Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It Was Just A Swim!

I have a confession: Every time "swim" shows up on my workout schedule, something gets in the way. (Folks who know me or visit this site are already well aware of this fact!) Last Friday, there was a college swim meet tying up the pool (oh, darn!). Two weeks ago, I had to get into work early (such a shame!). On Mondays and Thursdays I have to wait in line for a lane, so I inevitably bag it (flummoxed by masters swimmers!).

But, like those times I grasp the handrails on the treadie so I can finish my weekly timed mile a tiny bit faster faster (this is a confession, after all), I'm just fooling myself: There are ways around each of these obstacles. I can swim in the morning on Mondays and Thursdays to avoid the masters group. I can view the swim team's schedule online. I can plan around early mornings and late nights at work.

Today was a recovery day, which meant a slow jog to the gym followed by a 35 minute steady-pace swim. Early this morning, as I tossed and turned waiting for the alarm clock to officially wake me up, I mentally searched for a way out. "This is basically a rest day," my half-asleep mind reasoned, "I don't need to swim." Then, a few minutes later, for some reason I still haven't put my finger on, I bit the bullet, jumped up and slipped on my suit. I got my butt out the door, to the gym, and into the water. Done, done and done.

And you know what? It was awwwwesome. I am slow swimmer. I get sore fast. I tire quickly. I don't have good form. But for 35 minutes, I didn't let my mind focus on all the reasons I avoid swimming. I enjoyed the warm water, the colors of the sunrise streaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows, and the way I felt breathless from something other than running fast. I'm in training mode so my workouts are a little rigid: strength training, speed workouts, long runs, hill sessions, recovery workouts, rest days. Combine the monotony of training, the endless Chicago winter and the fact that I'm not seeing much improvement for all of this effort and the end result is that I'm feeling super stale.

What a boost to find that something as simple as a mellow dip in the pool can recharge my legs, wake up my mind, and rekindle the workout fire that was dimming inside me. I know, I know. It was just a recovery workout. But it rocked my world today, and for that I am very grateful. I hope I can draw on this memory the next time I'm contemplating how to avoid the "swim" line item on my training schedule. Photo grabbed from Jim Bahn at flickr. Posted by Liz

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