STAYING SELF-MOTIVATED AS A SOLO SWIMMER

After writing two articles for Swimspire , I was asked by Julia Galan to continue with my “Solo Swimmer” theme and write a series of articles for her website.  The following article was recently published, and appears here:

Whether you swim with a team or solo, all of us swimmers have had our issues staying motivated at one time or another. Being a solo swimmer can make it even more difficult if there isn’t anyone around to encourage you. Self-motivation is the key to happiness and success when going it alone as a swimmer, so read on for tips on how to stay fired up to keep on swimmin’!

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Why do you swim?

First, it’s important to answer this basic question: Why do you swim? It’s very difficult to stay motivated to do anything you don’t really want to do. Are you swimming just because your doctor told you to swim for health reasons? Is it because you love running and cycling, but you have to swim to compete in triathlons (your latest New Year’s resolution)? Or, do you love the way swimming makes you feel, both mentally and physically? Maybe it’s because you swam as a kid, and you want to do it as an adult on your terms, rather than having a coach constantly barking orders at you. Hey, maybe it’s even for several of these reasons.

The bottom line is this: If you know why you swim, it will help keep you motivated to get wet.

Embrace habits that make you happy

Are you a morning person or a night owl? What time of day are you more likely to make swimming a habit? Work, family, and other commitments will dictate your available time slot for swim workouts; but, if you have a choice, swim at a time you are most likely to stick with on a regular basis. This is one of the advantages of being a solo swimmer – we have more control over our swim schedules than team or workout group swimmers do.

For me, I find it easiest to stick with a routine of swimming first thing in the morning. I’m not necessarily an early riser, but swimming is my first appointment of the day. Nothing else gets scheduled on any day until the afternoon, whether it’s helping my husband with his part-time business, doing volunteer work, scheduling appointments, or running errands. My friends also know I don’t check e-mail or make phone calls until after I return from the pool. Besides, I don’t function optimally until after a workout, so it’s just as well! I’m a much happier person during and after a swim!

Set flexible goals

By now, you have probably heard and read plenty about the benefits and how-to’s of setting goals; but I’ve learned a few things about my personal goal-setting that puts a different spin on the well-known S.M.A.R.T method of setting goals (Specific. Measurable. Achievable/Attainable. Realistic. Time-bound. There are variations on this acronym, but you get the picture.)

I add an “F” to my acronym. S.M.A.R.T.F. isn’t a word, I know, but the “F” is the most important part of my goal-setting: FLEXIBLE.

Until I added “flexible” to the equation, nothing took a hit to my self-motivation more than the constant frustration of failing to achieve my specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound goals!

Case in point: After nailing U.S. Masters Swimming National Qualifying Times (NQT’s) in the 50 Yard Breaststroke at a September of 2010 meet, I thought a S.M.A.R.T. goal would be to aim to achieve NQT’s every year. Congenital physical issues led to a series of repetitive stress injuries (mostly non-swimming related), though; so, my goals were constantly derailed. Ultimately, I had hip surgery in late 2014, resulting in a multi-year succession of failed S.M.A.R.T. goals. Can you say, “FRUSTRATION”?

The moral of the story? Write your goals in PENCIL! Being flexible will help you stay motivated. If a road-block conspires to keep you from achieving your specific goal, reassess your situation, shift gears; and, start the S.M.A.R.T. process over again.

Although my hip injury prevented me from making NQT’s, I still wanted to compete at a swim meet that took place just a few days before my hip surgery. I was unable to kick breaststroke (or kick much of any other stroke for that matter), so I needed to reassess my situation. Rather than miss competing at one of my favorite meets of the year, I got my surgeons approval to compete, and then asked him to write a medical excuse to the chief official explaining I couldn’t kick breaststroke. My breaststroke races were swum instead with an in-pool start, breaststroke pulls, and no pull-outs, while my legs flopped behind like an injured frog. The 400 Freestyle was swum without a block start or kicking, and no hard pushes off the walls at each turn. My race times suffered tremendously, but I still won the points I needed to achieve one of my other goals of winning the Georgia Grand Prix Series for my age group. Had I not raced that day, I would have failed at a goal that took the entire year (and several meets) to achieve; and, I would have missed out on a trophy that I now enjoy as a symbol of my perseverance.

