Journey to the Ironman... Long Course

I know, I know, cliff hangers suck… for you. But I’m having a surprising amount of fun writing them. You wouldn’t want to take that away from me, right?

Now, back to where I left off. I was standing poolside looking at something that made me almost pack up and go home. What was it that could cause me to be even more uncomfortable at the pool? Easy, long course. For those of you who are blissfully unaware, long course is where they switch the lane ropes from running across the 25-yard width of the pool, to running the whole 50-meter length. I’m sure you can imagine how excited I was about this. I mean, come on. Who, after struggling and coming close to death while trying to make it the normal 25 yards, wouldn’t look forward to doubling that length? And the best part, long course takes you from the shallow end of the pool to the deep end. Deep. End. You read that, right? Just want to make sure you didn’t miss it. My anxiety brain had finally started to shut up about the whole drowning when you can just stand up thing, and now I was going to swim to the end of the pool that you couldn’t stand up in? The deep end? Ya, no. Best part, my anxiety brain was starting to act a bit smug. Started saying things like “what are you going to say now logic brain? What sensible, rational crap are you going to start spouting to make this catastrophe ok?” Logic brain came back with something weak like, “you won’t die, because there are people, there are people everywhere. And look, there’s the side, you can just hold onto the side when you’re at the deep end. Yeah, see? No danger just get in and swim, you’ll be fine.” Pretty sure I actually felt Anxiety brain roll her eyes. “Brilliant, Logic brain, you’re a genius. What could possibly go wrong?” Just as Logic brain was about to respond, Anxiety brain continued, “Yeah, let me just start by listing off a few items” as she pulled out a multi-page itemized list. I hate her.

With Anxiety brain’s ongoing recitation of possible dangers running in the back of my head, I got in the pool and pushed off. I was halfway through my third lap, I felt it… magic. Suddenly, it was as if my muscles finally understood what my brain wanted them to do. I went from uncoordinated flapping of arms to these rhythmic, timed movements. Pull, finish, lift, plunge, pull, finish lift plunge, breathe. It wasn’t perfect, but it was amazing. And just as I felt everything click, Danny saw it. As I crossed the pool, I saw him out of the corner of my eye. He was waving, shouting, “YES, that’s it! YES! Woohoo, go Kati, that’s it!” The excitement on his face, that moment when everything clicked, it made everything worth it. All the anxiety, the fear, the months of dragging myself to the pool.

Worth it.

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