Monday, August 10, 2009

no quitters here

i had no life balance and keeping fit was a distant memory. then a pool opened five minutes from home. i signed up for a swim fit class and got back in the pool for the first serious swim in maybe seven years. i struggled my way through 1000m and i was sure everyone could hear me heaving to get air. since then i have swum three times a week without fail and i am again a swimming maniac. drill work, stroke technique, everything but butterfly and what i love most - interval training – the whole bit. luckily (and i will admit) i have a decent but untrained stroke. times are hard to compare when you take into account short course v. long course, diving, turns etc but i can swim a 1500m under 28:00. got to be happy with that. especially where i had come from. i wasn’t overweight, i was active but i smoked. and had done for a very long time. in some ways i think past swimming etc had helped lessen the damage but two months into my renewed fitness campaign i realised i had a choice. i could either seriously improve my swimming or i could struggle along and be left behind. now smoking is a strange habit. i had given up a few times before and i knew the pitfalls. when i listed reasons for quitting death was never at the top. you get lung cancer and you’re gone pretty quick. how foolish to do that to your life but what i feared most was the wheelchair and oxygen bottle. but still that wasn’t enough because it is always tomorrow. two factors are the reason i no longer smoke. i didn’t quit and i didn’t give up. i no longer smoke. firstly i removed myself away from people who do smoke and it was all about the swimming. i wanted to do that more than i wanted to smoke. every time i even came close to thinking about smoking i reminded myself what i would have to give up. i couldn’t do both. i wanted to be the best i could be. at the end of the season this year i had completed five sprint triathlons and that in itself has become a whole other story. i know i will never smoke again and maybe that is my biggest achievement.

i wrote this awhile ago and have now come to the conclusion that while it is very tough to stop smoking it no longer defines me as much as it did. i dont believe it is my biggest achievement but just a part of how my life has progressed. the next phase is about me and my efforts in becoming a triathlete. i find it hard to describe myself as an athlete (with any confidence) and at 45 firmly believe that people think i am nuts, delusional and are having a huge laugh behind my back. i dont care. i love the training and i love the challenge. i will believe.