Tonight's Fortius swim was a good reminder that I'm a pretty competitive dude. After placing me one lane over for warm-up and drills, Coach Gerardo moved me to the "fast" lane where there was a higher contingent of swift swimmers than usual. Then, we paired up into two's and raced 25 yards all-out with 20 seconds of rest between sets. The winner of each set faced a faster swimmer until that person lost. Personally, I felt like I had no business beating anybody in that lane. But I'm so paranoid about making a fool of myself or embarrassing myself that it propels me even faster. I don't want anybody in the fast lane thinking I don't belong there, so I push harder to sort of justify my existence in that space.
I suppose it paid off tonight, as I beat two of the three people I faced in our sprint heats. Now that's not saying much, as it's entirely possible they weren't pushing as hard, were recovering from weekend races or are better long-distance swimmers than sprinters. But for me, it was still validation.
I belong in the fast lane. I earned it. And while I know that in the grand scheme of "fast" swimmers I'm really glacial, on our team filled with people who have become true friends, I know I can hang. I remember when I first started training for my first triathlon with Fortius and was beyond intimidated by everyone's skills.
I feel like I've come a long way. Through a lot of hard work, that is. And a lot more hard work to go.
77 days and counting.