After much pondering, moaning, vowing to get better and broken promises, I’ve figured out the real reason I don’t like swimming.
I am not very good at it. Well, probably average. (Also it is boring)
I ADMITTED IT. I, Katie Ferguson, person who wants to be good at everything, quite frankly, think I suck at it. I mean actually, I don’t know if I really suck 100% because I actually haven’t timed myself. So I might not actually suck as much as I think but it sure feels pretty sucky. I hate feeling like I can’t breathe, I hate accidentally swallowing water, I hate that feeling when your goggles aren’t on properly and you get them gradually filling up, I HATE having to be in the slow lane.
PS I just told my sister I was writing this as a topic and her response was ‘you are such a knob’. So soz up front for that. But this is talking about me and how I deal with my own performance. People have different attitudes, different drivers and different barriers, just like they have different skills, talents and ambitions. And we work to our own standards. These are mine.
I’ve never really struggled much with anything like I have swimming. And that’s my problem. Take running – whenever I lead novice groups, there is a big emphasis on the walk-run-walk-run aspect to get people started. And people asked me how I got into running and if I had to do that at the beginning….but the simple answer is, I didn’t. When I was at university, people were going running all the time so I shoved on my trainers and well, went for a run. I guess I had decent levels of netball and gym fitness but walking never really occurred to me as an option…because then it wouldn’t be a run. I managed a 3.41 marathon on my first attempt and got London GFA without really thinking about it (I don’t think I actually knew it existed) and I won my first attempt at a duathlon (we will overlook the fact that there were about 10 women in total…)
I HATED touch at the start because I didn’t know what I was doing and felt out of my depth. I felt like I was the one that was ruining it for everyone else and that massively threw me but there was something about it that gave me that urge to get better at it. For swimming I just haven’t had that miracle moment.
I don’t want to become (or seem like) that horrible person who turns up their nose at everyone just giving it a go and puts them off – because I want people to get into sport and exercise. I want them to feel the joy that I do, the excitement, the buzz and the atmosphere. But for me and how I operate as a person, just getting involved isn’t enough. And I understand that unsurprisingly, not everyone is of this mindset….which is fine.
I’m writing this ahead of my first triathlon tomorrow. I know for me, that despite it being the first attempt, I don’t really want to just tick an item off the list. I’ve told people it is, but those who know me well known that it is anything but…My first half, I wanted to get in under 1.55. My first marathon, despite being told that I should just focus on getting round, I set myself a target time of 3.45. I’m not just a finisher. Not matter how much I pretend otherwise on the exterior, I NEED to get what I think is a good time. And my problem? I’ve allowed myself to potentially just be a finisher tomorrow and there is no one to blame except me.
Despite knowing that swimming was my weak spot and that I needed to practise, I pretty much just kept sacking it off to go for a run or do a weights session. I had a swimming lesson a week or so ago because I was panicking. Not sure what I expected to achieve with 9 days left… There were (surprisingly!) actually some good points and a lot of points for improvement, but the overall tone was “if you want to get better you do actually need to get into the water” and did I? Nope. I went swimming once more.
I’ve got to the end of this post and realised that I don’t actually know what the point of this post is, it just makes me sound like a bit of an arrogant pain in the bum. So well done if you have got this far. But I think my point is, I want to be good at everything. I am type A to the extreme. And I’ve probably got a lot of people reading this and thinking of a whole manner of words to use to describe me. Interestingly, I wouldn’t class myself as actually that good at running because of my relativity logic. Even more so since joining the Chasers, I’ve realised I am FAR FAR behind a lot of people and I’d put myself at best around average club runner status, but there is a weird mentality you get into when you begin to take it seriously – you’ll never be good enough amongst your (running) peers, but you need to put it into perspective against the general population….where actually apparently you are seen as some sort of genius (PLEASE NOTE SARCASM – I DON’T ACTUALLY THINK OTHER PEOPLE THINK I AM A GENIUS) But seriously, if you get off your bum and run or do anything at all, you are heaps ahead of a lot of people and that is definitely something to be proud of.
So after tomorrow, we will see if there is anything about triathlon as a whole that will push me to suck it up and do something I don’t enjoy for the greater good. Because as I’m sure I’ve said before – what is the point in suffering through something that doesn’t push your buttons?