“Maria, these walls were not meant to shut out problems. You have to face them. You have to live the life you were born to live.” I am sure I could quote you almost every line from The Sound of Music. But I absolutely love the above line. It is Mother Abbess telling Maria that she has to live the life she was born to live and maybe that was not the life of a nun. She needed to figure it out.
One thing I know for sure is I am alive because of prayer and because of my parents’ believing. I’ve shared the peanut story before and I lived my life giving, giving, giving thinking I was doing the will of the Lord. But I gave so much and neglected myself so much that one day I woke up and my hands no longer worked. It would take 6 months to receive the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, but it was at this point that I decided I wanted to live.
It took a number of years to unload responsibilities and obstacles were thrown at me left and right, but then when I was ready, really ready, the exact right person was at the gym at the exact right time to help me change my life. AND at that same time a group of APP developers were developing a swim app that would become my virtual swim coach. God’s timing was impeccable.
This trainer encouraged me to get back in the pool at my almost 300 pound weight back in early 2016. I could swim 100 yards and of that 100 yards I could flip the first turn only. BUT my joy was beginning to return and my anxiety would diminish when I swam. I was 54 in the summer of 2016. From the age of 50 and up, you are eligible to compete in the Senior games. As a college swimmer, I had always swam the long distances, so I signed up for the 500 free in our local senior games. I had a crash course in diving in with goggles on and I dove from the side of the pool (not the starting block). I flipped one turn of the entire 500. As soon as I finished my event I hightailed it out of there. I had a lot of fear and I didn’t know a soul there, so I left.
In spring of 2017, I swam the 1000 free at a meet. That time I think I flipped two turns. Still didn’t dive off of the block. Again hightailed it out of there when the meet was over. So even though I was losing weight at a steady clip, I was still afraid of a lot of things. In 2018, I decided to concentrate on Patty – specifically getting my joy back and getting over fear. Up to that point I felt like Baby in Dirty Dancing, “Me, I’m scared of everything.” 2018 was a phenomenal year for me in getting my joy back, in really beginning to believe I was living the life I was born to live. In the summer of 2018, I saw a “commercial” on Facebook from a swimmer who was promoting the Huntsman World Senior Games.
It inspired me enough to sign up then and there. Again I love the long distances. I signed up for the 400 IM, the 400 Free, the 200 Breast, the 100 breast, the 50 breast, and the 50 fly. Talk about scared — the 400 IM terrified me. But I used a training plan with the MySwimPro app. (Remember earlier I mentioned the young developers made a swim app.) It had been perfect! I had received all my workouts from the app. I had watched technique videos and practiced drills all via the app. Well they had a training plan for the 400 IM. That training plan was a great success as I competed in October 2018 in the Huntsman World Senior Games and I placed 2nd in my age group and qualified for Nationals. More about that here.
What’s next? The National Swim Meet. It is happening June 16-18 in Albuquerque. Once again I feel scared – I guess a little fear/nervousness is to be expected. My hands have been hurting me for about 3 months now and sometimes my ankles bother me too. This mainly affects my turns, BUT I tell myself – this is a dream come true. In college, my best friend rallied hard for me to be the “relay” pick to go to Nationals, but I wasn’t quite fast enough. Even when at the last minute one of the girls cancelled on the team, I still was not added to the roster. So just to be at a National meet – now at age 57 – is a win. I will be swimming the 400 IM, the 200, 100, and 50 Breaststroke and the 50 Butterfly. I appreciate any and all prayers as I continue to live the life I was born to live.