Mark’s Secret to Swimming

Posted: August 27th, 2012   |   Category: Blog

Mark’s Secret to Swimming

I grabbed the kayak.


Thrashing around in the water I was desperate to breath. I thought I was going to be fine in the Staten Island Triathlon. It was only a 1/3 of a mile swim. But I couldn’t relax in that water and I was panicking.


The taste of the water was nauseating. Arms were flying all around me, hitting me in the face, knocking off my goggles.


My first thought was “how am I going to do this for almost 2 hours at the Ironman?” Right there I was ready to give up my Ironman pursuit. I just couldn’t swim in there so I scrambled for a nearby kayak to hold onto and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next.


I didn’t want to, but after a good minute holding the kayak, I let go and continued down the water. I was miserable. I hated every second I was in that water.


I’m not sure if it was because I was having such a hard time in general, or because I felt that after all the progress I’ve made in swimming, this short open water swim made me feel like a complete failure.


Truth is, my progression in swimming this year was anything but steady. Instead it was failure, success, failure, success, etc.


My secret to becoming a (good) swimmer has nothing to do with how many laps I swam every week or how streamlined I could get my body.


My secret is that I learned to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I put myself in a situation that I didn’t want to be in so that I could get something out of it that I wanted.

How did I learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable? I put a BIG WHY behind what I was doing.


Learning how to float, jumping into the Hudson River, letting go of the kayak, I did it all because I wanted to become an Ironman.


Is there something in your life that is so difficult to achieve that the process of getting there scares you? Challenges you? Makes you doubt yourself?


Give yourself a goal that is fueled by a strong WHY. Be relentless in the pursuit of your dreams. You’ll be uncomfortable. GOOD! Uncomfortable means it’s working.


In January 2012, not knowing how to swim or tread water, Mark Izhak signed up for Ironman Arizona, beginning with a 2.4 mile swim.


1 comment for this entry:
  1. Frozen in Fear - Marine Park Fitness SAYS:

    [...] went so bad that I nearly quit (Click here to read all about it). I felt lucky just to make it through it. It was my first triathlon that I completed, but as [...]

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