Over the past several weeks, I’ve learned a lot from listening, observing, and reflecting and hopefully this will continue for…………….ever… To start, the Ocean Swim is one of the toughest workouts because of various elements (Tide, Temperature, Current, Fish, Sharks, Dolphins, Crabs, Jelly Fish (been stung once – not as bad as I thought), Waves, Crabs, The Unknown, but most importantly the element to overcome – One’s Fear/State of Mind.
Lesson 1. The ocean is in our backyard (Dewey Beach) so take advantage and use it – Taught by my triathlete buddy – John (who is now an accomplished sprint triathlete in just 2 years). Swimming at the local YMCA is good practice but not the same as the real thing = Ocean Swimming. I started swimming with John on weekends and now our group has grown to several people and is continually growing and always accepting new swimming buddies! Don’t know if I’m getting better at Ocean Swimming but definitely getting more comfortable!
Lesson 2. Enjoy the Swim – Always Enjoy! This may separate me from the mainstream because my age/sage/wisdom has taught me to just enjoy the moment and while enjoying if you can lose yourself within the workout(Ocean Swim) then you are Winning Within! Compound that and a shout out to my fellow dystonics (aka – Group – Exercise and dystonia) by having the ability and freedom to move/exercise/swim/workout with dystonia is a whole different ball game. Why? — A dystonic (and depending on severity and diagnosis) can have some other obstacles other than the aforementioned Ocean Swimming Elements, such as muscles firing, the spasms, cramps and painful postures non-stop before, during and after = Our own daily Spartan/Warrior Dash/Viking Race? This is hard to put into words, but the best way I can explain is exercising with dystonia is muscles firing double, triple and beyond?!!? – so appreciate what you can do and don’t compare and/or look back to what you once were – Just Move Forward and Keep Moving Forward!
Lesson 3. Time, Positioning, Place does not matter what’s most Important is to Finish! Competition is important and I Love competition but with dystonia, one has to re-evaluate – but, in no way, am I making excuses or building in a sympathy crutch – what I’m saying is I want to win, compete with the best, and train to be the best I can be but I have to keep it real and the race is not to the swiftest but to those who keep on swimming/biking/running – I may not win but if I keep extending the game I’m not going to lose either! My race is within me, amongst others and continues on a daily basis.
Lesson 4. The friendship, and growth through exercising/competition and training is similar to Team Sport Stuff – bus trips, locker rooms, practices, pick up games, etc… This is where the sharing of the experience, the re-living of the journey, story-telling, growth of friendships, learning from others, Listening by observing and ultimately growing through all of these to make the journey so much more meaningful and the look forward to the next go around more powerful, plus a motivator to stretch and become better within our own challenges!
The Most Important Lesson is to Enjoy The Moment! I mean really enjoy the moment, when loving something so much that you can only look for the good in what you do, how to improve what you do, looking forward to the Now and the excitement of the next time without losing sight of the present and losing oneself in the activity is truly Paradise.