A page has been turned. The smug crossbreed has been replaced by a go-getting greyhound and June is upon us. This canine athlete is running so fast, in fact, that it is little more than a skinny blur. I have the feeling it might help speed up the whole month. And that would be a relief because this swimming training thing has been starting to… drag.
The first month was full of feel-good moments. Before my thrice-weekly pool trips, I would print that day’s training plan and fold it neatly into a resealable freezer-bag – my very own poolside guide, ready to place next to my swimmer’s water bottle and pullbuoy (serious stuff). I even splashed out on a new cossie from Speedo for professional effect. Anything to make me – or time – go faster. To top it all off, I actually turned up for all my scheduled swim times. Smug crossbreed even suggested I mark off each success on the calendar with the dramatic swipe of a felt-tip, which I did. Smugness is almost contagious.
But then, a few weeks ago, the feel-good was fading. There were so many good reasons not to go for a swim. The drizzle, the sunshine; the fact it was early, the fact it was late; the hair-washing… One day I found myself standing in the bathroom giving my new cossie a pep talk. Once on, we set off, as slowly as possible, just wondering if there was any possible way of turning back.
Sitting on the edge of the pool, I willed my freezer bag of drills to disappear, wondering how I had ever felt upbeat about this challenge. I watched the giant secondhand of the pool clock do several rounds, as if it might somehow stop and tell me I could just go home. And then I thought of the other swimmers in the This Girl Can team, all splashing their way to victory while I stood still in the shallows. I thought of the go-getting greyhound, racing its way round a sunlit field, soaked in energy. At last, my resistance lost its muddled charm and I got in.
But it wasn’t happily ever after just yet. The water felt thick and warm and the number of plasters floating in the deep end had definitely trebled since last time. The endorphin high wasn’t quite high enough to help my sinking limbs, let alone the dread of counting yet another set of 18 lengths. And that’s without mentioning the people- the pool was crawling with them.
Under the rather powerless shower, it dawned on me: this girl actually can – even when the feel-good fades. Hats off to the go-getting greyhound.