You can't swim fast with a broken heart
by, May 22nd, 2009 at 11:59 AM (1756 Views)
I went to Toronto to swim in the Canadian Masters SCM championships. Seven days before we had planned to go, my partner of 10 years told me that she is leaving me. No matter how much I begged, pleaded and cried, she would not go to joint counseling. She said she was unhappy and just had to get out of our relationship. Three days before I left, I found out there was another guy in the picture. Not only did she time her announcement in an attempt to ruin this meet for me, I found out later that she had invited this miscreant to our house for a party! I remember giving him a beer and making him feel welcome. Talk about being humilated in front of my friends and family - and not finding out until after the fact. I was completely blindsided by these horrible events.
It's no fun to try to race with a broken heart. I lost 10 pounds and my swim skin did not fit - it let water into the suit while I was swimming. I could not sleep soundly - waking up with night terrors or panic attacks. I was exhausted and could barely eat. My usually hearty appetite was replaced with the sensation of eating tastless cardboard. All the classic signs of depression. With the amount of stress hormones in my blood, I probably would have flunked a drug test!
We have been going to swim meets together for as long as we have been together. I really missed her and found myself saying "what would she do if she were here - and she would have really like this or that". Useless thoughts, but in times of stress, your mind has a tendency to get stuck in these weird cognitive loops.
I wish to thank Karyln Pipes-Neilsen and Don Graham for taking me under their wing during this meet. Their fellowship, sympathy, kind words and insights were particularly comforting.
Everyone knows KPN and what a wonderful swimmer she is. Some people are jealous of her accomplishments, her enthusiastic joyful manner and her perfect lifestyle - globe trotting to put on swim clinics, living in Kona and just unbelievable talent.
Well, I'm here to tell you that she has a heart of gold to go along with all of those other attributes. She is a great listener and she had a lot of insight into my problems. As I got to know KPN, I found that she is a really special human being who has overcome a lot of difficult life challenges. She is a true champion in every sense of the word.
Don Graham has been a long time rival in the backstroke and IM races - he is primarily a butterflier (and a pretty good one at that). I really did not know him very well until this meet. But once I told him a little about what I was going through, he immediately opened up and let me pour my heart out. Don had some of the most insightful and thoughtful words that gave me great comfort. Without the help of these two very special people, I don't think I would have made it through the meet.
Now that I'm back, I have many questions and no answers because the only thing she wants to talk about are financial arrangements. It is very painful and difficult to even see her at the pool. Unfortunately, the only time I can train is when the masters swimming team is in the water. I'm going to try to swim as far away as possible, but it will still be very difficult.
Eventually, I will get through this and I know there is always another swim meet.