Motivation Monday: The ‘first long swim’ edition

I swam 6,000 meters on Saturday. With a pull buoy, to spare my new ACL from kicking. That’s roughly 3.7 miles, which means I can currently propel myself through the water using only my arms for longer than I can run.

You may be asking yourself, as I did on Saturday morning: Why, oh why, would I do such a thing? I did it because it’s April, which means I need to get serious about training for the 4.4-mile Great Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim in June. And 6,000 meters is pretty serious.

I headed to the Wilson Aquatic Center on Saturday intending to swim 5,000 meters. The 4.4-mile swim is roughly equivalent to 7,000 meters, which is the longest training swim I’ll do before the race. But when I got to the pool, I felt a rush of motivation—a rare thing for me when it comes to swimming—and ended up swimming a mega-workout instead. I swam a 4,000 straight (not a typo—4,000 meters in a row, without stopping), then finished with my favorite pyramid set and a cool-down, which took me almost exactly two hours.

I spent a lot of time at Wilson Aquatic Center's pool Saturday.

The amazing thing is, even after skyrocketing from a long swim of 4,000 yards to 6,000 meters, I wasn’t terribly sore when I got out of the pool on Saturday, or when I woke up on Sunday. I was a little extra hungry and kind of tired on Saturday, but nowhere near as trashed as I’d feel after a long run (making me wonder: Is this how those freaks of nature who were actually *built* to run feel after their hard workouts?).

This week, I’m motivated by my success on Saturday, and by the knowledge that if I simply do that a few more times, I should be fine in June.

Also motivating me this week:

More running. Last week, I told my physical therapist about my run-walk comeback plan. He told me it sounded great—but said I could increase the running portion to five minutes at a time, at the very least. He didn’t need to tell me twice, and I ran a total of about 30 minutes on Friday.

More new songs. Cribbed from runner-friends and swimmer-friends:

Roman’s Revenge – Nicki Minaj feat. Eminem

All of the Lights – Kanye West

A response to the “jammies and cookie moment.” Months ago, Katie at Run This Amazing Day summed up perfectly the primal urge I feel when I’m about to jump in the pool for a swim: NO.  WATER IS COLD AND BAD.  GO FIND YOUR JAMMIES AND A COOKIE.

Last week, my runner-friend Jesse—who’s become a temporary swimmer-friend thanks to a marathon-training injury—came up with a response: WANT MARATHON. It works for other long-term goals, too—mine are WANT BAY BRIDGE and WANT RED COAT.

Visions of a red ski-patroller's coat danced through my head mid-swim.

Progress toward my other goals. I’ve been doing leg-press reps at 320 pounds, knocking out lots of modified pull-ups and finding my center of balance by doing stuff like balancing on one leg on the BOSU. I’ve even tried a new, local, in-season fruit or vegetable each week: This week’s post-workout snack was some crazy variety of apple I’ve never even heard of and apple butter from Toigo Orchard, located in Shippensburg, Penn.—right near Whitetail!

My local, in-season snack of the moment.

And finally, Tony Horton. Yeah, the P90X guy. I’m not about to spend a bajillion dollars on his videos. But at the gym last week, while I was killing time while doing planks on the BOSU by reading a story about Horton in Men’s Health, I came across a bit of wisdom that hit home: The more you dread doing something, the more value it holds for you. So if you hate stretching or intervals, that’s probably because flexibility and speed are your weaknesses.” I got off the BOSU (planks are easy for me) and did lots of sprints at the pool the next day (sprint freestyle is NOT easy for me).

What’s motivating you this week?


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4 responses to “Motivation Monday: The ‘first long swim’ edition

  1. Whoa!! Awesome long swim Amy! That’s just fantastic.
    Also love the “Want Marathon” mantra. Great stuff!

  2. amy

    6000! That’s amazing. I haven’t even done that much in a week!

    And, I LOVE the pull buoy. Swimming has been making my achilles hurt so I’ve been all about it. I actually think it’s easier than swimming without it, but Beth says that’s because I don’t kick properly 🙂

  3. I am having a lot of “cookie and jammies” moments right now because I am spending a tremendous amount of time – although not as much as you! – in the pool. I can’t believe you did a 6000m swim! That’s AMAZING! I’m also mostly-pull-buoy right now…I notice that I’m not nearly as tired when I’m done swimming, and I wonder if it’s because of the tiny bit of “help” I’m getting from the buoy.

    6000m! WOW! I mean, WOW!

  4. That’s an impressive swim! 6000m? Congrats! 🙂

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