The Seneca 7 manifesto: Bringing the lessons home

By the fourth interval, I was ready to get out of the pool. The only problem was the workout called for 12 repeats of 100-meter sprint swims. The long course pool and I were not having a great start to the spring and this workout, while better than my last dip in the 50-meter pool, was kicking my ass. The thought of calling it a day and succumbing to the fatigue with the “well, I gave it the old college try” attitude popped into my head several times. But each time, the idea seemed less than satisfactory. Sure, this workout was hard. Yes, I was snagging a bit of extra rest in between 100-meter intervals. But the thought of climbing out of the pool with the workout half done, well, just felt pointless. I kept going, convincing myself that I could try just one more, knowing that I would be more disappointed with bailing on the workout than I would with a slow time.

Interval No. 11 was my slowest of the day. I had one left and figured I’d swim strong with as much effort and concentration on form as I could. On the return 50, I started to think about my teammates from The Seneca 7 over the weekend. I could feel their cheers and their positive attitude pull me through the water. I was filled with gratitude for a center of encouragement, for fun and laughter and joy and the ability to do the things I love. And wouldn’t you know, my time for the 12th and final interval was one of the best of the morning.

Not terribly surprising. But a good lesson.

Recently, I read a fabulous blog post from a runner who was creating her own manifesto. (Sadly, I am that girl — the one who loved the post, forgot to bookmark it and now can not, for the life of her, find it again to share with you.) As I worked through that grueling swim workout, it occurred to me that to help solidify what I learned this past weekend, it would serve me well to create my own manifesto of sorts. What do I want to take from a fabulous weekend into my daily life? Here is my Seneca 7 Manifesto:

  • Always say “yes” to an idea that intrigues, inspires or energizes you. Even if it scares you a bit. Even if you don’t know exactly how to do it.
  • Patience comes from truly believing everything will work out just fine. Trust is realizing that everything already is just fine.
  • Elegance comes in many forms and is most powerful when simple and authentic.
  • Be open to trying new things and you can discover the wonders of chia seeds in oatmeal and smoothies.
  • There are times when you get further by going slower.
  • Reward yourself. Often. Occasionally with cookies.
  • When in doubt, search for the beauty. It’s never far away.
  • Never forget: Do the math!

Blog update: Remember Jenna Hanson, the runner and skier from Honeoye Falls-Lima High School who broke her neck and came back to win a gold medal at the Empire State Games? She won the ultimate high school female athlete through online voting at Her story was featured in today’s USA Today. Whenever I need to find my own “tank full of sass” her spirit and energy continues to inspire me.

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