Back in the day when being top of class was a surefire way to make my parents happy,  there  was a poem that I used to read quietly to fire me up at the start of a brand new day. The poem eventually became a mantra that I could recite aloud. Years later, I would find out that a number of my contemporaries who eventually entered the Philippine Military Academy forced themselves to memorize it to survive their plebe year.  It is this poem that now comes to mind as I reflect on the progress I did not know I made at the 2018 Triman particularly in the swim leg.

You see I only started learning how to do the front crawl (i.e., free style to many) when I was in my late 40s.  My fear of drowning whether in the pool or in the sea, not to mention my obvious lack of flexibility did not help any.  To give you a picture of where I started a year ago, I could not even comfortably cross a 25m pool with 2 strokes. Looking back, I still could not believe I actually managed to complete the 900m swim of my first sprint triathlon in 2017. Sure I was huffing and puffing but finish the race I did.  But wait there’s more.

Disturbed and disappointed with how I fared in the swim leg, I eventually invested continually in swim instruction. And so from Gawin PH, I eventually signed up with Swim Academy followed by Inside Track Athletics, Mediswim and fairly recently, Aqualogic. Each of these swim schools featured accomplished swimmers and triathletes who have paid their dues both as athletes and coaches. Each coach who came my way gave me something of value that definitely contributed immensely to how far I’ve gone a year after.

How far exactly? A year ago I had a hard time swimming a 50m pool without stopping. This year, I could comfortably complete 90%  of the distance when I’m tired and 100% of the same distance when I’m properly warmed up.  More importantly, looking at my numbers in 2017 vs 2018, surprise, surprise, I was actually 20 minutes faster in the Triman swim leg in 2018 vs. 2017.

If that is not progress, I don’t know what is.  So here’s to not quitting as I continue to invest in swim instruction and coaching.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill

When the funds are low and the debts are high

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh

When care is pressing you down a bit –

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a fellow turns about

When he might have won had he stuck it out

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow

You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than

It seems to a faint and faltering man

Often the struggler has given up 

When he might have captured the victor’s cup;

And he learned too late when the night came down

How close he was to the golden crown

Success is failure turned inside out –

The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,

It might be near when it seems too far

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit

It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.