Thursday, May 10, 2012

Swimming, I Love You

After quitting swimming almost two years ago (I can't believe it is already almost two years!) I never thought I would truly like swimming again. With no team and no real reason to swim I just couldn't find any motivation to hit the pool. Every time I tried I became bored within minutes and felt relieved when I was done. I felt like I no longer belonged at the pool. For the first month or so of triathlon training I avoided the pool because swimming is supposed to be my strength. But after I did my first swim in four months I knew my days of being dry were over. I felt incredibly weak in the pool and started to panic that I would not have enough time to properly train for the swim leg of my triathlon.

If I had this pool I would swim every single day.
Scratch that. I would just live in the pool.

On Monday I went back to the pool for the second time this year and had a great workout. I stayed in until the pool closed and felt myself get stronger with each stroke. I was a little worried that after only 200 consecutive meters, though, my arms were pretty tired. However I left the pool feeling confident and happy. And then I swam again on Wednesday. This time I focused less on pulling drills and more on actual sets. I know that the sets that I did with my swim team are not necessarily the best for triathlon training since they focus on shorter distances, but for now I am sticking with what I know.

I was planning on swimming today also but last minute I decided not to, as my arms were pretty shot after Wednesday's swim and I didn't want to overwork them. My arms also got a really good workout during Insanity on Tuesday so I figured it was best to give them a day off to recuperate. Normally I would have just gone to the pool to swim anyway and done an easier workout, but a few years ago I had a partial tear in my rotator cuff from swimming so now I try to play it safe. There is no need to do any unnecessary damage.

Swimming outside in the dark is the best.
Please try it.

But as I was walking past the pool today I wanted nothing more than to be in the pool getting my swim on. I was jealous of all of the people in the pool enjoying the beautiful sunshiny day while I was stuck inside taking exams and being smart and resting.  For the first time in months I actually truly wanted to swim. Swimming was such a huge part of my life that when I quit I avoided it like the plague so as not to bring up any unwanted emotions. But I have come to accept that I am no longer that same swimmer. Now I am a swimmer who swims as part of triathlon training. I swim because I feel at home in the water. For some people a nice long run clears their head and relieves their stress. For me, going for a swim serves the same purpose.

For the first time in years, I am looking forward to the next time I get to swim because I want to see how much I can improve. I want to see what I am capable of in the water. And I no longer have any desire to compare my times to what I was able to do when I swam competitively. I want to see how much I can improve from my first swim in April. For a long time while I was swimming competitively I dreaded going to practice. I didn't realize it at the time but I was no longer in love with swimming. And now after two years off I can finally say that I swim because it is something that I love and it is a part of me.

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