on Saturday.

[source]
We were talking about weight loss and I recalled a story that my friend Diane has told me a few times.  After Diane reached Lifetime status she asked our leader, Karen, if the journey ever got easier.  Karen replied that it didn't.  This is one of the few times that Karen and I disagree.  As I was telling this story I said that I think if we focus on the things that we shouldn't have (or the portion sizes that we shouldn't have) then of course it remains difficult because that's all we want.

Mark replied that whatever you focus on will grow.  I couldn't get this thought out of my head and
knew that I wanted to write a blog post about this.  I truly believe that if we focus on the good things -- like being able to run a half marathon then the journey becomes easier.  I'm not saying that it won't be difficult to stare down a pan of brownies or cookies but I'm also not saying that you have to avoid the brownies or cookies completely either.  In fact, I say have them.  Just not as much as you would have before and then focus on something else to get your mind off the temptation.

What will you focus on to get you closer to your goal?