I often struggle to celebrate my own successes – and I’m sure I’m not the only one like that – but over the last two weeks since the Windermere swim I’ve tried to look back on it and allow myself a smile or two.
The thing is, people were congratulating me for the swim itself which just felt wrong to me. It was tough, but once I’d got in and got going I knew there was no way I wasn’t going to finish. So it seems strange to be congratulated for something that was self-evidently going to happen.
But as I’ve thought about, what I have allowed myself to be pleased about is not completing the swim, but that fact I got myself to start able to complete it. My very first post on this blog was on April 23rd this year – and that is when I committed to the plan of swimming Windermere. However what I was committing to was swimming it next year! My very first outdoor swim of the year was on May 13th – and that was in a wetsuit! And then on June 2nd I did my first proper event – a 3 mile swim in Budworth Mere – and I thought that was a long way at the time.
So in just over 4 months I’ve gone from deciding to do it; in 3 months I’ve gone from swimming 3 miles and being delighted with that – to now, swimming 10.5 miles.
That’s what I’m most pleased about.
I said as I was getting in, what gave me the confidence to set off was knowing that I’d done everything I could to prepare for it – I would have liked to do more, but for me I did the maximum possible. I knew that if I didn’t complete the swim, then I could hold my head up and be proud anyway. That’s what I’m most pleased about.
All the Olympics stuff this summer has seen a narrative of “If you want something enough, then you can win the gold.” To be honest, much of that is bollocks. It should be: if you’re talented enough, lucky enough to have the opportunities and you want it enough, then you can [win Olympic gold / the Tour de France / US Open etc].
But what is true is that to achieve anything worthwhile (Olympic gold, or coming last at Windermere) takes a lot of effort. Well, I know that I put the effort in and that’s what I’m most pleased about.