Last week was an interesting week. Some wins, and some challenges.
A challenge/win that I am particularly pleased with came in the form of swimming. About a year and a half ago, I decided that I wanted to start swimming again (because somewhere in my weird mind, triathlon sounded intriguing). My previous swimming knowledge and experience ended in high school PE class, other than swimming/playing in the pool with the kids. It was particularly alarming and dismaying to discover that putting my face in the water had suddenly taken on new dimensions of terrifying. Intrigue and curiosity won out, and I signed up for swim lessons. It was a slow process, finally got past the face in the water issue, and then developed problems with knee pain when kicking. Adjusted course and started using a pull buoy for my legs, making each swim session an arm workout.
The pool I have been visiting is home to a high school swim team. I have been watching the session workouts posted by the coach, and was intrigued by the use of paddles, fins, and “snorks”. The last few sessions had the team using these three for most of the workout. So, I figured, why not? I had access to all three, but never tried them in combination. BINGO!!! Last Tuesday, using various combinations of those three little pieces of swim magic, I swam 40 laps – approx. 1.25 miles. (And in just a little over an hour – which for me is GREAT!) With no pull buoy, with no knee pain, with face in the water. True – that little experience completely kicked my @$$ for a day or two – but the joy totally overshadowed it!
Another win was completing the Mackinac Island 8 mile – #2 of the Trio. Time was better than my first attempt, weather was totally different. As soon as that was over, we headed downstate for a muscle car show – another great day!
The second challenge – and one I truly appreciated once it was over – was my long run on Saturday. I decided to combine it with a virtual run I had signed up for in May or June – a half marathon that I could run at my convenience. Saturday dawned hot and humid – my very least favorite running conditions. However, I needed to get the miles underfoot, and I really wanted to open my package with the medal in it. My personal deal was no opening the package until I had solid proof that I had logged the distance. My running prospects were pretty limited on Saturday – there was a lot of road construction and heavy traffic where we are staying – and I opted for safety instead of scenery. My running path ended up being the campground – a ½ – ¾ mile loop of dusty gravel road. I read an article about dreadmill and track running that suggested one could build mental toughness by overcoming the boredom of repeated circuits on these instruments of torture. I hope that is true! 13.1 miles is a lot of loops. The middle miles were so tough – I wanted to quit, I came up with a gazillion reasons that it would be okay to quit. Then the heat and humidity kept rising, giving me more excuse. Somewhere in mile 8, I met myself on one of the loops, and had serious self-discussion about why I was doing this. By mile 9, mostly walking now, I decided that 4.1 miles was totally manageable. I needed to nail this distance, and quitting was not an option. Proud to say I was able to open my medal!
Yesterday, (challenge #3) I had Bill coach me through a few take-offs and landings since it had been a while. I am noticing a shift in my mindset about flying. Too long a story to delve into now, maybe later. The important part for me – another win – is that it is a positive shift. Caught me completely unaware – and like the swim and the 13.1 miles – made me want to shout from the rooftops with the deep personal joy I was/am experiencing and weep with gratitude.
Those three “hard” challenges with filled to overflowing with the sweet joy of grace and gratitude.