A short bit about me.
My swimming career started as young kid, specializing in longer distance freestyle and butterfly. I left the sport at age 15; training had become tedious, daydreams of Olympic glory quietly dashed, and my favorite coach had left the club. That was enough. I stopped swimming and vowed to never look back.
Flash forward to adulthood, some 20 years later. I was unhappy, unhealthy, and overweight due to bad habits and terrible nutrition. One day, I simply decided I’d had enough, again. I dropped junk food cold turkey, started eating well and going to the gym. Losing some weight lessened the pain in my back and knees. I started feeling better, stronger, happier. I kept at it. The treadmills and elliptical machines in my gym were up on the second floor, overlooking the pool, so I’d watch the adult swim class go up and down the lanes as I did my morning workout. I thought to myself, I wish I could do that. Then one day, I wondered if maybe I could do that. I signed up for a Saturday class. Getting back into the pool was amazing, but typically I would nap for a couple of hours afterwards, it really took a lot out of me.
But I kept at it, and eventually joined the adult swim class I used to watch over. Then came swim friends, and swim meets, and going to the pool on my own to get in more distance. I continued getting healthier, and much happier. A swimmer was reborn.
I would never have tried open water were it not for a friend who convinced me to join her for a local 4km race, a few years back. We went together. I got in the water and swam – fast! I was scared witless…are these weeds, was that a fish? I closed my eyes each time my head went underwater, and hoped there were no freshwater sharks or lake zombies looking to feast on my flesh. Better get moving! I finally calmed down, a bit, and realized how great the swim felt. I seemed to be swimming faster than usual, I could literally feel power as I pulled myself over the body of water beneath me. I was hooked. The following year, I swam the 10km Ontario Provincial Open Water Champs (3:00:21), setting a provincial age group record, and coming in first in my age group, second woman, and eleventh overall. A marathon-distance swimmer was born…
I haven’t had much opportunity to race lately (you can listen to me whine about it in my very first blog post), but I continue to train at marathon-distance level, in both pool and open water. And daydreaming in the meantime about my ever-growing bucket list of big wild open water swims, of course. But I’m faced again with similar struggles, a tough year had me eating poorly, sleeping little, training when I could, which hasn’t been much.
I’m blogging about my swims to stay motivated, to remember what I’ve accomplished, to share with others and hopefully build community. I hope this becomes the record of my journey back to where I want to be. No lanes, no lines, life is pretty good…