As I mentioned in this post, I started swimming. After practicing with my new friends, I realized I need to work on strengthening my post-surgery shoulder before joining them again, so that is what I have been doing. I have been really faithful in my swimming.

My swimming routine involves many drills to strengthen me. One of the drills uses fins and a kickboard. I can really move along with my fins, covering a lot of distance fast. This drill helps strengthen my legs as well as stroke my ego. One fin would cut into my foot, causing pain. I was okay with that because I swam so fast with the fins. Speed seemed to justify the pain. When I am kicking without my fins, I feel like I am not moving at all. It takes me a long time to go the length of the pool. So long, I wonder if I need to pack a lunch. I was happily using my fins until I read an essay written by a coach I know.

One of the things this coach mentioned in his essay is the habit of relying on one’s fins. To paraphrase, using fins postpones the day of reckoning when one must use the kickboard without fins. It is hard. It is slow. But in order to improve, it must be done. It must be done a lot. As I read these words, I knew what I had to do-ditch the fins.

The first practice without the fins was as though I was in some aqua-time warp. Dinosaurs came and went during my trip down the pool. Civilizations evolved and died in the eternal time it took me to go 50 meters, but I didn’t stop practicing. I went the next day, and the next. I am happy to say I am making noticible improvement. It will never be as fast as swimming with fins, but at least I don’t have to measure time in eons any more and my foot has healed.

This experience caused me to think about whether I use fins in other areas of my life. Is there something I know I need to do to improve myself or situation that I am putting off because it is hard or does not look very successful? Are you using fins in your life when you know deep down inside you would be much better off in the long run kicking down the pool without them? Are your fins causing you pain? This week, I challenge you to try swimming without fins. Your spirit and your feet with thank you.