I found out last week that I have pneumonia. I swam a week ago Sunday and felt pretty good, went to work on Monday and came home two hours early because I had the chills, and then managed to sleep for about twelve hours hoping to beat whatever I had. I was concerned as the BC Provincials Masters swim meet started that Friday. I went to my doctor and found out the bad news. When I asked if I could swim a 1500-meter free on Friday night he gave me that look – not a big fan of that look. He said…”Rod not to long ago people with pneumonia had a 50% chance of living even at the best hospitals”.
We all deal with things in a different ways and I definitely did not want to fall into the poor me’s… “Pour me another drink”. I quickly took inventory, calculated the days before the Channel and had something to eat – if I can’t swim I will train in other ways!
Below are some of the quotes that help me surf the waves…
“What we do does not define who we are, what defines us is how we rise after falling” -Unknown
“The Best Part is the Hard Part” -Fred Coogan, Austin, TX
“All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dream with open eyes to make it possible”. T.E. Lawrence
H2O: two parts Heart and one part Obsession
Our doubts are traitors, And make us lose the good we oft might win, By fearing to attempt. – William Shakespeare.
“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”. – William Greenough Thayer Shedd
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out when the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is no effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at 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 know neither victory nor defeat.” -Teddy Roosevelt
A month before my first cold water qualifying swim I had a conversation with a friend of mine. I was talking about the Channel and confessing my doubts about cold water. He let me rant on for about ten minutes without saying a word. When I finished there was a long pause and he said, “You know Rod…if a Samurai Warrior goes to battle with any doubt, he will die”. After another long pause, I thought…wow, bit dramatic, but there is a lesson here…
“Those who are reluctant to give up their lives and embrace death are not true warriors…Go to the battlefield firmly confident of victory, and you will come home with no wounds whatever. Engage in combat fully determined to die and you will be alive: wish to survive in the battle and you surely meet death. When you leave the house determined not to see it again you will come home safely: when you have any thought of returning you will not return. You may not be in the wrong to think that the world is always subject to change, but the warrior must not entertain this way of thinking, for his fate is always determined.” – Samurai Warrior
When we leave for Dover on the 9th of July, suitcase in hand, I will look back at our house determined never to return…