Thursday, June 13, 2013

$40.00 Pool Pass

Less than 48 hours to the Patriot Half!

Thank you again for coming back.  And big thanks to all those who have donated to the MMRF. (click here to learn more about the MMRF)

There are thousands of MMRF patients who are battling Multiple Myeloma, an incurable cancer, every day.  Fortunately with organizations like the MMRF, patients are receiving the incredible gift of time and quality of life, and, hopefully, one day, a cure. 

I appreciate all the words of support on the donation page and often look back to them to grab some encouragement when I need it.

Collectively between the Race for Research and the donations received for this event so far, we have raised over $ 4,000.00 for the MMRF this year.
Thank you!!

If you have ever trained or planned for any event or project over a long period of time, you will notice there are always cycles of success and drawbacks.  Anybody that has ever done any long term training for a race, planned an event,  forged forward with a difficult work project or sales process, or have gone through long term medical treatments, like MMRF patients,  has experienced this.

While successes and thoughts of completion often provide the drive and motivation, occasionally there are negative moments that can derail forward momentum.  Timing, emotional state, energy level, distractions, and relative (relative to the person) difficulty of the goal can all act as amplifiers.  For example, a setback early on in training, such as not meeting a performance goal, suffering an injury, getting sick, or just having a bad day can slow down any momentum , but will seldom lead to longtime concern or derail any movement forward (I know, there are exceptions of course!)  However the same setback, late in the training can be devastating.

Setbacks of all sizes are common, and the longer duration of the training, the sales process, or the treatment process, the more opportunity for them to arise.  The challenge is not to avoid them - you can’t - but how you lift yourself up and keep moving forward and attain your goals.  In my personal opinion, this can be harder than the training, and is the most important thing you need to figure out about yourself.  For me, I am fortunate to have two things to help me out - being surrounded and exposed to so many incredibly inspirational friends and family  that I can lean on and their stories/experiences to help keep me moving forward,  and of course, a goal that can help my best friend and wife, Jeanie, along with thousands of others, fight, and one day, to win, the battle with Multiple Myeloma by raising money for the MMRF.

I have had many setbacks in my training for the Patriot Half, but I had a recent incident which really shook my confidence.  And yes, once again with swimming.

Short commercial break, pleading, and incentive to donate: 

As a refresher, disclaimer, and explanation, the SWIM has been the main barrier for me to even attempt to complete a triathlon of this length.  I had completed three triathlons in the past with two of them having pool swims, and one having a short open water swim.  Needless to say they were disasters (I talk about them in earlier blogs, so don’t be afraid to check out those too ).  For those that have a similar fear and struggle, you can understand this.

So as an incentive to donate AND a chance to give the gift of swimming confidence, I am offering 3 Sessions with Master Swimmer and Instructor Carol Wright to one person for FREE.  I want to share the confidence with someone else.  This can be use by all levels, for lessons or coaching sessions,  so if you are a newbie like me, she can help you, or if you are a swimming rock star, she can help you improve your game.

Here are the prerequisites

1.      Donate $25 to the MMRF (If you’ve already donated – you are qualified - so let me know if you want your name dropped in!)  by clicking here by Tuesday, June 18th.

2.     Share my blog on your Facebook page and tag me (or just send me an email that you are interested ). 

3.     Be willing to drive to Groton, MA area

I will use the non-scientific method of having one of my kids draw your name out of a hat on Tuesday, 6/18.  Even if you don’t win the swim lessons, we are all winning here because of your generosity – you get a tax break and a feel good moment, and MMRF patients get more opportunities for time and hope for a cure.  Just think, you could set aside your fears and build your confidence in swimming.


Now back to the story:

I was fortunate to have a workout plan for Memorial Day that aligned with Larry Rodman at Potanipo Lake.  It was simple, an open water swim with no constraints other than swimming for a certain period of time.  My confidence level in swimming was high based on recent successes and the only “perceived” concerns on my end were related to the wet suit – adjusting my stroke and getting used to swimming with it. 

I showed up at the lake, in the late afternoon, boys in tow to fish (and to keep an eye on me), and all prepared for the quick and effortless swim.  It had been windy all day(20 mph+), but I had not thought there would be any major concerns and I would be able to adjust to some of the light chop as a result.  Larry and I suited up, got the boys settled, and headed into the big deal, right?? 


Upon first entering the water, we noticed it was cooler, if not just plain cold (57°F), from the days of rain earlier in the weekend.  The water was rushing over the dam near the boat ramp and you could feel the layers of coolness as we waded in to begin our swim.

