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Old 11-16-2012
terry terry is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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Default Curiosity has replaced Ego and Self-Judgement

I have a good friend (and rival in my age group and favorite events) with whom I correspond regularly. Lately the theme of our correspondence revolves around his struggles to stay motivated and interested in training and meets. He attended a meet last weekend in hopes it would stoke his interest for workouts, but was somewhat disappointed that it didn't. Though he was at least philosophical about swimming times he might once have judged disappointing.

Something we must all deal with eventually is how to put a positive spin on times that inevitably slow with age. I sent him the practice summary from the post above and he appreciated that. Our kinship-in-swimming seems stronger when each of is actively training, reminding each of us of the prospect of our next race. He keeps me honest and I hope I do the same for him.

This morning I sent him these thoughts about why I enjoy swimming more than ever after 47 years.

>>After doing traditional workouts for 40-odd years I can't muster up the motivation to do them any more. Last time I tried to swim with a Masters group -- at Asphalt Green a year ago -- I lasted less than 200 yds. During the warmup set, which alternated 25 drill- 25 swim, there were 5 in the lane; I went last. Everyone was just rushing heedlessly through it -- get it done, so they could get to the next set and get that done etc. . . . I moved into an adjacent lane and spent a delightful hour working on some tasks that felt interesting and personal.

I'm able to find something interesting and meaningful to work on in every set. Some objectives are mainly sensory/subjective. On the two 500s FR/BK (the practice above) I was counting strokes, but using only 10% of my attention for that. 90% was focused on fairly subtle sensations that evaluate how well I was working with, not against.

On the 500 FR and 50+100+200 BK the mix of sensory and empirical was more like 60/40. Whatever numbers come up -- SPL, time, etc.-- I view solely as data points. I'm satisfied--occasionally delighted--when they're good. I'm more curious than disappointed when they're not as good. My attitude is that any set, or any time, has a code that's crackable. That keeps it fun.

The best thing about the upcoming meet is having finally gotten to a place where the burdens of ego and self-judging are fairly light. I have little concern with how other people may view what are likely to be 'slow' times, or how I may compare to others. I won't even think of my times as slow -- they're just empirical measures of how fast I'm able to swim that day.

I AM curious to learn at what pace I can swim familiar events on very little volume/effort prep. I surprised myself last summer, but that was OW. Pool swimming is different. But how different?

I also look forward to testing my ability to swim an 'elegant' race -- both form and pacing.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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