** Yes, my hair is growing out, yes I don't really know what to do with it, yes I am taking any and all suggestions.

Two years ago I watched PIC swim her fanny off in the Colorado state swim meet. It both intrigued and scared the crap out of me.

Over the last 6 months I have been working really really hard on my swim. It started with a frustration over the fact that I swam 30 minutes at Worlds in Gold Coast. I licked my wounds for a little while and then decided to go for it, swim a lot, swim hard, seek first to understand, put in lots of hard work.

It worked. Well, I should say, it's working. I don't plan on letting up any time soon. When we were running the Moab 100 Anthony said something to me that made a lot of sense. I can't get his words quite exactly, but essentially he said that we are athletes, and swimming is about efficiency and technique. With the right knowledge and dedication we should be good swimmers, because we are fit athletes. It rang a bell with me.

So, the state meet!!

The warm up went great. Michelle and I swam it together (it's always easier together) and we were both feeling ready to go. She was in heat #4 and I was going to count for her. This created a little anxiety on my part, I didn't want to mess up. But really, how hard can counting be? I have a degree in Math. I'm sure that's just what my dad had in mind for me when he was paying my way through college "Well, she'll be a really good lap counter".

Watching PIC swim was well, amazing, inspiring, jaw dropping. By the end I was shaking the lap counter and screaming at her to GO GO GO. She rocks and your going to have to wait for her blog to find out how it went for her.

I was in heat #6 so I hit the practice pool again to warm up a second time after her heat. Before I knew it I was standing there waiting to get on the blocks. Suddenly a peaceful calm came over me. I knew without a doubt that I was going to jump in and that my goggles were going to stay on. I knew it, I was totally sure of it.

We get up there, I'm a little wobbly. I find my gravity and they do the set thingee. I put my head down, take a breath, I hear the go sound and I jump. I tuck my head, look for the top of my swimsuit and in I go.

I open my eyes and my goggles are on, and there isn't a single drop of water in them. BOOOO YAAAAA!!! It's so on.

It's game time.

Time to rock and roll.

Ok, wait, calm down Sonja. Let's not get overly excited. Three laps have gone by and I'm still jazzing about my goggles being on. I've got to settle in.

And so I did. I settled.

I was swimming next to this guy wearing a yellow and black polka dot speedo. He was just enough ahead of me that I scooted over to the side of the lane to catch any draft I could. Every time I flipped I got an eye full of what I came to call the "polka dot panty package". Wowah. Another lap, there it is again.

I have got to get ahead of this guy. I was lucky in that he started to fall off pace and I got past him. The next lap I flipped and noticed that I was neck and neck with the lady two laps over. Like every single flip turn we were flipping at the same exact time. And it stayed that way for lap after lap after lap.

I knew Michelle who was counting laps for me was going to want me to get going. She's wasn't going to be happy if this girl got me at the end. I had to make a move and I was running out of time. I started pulling harder. That really hurt.

I asked myself..."What hurts". I went through my body assessment. Dude, Sonja, your fine. Swim harder. And I did, and I pulled away. Then it was 6 laps to go. Hang on Sonja, hang on. Then 5 laps, 4 laps, 3, 2, last lap, all out. I saw the double yellow on the lap chart. PIC is shaking them like crazy. ALL OUT. To the wall.

And even being done hurt so bad. Everything was on fire, my head hurt, my body hurt. my pinkies hurt. I look up at the wall and next to my name it says 24:09. Big smile, and by the time I drag myself out of the pool PIC is there with a big hug. We both had great days in the pool.

In triathlon training and racing you don't always get a race that reflects the hard work you have put into your training. Sometimes you train really hard and your races don't quite reflect it. Today was not one of those days. I don't need a lot of reinforcement to stay motivated. I love what I do, and I love doing it. But on those days that you go out and race and it feels like the result is a little reward for the hard work, well, those days are special. You have to remember those ones and let them drive you forward.

I can't wait to get back in the pool. I can't wait for the work that is to come. I can't believe that in September I swam 30 minutes and I just swam 24. If you are reading this and you are frustrated with your swim, feel free to email me. I can't tell you what you need to change but I can give you some motivation to seek answers.

Many thanks to PIC, Troy and Annie for being there for me today. It's always a blessing to have the three of you around.

Just keep swimming!