It started simple enough, Larry took the lead, and I followed.   The plan was basic, swim to the black buoy (75 m), stop, take a breath, take a right and head to the red/white buoy ( 300m ), take another breath and a left, and head out across the lake.  A quick out and back would be about a mile. The water was choppy but appeared manageable, so I took easy strokes, rolled a little more than normal, and took deep breaths in between waves.  It felt ..well…normal for the first 2 minutes, then the wheels came off. 

The first thing I noticed ( and this happens in cold water ) is that I felt like my muscles were constricting and my breathing began to get shallow.  Again, expected, and normal.  I continued to try to push through it with the knowledge that I would warm up and relax.  One of the things wetsuits do well is to provide insulation and flotation. 

It was all well and good until we stopped and made the turn at the black buoy when THWAP, a wave came up over me and took my breath. I turned and THWAP, again.  I stopped.  OK, I thought, I’d readjust – use all the advice from Carol, Beth, Sarah – relax,  roll deeper, stay lower in waves, and  adjust to breathe on the side away from the waves.  I looked and Larry was swimming ahead, normal and with ease.  OK, I thought, time to catch up.  I continued on and my breath felt shallower and the waves more difficult to deal with.

THWAP..OK, face the other way.

 THWAP, THWAP, cough, spit, stop.  

I started thinking -  How come I still can’t catch my breath ?  I’ve been out here for 10 minutes


Thinking again – I have to do this.  I can’t back out of this event now. 

OK, start again. THWAP.

Face the other way. THWAP. 

Ugh. Stop.

I looked ahead and Larry had reached the red/white buoy and was waiting for me (very patiently I can add).  I continued to wade in an effort to collect myself, but just couldn’t do it.  Larry stopped and looked back.  I asked him to wait for a minute and then waved him back over.  I told him I wasn’t comfortable moving forward and wanted to try to swim between the buoy’s in the hopes of salvaging.  I had failed and short changed a friend on his workout.  Even though we were able to swim between buoys to add some yards, the inability to swim the 1+ mile continuously, even in slightly adverse conditions, weighed heavily.  Less than 3 weeks before the race and this single event had obliterated the confidence I had built up.  Not only was I concerned that I could swim in open water, but I even began to have doubts about the distance.

This weighed heavily on me for the next couple of days and I needed to get back in the water to prove to myself that I could do this and soon.  The problem was that I had a business trip scheduled on Wednesday and I couldn’t break away from work or family needs to get back to the lake before my trip. 

On the plane, I couldn’t let the nagging feeling and concern go.  I needed to deal with this and deal with this NOW.  I decided that the best available option to restore my confidence was to get into a pool THAT NIGHT.  I just needed to swim for 45 minutes straight to reassure myself that all I had learned and all that I had trained for was still there, despite the disaster on Monday.    I arrived in Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon, made a quick account stop, identified a local swimming option, and then asked my sales partner, Mike,  if we could take a detour to Dick’s Sporting Goods so that I could pick up a few things.  I quickly went in and grabbed some jammers (needed a new pair anyway) and goggles.  I was ready.  Now I just needed to get to the pool.

Fortunately near my hotel, there was Lifetime Fitness - quick check of their website showed that they had a pool and quick phone call revealed they had 4 lanes available for lap swim around 7. Perfect!!  With my new swim gear and sneakers in hand, a plan for a short run and a 45 minute swim set in my mind, I went into the club to get it done. 

Having been a health club member and sometimes visiting clubs while traveling, I had expectations that I would have to spend anywhere from $8-20 for a day pass(higher in instances when pool use was required), so I hadn’t thought to even ask for the cost on the phone.  After all, I was going to swim NOW, and cost really didn’t matter, I was going to get this DONE.  

I approached the desk and politely mentioned that I was out of town, staying at a local hotel (in the hopes for some discount), and would like to get a day pass that would allow me to access the pool.  Without hesitation, the guy behind the counter said, “Yes, that will be $40.00”

‘Whaaat?” I responded ( and if you any of you have been with me with unexpected and ridiculous information is presented, you can get a picture of how I reacted )

“It covers the whole club and you have access to all the amenities,” he said.

I know I made some smart ass remark about asking if this included free coffee (yes, it had a coffee shop inside) or a massage.   

I was dumbfounded, but, again, I needed to get this DONE..NOW.  I just smiled, laughed a little (to keep from exploding), and without going into much further detail :

I’m pretty sure I released some expletives on the way to the locker room, but there are times when sometimes you just have to get it DONE. 
And after reminding myself why I was doing this and who I was doing this for, I did.

A 40 minute interval run followed by a continuous 2250 meter swim.

The following week, during a one of the 90 degree days, I had another opportunity to swim again with Larry at Lake Potanipo, and without many issues, we put in about a mile.

Confidence restored.

Looking forward to telling you about some great friends and people who helped me along  made this journey possible. 


No comments:

Post a Comment