Just over 3 weeks ago after 14 weeks of training and getting to know some rather wonderful people along the way with whom I heartily hope to keep in touch, I swam 1 mile of the Thames at Henley. All the ‘Whoo Hooing’ is now over and I still can’t quite believe I did it, but I did and I am a pretty chuffed, in fact all 5 This Girl Can ladies did it and very brilliantly too.
Prior to winning a place in the This Girl Can Henley Mile and at the start of my training (i’ll try not to use the word journey) I struggled to swim 4 lengths of the pool without getting puffed out. I can now do 64 and albeit somewhat slowly it’s a massive step forward for me. In the entry form for the competition I explained that I had swam at school extensively but completely given up when a member of staff told me I was the wrong shape to be a swimmer at the age of 15 years old. Since then sport, body confidence and fitness have not really featured in my daily life. Now swimming really does feature and makes me very happy.
What I have not blogged about until now is that I suffer from depression and when I entered the competition back in February I was pretty poorly, I have an amazing GP and have had various treatment over the last 12 years on and off and totally salute my local NHS, but it is always lurking in the background and swoops in when I least expect it. I decided not to reveal this about myself until after the event so that people could just see me for me but overcoming a lot of anxieties bought on by my depression was a major part of this process and the Henley Mile and all the very brilliant people I have met have helped me more than I can ever say. As a famous actor once said in a film ‘it’s been emotional’.
If you do read this and think as I always have that running, swimming or just getting out there will be too hard, embarrassing and people will laugh at you – I can assure you they won’t, they will support you, champion you and cheer you all the way and they will not care what you look like or how fast you can go.
Good luck to the next 5 brilliant ladies who take up this challenge next year, you never know you might see me in a slightly worn out TGC swimming hat plodding up the Henley Mile…..