Sunday, December 12, 2010

Compliments From A Twelve-- No, Thirteen-- Year Old

Yesterday is what it's all about. Yesterday I FELT like an athlete.

The previous night I went to bed with a "fake it 'til you make it" sort of attitude. I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to TRY again. Personal goals can often be simple, controllable goals that help out the situation and the underlining true goals that persist. This controllable goal of mine for this whole meet has been to be the first person in at warm-ups.

So far, so good. I have beat out the French, the Belgians, the Mexicans, the French Canadians, all those other Canadians, the Ukrainian guy, the South Koreans, the Brazilians, and all of the US competitors. This is a minute, yet important goal of mine.

Yesterday brought, not only some of my fastest swims ever, but some connections with those around me. I spoke with some of the Paralympic Resident Team members about their lives. One of the spunkiest women on the team is from Florida and is struggling to find her place in Colorado Springs, just experienced her first mountain plunge and loved it. She is feeling better about Colorado now. Another girl, only just thirteen yesterday was so lively and reminded me without even trying why I wanted to be there. She told me that I was a great swimmer several times and that she thought that I was only 20 (which was also fantastic to hear!) and that she "knew" I was going to win and that I had big muscles. SHE was exactly the catalyst I needed to help me actually believing that I AM the athlete that I was trying to fake.

A combination of those around me and the willingness to try led me to shaving off immense time in my 100 backstroke and actually being able to feel like I was racing. Truly, I haven't felt that kind of race since I was in high school, which, contrary to my thirteen year old friend's belief, was a long time ago.

It's been a real struggle to train my brain for this event. But now I am feeling like all that I needed to do was to let go a little bit and listen to the world around me. I feel so much better than I did before, and this lesson was well worth the ticket to Toronto.

Let's see what today might bring.

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