Posted by: realifemermaid | November 13, 2013

Thoughts on Longevity, Clearwater-Tampa 8 Mile Record

I swam in a local race on Sunday, the Clearwater to Tampa Trifloyd 8 mile swim. I won first for women (tied 3rd overall) and set a new women’s record with a time of 3:34. Yes, I’m happy with that swim…it was a great swim and like all the others taught me a little more about myself as a marathon swimmer and prepared me a little more for TBMS. But like all things in life it got me thinking!
Of course I am thrilled to have my name attached to a course record. But I know there are many people out there that can swim faster than me! Not just regular swimmers (there are tons of those people) but distance swimmers too. It was easier to set a record because this was only the fifth year of the event and the event is still a little, local race.
The record reminds me of win I set a 500 freestyle record for the 11-12 girls with a time of 6:15. 6:15 is not really all that fast…I don’t think it was even an A time for the US time standards. I had the record because no one else would swim it!
Sticking with something and actually doing something in the first place is half of the equation to being successful at it. I could have quit swimming many, many times. When I was 13 and plateaued, when I was 17 and had a horrible coach and had to swim on a different team for a year, my first year of college when my asthma did NOT agree with Pennsylvania, and of course, as an adult and swimming was supposedly “over”.
My training partner Magoo says that marathon races are not over in the first half. The leader of the TBMS last year ended up hours after the ultimate winner. He advises me to swim my own race, not worry about what is happening around me, and to just keep going.
I don’t think he has realized that his advice for how to race a marathon is the same for how you should approach a lifelong career in swimming. There were several swimmers who were faster than me when they were younger, but they haven’t been in the pool in 10 years….and miss it. There are people who have had to quit swimming due to injury or shifting priorities.
Being ready and present for a marathon swim is just like actually swimming it. You have to
1. Show up!
2. Be persistent.
3. Be determined.
4. Be optimistic about all horrible circumstances telling you to quit.
5. Ignore everything. Just swim your own race!

“The only yard stick that measures success is longevity” –Tom Hanks

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