I’m keeping my head above water. And that’s the problem.

Staying true to my goals for 2014, I finally started learning to swim. I dodged having to swim at the Gravel Pit Spartan Race, but I doubt I’ll get away with that again at Vail Lake for the Spartan Sprint in September. Turns out, I’m not that far away from being a swimmer.

Trouble is, I haven’t mastered the breathing techniques necessary to efficiently swim freestyle. In my first trip to the pool, I mastered not turning my head from side to side when my face is out of the water — that’s huge progress for me. But when I put my face in the water? Instant choking.

Intellectually, I know I’m perfectly safe in the pool. I can touch bottom at all times, and I float without trying (which is why I cannot for the life of me swim underwater for more than a few strokes — buoyancy is my superpower). I’m naturally rhythmic, so picking up the choreography of swimming should be easy for me. Somehow, though, I struggle to trust all these things about myself and breathe in air without water.

I’m going to keep working at it, and I’m going to let my head drop beneath the surface as much as I can. Most of all, I’m going to fight my urge to give up on something at which I’m not immediately perfect, so I can find good enough.

To me, this is scarier than trying something new. I can be a beginner. But being mediocre? Feels an awful lot like drowning.

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