Tuesday, June 17, 2014


I'm pretty sure I am actually invincible. Wait - you don't think anyone is? Hear me out. I live with severe Crohn's, and I'm staring down the barrel at abdominal surgery number 5. If I didn't tell you that, you would never even know. I've had skin cancer twice (thankfully caught early and didn't require additional treatment). I run with a recurring IT band injury.  I don't let these things stop me; quite the opposite. These are my motivators. If I hurt, I push harder. If I'm tried, I keep going. Sure, that's probably not what any of my doctors would recommend, but I have one life. One shot at doing this thing right. Stopping is not an option for me. Hence I am convinced that I am indeed invincible.

Every great once in a while there is a crack in my cloak of invincibility that make me wonder if I am a mere mortal. I don't like being faced with that. It's rude. Yesterday we were at my husband's family's cottage to celebrate his birthday and Father's Day. I decided it would be a good day for an open water swim - I've never done one. The triathlon is next weekend, and the open water swim is my biggest fear.

Our cousins offered to swim with me, and my husband and the youngest cousin accompanied me across the lake with a paddle boat to make sure I wasn't run over by a boat or jet ski (which would not have been fun). When I jumped in the water my breath was taken away by the cold. It was so cold that I actually could not catch my breath which is a problem while trying to swim. I did some sort of weird modified above the water breast stroke trying to catch my breath. It was brutal. 

I turned around on the other side of the lake, and I started getting into more of a groove on the way back. I didn't account for the fact that unlike the pool there are ripples on the lake. The water likes to slap you in the face when you take a breath. I was thinking about adding dozens of other people, and I was trying not to panic.

When I got back to the cottage I was exhausted. My husband reminded me that when I do this swim next week this is the point where I'll jump on a bike for more than ten miles. I love a new challenge, and I don't often feel like there's much I can't do. After that swim I felt anything but invincible. I felt vulnerable, and I felt scared.

With our cousin/one of my swim escorts after the frozen swim. On the plus side my arms look like the 25-year-old version.
I tried to put it past me, but this morning the doubts crept back into my head during a long swim in the pool. I've talked about dealing with doubt before. I think it's a natural part of life. It's how we deal with the doubt that is the real test of our character.

Next weekend I am going to swim a half a mile, follow it with a 10.7 mile bike ride and then run three miles. I will admit that I am terrified. But trying new things and pushing myself is what life is all about. If I'm afraid to try things that scare me, what kind of life is that? Here's a little secret: I may not be invincible after all.  But try to convince my mind of that, would you?