Set long-term and short-term goals

What do you hope to gain from swimming? For me it provides so many physical, mental, and social benefits that my long-term goal is a no-brainer: I want to be able to swim and compete for the rest of my life. In order to be able to achieve that goal, I need to stay healthy and avoid injuries that force me out of the water. Working backwards from there, that long-term goal dictates how I set all of my short-term swimming goals. I may have a goal to make NQT’s in breaststroke; but, if my hip starts feeling the effects of my training schedule, I need to reassess, switch gears, and adjust my goals until I’m ready to ramp up again.

Often, my workout goal (a very short-term goal) changes multiple times in a single workout. I may go to the pool on “Fast Friday” with the goal of conquering a USRPT (Ultra Short Race Pace Training) set of breaststroke, but if my hip is fatigued or sore, swimming multiple race-pace 50’s of full breaststroke is out of the question. Out goes the kick, and I swim it as breaststroke pulls instead to avoid injury. Then, the remainder of my workout gets adjusted accordingly, depending on how my body feels.

What is your long-term goal? Keep it in mind as you work backwards and break it down into shorter segments; and, remember that flexibility is key!

Variety is the spice of life!

Are you having a difficult time staying motivated because you are bored or burned out with your current swimming routine? Adding variety will help keep things fun and challenging—keys to staying self-motivated.

If you are a lap swimmer who only swims freestyle to stay fit, but you get bored staring at the black line on the bottom of the pool as you swim lap after lap, consider learning another stroke. In addition to taking adult swim lessons or hiring a coach by the hour to teach you, there are plenty of free resources available to teach yourself backstroke, breaststroke, or even butterfly. My favorite videos are at http://www.GoSwim.TV (you can subscribe for free), but there are also many other good ones on YouTube.

How about entering a competition? Although I highly recommend joining U.S. Masters Swimming for their numerous motivating resources (and to be able to compete at USMS swim meets), there are other options available. YMCA has excellent swim programs and competitions, or you could check with your local recreation department. Another option is to compete in your state’s annual pool or open water swim meet that is open to all ages (stategamesofamerica.com). If you are 50+ years of age, check out your state’s Senior Olympicsprogram. None of these organizations require you to be an expert swimmer, and you will find competitors of all skill levels and ages at these meets.

Having a competitive event to look forward to will keep you motivated to train and give you a built-in goal to shoot for.

On the flip side, if you are a burned out competitive swimmer, how about changing it up a bit to fire up your motivation? If you are a stroke specialist, give yourself permission to take a year (or season) off from your best stroke and focus on a different one. Can’t decide which stroke? Train for the individual medley, and you will get to add three other strokes to your specialty! This give you plenty of training options and adds a lot of variety to your training.

Are you a sprinter? Try long distance events, and add an open water race into your meet line-up for the year. If you are an open water swimmer, see what it’s like to race between the lane lines and add a flip turn to your freestyle.

Perhaps your motivation has reached such a low point that you don’t even want to get out of bed to swim. If that happens, just think about how good it feels after a workout. You’re energized and feel a sense of satisfaction afterwards, right? If you skip your workout, you will deprive yourself of those great, healthy feelings! Get up and just go swim for ten minutes. If after that time your motivation still hasn’t kicked in, try doing something fun. Join the water walkers at the shallow end and socialize with them as you walk laps in the pool, go for a walk on the beach or bodysurf (if you’re at the ocean), or get out on deck and do some yoga. ANY exercise will feel better than NO exercise; and, perhaps you will regain your motivation to swim a few laps. If not, don’t beat yourself up; tomorrow is always another day!

Remember, as a solo swimmer, you have complete control over what, where, when, and how you train and swim! Just never take your eye off your long-term goal and forget the “why”, because “why” you swim is what will keep you motivated to take the plunge, time after time.


