I realized my last post was from London Trials, and I don't want to leave my swimming blog on that note. There's obviously life after Trials, after any upset there's a new day and a new beginning comes along.
Instead of writing a post on what I've been up to, what I have or have not accomplished, I have something more valuable to share that I've learned over the last 5 months...
After Trials I decided to do the San Diego Triathlon with the Challenged Athletes Foundation; something I've done since 2008 and have enjoyed every time I've gone, but this time it was different. Once Trials ended and there were no more competitions, training, media, and cameras I was left with the dilemma of even wanting to be in and/or near a pool. Although I already committed flying out to San Diego, I was having serious doubts and even told my close family and friends on wanting to pull out. I blamed it on school, too many papers and exams I'd miss, and just wanting to be a typical, regular college student, but that was not the true reason; I wasn't 100% sure if I wanted to get back into swimming. One of my best friends explained it to me over the phone- regardless if I finish the distance swim, I'm already going the distance and facing my doubts and struggles straight on, something not many people even consider doing.
Regardless that I did or did not finish the swim, I decided to still go, to move on, to not be overcome by any mental struggle. And to sum it up, I had the most amazing time in San Diego. I appreciated the moments because I remembered the times when I was doubting to go. I not only enjoyed being with other challenged athletes, but realized how amazing it is to be with other great athletes throughout the country at one sporting event. Simply stated, it was the first sporting event since 2007 where I truly enjoyed the art of swimming; to swim just to swim, and enjoyed the people and process. And to add, it was the best and most beautiful open ocean swim I've ever done. The temperature was perfect, beautiful weather, smiling and waving to the sea lions swimming underneath me; it was perfect. That wouldn't have been possible if I didn't face my demons. And I'm so happy I shared those moments with my CAF family. That was the beginning of my new chapter.
(Photo Credit Chris Stone getting out of the swim at the San Diego Triathlon 10/21/12)
So what does it mean to persevere? For the last 5 months post London Trials, I've learned it means to keep going and pursing although you encounter struggles and challenges over an extended period of time. It also means to work through these challenges regardless if the outcome may not be what you previously had intended or expected; to know regardless of these challenges, this too shall pass. Perseverance encompasses the ability to continue living out your path. There have been countless times since June where I've thought, what to do next, where to go, what to do with myself, but I've realized no matter what, you somehow press on. Perseverance makes you realize how strong you are for choosing to face and withstand those demons and challenges. I believe perseverance is a natural instinct within the human spirit. Everyone has it, I'm not special by any means, I've just have had situations that have directed me to persevere. And I believe that's one of the best qualities we have; that we somehow keep going in life.
I would usually conclude a post with what's next for me, but that's not the case anymore. I've decided to live out one of my favorite quotes, "don't tell people your dreams, show them". So for now, my lips are sealed. Thanks for tagging along on my journey :)