I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “can’t” lately. Since I started triathlon training, so many of my previously ingrained “can’t” beliefs about myself have been shattered, turned around, evaporated. Some of them are big and some of them are small, but I realize how in many instances, “can’t” has really meant (until now) “prefer not to.” Heh.

For example.

  • I can’t preferred not to bike or swim. I can only run.
  • I can’t preferred not to ride a bike in traffic or anywhere near cars.
  • I can’t didn’t train so that I was able to swim more than 4 lengths of a pool. (ahem: last night swam 76 lengths!)
  • When I’m swimming, I can’t prefer not to breathe on my left side.
  • I can’t would rather not but am willing to try to ride a bike with toe clips.

Language makes such a difference doesn’t it? In our heads and in our reality. I can’t even describe how many YEARS (decades) I used to say out loud, “I can’t bike or swim.” Well clearly that isn’t true. But the truth was, I preferred not to, and I CHOSE not to. But it wasn’t that I couldn’t.

This little one about breathing on the left side. Haha. Well, the truth is, that it’s awkward, and I turn my head in an uncomfortable and spazzy way, and I end up sometimes gulping water when I try to breath on my left side. Which is why I most often CHOSE to only breathe on my right side. But our swim coach Angie kept reminding us that it would be a good thing to be able to swim bilaterally because what if we are in open water and the wind and waves are ALL on the right side. That would not be good. So last night during our OYO swim workout I really, really practiced the left sided breathing. It did not feel easy or fun or natural. But at the end of the evening I had not drowned and I had clearly succeeded in doing even awkward, flawed left sided breathing. So I have no business saying “I can’t.”

RIght now I feel myself tending toward thinking things like, “I can’t run six miles after I’ve ridden 24 miles and swam a mile.” I’ve got to stop thinking those thoughts. I’m working on repeating to myself, “I am TRAINING to ride six miles after riding 24 and swimming one, and when the time comes, I WILL BE READY.” I believe I can’t do it today or this week, but I have to have the belief that when November comes I WILL be ready.