The mid-day swims and everything in between is part of a small build I'm doing for my delayed racing season, starting the first weekend of April as I get out of my comfort zone in leading off Team High Voltage and doing the 1.2 mile swim portion of the Ironman Texas 70.3 Relay. That's right, folks, donning a skin-tight wetsuit and ripping it up in Offat's Bayou (the water, not the suit!).
I'll admit that open-water swimming is a touch out of my comfort zone, but not anything insurmountable. Besides, great experience for this fall's whole 70.3 shebang. I fully expect to get scared, regroup, get kicked or pushed under, hit an unexpected wave in the face, fight currents, and probably hit a smooth spot somewhere in there as well. That, and I can't see the bottom! If it were easy, everyone would do it! The more I think and strategize on how to handle it (of which many local athletes will learn about at 3/21's clinic); the more manageable and more comfortable the situation gets. We get stronger by exposing ourselves to things that may be seem as intimidating and pushing through.
Endurance sports is all about pushing past doubt and doing it anyway. When confronted with the thoughts of "am I doing enough?", "is this right?", "should I back off?" and so forth. Tiring, isn't it? Often questioning ourselves or the situation constantly does next to no good. Hmmm...perhaps there's another way.
In several recent situations this week I found myself staring into a situation with a still-unknown outcome and questioning my own approaches. How do/did I handle it? Admittedly, I let the frustration come up to the surface first, then talking out all the irrationalities, and finally settling back down with a fresh perspective. -And bless those people I sound off on during the process!!- I often tell clients that being emotional about a situation-especially initially, may be healthy in small dosages. You're allowed to be real with yourself and we were given emotions for a reason. When that part is done, however, then you can look at an uncertain situation and start naming why you should be confident. For example, telling yourself "I've never done this before, but I have done 'X and 'Y and am working on 'Z.
It's always good to take charge of those things you can control. Your preparation, who you surround yourself with, and so on. Sure, doubts will creep in, but be ready-because fear never got anybody where they really wanted to be anyway. It's human nature to fear those things that we're unfamiliar with; but risk-taking is a hallmark of success. Chances are, there are many of you who are currently faced with some form or an uncertain situation. So what will you choose to do? Bottom line, if we commit do our best and are confident in that-we're halfway there already.
In closing, I honestly didn't know where that post was going to go. Whether it is taking on a new distance: a marathon or half marathon, an Ironman, or "moving up" in whatever sport, we don't know what the final results will be. But is that necessarily bad? Note to self and anyone reading who needs to hear it: embrace the unknown-you may fly or fall down-but you're guaranteed to learn something new.
Stay the course.