Persistence


Today, we watched more than a hundred senior athletes compete at a high level and raise the bar numerous times. When the award ceremony was over, there were dozens of reasons to have shed a tear, and not just because a relative had finished a race.

One particularly amazing feat was the 95 year old gentleman who set a Senior Games record in the 100 yard freestyle, posting a time that most of us would struggle to beat at half, or a third of his age. I found out from a swimmer staying at our hotel that a coach from her club, an 80 year old man, is still coaching, as well as swimming.

I spoke to him after the race and asked what I could do to start getting ready for Cleveland in 2013. His reply was what would expect from a coach.

1. Swim 50 yards without stopping.
2. Take a 15 second break and swim another 50 yards.
3. Repeat until you can do this for a half an hour without more than a 15 second break.
4. Do this routine three times a week.
5. When you are doing 50 yards without stopping, for two months, add 25 yards to your routine, still taking 15 seconds between sessions. Continue until you are doing a half an hour practice without having to stop for more than 15 seconds.
6. Work up to 4 lengths (100 yards) at a time, then 8 lengths.

His point was that one doesn’t get better until one is training beyond the point of being tired. But once you get comfortable with getting tired, it is just hard work.

I hope to see him again in Cleveland in 2013, even if my Mother does not compete. I hope to be in the pool as well. I expect I can learn how to practice persistence. It is the sort of habit that will make everything else I need to do that much easier, because I will have learned to keep going when I am tired.

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