Elaine Krugman is a U.S. Masters Swimmer (55-59 age group) and writes articles for the Georgia Masters Newsletter.  She also writes a blog about three of her passions:  travel, swimming, and chocolate; and, she’s happiest when the three intersect! Check out Elaine’s blog here!

WELCOME TO MY WORLD! FOUR WAYS TO INVOLVE YOUR NON-SWIMMING SPOUSE OR PARTNER

This is dedicated to Bruce, my soulmate for over thirty years and husband for nearly 25 of them.  You have always been there for me, even when you thought I was nuts!  (Only you would have the patience to video my painstakingly slow 2000 yard butterfly for Butternuts.  Yes, I am a nutty Butternut!)  I love you more than ever, I’m your #1 fan, and will always remain your Aqua Dog.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

WELCOME TO MY WORLD! FOUR WAYS TO INVOLVE YOUR NON-SWIMMING SPOUSE OR PARTNER

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GERMANY YESTERDAY, GEORGIA STATE GAMES OPEN WATER MEET TODAY!

When Vantage Travel needed to change our European river cruise departure date, I had pretty much written off the idea of competing in the Georgia State Games Open Water Meet.  It was scheduled for the morning after our evening return, and I knew I would be leaving my suit at home and taking three weeks off from the pool.

It made me a bit sad, because even though it is not a pool meet, it’s my favorite local swim event of the year.  It’s also the third event of the Georgia Grand Prix Series, and I am leading the series in my age group.  After winning it in 2012, 2013, and 2014; I wanted to win it back after having lost in 2015 due to sitting out a couple of the events after having hip surgery and a set-back.

I didn’t discuss competing at the open water meet with Bruce, because I just knew he would NOT want to get up early the morning after returning from Europe.  Besides, I was having a problem with my shoulder that required a short course of physical therapy before we went to Europe.  On top of that, I developed an acute case of calcific tendinitis in my other hip while in Vienna, requiring an injection of a short and long-term anesthetic.  (Thankfully, it worked like a charm!)

Late in the trip, I finally casually mentioned the upcoming meet to Bruce, and he said, “Well, are you going to compete in it this year?  I think you should!”  Really?  I couldn’t believe my ears!  We agreed to see how my hip was doing after our return and whether we would be up for peeling ourselves out of bed for the 1-1/2 drive to Lake Acworth.

Thank goodness traveling west is easier on the body than heading east.  Neither of us have jetlag when we travel west, so we were in luck.  We crashed by 9:00 PM last night (3:00 AM our body time), got a good night sleep, and woke up refreshed this morning.  We took one look at each other and said, “Let’s go!”

I was so excited, I felt like a retriever puppy waiting to get released from my leash, so I could go chase thrown sticks in the water!  We piled our gear into “AQUADOG” and hit the road.

Arriving just in time for the 3K start, my heart skipped a beat as I saw them take off.  The 3K is my favorite open water race, but I knew I shouldn’t push it, so I settled on racing the 1K instead.

After three weeks out of the water (even longer than after my hip surgery), it felt SO good to be back in!  The rest did my body good, though, and all four cylinders were working great.  I won gold (although there was only one other gal in my age group), my time better than last year, and it was a lot of fun.  My win also mathematically eliminated my competition in the Georgia Grand Prix Series!

Thanks, Bruce, for your love, support, and encouragement!  I love you!!

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Last year, Loukia and I were side-by-side and really pushed each other during the last half of our 1K race.  I won, but she beat me this year!  (Thankfully, she is in a younger age group, so I was able to still win gold.)

Stay tuned for blog posts about Europe.  After I edit the TONS of photos I shot, I will start posting the blog posts I wrote off-line and include my favorite shots.

Note about race:  Looking over the official results, I beat 13 of the 22 women younger than me, and 12 of the 23 men younger than me.  WooHOO!

QUEEN ANNE (AKA ANNE-WITH-AN-E)

Do a search within my blog site on “Anne Dunivin,” and you will see I have written several times about this amazing woman and teammate who has been a great inspiration to me.

Now 99 years old, and swimming faster than she did at Nationals three years ago, Queen AnnE had every swimmer at the U.S. Masters Swimming meet at UGA echoing what I said to Anne when we first met, “I want to grow up to be just like you!”

