You don’t have to go fast, you just have to go.
Masters swim class: those who have or are *mastering* what they are doing, or those of us who are over 25. When did becoming a master happen so young, and be given such an old name?
I only took swimming lessons a few years ago. While I could put my face in the water and splash myself across a river current to an opposite shore, I still needed to learn the front crawl and how to breathe, properly. This stroke is not like extending two pieces of wood from your arms and just doing windmill, karate-chop-like motions for propulsion.
I think my stroke is getting better, and I have to remind myself that Michael Phelps did not get to where he was in just weeks. No, he had to eat 12,000 calories a day for a long time to get to his high-caliber of performance. I think I would be in some sort of coma if I followed his dietary regime, but to gain speed I can remember to kick when I swim. Swimming involves total-body participation, and I need to remember that being tired is not an excuse to just dangle my Barbie legs behind me.
Monday’s class was a bit of a splash and dash: the instructor was acting-lifeguard for someone who had failed to show up, and then didn’t have time to prep our workout. When in doubt, swim. We did do a 400m timed piece in the middle of the workout. I’ve never been timed before and it was feeling sloppy near the end; my energy was spent. To polish it off, we did a few laps of butterfly as well. I can’t do the butterfly stroke and it looked more like a morphing larva flapping to escape a cocoon, than anything so graceful as you see when it’s done correctly. It felt more like sinking than swimming.
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
Still a bit waterlogged at the end of the day, I went out and did my easy run. Uneventful, except that my hip was a bit sore (I think 23 km the day before may take the credit for this). I kept it at an easy pace, mostly because I just couldn’t go any faster. I did finally warm up after 4 km, but I was only running 6 km so it was an easy 2 km finish. I finished this off with a core workout, which my kids said I was “not doing as well as on other days.”
Wednesday was a scramble as I got the kids dropped off at two separate summer camp locations and then drove out to bootcamp. I was feeling tired and crabby already, and it was only 9am. As a change of pace from the usual crowd, some great dad brought their son along for bootcamp: the kid was 10 years old. It’s amazing to watch kids run – they have no tension and are in perfect form at all times. Given that he was so light, he practically flew down the hills. He was always up for more, and had such a positive, and accepting attitude. I hustled through the hill sprints (alternately running backwards and then two footed jump-squats — up hill!); the 1-minute circuit intervals of tricep dips, push-ups, plank, jump squats, mountain climbers and repeats; stairs; and finally more running. It was certainly a workout, I fell asleep on the couch after I got home.
Seeing the kid run reminded me that what we do is for us: we exercise to improve our fitness and for our bodies and minds. I’ve been struggling a bit with feeling like all my efforts and extra workouts are just not showing me results fast enough. I wasn’t keeping up with anyone during run clinic while we ran hills and it all felt a bit defeatist. I was working myself every way I could, yet I wasn’t catching anyone and couldn’t keep up. I found that running up hills and feeling sorry for yourself is also hard to do, especially if you think you are going to choke out a few tears. I did manage to join a small group on the last interval we ran, mostly because there was some confusion as to which way we were running and they stopped to figure out directions.
It’s hard to always be mentally positive when you have expectations of yourself. Having expectations can be encouraging, but we need to understand there will be set-backs. Injuries, illness, fatigue, motivation, vacation, and life all play a role in an outcome. We learn about ourselves through adversity, regardless of what those challenges might be. I need to remember that training for an event is like a wave; it’s accumulating hours and miles and time and when the wave crashes, (hopefully) it’s at the peak of fitness. Then you go run your race.
Maybe I needed a day that didn’t go as well, to remind me that things have been going very well. I’m thankful for the people who are there in my run clinic, even if we don’t run together when I can’t keep up. I know that what they’re doing is pushing me to remind myself that I can do it too.