8 years ago, almost to the day, I became a US Marine. Prior to Marine Corps basic training at Parris Island, I could barely run 2 miles. By the end, I was able to cover 40 miles in full combat gear. The discrepancy between the distances may seem great; however, the progress was gradual, grueling and slow. There were countless days throughout the 3 months of training that I would hope to accidentally get hurt because I was so worn, tired and homesick and an injury would mean a ticket home. But each of those days, I would grit my teeth, walk that extra mile, squeeze out one more pull-up and dig up the extra pushup that I somehow found in me. Unmistakably, I would wake up after each of those days and realize that I'd gone further than I had ever thought I could and that it got easier every time. I was going to make it after all!
Today, I swam the easiest half mile I have ever swum in my life. Though it's a minor accomplishment to many (and a small fraction of the swim portion of the Ironman), for me, it is the first sign of progress, the first building block. To be honest, my swim form 30 days ago was worse than that of a little kid's after 2 swim classes. And I'm being a little misleading when I say that because the kid I'm referring to is in a bathtub flailing and not in a pool.
For the past 30 days, I have been swimming and working on my form. There were several times I felt that there wasn't a difference from the last time in the pool but I've been keeping at it and today, I felt the difference. I LOVE THIS FEELING! This means no more breaks after each lap and definitely no more faking like I have to get the water out of my goggles to catch my breath.
Meaningful progress takes time. I will not become an Ironman in one day. But hard work, patience, discipline and faith in myself will help me get there in due time. There will be many small stepping stones along the way and I will revel in each one. But at the same time, I will always remember to bring the next block the day after to finish what it is that I'm building. I'm gonna make it after all!