Check out this link to read on about Anne’s amazing accomplishments at last Saturday’s swim meet.  This article appeared in print in yesterday’s edition of Atlanta Journal Constitution:  http://www.ajc.com/news/lifestyles/health/99-year-old-atlanta-swimmer-completes-swim-and-set/nrbXf/

IT FEELS GREAT TO BE BACK!

The following is something I recently read that may seem quite basic, but it really hit home as I soaked in the atmosphere of the Georgia Tech competition pool this past weekend:

“Make a list of the things that make you happy.

Make a list of the things you do every day.

Compare the lists.

Adjust accordingly.”

It had been since September, 2014 since I had last competed in a U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS) meet due to my hip injury and surgery.  Although I was able to compete in the Georgia Games Open Water Meet last July, I popped the scar tissue in my hip the following month which set me back from race-pace training and competition for the rest of the year.

Over the past few months, I have been joyfully working my way back, savoring every day I’m in the pool.  Swimming is definitely on my lists of what makes me happy and what I do every day (well, six days per week, to be more accurate).

Adding yoga to the physical therapy and stretching exercises I do on deck following my swims, I’ve been improving my flexibility, strength, and balance.  As I see improvement and my ability to master more difficult poses, the resulting satisfaction I feel has convinced me that yoga is up on those lists right after swimming.  The two go hand-in-hand as part of my regular routine.

Returning to competition, though, was something I was itching to add back to my “to do” list, even though it’s not something that can be done daily.

This past weekend, I was able to “adjust accordingly” and compete at the USMS Dixie Zone Championships at Georgia Tech, home of the 1996 Olympic swimming competition.

As my husband, Bruce and I entered the swim deck, butterflies returned to my stomach, something I hadn’t felt in a too-long period of time.  I smiled to myself, remembering how it used to feel, and how I had to learn to embrace rather than fight it.

For this two-day meet, I decided I would go all in and sign up for the maximum events (ten) figuring I could always scratch races if my hip wasn’t up to the task.  Practicing my chosen events in order over two days in March, I knew I could do it.  The difference, however, was not having to swim the extra warm-up and cool-down yardage in between events that weren’t scheduled back-to-back.  In practice, I had done all five events sequentially each day with only a couple minutes of rest in between each one.  Although it definitely gave me the confidence I needed for the meet, I wasn’t sure how my hip would respond with the additional yardage, starting blocks, and cooler water temperature—all important factors.

In addition to signing up for the maximum events, I entered what is considered some of the most difficult events, because those are the races I enjoy competing in the most.  I also threw in a couple of sprints for variety, even though I knew I would have to protect my hip by not going all-out in my kicking.

Saturday’s line-up:  400 Yard Individual Medley, 50 Yard Breaststroke back-to-back with 100 Yard Butterfly, 200 Yard Breaststroke, and 500 Yard Freestyle.

Sunday’s line-up:  1650 Yard (the “mile”) Freestyle, 200 Yard Butterfly, and 100 Yard Breaststroke back-to-back-to-back with 200 Yard Backstroke and 50 Yard Butterfly.  The day concluded with me swimming freestyle on the Women’s 400 Yard Medley Relay.

Although my race times were (much!) slower than before my hip surgery, I enjoyed every stroke that I swam in that pool, and I was thrilled to end the meet in second place in my age group.  (Ok, I’ll ‘fess up.  There were only three in our age group, because several of the other swimmers I usually compete against didn’t enter the meet for one reason or another.)

Still, regardless of my race times or the colors of my ribbons, just being able to compete was a fabulous feeling.  Just as wonderful, though, was seeing my friends and making new ones.  That is what USMS is all about:  Enjoying swimming and competing with others who feel just as passionately about it as you do.

Swimming is what makes me happy, and it’s what I will keep on doing as long as I can.  It feels great to be back!

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That’s me in a timid-looking (careful!) block start in Lane 4 sporting a blue Georgia Masters swim cap that clashes with my suit!

