This is my shiny new cowbell. I earned it today by swimming. In the water. At the gym. This cowbell is really what got me through it. Olivia walked in and announced " I have your cowbell". Those four words were all it took to make me jump into the water and give it my all.
You have to truly know my core dislike of the water to understand the magnitude of the power of the cowbell. When I was two I fell in a river and nearly drown. My mother, who was never much of a swimmer herself saved me. I didn't think it affected me. I took swimming lessons as a kid in school and a few at the local pool over the summers of my youth. But as anyone who has watched kid swimming lessons knows, those are not mad skills and as long as they don't drown, they will most likely pass the lessons. That was when I stopped swimming. My career ended at 12. I'm not actually sure I ever put my whole face in the water. Now here I am at 41 trying to swim again. This is where I learned how fearful I am about the water. I panic, I choke, I feel like I can't breathe. I just want out of the water. I think, that river of so long ago haunts me still.
Today something strange happened. Sure, the lure of the cowbell is what really got me in there. This is my second cowbell and like this one, the first was earned by exercise. That was a 5k though, piece of cake compared to this one. But as I was swimming, well, something that sort of resembles swimming, I began to see the draw of the sport. In the water I felt weightless. The sense of quiet calm (well except for the breathing panic) was just out of reach. But I had a glimpse of it a time or two. It's out there and it makes me wonder if possibly, just possibly is this my sport?
So as I waited for Olivia to go get my well earned cowbell for me, I was shocked and amazed to hear my own voice answer this question she posed as she headed into the locker room...
Olivia: "same time next week?"-(referring to our weekly personal training sessions),
"Yes" I said,
Olivia: "pool or gym?"
Wow, I said "pool" with out even thinking. There is no cowbell. There is no motivation. Well, except the motivation to get better, and maybe to find the calm, the quiet, the exact opposite of everything else in my days.
I'll let you know next week.