Motivation Monday: The Bay Bridge Swim edition

*Note to self for next time I’m unmotivated to take the time to drive to the pool, suit up and swim: The stationary bike is NOT the same. Don’t even pretend, because you’re just lying to yourself. The cardio workout isn’t as good, even when you’re really pushing it. It won’t do anything for your arms, not to mention your abs. Sure, you can read the whole Washington Post during a workout, and that’s nice once in a while. But it can’t be your staple. Suck it up and get in the pool.*

Two years ago, near the tail end of Steve’s second deployment, I found peace in an unlikely place: In a polluted body of brackish water surrounded by a groping, clawing, wetsuit-clad mob.

Getting ready to descend into a wetsuit-clad mob at last year's swim.

That was just the first quarter of the race. It was my first Chesapeake Bay Bridge 1-Mile Challenge, known as the “Baby Bay Swim” by those hard-core souls who do the companion 4.4-miler. It was my substitute for road races while I recovered from a serious hip injury, and even before I got to the good part of the race, I was hooked.

The good part of the race, of course, is when you realize you’re no longer clawing other swimmers for position, and when you catch a glimpse of the stately, imposing Bay Bridge looming over you as you take a breath. It’s when you get into the rhythm of whatever currents or swells you’re working with that day, and you stop fighting the water and start working with it. It’s when you realize and appreciate the beauty and awesomeness of what you’re doing, and feel a rush of gratitude along with those endorphins.

This A. Aubrey Bodine photo of the Bay Bridge captures how I feel during peaceful moments of the Bay Bridge Swim.

Motivating me this morning: I just signed up for my third annual Chesapeake Bay Bridge 1-Mile Challenge! Registration opened at 6 a.m., just a few days after my recently reinjured ankle kicked my lazy butt back into the pool. It’ll be the fifth open-water swim of my adult life (the horrible, zig-zaggy affairs from high school don’t count), and I can’t wait to truly start training for it.

The other things motivating me this week:

  • Your wonderful comments on Friday in response to my call for motivation to actually head to the pool, tackling 4X800 meters (yes, meters ā€” my new pool is Olympic sized!) with some sprints thrown in at the end. Through encouragement, ego-boosting, guilt-tripping and suggested retail therapy, you not only made me head to the pool; you made me *want* to head to the pool. I’m going to need lots more encouragement over the next few months, so keep the motivators coming!
  • Necessity. In a perfect world, swimming would be a motivator in and of itself. In actuality, nothing motivates me to swim like the inability to run. Since my ankle somehow looks *more* swollen and purple now than it did last week, my motivation to swim is unusually high.
  • New ideas for meals that will fuel my workouts and not upset my stomach during those workouts. Quinoa and steel-cut oats have already become staples of my diet. My most recent adventure: homemade faux-Larabars. Stay tuned for photos and recipes!

What’s motivating you this week? Let me know by posting a comment below.


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5 responses to “Motivation Monday: The Bay Bridge Swim edition

  1. lizard151

    Someday I hope to get over my deep-seated fear of drowning and join you out there for the Chesapeake swim. In the meantime, I look forward to reading about your training–if that’s of any inspiration to you.

  2. This is fantastic. An excellent (and hard core!) goal for you while you are rehabbing the ankle.

  3. trialsoftraining

    Oof, HUGE props to you for even getting in that water. but, on another note, the Bay Bridge scares the Crap out of me!! Not a fan of bridges, in general, although that picture is beautiful. šŸ™‚

  4. Pingback: Runner-friendly recipe: Homemade Larabars « Amy Reinink

  5. Pingback: Next challenge: 4.4-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim « Amy Reinink

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