BELIEVING IN YOUR DREAMS

Kitchen Drawer is a very cool (“Free to a good home”) magazine based in Griffin, Georgia. I started writing artist profiles for the magazine last year, and my first one appeared in the November/December issue. In addition to my artist profile in the current issue (Volume 6 Issue 3), another article I wrote was published. Check it out here: http://issuu.com/kitchendrawer/docs/6_3_final?e=0/8465165

Thanks to Betsy Harris, my writing mentor/editor/friend who encouraged me to submit this article. Allison Smyly and her staff at Kitchen Drawer get a big thanks for choosing to publish it! Finally, the biggest thanks of all goes out to my husband, Bruce Cook who always patiently honors my request to photograph and/or video my races. I love you!

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These are photos Bruce shot that didn’t make the cut:

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My surgeon, Dr. Richard Braun

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SWIMMING, SHELLING, AND KAYAKING IN SANIBEL

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Like our last visit to Sanibel Island, this has NOT been a sedentary vacation! And, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Following my last post, Bruce and I took a late afternoon walk along Lighthouse Beach to photograph the shells, watch the birds and fisherman on the pier, and just enjoy the beauty all around us.

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Notice I said “photograph” the shells. Last November, we collected all sorts of shells, but ultimately decided to keep only the most special ones. The remainder came back with us to Sanibel. I threw them into the water at the end of the pier, to wash up on the shore, once again.

Yesterday morning, after my 45 minute open water swim, I walked along the beach looking for shells, while Bruce continued to fish. (Notice I said “fish”, rather than “catch”.) I found a beautiful lightning whelk on this hunt; definitely a keeper that won’t find its way back to Sanibel, next time around.

The swim before my shell hunt was another in-the-zone experience: Perfect water conditions, a gorgeous morning (just after sunrise), and a dolphin swimming by just 50 yards away, as I headed back to the shore. My sighting even improved (Alligator eyes for you, Cooooach Mike!) as I felt more comfortable in my surroundings and adapted with my Meniere’s.

The activity for the day didn’t end there, as we made our way to the Sanibel Recreation Center for our real workout. While Bruce exercised in the gym, I managed training 2,500 yards in the pool; a not-so-fast sprint session, since I already had an open water session behind me. After that: PT exercises in the gym. It was afternoon before we finally had “breakfast”.

Today was another fitness boot camp day: Four hours of paddling (with a few stops to photograph the birds), followed by a full training session in the pool and gym. Pure heaven!

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And, now, to cap off a perfect day, a toast to my friends Melody and David: With Frisky (Fresca and Spiced Rum; Melody’s invention) in hand, we celebrate the success of your surgery and David’s remission. Cheers!

SWIMMING IN THE ZONE

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I don’t remember the last time I swam any distance in open salt water. Since swimming during the summers of my youth at the Alamitos Bay Peninsula, in Long Beach, I have kayak surfed, body surfed, snorkeled; just about everything BUT swim for any distance in anything other than a lake. So, returning to the saltwater for a good long swim was pure joy.

While Bruce fished from the shore, this morning, I swam back and forth, practicing my sighting for the upcoming Clemson open water swim, in June, and the Georgia Games 3k and 1k swim, in July. In my very first open water swim competition, last summer, I swam in the Georgia Games and swam the 3k and 1k back-to-back. Winning a silver and gold in my age group was the icing on top of a fantastic experience- and, learning I am really better suited for long distance swimming, after all.

In my first open water swimming experience since those races at Lake Ackworth, I really felt like I was swimming in the zone. The water was a perfect 78 degrees, I swam straight, and, Bruce even said a dolphin swam alongside me for awhile; something I didn’t even notice, since I was turning toward the shoreline to take my breaths and the dolphin was on the other side of me.

It was a beautiful morning, capped off with a pool workout and PT exercises in the gym, before heading back to Seahorse Cottages for breakfast.

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I’m a Baby Geezer!

When Bruce and I made the decision to move to a Del Webb Sun City community, I decided it would be a perfect opportunity to switch from being a gym rat and return to being a water dog.  The treadmill hadn’t been kind to my paws; I had developed a fierce case of tarsal tunnel syndrome and knew it would be an ongoing battle.  But, the pool where we lived in San Antonio was an outdoor pool, open only during the (very) hot summer months.  That situation wasn’t kind to me either; I developed fierce heat intolerance issues.

