Frank & Friends 10 Swim for Strong Kids (2014)

Posted: April 27, 2014 in Swim
Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday I ticked off the second of my unique mental toughness “events” for 2014 with completing the full ‘Frank & Friends 10k Swim for Strong Kids’ at the Port Colborne YMCA.  I did it last year (click HERE) too but it was thoroughly unplanned and completely spontaneous so this year represents a more conscious effort to prepare and complete.  In essence, it’s a premeditated attempt to reacquire this elusive ‘Mental Toughness’ I felt I once had but, truthfully, who’s ever going to pass up the opportunity to be referred to as a ‘Champion’ for the day? Not this fat guy.


Enjoying it while I can.

But more on that later…

It was an amazing day.  Besides the staff and volunteers at the Port Colborne YMCA, there were members from the local Special Olympics swim team and junior swimmers from another competitive swim team.  Let me tell you, these kids can swim!  There was a “special needs” (I use this term loosely as, in the water, this guy needed no special ‘assistance’ I can assure you) swimmer for the majority of the time doing the backstroke like it was his job.  Often there were chances throughout the day for the random 25m  and 50m  sprints with the swimmers in the adjacent lanes just for the fun of it because, hey, what else is there to do really?  Besides, when two swimmers reach the wall at the same time, it’s the equivalent of two teenagers at an intersection in their powerful sports cars, looking across at one another through slightly tinted windows and revving their engines while waiting for the light to turn green.  I believe it’s just an unwritten rule.

So, anyway, this type of passive aggressive socializing with other swimmers, along with the girl who would tap me on the head every half hour or so to remind me to drink, pretty much passed the first two hours quite comfortably.  But then people started leaving to the point where I was pretty much the only person left; not so much fun but, hey, it was not completely unexpected nor entirely outside the ‘Master Plan’ anyway so I kept plodding along.

400 laps.  That's two down, mom.

400 laps. That’s two down, mom.

It’s funny what goes through your head at these moments when you’re really, really tired.  Truthfully, up to the 8k or so point in the swim my arms and shoulders felt great, but those last few hundred meters sure sucked as the fatigue and boredom began to set in.  How do those real long distance swimmers do it?  For example, I know a girl who is preparing to be the youngest swimmer to swim across Lake Ontario and she completes these types of distance swims, like, daily.  How amazing is that?  Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

Maybe someday.

I also got to meet Frank himself.  Before today, I’ve never met Frank, but I’ve seen him before.  Approximately seven years ago on my third visit to the St. Catharines YMCA (I was still very new to the whole new ‘lifestyle change’ thing) I heard a few people talking about this guy who was swimming 10 kilometers in the pool for charity.  In short, I thought he was nuts and didn’t give it a further thought beyond that.

Meeting the original founder and inspiration for this whole thing.

I call this “Two Nuts Poolside”

Later – 3 years to be exact – I completed my first successful season competing in local Sprint distance triathlons.  And by “completed”, I simply mean I survived and my heart didn’t spontaneously combust inside my chest.  The part that I had really enjoyed, however, was the swim.  Where most people I trained with at the time either dreaded the swim or referred to it as something you simply endured, I simply loved the exhilaration of splashing limbs, jockeying for position, and otherwise just trying to not get knocked the fuck out.  Maybe I’m just wired differently as I enjoy swimming and it has become the hallmark of my race strategy in past events to be out first and ahead of my peers while feeling good.  So, suddenly, swimming was something of particular interest to me (it still is).  As fate would have it, I walked in one afternoon to the same YMCA (three years later) and I see the sign-up for the, yep, you guessed it, the ‘Franks 10k Swim for Strong Kids’.  What the hell?

It's official.

It’s official.

Of course, at the time I could only do 700m or 800m   comfortably (which was quite far by my standards back then) but it was more about just making a donation to support a good local cause, not to mention swimming a few laps with (well, alongside…at the other end of the pool) Frank and it made me feel good.  So this year, as with past years, I decided to do it again but with a little more fore-thought into, you know, actually preparing for it properly.  I can see myself getting into endurance swimming at some point when all this crazy Ironman madness runs its course, so I thought it was a good opportunity to explore my current limits with swimming.  So, yes, it did give me an excellent opportunity to further poke the pruny barriers of my own performance with a stick…a huge, pointy, evil-looking stick.

Mission accomplished.

While I have other events and races planned for 2014 beginning in another month or so, as well as the rest of the racing season, I specifically have only the one more targeted “Mental Toughness” challenge to complete (in September) before I flip the switch again and leap feet first back into the Ironman arena come 2015.

That’s the plan anyway, so stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed.

  1. Thea Lockwood says:

    Congratulations Terry. Well done!!

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