Not only has my impossible become my warmup, but the unimaginable has become attainable.
500 meters. 20 laps. Two years ago, I thought I would never be able to swim that distance. I was a relatively new swimmer and was trying out for my high school’s swim team. One of the requirements was to swim 500m freestyle, which I couldn’t do. I was lucky if I could do more than four laps; twenty laps seemed beyond impossible.
But I did it. With my mom coaching me, I gradually worked up my endurance. I started doing five sets of four laps. And then four sets of five laps. I kept adding laps until one day, I swam 20 laps. I was as slow as a turtle in peanut butter, but I did it! And I made the swim team! I never swam the 500m competitively, but every so often I would swim it in practice.
Fast forward two years to this summer. My pool issues a challenge each summer that anyone who swims 15 miles before the pool closes in the fall will get a free t-shirt. Last year I succeeded in earning the shirt and, wanting to uphold my “reputation”, I am in the process of swimming 15 miles this summer. But it’s a little different now. Last summer I warmed up with a 50m breaststroke. It’s one of the easier strokes with a breath after every stroke, and 50m was no challenge for me. This summer, I’ve been warming up with 500m freestyle. Yes, the 20 laps which used to intimidate me has become my warmup. Pretty cool, right? Well, last Friday, I did what seemed like the impossible. For my warmup, I swam 40 laps. That’s right, 1000 meters. Not only has my impossible become my warmup, but the unimaginable has become attainable. When I touched the wall and came out of the water after 40 laps, I took a deep breath, looked down the lane, and though I bet I could work my way up to 64 laps. For non-swimmers, 64 laps is a mile. And a mile swimming is very different than a mile running or biking. It takes a lot longer, and swimming in general involves less breathing than running. I haven’t gotten there yet (it wasn’t going to happen in a week), but I plan to conquer the new distance in the next year. Swimming more than a mile seems unimaginable right now, but check back in a few years and who knows what kind of impossibles I’ll be doing!
*8/23/2015 UPDATE: I swam a whole mile in one go!!! I started swimming my warmup and the water felt great and I felt great, so I just kept going! It boggles my mind how easy it is to do stuff I didn’t think I could do. So, I may not be able to do the impossible in seven days, but it might be possible in eight days (: I hope you’re pushing for the impossible in your life!