Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Reason 578,492 Why I Love Swimming

I remember in April, 2006, when I was backpacking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with friends, my buddy Cort said something that's just so true:

"The best thing about backpacking is you don't think about anything else besides backpacking."

There's a certain therapy in immersion.

When I'm swimming laps, there's nothing else I can really think of. When I run and cycle, my mind often wanders. I dream, I rehash a situation at work, I wonder where I'll go next. I think about a race; I think about a song. I think about what I want to have for dinner that night.

I'm always thinking.

But swimming demands focus. Breath, reach, count. Breath, reach, reach a little bit more. Pull.

The black line methodically passes below me and when I see the "T", I start my turn.

I suppose it might be this way because I've spent a good part of my life in the water. But there's a certain calmness to swimming for me; even when it's hard. Even when I'm pushing myself. The only sound I hear is my own breath bubbling beside me and the swish of the water past my ear.

It's enough to make me forget just about anything...whether it's from 20 minutes ago or 20 years ago. I always come out of the water feeling calm. Feeling ready to move on.

And I can't explain how much I needed that today.

9 comments:

Maggs said...

That's why I love yoga. You clear your mind thinking about breathing. That's the key to meditation, try thinking about anything else when you are thinking about breathing.

triguyjt said...

thats why i love eating...

its just me...

and...

the feedbag...

same as swimming...

only not soggy

TrainingtoTri said...

when I'm swimming all I think about it - don't drown, please don't drown, please don't let a shark suddenly appear in this (inset pool or lake). I wish I had a love for swimming.

Carolina John said...

i'm with you there. I had a workout with my swim coach monday night and it was the exact same thing. we work together too, and all of that incredibly difficult day at work went right out the window when we got in the pool.

tri-mama said...

absolute catharsis

Amanda said...

Hi Sara,

I couldn't find an email address for you so I'm having to leave this random message on your comments. I've been following your blog for a few years now and have been really inspired by you. I grew up in Cleveland (east side near Painesville, my in-laws live very close to you), got into triathlons a few years ago and can relate to a lot of the feelings/emotions/doubt you have.

I just signed up for my first half ironman - coincidentally New Orleans. I'd like to chat with you about your experience with Vision Quest. I'm going to be training on my own and wanted to look into the program.

Is there anyway for us to email outside of Blogger if you're interested in giving me some advice?

Thank you :)
Amanda

TriSaraTops said...

Hey Amanda--

No problem! I'd love to chat with you! Yahooooooo for New Orleans! :) I tried to find your email but your profile wouldn't load for some reason...anyways, just drop me a line at saraziemnik at earthlink dot net

Thanks for the kind words! :)

Sarah said...

There is nothing like a great swim. Ahhh, if only I could master flipturns because the whole 'stopping at the wall' part puts a cramp in my zen ;)

Amanda said...

Hi Sara,

Thanks for giving me your email. I sent you a message but sometimes my email address gets blocked. Shot me an email if you don't have anything from me in your inbox - amanda underscore m underscore newman at hotmail dot com.

Thanks!
Amanda