It was 10 degrees out when I left my house this morning for my morning swim. This was a welcome warm spell after yesterday’s pre-swim 3 degree temperature. Most mornings I beat the plows out, but on Saturdays the gym doesn’t open until 7am. Today most of the drive I was behind the trio of snow plows clearing the highway. I’ve always enjoyed being behind the plows, it may be a little bit slower, but at least the snow is out of the way!
I had the pool to myself for about an first hour of my nearly three hour workout. I had 8,000 yards to get done today and the cold temperature (as well as the 4 inches of snow I had to sweep off my car before leaving) left me a little less than motivated to get to the pool. Lacking motivation aside, I still made it to the Wave before the doors were unlocked and I was the first one in the pool. Over the past several months I’ve been the first one in the pool 3-5 times a week for my scheduled workouts. If there was one word I would use to describe my training at this point it would be FOCUSED.
I started my “pre-season” training for my 2017 swim in mid July, just after the Flathead Lake Swim Series. Poor eating habits, my “off” year without a big swim in addition to continuing to tell myself “a little extra weight HELPS for cold water swims,” got me to the point where I was unhappy with my body. My clothes were fitting too tight and I didn’t enjoy pictures of myself. So I told myself, with the extreme nature of my 2017 athletic goal, that I needed to turn some things around. I wanted to try and get back to my college swim speed and to do that I set a goal of trying to get back down to my college weight. Now, in July I was VERY far away from that goal…..50 pounds to be precise. The first thing I did was cut out any unnatural sources of sugar. SO. HARD. I have an extremely overactive sweet tooth….always have. The first several weeks of my no sugar kick I am convinced I was not too pleasant to be around. Slowly over time this got easier and surprisingly other things started to taste sweet. I started eating more fruits and vegetables and after two months I was hardly missing sugar.
I am now five months on my clean eating and I am proud to say I have lost 32 pounds! I feel SO much better and I have had way more energy (and I’m still eating A TON, but just not garbage). My pre-season training has also been very focused on taking good care of my shoulders through private Yoga training with an Iyengar Certified yoga instructor. Iyengar yoga is centered on proper alignment and slow transition between poses (holding each pose for longer periods of time as well). My shoulders are feeling wonderful and my recovery after long workouts has been so much nicer. While long workouts (which are currently between 8-10,000 yards) to fatigue me, the following day I rarely feel sore, which is a dramatic change that I attribute to my yoga practice.
December marked the beginning of my “volume building” or “base training” block. My focus over the next three months will be a gradual build of my yardage. I’m fortunate to have an athlete training with me 2 times a week now and only 3 of my workouts are on my own. But even my solo workouts go by quickly. I am rarely feeling bored, rather I am excited about how each workout is fitting into the puzzle that is my training plan.
After finishing up my workout today, I got to enjoy my post swim “treat” of 5-10 minutes in the hot tub. I do some seated shoulder yoga poses in the hot tub and then I dry off and throw on my numerous layers over my swim suit all to be topped off with my swim parka. I feel old saying this but they really don’t make swim parkas like the one I have, which is circa 2004. It is SO warm and makes venturing back out into the cold tolerable. Today I had 2 more inches of snow on my car that had accumulated in the three hours I had been in the pool. Once back in my car with the heater blasting and Kenny Chesney “beach music” on the radio I enjoy what is probably my favorite moment of my day. I love the feeling of having my workout completed, being bundled up and warm despite mother nature’s best attempt to freeze me and knowing that a delicious breakfast is just 15 minutes away.
I’m looking forward to an afternoon cuddled up with my Labrador “blankets” on the couch watching season two of Fuller House!
Stay warm out there!