I struggled terribly with the dreaded Imposter Syndrome and although unaware of this she buoyed my confidence that year simply by being her lovely self - warm, encouraging and inclusive. She swam beside me and although I know she thought it was me helping her, it was really the other way round!
The following year I returned despite knowing that I was carrying even more weight both physically and psychologically than my first year. I shouldn't have put myself through the program. It wasn't being kind to myself. It was certainly not the confidence building experience of the first time. I stumbled towards the goal swim isolated from my team and although I raised my required funds, I chose to swim on my own the day of the Cole because I was so ashamed at my perceived failure.
As I stood alone in the crowd of people milling around awaiting our "wave", Lizzie stumbled upon me. We agreed to swim together. I knew that this meant Lizzie would not swim to her own pace. I knew she was forsaking a better time to stay with me. I will always be grateful for her compassion and kindness.
The day after we caught up she sent me the shots from the swim photographer. They transported me. How lost I felt. How much I was struggling. How much has happened since.
I'm not this person anymore. I'm different in so many ways. But I still have my friendship with this special person.
I am so fortunate to have people like Lizzie in my life.