Blog Coming back – well that sucks

Today I’m sitting stranded in a fog-bound Dubai airport trying to make it back to England to visit family.  Yesterday, back home in Melbourne, I went for a swim.  It was my first swim in probably 12 months.

the view from our window – Dubai airport is out there somewhere…

And it sucked.

You see, I used to call myself a swimmer.  I used to race competitively for the Doncaster Dolphins in the pool and in the ocean, in Victoria and nationally.  It’s what I did in my ‘spare’ time.  It was preferred workout of choice.  It made me feel great when I did a good, hard training session or when I PB’d in a race – never mind maybe even won a race!

550269_10150805986386189_790466281_n

I’m competitive and I love to win.  I loved racing.  I loved training.  It didn’t even matter if it was the middle of winter (we trained in an outdoor pool) and the set was hard.  Swimming was my thing.

thumb_MS12D2_0243_1024

But it’s been two years since I raced, won medals or even trained with any real consistency.  I do have a whole bunch of very valid excuses as to why I haven’t – two rounds (three individual) hip surgeries within 19 months, a husband dying in the middle of an ocean race, a house and business move and the associated emotional trauma of coming to terms with the fact my marriage had been a warped and twisted abusive relationship from start to shock-finish.

To be honest, for the last year I have had zero interest in getting back in the water.  It used to a place where I felt safe and where I had space to work on stuff in my head during the many hours of training each week.  It used to be my ‘happy place’.

Then Charles died and I didn’t feel that way anymore – partly because of how he died, but also because we had trained together it just all got a bit yuck.  Over time, as I began to fully grapple with the nature of our relationship I realised that the control and emotional abuse was so intrinsically bound up with my swimming that I began to realise that part of me didn’t want to swim anymore as some kind of ‘FUCK YOU’ to him.  I don’t HAVE to do anything I don’t want to do anymore – even swimming.

I really have lost my mojo – my motivation and desire for swimming.  I was swimming long before I met Charles, in fact, looking back, those were the swimming days that I loved the most.  When I was part of the squad, going away to my first inter-state meet, racing without the fear of not living up to his expectations.

Doncaster Dolphins Australian Masters Games Team 2011

I have blamed my hip rehabilitation and ongoing pain, I have blamed a lack of time now that I have a business, a partner and between us five children to juggle.  And whilst all of those things have certainly made it harder to get back in the pool I am also acutely aware that if I had really and truly wanted to, I would have prioritised it somehow and made it happen.

I just wrote a blog for The Huffington Post about being truthful – with yourself and others – and so in the interests of honesty (and practicing what I preach) I’m going to put it out there and say that I haven’t been swimming for so long because I just haven’t wanted to.

*sigh*

That is until the other morning, when I was sitting in bed drinking coffee and scrolling through my Facebook feed, and I happened upon an article by Michelle Steinke-Baumgard (One Fit Widow) and it got me thinking.  It reminded me of all the reasons why I loved swimming, of all the ways that it made me feel better and be better.  I have never swum, or exercised in any way because it was a means to a weight-loss aim.  It’s always been about how it makes me feel.

So I went for a swim.  I left my children in the care of Andrew and I headed off to my nearest pool – the newly updated Boroondara Sports Complex which is a mere 10 minutes from my new house.  No excuses.  Bag was packed in about six minutes and I was on my way.

The psychology of getting my arse to the pool was one thing.

It all got a little bit more tricky once I got into the water.  Turns out my brain remembers really well what it feels like to swim fast and effortlessly like I used to.

My body not so much.  It hurt.  Lots.  And I wasn’t even trying to do anything very hard!

And so whilst I was sitting stranded on the tarmac at some random Dubai airport because the main international airport was temporarily not letting any other airplanes in its airspace I spent some time reflecting.

Comebacks hurt.  They take effort and willpower, focus and determination.  And they require a start point.  So, I will find the time in 2017 to get back in the pool.  I will prioritise my own health and wellbeing better than I did in 2016 and I will keep swimming.

For me.  For my body and for my mind and most of all because I deserve it.

 

← Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.