Lead weights in the head, weights on the arms.

I didn’t know it before I went into the ocean this morning, but I’m still recovering from this weekend in Seattle. I have a race on Saturday and right now the objective is to rest and recharge so I don’t drop dead on the course. This morning’s swim sent a clear message – if my head isn’t clear, my performance is going to suck.

The lead weights on the arms refers to the fact that this morning I swam in a full wetsuit for the first time in several months, thinking that since I am swimming an hour north of here I ought to do the race in a wetsuit with sleeves. I forgot that wearing sleeves means I’m pulling extra neoprene with every stroke and 1/4 way into the swim this morning I got winded. Then some dick next to me hit me in the head three times with his wide stroke and things just went downhill. I’m still carrying aggravation over from the weekend, and the sleep cycle interruption is not helping things at all. I knew I was only going to do two laps in the ocean this morning, even skipping feeding the meter to motivate me finishing in 1/2 an hour. Perhaps in hindsight I should have skipped this morning’s workout altogether and just slept in, recharged the brain batteries, and taken some time just for myself.

There’s a difference in the selfishness of getting up at 5am for an ocean swim versus sleeping in and setting the phone to silent mode. It was good that I was reminded of the full wetsuit stretch on the stroke, but now I have two days left to sleep while stuffing my face with carbs in prep for Saturday’s five hour course. With finite days and hours, everything is a trade off.

Which brings me to the idea of compartmentalization. I spoke in an earlier post about how I have discovered that in order to be completely clear and free of something I must let go of it completely. I can’t fake it. I don’t believe in god, fate, or destiny, but sometimes I look up at the sky and ask, “is this really how the universe works?” Only a selfish, self-aware mammal like a human would be so egotistical as to think that the universe knows or cares about our arbitrary moods. But still, I look up and ask, and the silence is confirmation that yes, in order to get what we want we must let go of it completely and utterly.

We are alone in this universe. It’s massive beyond human comprehension, which makes it a magical place to exist in at all. That we are aware of how infinitesimally small we are is to know that our emotional mood swings don’t matter much. That is the path to being able to let go completely. The universe does not care how we feel. It’s perfectly fine without us, or its interpretation of us. Even time is a human construct, programmed into our bodies through a process of evolution, the reason for which is still not fully clear. If mountains were sentient they would obsess about the flow of rivers and the tectonic whims of the planet. If planets were sentient they would regard humans as much as we regard the bacteria living in our eyebrows. To generate wattage I must become like the mountain, the planet, the universe.

At which point I will be fast as light.


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