Friday, November 29, 2019

On Being Slow (But Not Too Slow)

At the pool today, there was a woman who was almost keeping pace with me. I was doing a distance set with easy to medium intensity, and I have no idea what kind of set she was doing. Maybe she was doing a sprint set. Maybe she was on her warm up. I don't know, and it really shouldn't matter, yet it still irritated me that it took more than a little extra effort to keep her behind me. I'm not used to the everyday lap swimmers at the Y being anywhere close to me.

I get a little bit bigger and a little bit slower every day, but I know it's temporary. I have been practicing a lot of positive self-talk, letting myself know that I'm doing great and whatever I can do now will help significantly when I am ready to get back into competitive-athlete shape.

But still. As an athlete for 30+ years, I don't want to be slow. I don't want to lose muscle and gain fat. But my body has other priorities right now, and I have to respect that.
About two-dozen practice suits
that I don't fit into right now. 

I shared a lane with a man while I was doing a stretch-out/recovery swim shortly after I ran the Harrisburg Marathon. I was really slow that day, and rightfully so. When I stopped at the end of the lane between sets, he said, "Wow, when I get into shape, I hope I can keep moving like you do and be half as fast."

He had no idea I was pregnant, no idea I was significantly slower than my norm, no idea I was recovering from a marathon. He just saw a person swimming smoothly and confidently lap after lap. I was stuck in my head about being big and slow, so it was a nice reprieve to see myself from a different point of view.

Not that I need others to validate me. Not that I need to compare myself to other swimmers to validate myself. Most of my favorite workouts are the ones where it's just me racing the clock. But I don't live and swim in a bubble, and it helps to have others to push and motivate and inspire and give new perspectives.

So maybe I am bigger and slower, and maybe that's frustrating sometimes, but it's just a new kind of challenge that will make me mentally (if not physically) stronger.

[I just can't bring myself to end this post without saying that near the end of my set this morning, I finally noticed that the woman keeping pace with me was wearing fins, and that made me feel significantly better. Haha.]

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