I have been battling shoulder pain now for over four weeks, and I am not winning. I have been to the Chiropractor, Physical Therapy, and today the doctor. The pain is getting worse. My fears are growing.
I have continued to swim, but just the minimum about 18 - 21k week. Drills mostly and some swimming with fins. Anything to take pressure off my shoulders but keep me working on technique.
I was READY for Gibraltar a month ago. Heck I did the distance in very rough conditions a month ago. And now I am not ready. I am scared, and feeling out of shape, and in pain.
My friends say that I have enough "in the bank". Mentally, I did Tahoe (10 miles last summer) and Physically, I have miles and miles under my belt. But I wanted, and still want to swim two more challenging swims. I would feel more comfortable if I complete a six hour swim before I go. But that may not be possible. It may come down to either a six hour training swim or Gibraltar itself. Crazy, just a month ago, I had it all dialed in.
Something else nagging at the back of my brain is the thought that I have never hit my personal wall yet in swimming. To date I have been able to do every swim I set out to swim. I read about people who attempt the English Channel and fail, and rise up to try again the next year. After the training I have put in for Gibraltar, the expense, the mental and time expenses; to fail? I don't know what I will do. I wonder if I have that type of fortitude I applaud so in others. I don't think of myself as a quitter, because I wouldn't quit during the swim, but there are other forces at work here beyond the swimmers control, and you could not "want to quit" and yet still not make it. There is a point across Gibraltar that you need to reach by a specific time in the tide or you miss landfall on the far side, and the boat pulls you whether you want to quit or not. This is keeping me up nights. It's not like I can just say, "Okay, let's try again tomorrow". This is a $1,900 experience and I want to succeed. I am plagued by thoughts that I haven't trained enough, or smart, or properly. that I haven't done all that I could have done, because somehow I got it wrong.
Twenty-five weeks ago when I began this endeavor, I was so proud of the schedule I concocted. And now I am ashamed that I have not been able to adhere to it, especially now that I am injured. People reminded me that it was a "plan" not a rule and that some weeks would deviate, but I am sick with worry that I have not done "enough". Of course this is compounded by the fact that no one knows what the hell "enough" is, and it's different for every person. I guess this is the part about Marathon swimming that you can only figure out for yourself. Channel Swimming, it is said, "Is 80% mental and 20% physical." What that doesn't tell you is that it's also about 75% faith. Faith in yourself. Faith that you have done your best, even if you didn't do everything you set out to do. Faith that with what you have done, you will have what you need to get across. And faith that if you don't get across, you'll be ok too. That there is something to be learned from failure as well as success. It's not that I want to fail, but I need to acknowledge that there is no shame in failure. And that if it happens, I will be ok. Disappointed, sure, mad, furious, but I will still be able to count myself as one of the few "who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." (Theodore Roosevelt 1910)