Sun City has a climate controlled indoor pool- perfect!

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So, I returned to the pool, in 2009, soon after settling in at Sun City Peachtree.  I worked on building up my endurance.  Then, one day, I decided to try swimming my old competitive stroke again:  Breaststroke.  Once I built up enough speed and confidence to time myself, I brought my watch to the pool and timed my race from a push off the wall.  Aaaaaack!  It was far from the 1:19.06 best time I got as a high school senior.  But, I went home red-faced, sat down at the computer, and looked up where my time would have ranked if I had competed as a 50 year old, at the Georgia Golden Olympics.  Of course, I was only 47, BUT, I was also just getting back into it and figured I would have plenty of room to improve.

To my surprise, my time wasn’t so bad in my age group.  So, I looked up where my time would have placed me at the National Senior Olympics and was relieved to see I wouldn’t have placed last!  Actually, I would have ended up in the middle of the pack.

So, at that very moment, I set a goal for myself and announced to Bruce:  “In 2012, when I turn 50, I am going to compete in the Georgia Golden Olympics!”

It was time to get to work.

After 8 months of swimming on my own, I realized I didn’t have a clue how to properly train to return to competition.  And, I could tell by watching the Olympics, in 2008, that breaststroke had changed dramatically, since 1979.  I needed a coach.  Badly.

After doing some research, I learned that the closest indoor competition pool, Steve Lundquist Aquatic Center, was located 25 minutes away, in Clayton County.  I called the pool to see if they could refer me to a coach who could take a look at my strokes and get me back on track.  That is how I met Mike Slotnick, the founder and head coach of SMART (Smart Motivated Athletic Respectful Teammate), a kid’s swim team.

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Lucky for me, Mike was willing to take me on for reasonably priced private coaching sessions.  He had his work cut out for him, for sure…

Meanwhile, I remembered that my sister had been a member of United States Masters Swimming, so I checked out the website and decided to join.  Unfortunately, the nearest team was located too far away to train with, but I could still compete with a team at swim meets.

One month after my first coaching session, I competed in my first meet.  Thankfully, Mike was there to help calm my nerves, give me last-minute advice, and clue me in as to when and how much to warm up before each race.  It turned out to be a great experience!

The following month, Georgia Tech hosted U.S.M.S. Short Course Nationals.  How could I miss that with it being just up the freeway from my home?  But, Nationals?  Whoaaa; that’s way beyond my swimming level.  But, U.S.M.S. is an inclusive organization, allowing all members to compete in three events at Nationals, if they don’t qualify to swim more (up to six).  So, I went, competed, and ended up second to last in my events.  Mike competed, too, we gave each other a lot of encouragement, and I ended up having a blast.  The best part was meeting fellow “Forumites” (U.S.M.S. Discussion Forums members) and cheering each other on.  And, nobody cared about my swim times; they only cared that I was happy to be there and competed with enthusiasm.

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It was because of my great experience at 2010 Nationals that I have gone to most of the Nationals since.  And, it has been well worth it!  And, all of the local and southeastern Dixie Zone meets have been swimming highlights, as well.  It has been a terrific 21/2+ years as a USMS member.

Fast forward to January 20, 2012; my 50th birthday.  After swimming in numerous U.S.M.S. meets, I had come to realize that the level of competition is far greater than at the Senior Olympics level.  Comparing qualifying times and Nationals results, there was no comparison.  But, I had set a goal and I was excited to see it through.

So, 2012 became the year of competing in Senior Olympics meets, in addition to U.S.M.S. meets.  As I wrote previously, I competed in the Gwinnett County Golden Games, last April, as my very first Senior Games.  It was at that meet that I officially declared myself a “Geezer” competing in the “Geezer Games” and was proud of it!  And, as the youngest competitor there, I was even more proud to sit next to my team’s matriarch, 95 year old American Record Holder Anne Dunivin, for the medals photograph.  I had won two golds and three silvers.  Anne, one of the oldest competitors in the country, proudly admits that she has won those records by outliving her competition.  She also won five gold medals at that meet.

