Making Adjustments

By , May 28, 2015

When faced with any challenging situation, my first reaction is to always think my way to the end, determine the possible outcomes, choose my desired best case and then work out the steps in between. I recently noticed when teaching my three year old how to work through a maze in her colouring book that I always start at the end. It could just be the engineering mind at work, but it has been steady and reliable as far back as I can remember.

It is rare that things work out every step of the way exactly as I hope, but as long as the end goal is achieved the rest doesn’t matter. That I have thought through the process at least once allows me to adapt the steps in between and react to the dynamic environment.

Throughout training I have ridden the ebbs and flows of the workouts. Some days are better than I expect, some are worse. Things that I expect are going to be very hard are often not as bad as I expect, and things I think are going to be easy regularly tax me. Each day the alarm goes off I know what I have to do and I have enjoyed doing it each step of the way. The preparations have become almost second nature as I can anticipate the feeling, the sights, the sounds and even the smells of the workouts before they even happen.

The last new scenario for me was completing an open water swim (OWS), which I did for the first time over the weekend. I have become increasingly comfortable in the pool, but under very strict, controlled conditions. The most important of which are being able to see the line on the bottom, and being able to touch the bottom if I was to lose my mind. An OWS takes both of these away and because of this I have been procrastinating for some time.

The drive to the lake was nearly an hour long, but the conversation with friends was light and relaxing. I had sheepishly brought running shoes as an escape option. When we arrived and I put on my wetsuit, a strong face and worked to remain calm. By now the conversation had shifted to strategy and all I could hear was the wind and see the waves. Then we locked the keys in the car. The ensuing hour was so ridiculous involving millennial lifeguards, multiple BBQ carrying pickup trucks, a state policewoman, and a dual coat hanger system. By the time I hit the water I was sweating, humbled, a little embarrassed and totally distracted from remembering to be worried. It was perfect.

The waves were bigger than I expected and rolling, but the good news is that if they hit you in the face, they push you when you come back the other way! After swimming at least 600m with my zig zags on the first 500m stretch and passing 3 of 5 buoys way on the wrong side (going with the waves sadly), I adjusted my strategy and settled in.

At the end of the day the end objective was the same: I completed the OWS going 1.4 total miles. Check. It turned out that the path to get there (once we got the car ¬†open and actually in the water), wasn’t half as bad as I anticipated. Part of me is actually stoked to try it again. The other part is happy with the checkmark already in the box until the big one on June 14. Either way, I just hope I don’t need to use my new car jacking skills before the next one!