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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Days 17 & 18: Read It. You Know You Wanna.

Why am I so bad at keeping up with this? Honestly, you'd think I'd be doing better, especially since one of my goals for May was to blog four times a week. Ha. Fail. 

Anyway, so I'm trying to catch up again, even though I'm a whopping week behind, so I'm combining two posts into one. Cheers. 

Day 17: A Favorite Photo 
This gem is of me and my littlest baby sister, taken at family Christmas 2012. She and I actually hosted Christmas in our apartment last year, which sounds a lot more intense than it was. Basically,one of my brothers and his wife stayed with us, and the whole gang helped out with cooking (although I made the pot roast...delicious, by the way). The hardest part of the whole gig was finding a place for everyone to sit, and keeping our mini Christmas tree upright on the coffee table. 

I love this picture because I look so happy, and because I was having so much fun that day! And also, I love the look on Jolynn's face. She is basically one of the cutest people in the world, and she makes any picture better just by being in it. :) 

Day 18: A Story From My Childhood

I swam competitively on a summer community swim team for my entire growing up life. It was great... I got a chance to get out of the house, make some new friends, spend time in the sun. Honestly, I loved it. And I was actually pretty good, too, at least until I hit puberty and all of a sudden didn't know how to handle my body in the water. It took a couple years to figure that out, but that's another story. 

Anyway, I always competed in five events at every swim meet - I swam butterfly in the medley relay and participated in the freestyle relay, and then swam freestyle, backstroke, and butterfly (my favorite) in the individual events. Sometimes I'd compete in the individual medley, too, but I am terrible at breast stroke, so I would always lose time on that stroke. Anyway, the point here is that by the end of the meet, after four other races, I was usually pretty tired. 

One time, we were competing against Richland Center, and the meet was really close. I was 13, and was swimming anchor in the freestyle relay. Our team had always had a pretty intense rivalry with the RC girls, so we really wanted to win. I was tired from my previous races, but was determined to still do everything I could to win the relay. 

By the time it was my turn, my team was about one body length behind the RC team. We were conveniently assigned to lanes next to each other, so I was able to keep an eye on my competition. I dove in, and gave it everything I had. By the turn, I had almost caught up with Megan (the really tall, really lean, really good anchor for the RC team), but was still just a little bit behind, and I was exhausted. After I finished the turn and started back the other way, I was breathing towards the spectator side of the pool, where all the parents were sitting, and where my coach was running along the side of the pool. Somehow I could hear everybody cheering for me, even through the noise and splashing. 

All of a sudden, I had a surge of energy. I started kicking harder, and I could feel the muscles in my arms working harder with each stroke. I caught up with Megan about halfway across the pool, and it was ON. 

The energy in the pool area was electric. I could hear people screaming and cheering, could feel the adrenaline coursing through my body. I stopped breathing... I just dug in, kicking and moving my arms as fast as I could. I watched Megan, and sensed that she was experiencing the same thing, was motivated by the same energy as I was. 

We both gave it everything we had, and Megan and I touched the wall at what looked to be exactly the same time. We both lingered in the pool for a minute, catching our breath and congratulating each other on a great race while the timers conferred. It seemed like the whole place was holding its breath. 

And then.... the timers determined that I had won the race by one one-hundredth of a second. My team, my coach, my parents went crazy, screaming and cheering and clapping. It was incredible.

There were other dramatic races in my years as a swimmer - some that I won, some that I lost. But that race has always stuck out in my mind as special. I don't know if its because of how close it was, because of the rivalry we had with the other team, or if it was something else. Either way, it's one of my favorite swimming memories. 

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