Using my power

I had suspected what was in store for me at Monday night’s master’s swim workout.

Sadly, I was correct.

It was testing day. Time for Swim Master Greg to calculate my T-time. Part of me dreaded the workout because (a) it would be hard and (b) I already knew my T-time was slow. Like painfully slow. Like, really, you didn’t drown? type of slow.

For those new to the swimming world, your t-time or t-pace is basically how long it takes you to swim 100 yards. It’s a training benchmark usually set by doing a time trial in practice. From there, you can create other workouts using pace and distance which ultimately should help you get faster.

There are several ways to calculate your T-pace and regular readers of my blog know that math and I have a tenuous relationship. So that job landed to Swim Master Greg. After a 500-yard warmup I swam 300 yards three different times with a minute rest in between each. I swam hard. It hurt. I was gasping at the end.

And my T-pace … well … it was right about where I thought it would be. Right about where it was last year.

While somewhat disappointed, my initial thought was to just accept it. It is what it is. It’s just a time. Just a number. Just something for me to work with, not a referendum on who I am as a person. It’s not even a referendum on who I am as a swimmer.

Even more telling was my discussion with Swim Master Greg after practice. He explained to me that during the time trial, I was so concerned about trying to go fast, that I wasn’t finishing my stroke. I was pulling my arm out early. I was trying to get a high cadence which meant I was forsaking my glide for the illusion of speed.

By not finishing my stroke, he told me, I was losing about 40 percent of my power.

And that thought floored me.

I wasn’t using my power.

I was so wrapped up in trying to get a good end result that I was missing the process. And in missing the process, I was skimping on the very thing that would get me to the result I wanted.

How’s that for a kick in the pants?

It made me wonder where else in my life I was failing to utilize my power. It’s not about a lack of heart or effort or desire. It’s not even about working on weaknesses so much. In fact, thinking about your weaknesses only reinforces the negative in a way. Instead, where am I not drawing out all my positives? Where am I stopping short, not using all the power I already have?

In swimming, it’s about finishing the stroke and utilizing all of the power that comes from pushing the water behind me.

In life, it’s about seeing all the positives, all the strength, I already have. It’s about owning that, letting it shine, and letting that carry me forward. We are stronger than we think we are, and when we realize that, our true power takes us right to the places we want to be.

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