Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sponsored By SPEEDO

Everyone grows up with the notion that if it isn't hard, it isn't worth doing. Up until now, I have had all the evidence supporting this statement... until now.

When I first made the decision to start competing again, I knew that it felt right and that the path was paved in brilliant lights and the smoothest paved roadway. This decision has continued to feel right, and in that, things have just continued down that path, coming together and fine-tuning everything along the way.

I've had wonderful people approach me and carry out fantastic fundraisers in my honor. I've had gracious strangers donate personal time and efforts to create shirts and encouragement. I've even had experts approach me and help me with my strokes.

And today, I received a call from the single-most known swim supplier in the nation: Speedo. The godlike Speedo-man asked me what I needed in terms of equipment. I was virtually speechless. My answer?

"Well, I can't tell you what I don't need-- fins or a kickboard."

I think that statement gave him the confidence to tell me what HE thought I might need. He offered up practice suits and competition suits and goggles and caps. Still speechless, hanging on the other line, he prompted me for my address. He finished by letting me know that my package should arrive in about 3 days.

3 days? In 3 days I will be receiving a fairly large package full of hope and strength and encouragement. With any luck, they will show up just before I leave for the airport...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Swimming Through the Ages: A Data Table

With my "comeback" meet only a few days from now, I thought it important to share what I've been thinking about regarding my training... in the most methodical (non-Ryanesque) way I could think of: a data table.

What It's Like To Swim, From A Kid Perspective & An Adult Perspective

Swimming As A Kiddo

Swimming As An Adult

1. Hating morning practices

2. Being able to eat anything and everything within arm’s reach

3. Spending hours deciding on the coolest practice suits and tying little knots to connect holes in really old ones, because it looks cool

4. Passing the time in the pool thinking about those weekend plans that you are dying for

5. Having weekend plans

6. Loving the very concept of tapering

7. Being meet-ready means having cool new mirrored goggles and a big read Gatorade

8. Enjoying your time between sets with chatting with friends and making semi-real bathroom runs

9. During a hard set, hoping that maybe you’d just break your arm or something so that you could stop and relax

10. Taking it all for granted

1. Loving morning practices

2. Being able to eat nothing with artificial colors, trans-fats, or processed

3. Purchasing “grab bag” suits online because you don’t really care what it looks like, but at the same time learning to throw away suits that should be retired

4. Passing the time in the pool concentrating on perfecting your stroke, one more time

5. Training on 9:30 on a Saturday night, because you feel good at that moment

6. Loathing the very concept of tapering

7. Being meet-ready means being at the brink of mental and physical exhaustion but somehow gaining enough energy to write personal affirmations

8. Enjoying your time between sets by attempting to gain the feeling back in your right hand

9. During a hard set, hoping to the Universe that you won’t break your arm or anything, ever

10. Appreciating ever single moment of it

Monday, September 20, 2010

Exhaustion Isn't Enough

With my meet coming up in a little less than two weeks, I can't help but allow a flood of feelings and waves of emotions towards my heart.

I am really doing this.

Those are the words that I keep incessantly repeating over and over again in my mind. Not because I am hesitant in anyway, but simply because of the opposite: I am excited from every molecule of my body.

Likewise, however, I am also tired from every molecule in my body. I spent the latter part of my Saturday night gorging myself--free from any guilt--full of food at Starbucks (yes, I said FOOD). I had finished my longest and hardest swim to date and by the time it was all said and done, both mind and body were waving that little white flag, now full of frays and stains. It was all I could do to make it across the street to the always-convenient Starbucks location next to the pool. That evening, I consumed well over 1000 calories in pure Starbucks delight; without it, I fear, I would have never quite made it home.

I haven't felt this sort of energy depletion since... well, since ever. The closest thing I have to it would be post-marathon or triathlon exhaustion. But this is definitely more. More exhaustion, but then again it involves a lot more heart too.

More than anything, I am proud of this tiredness. It comes from a special place inside of me that has been hiding my whole life. This exhaustion proves that I am not only strong enough inside and out, but that I am brave enough.

This is the first time I have been brave enough. I am really doing this.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Heart of the Matter

Sometimes all you need is a little heart to get the job done.

Without a lot of planning or advertising, the quaint fundraiser at the park was a complete success! This event was a perfect beginning to what, I hope, will be a long journey ahead of me. The encouragement felt from my friends, peers, family, community, and every heart in between tells me that I'm doing something right.

While swimming this morning, I spent the entire workout focusing on each and every person that extended their support yesterday. I reflected upon smiles and hugs and words of wisdom and the song of support. What powerful motivation!

Just now this journey has become so much bigger and wilder. It is already gone far beyond the actual sport and my own heart. This journey is sure to take me places and I am now ever-aware that it will take others places too.

I just hope everyone is ready...

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Is my first-ever swimming fundraiser event! It will be an ice cream party at the park. It's at Foxridge Park in Centennial, in the very neighborhood that I grew up in!

The event will start at 2-o'clock and will be complete with rainbow sprinkles and a cherry on top.

I am very excited to celebrate this new path of mine, and even more so my upcoming meet in Santa Clara. Thank you to everyone who has made this event come together as seamlessly as it has!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Sunshine of My Life

The sun came in through the window today at the pool to remind me of its existence. As I bobbed melodically through my breaststroke set, the sun began its daily decent downward.

The corner of the pool is made up of two wall-sized windows that come together at a refreshing point, keeping those swimmers aware of the outside world; that world that displays either dawn, daylight, dusk, or dark (or a combination of some, if you are me). All of which are comforting to recognize as you turn at the end of the pool where this window corner resides.

Tonight was the first time, however, that I experienced the sun setting right in front of my lane. It was simply magic the way that the sun shone in past the glass panes and directly into my eyes. With each stroke, my head broke through the water's surface only to greet the most brilliant of yellow motivation. I couldn't see anything above the water but light. The contrast from above and below was stark. I didn't squint or blink through my breaths, but rather I smiled.

For those brief twenty minutes or so that the sun landed perfectly in my lane, my set became something so new and beautiful. At each wall my surroundings changed from nothing but light to only the remnants of it. Although swimming directly into the sun was stunning, so was swimming away from it. As I pushed off the wall with patterned hands and arms, my surroundings turned to reflections of everything that was behind me. The sun had caught waves and was dancing around like thousands of disco balls, both above and beneath the water line. The resulting images appeared to me as cyclical lightning bolts, like spaces between all the molecules in the universe. The reflection seemed symmetrical from both the movement of the water and the walls and ceiling that encased me in this pool. This was a good workout.

Swimming, most times, isn't only about the swimming... if you are willing to open your eyes and your heart to it all.