Had a swim practice this morning. Liz, my swim coach and all around cool chick, is helping me figure out how to go faster in the water. It's not easy. Nothing about swimming makes sense. It's a weird sport. It's hard. Technique matters. A lot. It's sort of like drawing or painting. How do you get better at painting? Well, I don't know. That's why I don't paint. But I do know you don't get better at it by just doing it harder and faster. That would be one bad painting indeed- Pollock aside I suppose. And of course there's the added bonus that you can drown. With the swimming, I mean, not the painting - unless you are a really bad painter. Although if anyone could drown painting, it would be my friend Andrew who once came over to help me paint my house and after tracking big yellow footprints through my living room, spraying trim paint over half the upstairs window and putting his foot through the roof was given the much less risky assignment of going to get more beer.
Which he somehow managed to eff up as well.
Anyway, swimming. There is so much to think about in the water. Hand position, head position, high elbows, pulling, kicking easy, swimming downhill (don't ask, it makes no sense. Swim downhill? 'scuse please? Doesn't that mean I'll hit the bottom?). And really, you can only think about one of those things at a time. The moment I begin to concentrate on head position, my high elbows aren't so high anymore. Or if I concentrate on placing my hands at 11 and 1, my T goes all to shoot. It's sort of trying to drink margaritas AND not make a fool o' yerself at the same time. aint happenin'. And none of it - NONE OF IT - feels natural. It feels like a comedy sketch.
So there I am today, slapping at the water, rotating my hips like a half-drunk belly dancer, thrusting my elbows skyward and gasping air every other stroke feeling ridiculous, feeling hopeless, feeling frustrated and awkward when I hear over the roar of water slooshing by my ears and the sound of my bubbles breaking around me "GREAT JOB JENNE! KEEP IT UP!" and I think …
And then I realize, this is why I have a coach. Someone to remind me that just because it doesn't FEEL right doesn't mean it ISN'T right. And that my perception, in the moment, may not be the most correct one. Maybe, just maybe, someone with a different vantage point, more skill, knowledge and experience just might see someone I'm missing. Maybe. That's the thing about having a good self-image (okay, you call it cocky, I call it a good self-image ..why you gotta push?), sometimes you are unwilling to believe someone else is right. Maybe I AM doing great. Maybe I'm finally getting this. Maybe I'm at that point of break-though, standing at the precipice of becoming a real swimmer, just ready to trumpet out of the tunnel of chaos and into Michael Phelps-ville.
And then I sucked in half the pool and went right to the bottom.
Some lessons are easier than others.