Monday, December 15, 2008

Just call me the Kilometer Kid now.

Now I know that at the time of writing this, I am (Literally) only a few days away from my 58th Birthday, but now I feel like calling myself the “Kilometer Kid” as I have just managed to swim that distance. Albeit in a 50 metre pool and not in the ocean, or in a river like my friend in Papua New Guinea had to do recently, but I did it; even with a few moments rest occasionally at the end of each lap.
Not bad considering that when I started swimming again barely 10 months ago, I couldn’t even swim 25 metres without stopping. I still can’t say my swimming style is marvellous, nor fast, but I have improved, albeit only a bit. My mate who I go swimming with once a week, is also not the fastest swimmer around and swims in the slowest slow lane, (While I swim in the Public section.) yet he used to do two laps to my one. Now, he does 3 laps to my two: so you see I still have along way to go, just to be at his low level; but at least I am getting some distance in now.
Although a couple of weeks back I had done 16 laps, my normal distance had been between 12 & 14 laps in the 50 minutes or so, we spend swimming, so I was somewhat surprised the other morning to realize that I had just done 14 laps and still had heaps of time left and was travelling well, so went out to break my 16 lap record which I did, but just after I started on my 17th lap, I was struggling so badly that I thought I would just finish it and hopefully the 18th and call it quits, but then I recovered and having done my 18th and seen that my mate was still swimming, went for the round number of 20, which I comfortably achieved in the end.
When I had finished and told my mate how many I had done, even though he had done that day (and often does 30 laps himself), he was more pleased for me than I was myself. Isn’t it great to have someone to try yourself out against without have to actually compete against them too?
So today I would just like to encourage you to learn from both myself and my mate.
1. When you first start out on something new, don’t give up too easily. Even if it is hard or difficult and seemingly impossible, hang on in there and keep plugging away.
2. If you don’t have the speed, go for endurance; just don’t give up, but look to your strengths, and finding them, work to them.
3. Set yourself mild goals and not unrealistic ones. My first goal was to swim the full length of the pool. And them to get back again! And then, when time and energy allowed, trying to beat my previous best. Even though that was not always possible each week, it was something to aim at in the back of my Mind.
And from my mate I have learnt:
1. To know your limits. Even though he has been swimming sometimes up to 3 times a week for the past couple of years, He has learnt that 30 is his limit, even if some mornings he only does 24 or so, sometimes.
2. To encourage others, rather than to compete against them.
Well that’s me and what I have learnt from my swimming experiences. What about you? What have you learnt, and what can you learn, from your own personal experiences? Even from something as mundane as swimming?

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