Coming soon to a swim team near you

I am beginning to really like swimming!

Swimming has saved my athletic life. I’m sure it sounds just ridiculous to say it that way, but it’s true.

After several months of stress fractures, bursitis and a neuroma in the foot, it would be understandable if a person slipped into a deep depression, crawled under the covers and canceled his or her gym membership.

Hell, I did that after training through plantar fasciitis and running the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in Washington, D.C., so 2007-2009 were bad years in my athletic life.

Something had to change.

And it wasn’t so long ago that the thought of swimming for fitness was as foreign to me as, well, walking on land might seem to a fish.

Despite years of swimming lessons as a kid, and having the ability to float and generally move around in the water, I was terrified of sticking my face in the water — a feat that’s required if you want to swim to get and be fit.

Swimming is regarded as “such a great workout” by several of my doctors, friends and acquaintances. (Seriously, they all say that exact sentence.) And my body, in all its injured glory, was telling me — no, begging me — to try something new.

So I did. And I continued to, in spite of all the embarrassing things that happened to me.

Well all the mumbo-jumbo seems to be paying off — I’m feeling really good. And it’s why I’ve taken my sweet time updating my blog — I’ve been busy working out six days a week (biking two days/week, swimming two days/week and strength training two days/week)!

I stepped up my dedication on May 14, when my swim coach Antonio gave me my first workout, complete with drills and written in swim-hand (for example 2×40 free = swim the freestyle stroke for 40 meters, twice.). You won’t find any exact workouts posted online, though. I promised him that I wouldn’t share his hard work for free with the world.

A week later, Antonio told me that if I keep improving, I just might be able to join the swim team in the fall. I promptly grinned, excited to have something to take my mind off my marathon dreams.

Whaaa? The swim team, you might wonder. Is this high school? And how is this person, who skipped P.E. during the swimming curriculum, excited about the sport she feared and loathed as a teenager and adult?

It’s really quite simple. I have a goal again: Join the swim team by fall. (Yes, my gym has a swim team! They train for and compete at USMS, U.S. Masters Swimming, events.)

If I can’t do the Chicago Marathon this year, I’ll still be able to work my butt off, without needing to cut my feet off.

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