Sometimes a lot of things need to go wrong so we can truly grasp our reality and better prepare ourselves for the future. My experience at the 2015 EuroGames in Stockholm was the culmination that sent me on a hard reality check. While I will spare you the initial details of the whole event, needless to say it was disappointing. The event itself, the organizers, the competition, the experience but most importantly I was disappointed in myself. For the first time in a long time I didn’t feel like a serious athlete, I had to sit down and really think about all that I was doing. Did my goals matter? Would I ever have a chance to become an elite, competition swimmer? Would I ever be taken seriously or is this all I can ever expect from competition? It certainly didn’t feel like it and I begun to have serious doubts about my goals and myself.
I tried to keep myself going. Attending swim practices with a local Master’s swim team but that only made things worse. The attitude of Master’s is “It’s Master’s, who cares?” and thus felt like the swim practices were a total joke because the people there didn’t really care about improving and growing stronger as an athlete. As the year-end approached the stress of everything happening started to give me heart palpitations and thus I truly knew something was wrong. However I also knew what I needed to do.
I didn’t want to become the person I was 8 years ago, sitting depressed and eating cake while watching the Olympics wishing I was something more. I didn’t want that so I wasn’t going to let myself become that person. I had helped organized the swimming competition at the Sin City Shootout which was quickly approaching and I knew that might just be the kick in the butt I needed to get moving again. It was also too help redeem my experience after a disastrous EuroGames. After the New Year I felt like a resolutionary, coming to the pool to get fit again but the difference is that I wasn’t going to stop after a month or two. I didn’t rush into things and just focused on the little things every day, showing up and getting some quality swimming. Every week I increased my yardage and overall intensity of each session.
After the Sin City Shootout I wasn’t too pleased with my swim times because I knew I hadn’t trained much leading up to it. I also wasn’t too pleased with how I looked since I had put on a couple pounds during my “break” so I was eager to shed that as well. I didn’t think about anything else except for the day to day work of simply showing up and swimming. Most of my practices are self coached but I also decided to give the Master’s another chance and with that I started to find my place within the team. Sure the attitude is still the same but I chose to rise above it and just focused on what I wanted to accomplish. Having been about 12 weeks since I got back in the pool I am feeling like my old, athletic self again! Before I knew it I had registered for nationals and am suddenly getting ready to compete again! I have definitely found my groove again and I couldn’t be happier.