There’s a moment before any swim practice, whether it’s a little kids’ summer league or the U.S. Olympic team, when every swimmer realizes it’s time to jump in—and the entire team begins stalling. We stretch. We chat with each other. We chat with our coach. What we do not do is get in the pool and swim, until someone all but pushes us in.
Katie at Run This Amazing Day says it’s the moment when her brain says: “NO. WATER IS COLD AND BAD. GO FIND YOUR JAMMIES AND A COOKIE.”
Olympic swimmer Dara Torres has a chapter in her first book about this phenomenon, and I’ve seen it myself as both a coach and a swimmer. Now that the weather’s cooling down again, I’m seeing it in myself. Last winter, I bribed myself with Celestial Seasonings Sugar Cookie herbal tea. This year, I’m reverting to an older trick.
Whenever my high school swim coach, a lovely, kind, soft-spoken Russian man who looked a little bit like a thin version of Val Kilmer, saw us lingering on the pool deck, he’d call us out by name, and say, in heavily accented English: “Get in or get out!” We’d laugh at the idiom, and maybe roll our eyes at the instruction, and then … we’d get in. I’ve decided to make this my new poolside mantra, and tried it for the first time swimming at the newly reopened Takoma Aquatic Center yesterday.
The pool’s been closed for the past month for renovations. Apparently, those renovations included filling the pool with ice-cold water—like, 70 degrees—to test how serious I was about this new tough-love mantra. I felt the water. I squealed a little. I watched another swimmer dip her toes in the water, and then turn around and walk out the door without swimming. And then …. I got in.
I’m not going to lie—it was legitimately cold the entire time, even when I interrupted a distance set to do some sprints to generate more body heat. But I got in. I swam a great workout. And then, I headed home and sipped some Sugar Cookie tea under a warm, fuzzy blanket, which is almost the same as seeking jammies and a cookie.
What’s motivating you this week?