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The Geezer Games I was really looking forward to competing in, however, was the meet I had my heart set on, back in 2009:  The Georgia Golden Olympics, my adopted states’ qualifying meet for Nationals.  So, last month, we made our way to Warner Robins to compete in the maximum allowed five races.  My coach, Mike, competed too, as well as several of my teammates.  I ended up again with two golds and three silvers (my first two medals shown below), getting beaten at both Geezer Games by former collegiate swimmers who were awesome breaststrokers.  The gal at the state meet crushed my time; I didn’t have a chance for the gold.  But, I achieved my goal, had fun, and swam well, considering the poor conditions (slow pool, too-warm water, too-warm air, no warm-up or cool-down lanes available; it was a joke, really…)

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I won’t be going to Cleveland for 2013 Nationals, however, even though I qualified in four of my events .  Cleveland isn’t exactly at the top of my bucket list and I am allocating my travel budget, instead, to U.S.M.S. Long Course Nationals, in Mission Viejo, for 2013.

My final Geezer Games competition as a baby geezer was the following week.  The Clayton County Senior Games was organized by my coach, Mike, and ran in conjunction with one of my favorite meets, the U.S.M.S. Southside Pentathlon.  As the women’s sprint pentathlon (50 yard races in each stroke and the 100 yard Individual Medley) winner in 2011, I wanted to defend my title, so I signed up for both meets.  Four of my events counted for both simultaneously, but I was the only baby geezer who signed up for the Geezer Games.  So, by default, I won four gold medals.  But, I did defend my Sprint Pentathlon title and won another trophy, beating out a 39 year old in the process.

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My teammate, Joyce and I wearing our Georgia Golden Olympics medals from the previous week and the Sprint Pentathlon trophy I had just won.

It has been FUN being 50.  If it weren’t for Mike’s excellent coaching and friendship, U.S.M.S., and my fellow Forumites who have coached me online, I would have never gotten to the level where I am now with my swimming.  And, it just keeps getting better and I keep having more fun, trying new things.  Between the Geezer Games, Nationals, my first open water races, winning the Sprint Pentathlon, and winning the Georgia Championship Series trophy (the last meet for the Series is in December, at Georgia Tech, however, I have already mathematically eliminated my competition), it has been a fabulous year.

Life is good being a baby geezer.

“SWIMMING” ON THE RHINE RIVER

This post is for my U.S. Masters Swimming friends…

While cruising the Rhine on the river boat, my current home away from home, I didn’t want to miss out on the scenery by working out in the gym.  So, I killed two birds with one stone by “swimming” the Rhine while up on the top deck.  I, of course, can’t swim the Rhine; the current runs too fast and the water is too cold.  Besides, we’re cruising…

Warm-up:

Walk laps around the deck for 15 minutes, followed by my favorite Swimmer Magazine shoulder stabilization and dynamic stretching exercises.  Finish by setting up my circuit training; attach my stretch cords to the railing on deck.

Main Set:

Walk 2 laps; fast pace, about 5mph speed.

Stop and “swim” a 50yd freestyle, 50yd fly and 50yd breaststroke on stretch cords; count strokes to match a typical swimming 50.

Walk 2 laps fast, stopping on the second lap to grab my Hammer Nutrition water bottle (from Summer Nationals) for sips of water while I walk.

Stop and drop for 10 military pushups

Walk 2 laps fast, stopping along the way to grab my camera and snap a shot of the castle.

Stop and “swim” (same as above)

Walk 2 laps fast

Stop and drop for 50 stomach crunches

Walk 2 laps fast

Rinse.  Repeat.

Continue routine for desired time period; one hour for me, so I wouldn’t miss my favorite breakfast from the buffet:  Muesli with tiny flat squares for bittersweet chocolate, topped with fresh fruit and yogurt. 0

This was my favorite dryland travel workout yet.  How about you?  What was your favorite dryland workout, when swimming was not an option?