it always seems impossible until it’s done

July 25, 2014






1) my disfiguring goggles– a redundancy
2) athletes parade at dawn to the ferry that will take them to alcatraz
3) alcatraz, the sign says: warning persons procuring or concealing escape of prisoners are subject to prosecution and imprisonment
4) they’re off, golden gate bridge in the background
5) that about sums it up!

Last November, as a big birthday loomed ahead of me in 2014, I thought it time to pick up the exercise routine and set a goal. I thought about the Y-tri at the gym: 15 minutes of swim, 15 minutes of bike (studio bike) and 15 minutes of run (on a treadmill).

I signed up for a seven-week Y-tri training class, but would not yet commit to the Y-tri. I was worried about the swim. I hadn’t done swim workouts in years— no, DECADES. And I hate getting in to a pool. I hate being on the deck when I’m wet. I hate being cold. And what I hate most of all? Putting on a swimsuit. Gah! It all made me feel a little ill to think about.

I remember our first swim class the instructor told us to swim a 200 yard warm-up ( eight lengths). Most of us in the class were struggling to finish 50 yards.

But I finished the tri class. And another one after that. And then the Y tri. And then a sprint length tri in June. This summer I have enjoyed many lake swims on sunny weekend mornings with a group of great women; lunchtime swims in the outdoor 50 meter public pool; and more workouts, including this morning, with new friends at the Y. Somewhere in there, I turned 50!

Last Sunday I was on a ferry at Alcatraz, watching my friend Ingrid jump into a 62 degree San Francisco bay with 400 other wet-suit clad athletes and about 25 without wet suits. She was participating in the Escape from the Rock duathlon, swimming 1.5 miles from Alcatraz to Aquatic Park, San Francisco and then running 7 miles. I was her support crew.

Months ago, when she first talked about doing this, it seemed to me like an impossible event and not one I would ever considering signing up for. But Ingrid made it look possible, and it’s something that I am now considering for next year.

It seemed serendipitous when we were poking around in a San Francisco bookstore after the race Ingrid found a book titled, “It Always Seems Impossible Until It’s Done.”

For her, finishing that grueling event, it was an incredibly appropriate sentiment. But for me, it was appropriate too.


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