Last night, I went to swim practice with Team Fight. What we do at practice definitely varies, depending on what the coaches feel like doing that day, and last night, they felt like destroying us. Lots and lots of sprints.
I hate sprints. With my heartrate issues, I do great for the first 25m, and then after that, I start to significantly slow because I can feel my HR skyrocketing. But I just try to find that balance between pushing too hard and not pushing enough.
Now, the ability levels of the swimmers range from just learning to swim to super-fast-probably-swam-in-college. (No one can keep up with her.) I’m somewhere in the middle of that. We divide up between the faster swimmers and the slower swimmers and the two coaches each take a side of the pool. This way, everyone gets in their best workout. I’m typically in the faster half, but this time, there were fewer swimmers in the faster half, meaning I was definitely one of the slowest swimmers in the group. And let me tell you, that’s a huge mental challenge. Being that far behind is tough on the psyche. (Plus it meant I got less rest time between sets.)
But I stuck it out and pushed to the best of my ability. Because the thing is, when you’re among the slowest, you work that much harder. I’m never going to catch the fastest swimmers, but I can close that gap.
When we got to the locker room, it turns out a lot of people felt like it was a really bad practice. Not because the coaches did anything wrong, but because they had pushed us. Both the faster and the slower group felt rough at the end of the workout, and one girl was even worried that her lack of ability meant she wouldn’t be able to complete her triathlon later this year. (Spoiler alert – I’ve seen her swim and she will get there for sure. It’s only March and her tri is in August.)
These reactions definitely got me out of my head. It wasn’t just me who struggled, it was everyone. It has nothing to do with my ability and everything to do with the fact that the coaches are pushing us. This happens every year. The off-season workouts are always a bit easier because it’s the off-season. The fact that we show up to the pool in the snow is a big enough victory. So now that races are coming up, we’ve got to work to get where we need to be. And not every workout is going to feel great, but every workout gets me one step closer to where I want to be.