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Friday, September 18, 2015

The Best Workout Evah

Today I completed the best swim workout in coherent memory.  Not because I was fast, but because it was so torturously awesome.  It was the workout that you muster yourself out of the pool more with your mind than with your limp body, and the total physical exhaustion is felt as an entire body calming weight.

Do you work out?  Do you know what I mean?  Do you know that feeling when you spent it all?  It's even better in the water.  You have no idea.  Your whole body is working, pushing, pulling, kicking, and you can't breathe.  It's great.  (So, I just reread that sentence sequence and I realized that you may very well think I'm crazy, and that might be true, but it is what it is.)  

When you're ready to sprint and the time is counting down, 5, 4, 3, 2... your adrenaline is flying through your body - shocking and icy hot, from your chest down your arms and into your fingers, you push off of the wall in a gloriously delicious streamline and your body is moving, smooth, slicing and cutting the water.  The pool is quiet and still in front of you.  You don't care about breathing, you just love the feel of the water on your hands and your legs flying behind you.  Finally you take a breath, and you've got more to go on for your burning muscles.  You flip turn (please don't miss the wall or go sideways).  Another streamline, but this one contracts your chest because of your lack of air.  You'll breathe in a minute, just make it out past the flags.  Now go!  Push it.

As you're coming back, you close your eyes for one second to dig deep, to talk to yourself instead of listen to your body, which is begging you to stop, to quit, to take it easy, because you're almost done.  No.  This is the difference between being good and being great.  Champions are made in practice and displayed in a race.  You see, out of the corner of your eye, people in the lanes next to you - and you need to hold your own.  If they are faster, you need to not drop back any further.  If they are your speed, you need to summon all of your physical strength to punish your muscles into touching them out at the wall.  You know they're thinking the same thing.  Dig deeper.  The temptation at the end is to glide in, but you want that wall to be yours first.  You have nothing left in your body, you can't breathe, your chest hurts, your arms and legs are burning.  Your body starts begging.  Instead of listening, you tell yourself to shut up and keep it up.  Make faces, make noise, whatever, just do it.

It was worth it.

You're sure the workout is done.  You are heaving with a contorted breath and completely physically exhausted.  

And then, oh. my. gosh.

A 200 IM all out is called.  Never mind that you just did a solid set of stroke and IM all morning and you just finished sprinting IM with a whole 4 seconds of rest in between.  You're going to dig beyond the bottom.

You close your eyes, tell yourself you are going to have to kill it and picture yourself doing it.  You concentrate and give yourself a few seconds to summon any adrenaline reserves.  This is it, you tell yourself.  Don't hold anything back.  It doesn't matter.  One stroke in front of the other.  You've got this, make it happen.  They're tired.  Don't be tired.  Be strong.  I'm in charge of this body and it's going to listen to me and do what I demand it to do.

And it starts again. 5, 4, 3, 2...and you hear some other crazy person call out encouragement for everyone - and you hang on to that and it reverberates in your head.  We're all in this together, but I've got to fight for this to the end.  Come on, let's do this.  Let's go.  The echo of someone pushing you combines with your mind to push your body past what you thought was possible.  You are involuntarily making faces (and they're not cute), as if your expression could pull you faster ahead through the intense physical pain that your body is crying out from.  You are running on reserves, but even in that you make it submit to what you need it to do for you to get you to the end.  Your body is shutting itself off - your muscles have long been burning, and you feel like you're moving in slow motion, but even in this you push - you're almost there.  Don't give up.  Go hard or go home.

And you finish.

And it's the most glorious feeling ever.  (Well, besides the fact that you cannot breathe and there is not enough air in the building for you.)  You did it.  You spent it.

If you are a swimmer, this view evokes emotion in your very soul.

You warm down, and as you do, you think to yourself, "I love this!  I can't wait to do this again tomorrow."

That is, if you can climb out of the pool.

Peace, love, and love swimming,
Ms. Daisy 

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