“…of course fear does not automatically lead to courage, injury does not necessarily lead to insight. Hardship will not automatically make us better. Pain can break us or make us wiser. Suffering can destroy us or make us stronger. Fear can cripple us, or it can make us more courageous. It is resilience that makes the difference.” – An Excerpt from Resilience by Eric Greitens
I am just your average woman. Working mom. Single mom of 3 children. Aspiring Adirondack 46er. Beginner triathlete in training. There have been thousands of women who have come before me with the same visions and victories. And there will be thousands more after me as well.
These are my thoughts swirling around in my head tonight as I check off another day on my road to Iron Girl Syracuse. #swimbikerun
Biking? Check ✔️
Running? Check ✔️✔️
Swimming? Ummm…still working on this one!
So does being just your average woman make the struggles of life any easier? Not really…definitely not for me! Currently, I am reading the book Resilience by Eric Greitens. He is a former Navy SEAL and founder of Mission Continues. The beauty of his book is that it applies to anyone and everyone in life. As I read, the life messages continually jump off the pages at me.
My most recent challenge has been tackling the open water swimming. Classes for open water swimming began last week. I stood there, before the lake, feeling claustrophobic in my wetsuit and wishing for a better way to become a triathlete! Fear had arrived once again.
Open water swimming…not like “jumping the waves” in the ocean as a kid growing up on Long Island. This was “get in there, freezing or not, put-your-face-in-the-water” kind of swim. I’ve been training for 5 months in the pool for this moment. This moment, to finally see if I had what it takes to actually compete in my upcoming sprint triathlon.
Fear doesn’t mean you will be courageous. Hardships don’t instantly make us stronger and better. Resilience is the key ingredient. (#canwebottlethat)
How well do we bounce back? Do we endure the struggles? Or is it intergrating the struggles into ourselves as we fight through them? We don’t come out the same person we were when we started…
Speaking of enduring..that is my weakest link when it comes to the swim portion of training. Endurance. Building my endurance base. My indoor swim training has strengthened my bilateral breathing, my speed and my overall confidence as a swimmer.
So now, in the open water, my body had to acclimate itself. Like to swimming in a wetsuit for starters. Apparently, I kick too hard, sucking up too much energy from my big muscle groups. Huffing and puffing from buoy to buoy in the beginning. Secondly, my upper body strength is still in need of an overhaul. I realized that I over-relied on my leg power in the pool, which does nothing for a girl in a wetsuit attempting to swim a mile in the lake.
Resilience. I was struggling. Then add in the insane amount of kicking and flailing arms from your fellow swimmers…well, I was just about ready to throw in the towel! (literally)
Then I remembered:
“When we are struggling, we don’t need a book in our hands. We need the right words in our minds. When things are tough, a mantra does more good than a manifesto.” – Eric Greitens
Mantras. Mine is usually: all is well, strong…all is well, strong (stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe…hear the resemblance?)
So I swam and kept at it without losing my sanity or my nerve.
Small white dot in the water = me
Resilience. When I tire….when my body begins to fatigue…when my mind battles against my will…resilience. Bend but don’t break. Find the mantra and repeat it often. As often as it takes, every second if you have to, but don’t quit. Recover quickly and endure, as you emerge a stronger self. Nothing worth having comes easy anyway!
Like Greitens says, “You can’t bottle it. If you want the wisdom, the strength, the clarity, the courage that can come from the struggle, the price is clear: you have to endure the struggle first.”
All is well, strong. All is well, strong.
Refusing to drown,