Saturday Morning Swim.March 31, 2018.

Studio portrait of Sarah, post swim. 

I couldn't sleep in this morning. Too much stuff whirling around in my brain. So I grabbed a towel and my swim bag and headed to the early morning swim practice. Not EARLY MORNING like we did in high school and college, when the first workout of the day was at 5:30 a.m. but a more civilized early workout (on the weekend) at 7:30 a.m. 

When you swim regularly and frequently you just feel better and better until you almost start to believe you might be bulletproof and immortal. But when life intrudes and other priorities push daily swimming off the calendar things fall apart. I went from a five to six day a week, 15,000+ yard schedule to, well, zero for the first two and half months of this year. Oh, there were times when I'd rush by the pool on my way out of town and try to get some yardage in for half an hour. I could count those days on the fingers on one hand...

For the first couple of weeks off from swimming the conditioning remains largely intact. The next couple of weeks you feel soft and physically ineffective, and by week six you start to feel like Jabba the Hut (Caution: Star Wars reference!) on Benadryl. Those pants with the 32 inch waist start feeling tight and you start thinking you might need to go up a size. You get progressively grouchier. 

By the first of March I started making plans in earnest to get back onto a consistent workout schedule.  At 62 the loss of fitness comes quick and regaining it takes time and discipline. And naps. Lots of recovery naps...

At the end of December I was swimming with a group of friends at the spring fed Deep Eddy Pool. The water was freezing but we managed to knock out 3K to 3.5K each day. On my first few days back to our regular pool, in March, I was struggling to even reach 2,500 yards and taking breaks; a 50 off here, a 50 off there, just to catch my breath. I came home tired and felt a bit depressed that I'd shed that much everyday fitness so quickly. 

Last week was the first week in which I felt like things were heading back to "normal." I started getting back my motivation and hitting the earlier workouts in order to better manage my schedule. I moved back up to a faster pace lane today and hung with the kids better than I have since December. It was a tipping point back into happiness for me. 

Today, under the watchful eyes of coach Kristen, we knocked out 3,200 yards in an hour. A lot of freestyle today and a lot of fast sets with descending intervals. Felt like old times!

Putting my schedule back together is vital for me and for my mental health. Swimming and fitness create a foundation and I've always added on to that. 

Now I need to figure out how to get my passion for work back. If anyone has any suggestions (which don't interfere with swimming) I'll be happy to have them. It would be great to be fired up and ready for some work challenges again. 

I'm motivated to swim. Now I need to sharpen my focus for doing my paid work; taking photographs. 

Circle Swimming at WHAC.org. 

It's not enough just to get wet.
You have to want to go fast.


  1. "Now I need to figure out how to get my passion for work back"
    Gotta keep Belinda and Studio Dog fed....oh and you of course.

  2. Grief is a strange companion. You think you’re ok, but putting one foot in front of the other can become difficult. I’d suggest that is not the lack of passion that’s missing, but how strong the grieving of what’s lost and what’s changed, even if it’s subconscious. Consider the naps a big clue. Just some thoughts from my Chaplaincy side as opposed to photo side.

  3. Sometimes, you just have to do what needs to be done, with the hope that the passion, or whatever it is, finds its way back. Whatever constitutes "the work," strive to touch it every work day.

  4. Yes taking time off from working out at our age causes much discomfort when getting back to it. But as you have described- sticking with it, getting back into the routine, and in very little time its back to the level before we cut back or stopped. But man, those initial few workouts are tough!

    Before you know it the summer heat will be back and all will be right with the world.

  5. Jim Huges is wise here. It was my first thought, too. I've been through everything you're describing. You'll come out the other end just fine. Being able to get back to your swimming is a very good sign. The photography will come. Just work with favorite equipment and photograph favorite things until you wake up one morning welcoming a new challenge again.

  6. I'm not a professional photographer, I have the luxury of just taking pictures because I like to, or sometimes feel like I have to, so what works for me may not be practical for you. For me the longer I try to stay away from taking pictures the more motivated I am to get back to it and try to do better. Reading art history or appreciation books that I've picked up at garages sales also helps to get me going again.

  7. As a general observation, your work grouchiness reads with similarity to your fitness grouchiness. As with most matters pertaining to humans, few things occur as silver bullet, one-off big bangs. Most things happen through persistence. Keep chipping away at it, and don’t try to rush the recovery phase. I’m missing my fitness badly. I previously rushed back into it, and made it worse by injuring myself. I’d tentatively suggest that the same applies to work.
    Take care & enjoy the laps.
    Not THAT Ross Cameron


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