Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Swim addiction

Well, this getting back “in-shape” thing has been interesting, to say the least. No, I don’t run as fast, bike as far, or pull as strong as I used to. But gosh-darn-it, recently I’ve been getting a kick out of doing my workouts.

Are they as intense, as serious, as “hard-core” as they used to be?

Absolutely not.

And right now, that’s totally fine with me.

Because I’m having an absolute blast.

And its not that I wasn’t having fun before I crashed, before I was plagued with depression. Trust me, I was. But I don’t think my motivation was the same then as it is now. It’ll take some time for even me to figure out that statement. But now I’m training, I’m working out because I want to – because it brings me joy and satisfaction. Not because I feel the need to race asap (again - amazing how much pressure we put ourselves under, isn't it? eeks!)

Case in point: yesterday’s swim.

But let me back up to last Friday’s swim first. Sorry – bare with me (Is it bear or bare? Not bare as in show the “bare” bottom side of stuff. Nope. But not “bear” as in ROAR. Hhhmmmm? Any takers?).

Just as I was finishing my warm-up (Friday), my uber-awesome training partner and friend Ludi showed up sporting her own custom HTFU Splish suit (even has a nifty shark on the front), and hopped in my lane. As she’s training for IM Florida and I’m, well, just training, you can imagine that our workouts were quite different.

Ah yes, the Ironman Swim workouts. Those were the days. Long sets of just swimming long. V-e-r-y l-o-n-g.

After 45 minutes, I was done, but Ludi was just beginning her third of a 5 X 500 mainset swim. Poor thing – I watched her fly, back, breast, and freestyle her way up and down the lane during her preset. Back and forth, forth and back – barely pausing on the wall. Only to do it all over again. It made my 200s and (ahem) 150s seem contrite.

But I was there, so that’s what counted.

After I finished my workout, I asked if I could join her for a set. Apparently she thought I meant the entire workout. Ha! I had only meant one teeny-weeny 500. But the grin and excitement on her face shone through, and I flashed back to all the times she biked for hours on end with me, encouraging me and helping me in my own training. It seemed so awful to desert her as she was slugging through her own swim set.

An overly perky lane partner done in 45 minutes while you still have another 2000 yards to swim is just wrong.

So we swam the remaining 3 X 500 together (and then cooled down). It was great!

During the second set, I realized how much fun I was having. Here I was – feeling great about a workout, doing really well for just getting in-shape, and actually volunteering to do more. It made me – happy.

I swear that I floated out of the pool.

All right – back to yesterday’s swim.

Apparently UWF poured something into the pool water or something. Because I couldn’t wait to get back into the water. Can I say addict? I was ready – swimsuit, towel, workout-in-hand and all – by 10 am for the 11 am pool opening.

Can we say slightly excited?

Yes, I think it’s safe to say that we can.

But that was the great thing. I can’t remember being that excited to go to the pool or to let alone do a workout.

Right when I was entering the post-crash physical recovery stage, I was driven by the urge to return to top form as soon as possible. And it was all my own doing, my own drive. I was so determined to return to 100% as soon as possible that it took the fun out of the sport. It was no longer about the enjoyment or about the satisfaction, as it was about returning to my old self. Doing as much work as I could to get back "in-shape".

For Pete's sake: I spent more time at the YWCA in St. Paul than I did with my family. Okay, slight exaggeration. But going to the gym for 18 hours in a 6-day timespan is slightly overkill, don't you think? It was, after all, May. 7-weeks post crash.

But in the meantime, what had once been such fun, such pleasure, such a joy was becoming something that in spite of my best efforts, I couldn’t succeed at. And the harder I worked, the more I tried, the more miserable I became.

Cue the negative self-talk, and yadda yadda yadda. You know the rest.

I’ve learned (and the learning process is on-going, mind you) that I can’t just go about doing something if I don’t really love it. I can’t force myself to swim-bike-run if I’m physically or mentally not ready.

This journey has been all about finding me. I haven’t always liked the road I’ve been down, and it certainly had a lot more obstacles than even I could have foreseen. But now I’m beginning to understand the purpose of this journey, to rediscover things along the side of the road that – had I been charging forward – I never would have seen.

I can’t remember the last time I was so excited to swim. Gosh, whatever they put in the water, well, it seems to be contagious, and spilling into other facets of my life. Because tomorrow I’m going to the gym to do functional strength and some biking. And I can’t wait.


Damie said...

Hey! Glad you are having fun! (Although I can't imagine doing sets of 500s....that is still way beyond me). Any chance you will come out to watch IMFL?

Ashley said...

marit, this is exactly what i needed to read right now. i see you on the mend (physically and mentally)... and i hope to be right there with you, soon.

E.L.F. said...

Upside down bosu ball while holding a 16 lb medicine ball, squat 10 to 20 times. dismount ball. cry in pain.

Train-This said...

They peed in the water I hear! Just for you sister! Welcome back and yes, you should come to IMFL..... I know a girl and a cute little boy who will be arriving in Pensacola on Oct 30th!

Anonymous said...

It's "bear with me." Bare is pretty much just "to expose/reveal," but the word bear has so many subtle phrasal meanings, and you're almost always going to be right to go with it.

Hope that helps :)

rr said...

Marit, such a happy post is so good to hear!! I'm so glad you're addicted to the pool ;) Can you pass some motivation my way? I haven't been swimming in 10 days..


Kim said...

First things first - go to pool water, bottle it up, send to PA. I have 6000 on Monday and so you will have to UPS 2nd day air. I'll pay you back later. Next, I love it, I love it, I love it. So good to hear you were enjoying the pool and just getting back to feeling like "that" again. I know EXACTLY what you mean. I love training, but sometimes it is a little daunting, a little pressured filled..you know. I look forward to the off season, and some days - just teaching myself how to flip turn for an hour and I might swim a 400 (only if I feel like it). Enjoy my dear (and don't forget about the water, I'm going to need that, either that you or you have to fly in a help me!! I need partners!! They all run away when I show them the workouts!)