The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

326,800 yards

My Masters Swim Team coach sent out a New Year’s greetings email. He attached a document that listed all the parameters of every swim workout we have done over the past year. Most of the workouts are unique. I don’t think there are 156 workouts, but its very close. There is pulling and swimming and kicking, there are drills, there is stroke counting and hypoxia and diving off the blocks, swimming with a giant rubber band around your legs, learning flip turns. There is free, fly, back and breast strokes. Its all there (There are also a couple of parties and breakfasts at the diner). And he calculated all the yardage. The yardage varies from 2300-3700 yards for a 90 minute session. If you made it to every workout three times a week and swam every yard, you would have swam 326,800 yards in 2009. That’s just over 183 miles, or 3.5 miles per week. I didn’t swim nearly that far. I try to swim twice a week, and I usually don’t cover as much yardage as the faster swimmers. Plus I was out of the pool with an inflamed shoulder for 3 months. But here’s the thing-- it’s never been about how many yards you swim. I am by far the slowest swimmer on the “team.” Sometimes I am a nuisance to the other members of the team because they either have to pass me or wait for me. But I have never for even one moment felt unwelcome or ridiculed or unworthy. There have been a few people who have tried swimming with the Team but haven’t lasted very long. They swam about as slow as me (well, nobody swims as slow as me), and I think they were expecting a more nurturing instructional coach, not a grueling 90 minutes of oxygen deprivation. Although I did get more instruction when I first joined the team, the emphasis has always been on becoming more efficient and fit. I have never regretted getting into the pool and doing what I can do. As a result, I have become a better (if not faster) swimmer and my overall fitness has improved. It didn’t take 183 miles. It took realistic expectations, a good coach, some great (and inspiring) teammates, and a willingness to just do my best because I can’t do any better and my best is awesome.