Swimming Daily: Day Zero



Tomorrow is Day One of my “season.” I don’t know what to call it, these 15 weeks I will be training for my first masters meet. Winter season? Sounds good to me.

I’ve been talking about joining a masters swim team for a long time, and for various reasons and just plain excuses, it never happened. Recently, my husband Dan and I joined a very close by gym that has awesome hours and plenty of options for a workout…including a six-lane, 25 meter pool that has adult-only lap swimming during all the gym’s hours.

That was the final piece of the puzzle. This weekend, I registered with U.S. Masters Swimming and found a meet for which to train (I am going to enter unaffiliated and self-train).

I haven’t seriously trained for races or formally competed since my senior year of school…which was 2007. Since then, I have coached three summer rec seasons for ages 7-14 and I am currently in my third year as head coach of a high school swim team. I truly believe I have a much greater understanding of the sport and of athletics in general. Not only that, but because I have grown as a person and into a young adult since then (moving away from home, making all new friends, losing new friends, major break-up, the death of a mentor, family crisis, student teaching, graduating from college, accepting and quitting my first “professional” job, getting engaged, daily subbing, long term subbing, planning a wedding, lots of moving, getting married, etc., etc.), I am supremely confident I am much more mentally strong than I was when I was last a competitive swimmer. I have no doubt in my mind I will be more focused, more optimistic, and easier on myself without being easy on myself.

The aspect of deciding to train again and enter a meet that scares me the most is how out of shape I am. I am bit afraid of what my times will be like at the meet because I am so out of shape it is going to take a long time, longer than 15 weeks, to be like I used to be. I know that. I just need to know this is the first step.

I know the amount I gained a great deal of weight in college by letting challenges in life get the best of me and not taking care of myself…roughly 60 pounds, to be exact. I wasn’t sure if I was going to discuss the number, but not saying it won’t magically make it go away, and though I’d like to believe it doesn’t look like I gained that much weight if you compare 18 year old me to 24 year old me, I’m sure it actually does. That being said, I have lost 15 pounds since being at my peak weight, and managed to keep them off for some time now. I have stagnated.

I do want to lose weight, and while I hope training helps me with that, that’s not what my training plan is designed around whatsoever. It’s designed for me to swim as fast as possible at that meet on March 29th, 2014. As I’m sure anyone who has been or is a swimmer knows, swimming makes you feel like nothing else. I’ve tried dozens of different workouts since then, but I couldn’t stick to them. After years of exercising as a part of a deliberate training plan with extremely specific and hard-fought goals, doing a 30 minute workout “just because I know it’s good for me” didn’t cut it. I wasn’t motivated, and I hated that I constantly like I was struggling to do a workout and the end result was just…that I completed the workout. Sure, it was a healthy choice, and when exercising is a habit it obviously has extremely positive and worthwhile results, but I want something for my workout besides just losing weight, or looking good, or knowing it’s good for me. I miss TRAINING and pushing myself as hard I as I can…and then harder.

So while I know my times in the meet on March 29th won’t be anywhere near my personal best times, I am psyched to work as hard as I can to get them as close as possible. All the while, I’m going to be documenting my journey on my US Masters Swimming blog and here, at Beagle & Bear. It will be under the series name “Swimming Daily” – daily because of my commitment and of course because it’s my new last name! : )

Off to bed…day one, tomorrow!