Monday, February 13, 2012

Take this Broken Wing

Awesome swim cap from Sydnie
I heart swimming! 

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I am happy to announce that I have fallen in love with swimming. Take this with a grain of (Kailua Bay sea) salt. While I don’t believe swimming will ever be my passion or my strongest discipline, I am over the moon for it at the moment. It’s the best thing that I wake up to several mornings a week. I want to shout this love from the rooftops, kiss my goggles on New Year’s Eve, and take my workouts home to meet my parents.

I had a fall on my mountain bike in November that caused a shoulder strain and impingement that kept me away from normal swim workouts for nearly 2 months. I realize that many athletes are plagued with much longer recovery periods for far more serious injuries, but this break from swimming put me in the dumps. While my friends and teammates were pumping out yardage one holiday themed workout after another, I was putting in a measly 30 minutes of kicking here and there.

Heart cookies for morning Masters
The “off-season” was going to be the time when I could really focus on my swim, move up a lane, and put in yardage of 20k+ a week. I had dreams of Ironman swims closer to an hour (and maybe someday, SOMEDAY! under an hour) and the comments about my poor swim times made by insensitive stronger swimmers would quickly fade away. (For the record, I do get a lot of comments about my swim times, and yes, I realize the writing has been on the wall for some time. But if I was a middle of the pack biker or runner, would anyone give me crap about being a middle of the pack swimmer?? I digress.) As my dreams felt crushed over those two months, I kept the glimmer of hope that things would be okay. During my break from swimming I emailed my friend Sydnie apologizing for being a crankster at the pool and here is her response:

“Being a crankster is perfectly normal!  If you weren’t then something would be wrong with you or you should just give up the sport… It sounds funny, but remember this feeling and how awful/terrible it is and how you would do anything to be normal and healthy again, because it’ll help you get through the 8 days of swimming you will have on your schedule, when you stink of chlorine, your hair is green, your arms are about to fall off and are tired and don’t want to get up in the morning.”
It was like swimming and I had gone through an unexplainable break-up. I’d find myself going through old pictures: my friends and me in our wetsuits, the swim-start at Ironman, and days at the beach. I’d also linger in the hot tub and ask about workouts, just to see what it was up to. And just like Sydnie has consoled through break-ups, bad work days, and sad news, my friend talked me through this one. Sydnie was right and it took me a little time away to realize how much I wanted to get back together with my swimsuit, goggles, and over chlorinated, dismally-lit pool.

While I still have a lot of work to do in the water and although my shoulder still isn't 100%, swimming and I are back together and life is looking a whole lot better. I even moved up a lane at Masters! Some Mr. Mister helped me get through the hard months (not really, but I would get this song in my head everytime I had to explain why I wasn't doing a full workout). Take these broken wings. And learn to fly again. Learn to live so free. When we hear the voices sing, the book of love will open up and let us in. Take this broken wing…and shove it.

Happy Valentine's Day to you all! I hope you spend it doing something you LOVE. I'm spending it with a morning swim, an evening ride up and down some of my favorite hills, and dinner with a few of the other Seattle tri babes. I think the guys from my Tuesday Night Hill ride group are still laughing at how quickly I responded when they asked if I wanted to ride on Valentine's Day. Honestly, I can't think of anything better.


  1. This cracked me up! "I want to... kiss my goggles on New Year’s Eve, and take my workouts home to meet my parents." So great.

  2. Welcome back to the pool...Swimageddon 2012 is in full swing!! And its important to note that you have already moved up a lane since being back. Maybe a St.Patrick's day or Easter-themed monster yardage swim set (with festive swim caps, obviously) should be in the works???

  3. Your a fish!!! Welcome to the club! xoxo