As I have shared in writing and pictures, I have five animals. My female cat Molly is 18 years old and still looks and behaves like a kitten. She always slept with me, even after I adopted my first dog Phoebe 10 years ago. Then I adopted my second dog Barnabas eight and a half years ago and everything changed. He wanted to chase Molly and play, her feline instinct told her to run and protect herself. For the past eight years they have had, well, a dog and cat relationship. Since my dogs sleep with me, Molly opted out and would not come in the room. It did break my heart, Molly does not join the dogs and her litter mate Kosey when we are together in the family room. Her fear of Barnabas kept her away. I do not know what changed, but since I have been back from California, Barnabas has not tried to attack her and Molly is no longer fearful of him. As I type I am sitting in bed with Molly on my lap and Barnabas at my right knee. And they get along.
Like my pets, sometimes things can be challenging for a season and then the fog lifts and it is clear. In my swimming, I continue to be amazed at my progress. I have worked hard all year, I changed my stroke this summer to be more efficient, I swam literally hundreds of thousands of meters. Something changed in November and kicked into full gear after I got back from California and my pace has increased significantly. Breaking the 2:00 mark on 100 meters consistently eluded me until just a few weeks ago. Today I broke another barrier – staying at or under 4:00 on 200 meters. I swam with two of my fastest friends today doing a set of 5 x 200 meters on a 4:15 send off. The first one I came in on 3:57 – a big first for me. The second I was at 4:01 and I was breathing hard. I used the pull buoy for the next two – man I wish I could swim as fast as I pull. I was at 3:45 on both of those sets. The fifth I swam without assistance and came in at 4:00 on the nose. I can not credit one thing for my improvement. All I know is the time I put in, the effort to improve my stroke, and most significantly swimming with others who push me all together has helped me get to the place I am at now – and continuing to progress.
I have also written several times that I believe life does not progress in a linear fashion. Sometimes we take two steps forward and one step back. Within the time it took me to hit enter twice and create this paragraph Molly jumped up and Barnabas went on the defense. For a moment, it was raining cats and dogs. I guess it was a step back for a moment. But as Molly just demonstrated as she carefully stepped slowly back into my lap, not giving up and persisting with patience will help reach desired results. She is back in my lap and Barnabas is curled at my right knee. I have been frustrated at times with my plateaus in training. My recent improvements, as well, as my pets are teaching me that progress is out there, it may take time and move slowly, it may require more training and focus, and I may take a step or two back along the way. But I believe I will do it, and that is more than half the battle.