Monday, April 23, 2018

When Is It Okay to Quit? Trick Question!

I did my first open water swim of the season this last Saturday.  It was in a small lake that was a rock quarry.  We can only swim in it for a couple of months in the spring because after that it starts to have algae.  It's about 300 yards to the opposite shore so it's a decent stretch and we can get a long workout without too many laps.

While the water is warmer than some of the local lakes, it isn't warmer by much.  I had on my wet suit, booties and neoprene cap.  All to help keep me as warm as possible.  
So nice to have sunshine after so much rain!!  It was a beautiful morning!!  Not as warm as it looks though. 😉
Getting into the water isn't too bad at first.  Until that first bit of water goes down the neck of the wet suit.  

Mike and I getting ready to start swimming.  (I am on the left)
My coach and his son were in kayaks.  The plan was for them to be hanging out with us while we swam.  My teammate Mike was the other crazy person swimming.  Another gentleman that works with Jon was going to be there too.  He is signed up for the swim portion of a relay team at the Oregon Dunes triathlon next month but wasn't too excited about swimming in a lake.  So this was a good chance for him to practice with other people and try and get more comfortable.  

When we got started I was struggling.  Everything felt fine until I put my face in the water.  It feels like pins are sticking me all over my face when the water is so cold.  It just hurts.  

I would put my face down and try and take a stroke and have to stop almost immediately.  

I tried a couple more times and was getting frustrated because it wasn't getting any better.  All I could think was that it was going to be a long swim and that I would be lucky to make it one time to the other side and back.  

Jon was in the kayak next to me and he just kept encouraging to keep trying, it would get better.  

I think it was about the sixth time that I put my face down I was finally able to start actually swimming and have it be tolerable.  

My face wasn't hurting from the cold and I was able to get into a good rhythm.  I got to the other side and stopped to talk with Jon about things to work on.  That's when I realized that I hadn't hit the right button to start my watch.  Dang it!  Missed out on over 300 yards of my swimming showing on my workout.  I know it shouldn't matter but, well, it does. lol  

I ended up going across the lake three times and back.  I felt good.  I was focusing on my form and some things that Jon was seeing that he wanted me to work on.  It wasn't about going fast but about getting used to the cold water and the wet suit again.  Especially since our first open water swim during a race is less than a month away.  

I had fun once I was able to get past the initial frustration.  

That got me thinking.  

When I first started and I had tried about three different times to get going and struggled with the pain I wanted to quit.  

I wanted to say it was just too cold and that I would try again another day.  

I wanted to say that I had given it a good go but it wasn't going to work.  

I wanted to say I had tried and sometimes it just doesn't work.  

But my coach said to keep trying.  

He said it would get better.  

I kept trying.  

It did get better.  

Three tries is good.  

But on Saturday, three tries was not good enough.  

I had to keep trying for a while longer before I could make it work.  

It made me wonder how many times we give something a good try and then give up. 

We give up when it seems reasonable.  We didn't give up after one try.  We tried several times.  Most people would say good job.  You gave it a good shot and it is reasonable to say enough is enough.  

But how often would we have been able to make something work if we had just tried a little longer?  

Or tried a few more times?  

I know that there are many times where I want to give up.   Where I can justify stopping because I did give it a pretty good shot.  

But what if was just on the edge of making it work?  

What if success was just one more try away?  

A lot of things about working with a coach correlate for me with my teaching.  As a teacher I know that there are times where a student is right on the edge of understanding some concept that we have been working on.  I am their cheerleader and encourager.  Pushing them to keep at it just a little bit longer.  Then we get to do a big happy dance together because it feels so good to have that light bulb go off!  It is my favorite part of being a teacher!  As the year goes by and the students learn to trust me, they are willing to keep going at something because they know I won't push them to do something I didn't 100% believe they could do if they just keep working at it. 

I appreciate the same concept from the learning end as well.  Having my coach there to keep pushing me and encouraging me because he knows that if I stick with it I can make it work. Then when I do we both do a happy dance that I overcame an obstacle.  

This translates into pushing a little harder when I'm on my own.  I can hear my coach's voice in my head telling me to keep at it, I can do it, don't quit.  (I hope that my students hear my voice telling them to keep at it long after I am not their teacher anymore.  😍)

So I keep at it, and I do it and I don't quit.  

Sometimes it's not about the pace or the time.

Sometimes it is about just getting it done and not giving up.  

Sometimes it is small things like putting my face in really cold water.  

Sometimes it is something that seems small to others but can be a huge thing in my mind.  Like using on clip on shoes with my bike.  I had to really work at not freaking out about that one this winter.  lol

This is my third season working with my coach.  There is a great deal of trust at this point.  I know that Jon is going to push me harder than I would push myself.  But I trust him.  So when he says I can do something, I take a deep breath and give it my best shot.  

When I am told to keep putting my face in the water, it will get better, I believe it.  

Lesson learned:  When someone who is helping you says that you need to keep trying just a little longer, listen to them.  It's worth some frustration and some discomfort in the long run.

This can be applied to so many things in life.

So apply where it seems appropriate for you and try just a little bit longer.  You might surprise yourself.  

**Mike checked the water temperature after we were done with the swim.  It was 56 degrees.  I have done colder but it still was a challenge.  😁🏊 

***Thank you Jon for letting me steal your pictures from Saturday.  

1 comment:

  1. Great lesson Lisa, thanks for sharing. And great job doing any OWS!