Not waving but drowning

30 Mar

I got the bike from Audrey today. For now, it is in my kitchen resting against my kitchen table (which I never use anyway), but I can’t wait to ride it. April is almost here and I definitely need to broaden my focus, which up until now has mostly been on running. Biking, I figured, would be next. I was all settled with this idea of expanding my focus one thing at a time until a conversation with my mother on Saturday.

“Have you figured out where you’re going to practice swimming yet?” my mom asked. “Uhhhh…no” I replied. I hate remembering that I haven’t figured this out yet, because I know that I need to. It’s just never made it’s way up to the top of my radar screen for long enough to actually work out a solution. “Well, you should figure out what you’re going to do. I’m most nervous about the swim part of this” she says. This is news to me. My mom is not the type to be unnecessarily nervous, and I have been feeling most comfortable with the swim part. Correction: I had been feeling most comfortable with the swim, until this very moment. Something you need to know about my mom is that she is never wrong. Ever. If she is worried, then she has a reason. And if she has a reason, well then that reason is right, whether you want it to be or not. “But swim is first…” is the only argument I can come back with. Weak response, I admit–the fact that swimming will be the first leg of the race does not speak to my ability to make it through. “I know, but with everything else you’re on land. If you get tired or hurt you can rest. But when you’re swimming you’re in the water, it’s not the same. You’ve always been a strong swimmer, but I don’t think you’ve ever done any type of distance swimming in your life. It’s different. I’m your mom. I can’t help it if I’m worried.”

Oh, no. She’s right (of course). I tell her that there’s “swim angels” in the water during the race, to pull you out should you start to flail about, or to talk to you if you just get a little freaked out. I can tell this makes her feel a little better, but not much. And it doesn’t make me feel better at all to use this as my reason why I’ll be ok– I want to be able to happily ignore these swim angel people. I kind of liked the idea of having one aspect of the triathlon that I didn’t have to worry as much about, but I realize now that I was fooling myself.

And I think the universe is trying to reinforce this realization, because a friend of mine, without knowing anything about the conversation I had with my mom, sent me a message on Facebook that says “be careful :(” and is followed by a link to an article about how triathlons pose deadly heart risks- particularly due to the swimming portion. The article goes on to describe the stress swimming can put on your heart and how scary it can be to swim with all those people around you. That training by swimming in a pool is not equivalent to training in a lake or river. And how, exactly as my mom said (see, told you she’s always right) it’s not easy for swimmers to slow down or signal for help and even those posted to watch them might not notice when they’re in trouble. I’m reminded of the title of my favorite poem, Stevie Smith’s “Not Waving But Drowning”. I’m not one to overreact but we all know I’m a compulsive overthinker (and I can’t imagine why my friend thought it was good idea to send me this article). This is putting a lump in my throat and I haven’t even showered yet- not a good way to start the day.

So. I will try not to obsess about this swimming thing. What I will do is just take from this the understanding that I need to focus on it all equally- run, bike, swim. Just as I didn’t want to be the one barely able to put one foot in front of the other during the run, I don’t want to be the girl with training wheels and swimmies either. Or the one not waving but drowning.

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8 Responses to “Not waving but drowning”

  1. Tamzin April 1, 2009 at 3:57 am #

    HIHI! 🙂 Love the running blogs! Can’t wait to read on about your journey.

  2. cari April 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm #

    wow. I’m impressed. Because I can’t swim. Not a swimmer at all so I could never do a triathlon. Good luck with it!

  3. Denise April 1, 2009 at 11:37 pm #

    Great blog and great goal! You are going to kick butt! Keep up the hard work. I went from not running to running a marathon in less than a year. It’s amazing what we can train our bodies to do.

  4. teacherwoman April 2, 2009 at 3:44 am #

    This is my first visit to your blog and I am liking what I see!

  5. Janice {Run Far} April 2, 2009 at 1:14 pm #

    Great blog. Love it. I need to take a bit of your energy and use it to help me lose the 10 pounds I really need to get off by June. UGH…. I can run but man, I can’t turn down a cupcake.

  6. RunningLaur April 4, 2009 at 2:20 am #

    Thanks for following my blog! I went back and read your first two posts like you suggest, and it gave me a good picture of who you are and what you’re up to. Let me just say, I’m all for it! You’ve got my support!! Little steps at a time, and it all builds up. 🙂

  7. *Lissa* April 4, 2009 at 5:19 pm #

    Yes, you should focus on all three. I love your motivation!

  8. SPITsisters April 4, 2009 at 8:46 pm #

    You are the best! I’ve given you the Splash Award. 🙂 Check it out in the sidebar of my blog.

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