January 23, 2015

Doing The (Nearly) Impossible

As our varsity swim team prepares for APAC (a giant meet full of all the varsity swim teams--this year it's in Shanghai and we leave next week) we've been upping our practice levels from "slightly red faced" to "pretty much dead all over". Not only have we been working out with the one brutal set everyday, but we're swimming in jeans and t-shirts to add resistance.

Today's Set Was:
6 x 100 freestyle w/jeans, shirt, fins on 2:00
3 x 100 backstroke w/jeans, shirt, fins on 2:10
400 freestyle pull w/jeans, shirt
300 backstroke pull w/jeans, shirt
12 x 25 freestyle kick w/o jeans, shirt on 40 seconds
12 x 25 backstroke kick w/o jeans, shirt on 40 seconds
Main Set: 
25 freestyle on 40 seconds
50 freestyle on 1:10
75 freestyle on 1:30
100 freestyle on 2:00
75 freestyle on 1:30
50 freestyle on 1:10
25 freestyle on 40 seconds
Entire Set x2 -- all sprint
Entire Set BACKSTROKE x2 -- all sprint

By the end of practice we can barely move, our bodies ache, and we just want out. The whole point of this difficult set is to get us prepared for APAC and we all get that--but it's still really tough and personally my asthma + going vegan + wearing a shirt that chokes me every time I swim backstroke is not a good combination. I had myself convinced that I could not complete an entire set without stopping to breathe or take my shirt off. I mean it's hard for everyone, and everyone is wheezing during it, but I just knew that my asthma wouldn't let me continue. 

Or at least....I thought I knew that. 

Today in practice I didn't stop to take a (literal) breather once. Not once. When I kept telling myself "okay you're doing a 100 but you should probably stop at a 50 and breathe", I ended up continuing on and proved to myself that I actually could do it. Even more than that, I felt like I proved my place on the varsity team and that Coach wouldn't feel like he was taking dead weight to APAC if he took me. In this way, I ended up pushing myself even further on the sprints and ended up first every time!

It goes back to the old "mind over matter" saying that I always passed off as simple mishigas--turns out there's actually something to it! I guess that's why it's remained a popular saying for so long. 

The point of this baby post is this (and although it's cliché I'm still going to say it): pushing yourself past what you perceive as your limits usually ends with you prevailing over those limits and proving to yourself that you're a lot stronger/faster/better than you thought you were. We are all so capable of so much more than we realize it's almost mind-blowing to think about.

Next time you think you've reached your limit, try to exceed it. I think you'll be surprised by what you find. 


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