Ironman Countdown

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A (ex)Swimmer Looks at 40

(title credit to Jimmy Buffet and his "A Pirate Looks at 40" number.  Love it)

So, yes, I turned the big 4-0 two days ago.  No, I don't feel any different.  Yes, it was a good birthday.  I am blessed with a great group of friends, so the celebration seems to be lasting all week with lunch dates and cute presents... and more gatherings over the weekend.  But Monday itself was pretty low key in a good way, dealing with normal everyday things at work and with my children.  I had a great lunch with my mom and sister, and sister-in-law Kathryn... and a surprise drop-in by my dad.  But all in all, I just enjoyed the day.  Facebook is fun for all the messages and greetings; and my phone went off with a happy text every hour or so.  So, yes, just a happy day.  I enjoyed being with "my little family" and tried to notice that even though we have a lot of mundane tasks each week that seem to just repeat themselves over and over... I am so very blessed.

my babies

40 seems pretty cool.  I am healthier than I was ten years ago.  My life is fuller.  What's not to like?  It is very strange to me that I am 40, in that way I think all of us, as we age, feel like time goes by in a blink.  How was 20 half a lifetime ago, literally?   That's crazy!

And speaking of a half a lifetime ago, I've been swimming.  As part of my commitment to IMMD, I made a New Year's resolution to swim once a week.  I made Friday my day.  There's a gorgeous new pool just around the corner from the office; and being a government employee, I was able to join for only $10 for the whole year!  

For those who don't know, I was a swimmer growing up and through college.  I was a distance freestyler, for the most part.  My high school coach taught me everything I know about the sport.  I understand the nuances of training smart, swimming your own race, importance of technique, etc.  John was a tough coach, and he was hard on me.  But somehow I understood him, and I am a better human for it.

Like so many former swimmers I know, I loathe to swim now.  Its so BORING!  It was one thing when I was on my various teams with some of my best friends.  We had sets to do, a coach to train us... time to chat and moments of just pure happy silliness.  But swimming at an indoor pool by myself is like trying to stir concrete with my eyelashes.  It's boringly painful.  I don't mind as much in an outdoor pool, because at least the sun is shining.  For my last several triathlons, including Eagleman 70.3, I barely swam at all beforehand.  Seriously, maybe 3 times before Eagleman... and my time for that leg was totally acceptable.

But, a 2.4 mile swim for IMMD is a bit different.  I could tell after a mile at Eagleman that I was tiring, that my technique was terrible and inefficient.  I wouldn't be able to do another mile at the same speed.  And so I committed myself to swimming once a week, at a minimum.  It will be easier to go more in the summer time, but for now Fridays are good enough.

I have made the last three Fridays.  I am super proud of myself.  It helps that the pool is very pretty, with a glass wall that allows sunlight.  I'm sticking to about 2000 to 3000 yards at this point, making up some sets as I go.  Nothing fancy.  I am swarmed with memories of all my childhood and college friends each time I go, which has been fun.  I am also reminded of how a "normal" practice for me 20 years ago was 8,000 yards at a clip, if not more.  Amazing.  No wonder I ate my parents out of house and home!

And so, as I hit that 40 milestone, my life seems to be coming full circle as I hop back into the swim of things.  Not a bad place to be.  I'm a very lucky girl.


  1. Lost in the chlorine, swimming the sets I just don't comprehend, oh baby, I'm lost in the chlorine. I am a fool, at least my coach thinks so,john mason john mason.

  2. You know I didn't know nearly as much (as fast ;)) as you in HS/ college, but the smell does bring you back, doesn't it?