The day I grew 10 feet

On my final outdoor masters swim of the summer (so long for now, 50-meter pool!), I was crunched into a lane with three swimmers who were much faster than I am.

I felt bad at first and made myself small because I was getting in their way. A cheerful, “No, you go ahead! I’m slow.”

But guys, that’s not the kind of person I’ve made myself into. I’m the one who says, just like Peggy Carter, “No, you move.”

And after the warm up and a bit into the workout (I can do more than half of the workouts now!), as I felt stronger than I ever had before in the water, I grew by 10 feet. No more deference. I deserve to take up space in this lane. If they need to pass me, they can pass me. I have a right to swim here, too.

Through the water, I felt sleeker and more efficient than I ever had. I powered through the water and thought about my first swim two months ago when I couldn’t make it across the pool without stopping at least twice. I made it 800 meters that day, and I was on top of the world.

Today, I swam a 600 meter warm up and a total of 2,500 meters. That includes my longest-ever swim without a break – 500 meters. I promptly pulled for 100 meters, and then swam another 400 without a break. And I felt damn fine doing it.

Although I’m not competing in a triathlon this year, it’s nice to know I can handle the sprint-distance swim with ease, and then do it again.

This is a good way to end the outdoor swim season. I’ll swim this winter and emerge in 2017 as a new beast entirely.

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