Taking on a New Challenge or Not Letting Diabetes be an Excuse

Kelsey Bonilla Health Guide
  • It is fun to challenge yourself to do something you previously didn’t think you could.  This morning I took a big step forward in accomplishing a goal I’ve set for myself.  And, although diabetes wasn’t a big factor in this goal, it was there in the back of my mind today.  Let me explain:


    I’ve always loved the water and swimming.  However, until I was pregnant with Sienna, swimming was just fun for me, not a form of real exercise.  I’d never been on a swim team or taken any lessons since my childhood.  For the past 5 years, I’ve swum fairly consistently and love it!  Since I started swimming while pregnant, my workouts tend not to be very intense.  I wanted to change that.

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    My local YMCA’s all have a Masters Swim program that involves coaching.  I’ve been observing the workouts a bit and trying to decide when or how to join the group.  This morning I got to the pool along with the 5:30 a.m. workout group and just went for it.  I told the coach, “I’ve never done Masters before and I don’t even know if I’m ready for it.”  She was encouraging and told me to give it a try.


    Well, it was a challenge!  I didn’t keep up with the group, but I didn’t embarrass myself either.  I got some good, basic items to work on improving my freestyle stroke.  I knew I needed someone to watch me and tell me what I needed to do.  I kept reminding myself of the expressing, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”  It was fun to be coached.  So different that my childhood experiences of playing organized sports, dancing, etc.  I always felt so intimidated and afraid of embarrassing myself.  It’s amazing what maturity and being comfortable in your own skin does for a person!


    There were a few times during the workout that I struggled to keep up.  One of the thoughts that occurred to me was, “I’ll tell her about my diabetes… that’ll help explain why this is harder for me.”  But, really, I knew my diabetes didn’t have anything to do with it. I just wasn’t as experienced or practiced a swimmer as they were.   In the end, I didn’t tell the coach (although I will at the next workout just as a safety measure).  I felt good about not using my diabetes as an excuse or projecting the image that diabetics aren’t as physically capable as anyone else. 


    Now that I know a bit better where my skill level ranks against these “Master” swimmers in my community, I’m more determined than ever to improve.  It’s great to have a challenge ahead of me that’s attainable with hard work and determination.  It feels similar to embarking on a pregnancy, actually.  Wish me luck!

Published On: September 13, 2012