I was hoping to share my experiences from the Olympic Training Center a few days ago, but I truly feel like it has taken me this long just to even process the whole thing.
Going into this training camp and meet, I knew that I had accomplished something and I knew to be proud of my efforts; however, in my typical detrimentally modest fashion I had no clue how BIG this actually was.
It first hit me when I saw tour groups snapping photos of my deer-in-headlights self while attempting to determine my strategy for entry into this pool completely not designed with me in mind. As moments ticked on, I felt glimpses of the intensity of being a member of the US Team for the ParaPan American Games. "You are now here to represent the US," kept buzzing in my ears.
The Team took "classes" on how to handle media requests, packing, and foreign competitors. We learned about the Village that was currently under construction and how Homeland Security would be our new best friends in Guadalajara. We even spent some time peeing in front of people to determine that we were as clean and sound in body as we appeared to be. The entire time, I sat stunned-- most likely resembling something of a codfish-- all the while attempting to keep a cool demeanor about it all. After all, I am the oldest member of this team, so I need to act like it. Right?
The meet was only a portion of these blurred events. Choosing to swim ten events, including the mile, was probably a bit optimistic in hindsight; however, I was glad to push myself through it (now that it's over with). I fared well in my events, although not particularly pleased with any of them. For the most part I felt as if I were swimming in a steamy whirlpool with the consistency of mayonnaise. I hate mayonnaise. My times completely reflected my dissonance with said steamy mayonnaise-- although I know I am stronger and more technically ready than ever before. I still don't know how to rationalize the meet. Stupid steamy mayonnaise.
Truly, I can only blame myself. I suppose the mayonnaise is really just a metaphor for that thing that always gets in the way: my brain.
Watching my competitors walk to the blocks, I couldn't help but wonder what I actually contribute to this team. I try as I might to keep a smile and a ferocious fight; however, once again my lack of confidence in my own capabilities prevailed.
This is starting to become a serious problem.
It feels like a virus that I can't shake. No matter the amount of rest or vitamins (which I am no longer advised to take, thanks to USADA) or protein I provide for my body, I can't seem to recover from this parasitic and paralyzing form within me.
So now it's my turn, really this time, to take care of this. My issues with confidence obviously bleed through in other aspects of my life and I am finally fed up. I don't deserve to live like this and I owe it to myself to take my live-in-paralyzing-parasite-of-a-feeling and smash it to pieces.
So, hear's to you-- steamy mayonnaisey paralyzing parasite-- may you be put to shame and rest in peace, my friend. Goodbye forever.