The body’s ability to adapt and mend is an amazing thing to behold. Eight days ago I ran a marathon, a week ago I was struggling to walk down hill, two days ago I swam 1,000 meters and was ready to finish, and today I went to spin class for an hour covering 20 miles and then swam 2,000 meters right after. The only kink, and it was actually a kink, was in my left quad. When I was pulling in my swim warm up I felt a cramp start. I did most of the swim workout pulling after I did 4 x 50 with kicking. The cramp got worse and I wanted to finish. Even though I didn’t kick, I didn’t take it easy either. I was swimming my 100’s on 1:52 and most of my 50’s on 53 seconds. I even did a 200 without full force and came in at 3:56. That is fast for me. Yes, pulling helps me go faster. I was also giving my lungs a good aerobic workout.
Getting through a swim workout sometimes can be challenging. Today I swam with a friend and it helped both of us get through the workout. There is always a fun element to swimming together on the same timed send off. Being slower than most of the people I swim with, we make adaptions. When I did 4 x 100 on a 2:15 send off, she did 4 x 125. On the even ones when we finished on the same side I would try to glide ahead and feel like I was winning, even though she swam 25 meters farther! Hey, what ever it takes to stay motivated. Once again, the buddy system came through.
This evening I did a Pilates workout. My trainer told me to focus really hard on proper form. I don’t know if it was my focus, a week off, or a combination of both, but I am feeling the workout. As much as the body adapts quickly, it also loses strength when not challenged. Core strength is becoming a bigger focus for me. I am thin and have flat abs – it is surprising that flat does not always mean firm. Holding the positions is challenging and I would love to have a pillow for my head, but that would be defeating the purpose I guess…
In reflecting on my training today and over the past eight days, it is more evident to me than ever that nothing comes easy. Building endurance, strength, and speed take time. The training is always challenging if you truly want to improve. Maintaining, if not building upon, athletic levels is a constant focus. Oh and how parallel is this to life? Relationships, careers, faith – all require time to develop, build and even master. Then there is the constant maintenance – nothing can be left on a shelf and be expected to sustain. Sometimes it requires our own effort, sometimes the help of a coach or mentor, and many times the support of friends. Like the marathon course I ran, nothing is linear. There are always ups and downs, even when billed an “easy course”. Hopefully lessons are learned from what works and what doesn’t. It is a terrible sorrow when the same mistakes are repeated over and over. It is a wonderful joy when advancements are made. Yes, how parallel – in sport and in life. It may not be easy, but I want the path of advancement.