Celebrations and Motivations

Lying in Shavasana (corpse pose) during the final minutes of my Saturday morning Barre3 class, I distinctly smelled chlorine hovering in the air above my sweaty, limp body. During this exercise, I usually imagine myself sinking into wet sand on a tropical beach at dusk, the evening stars slowly becoming visible above me while my inhalations and exhalations sync with the waves ebbing onto the beach and receding into the ocean. Not today though! I couldn’t stop wondering if my cadaver neighbors on the mats next to me smelled it too.

I had a sit in the dry sauna, a long shower at home where I shaved my legs, a night at The Moda Center watching a Blazers Game before 7.5 hours of sleep, and another shower in the morning pre-class (yes my sheets did smell like chlorine too) since Friday’s 3,000 yard recovery swim, yet I was still clearly chlorinated. As much as I loathe the chlorine fragrance wafting from my body, this was a moment to be celebrated as it was proof of a good week of training, and a motivating start to the New Year.

Other Celebrations from the week of 12/30/18:

  • A 25 minute outdoor swim in 43 degree Fahrenheit  Hagg Lake: According to The Lone Swimmer’s post “Introducing a Precise Open Water Temperature Scale,” the explanation for a swim at this temperature is “Damn, that hurts.” Remember this is a skins swim (no wetsuit). I thought during my last Hagg Lake swim before Thanksgiving, I would be finished training there for the winter season. The water level was so low, that wading in the mud at the waters edge felt dangerous in that both my legs were knee deep in the clay and it was extremely effortful to pull each leg out to enter and exit the water. My New Year’s Eve Swim, however, was much easier. The deeper layers of mud on shore and beneath the water were frozen, which kept my feet on the surface layer of mud. Yay frozen underground mud! It will save me an hour drive to the Columbia River for cold water acclimating. I would like to thank my former lap lane partner from the Hillsboro Pool Steve Susserman for being my shore support and safety crew. Cold water swimmers frequently experience an “afterdrop,” where their bodies get colder after they’ve exited the water. During the “afterdrop” the swimmer is not necessarily safe just because they are out of the water, and they need support to ensure they warm up properly and safely.
  • 20k Yards in the Swimming Pool: I want to thank my swim friend Lee O’Conner for a great New Year swim start. He organized a 100 X 100 yards on New Years Day and invited me to swim with him and his fellow Tualatin Hills Barracudas Masters Swim Team buddies. Misery loves company and completing 10k in one day made getting the week’s last needed 10K over three more solo swims easy!
  •  Four BARRE3 Studio Workouts: I chose barre3 for my North Channel cross training as the workouts incorporate elements of ballet barre work, pilates, and yoga, and it is a local program that originated in Portland, Oregon. Swimming bulks up my arms and overworking them can lead to injury. I feel it is important that my cross training focuses on strengthening my core and lower body.

Upcoming Week Goals: 

Once I post this piece, I will start fine tuning my plan for this coming week. I intend to swim 20k again (I don’t want to increase my yardage too quickly and risk shoulder injury as I’m fresh off the couch) and complete four barre3 workouts. My obstacle this week is that winter break is winding down and school starts again tomorrow morning. Back to the eight hour, five-day-week grindstone, and squeezing in training with the before/after school taxi service, chef, tutor, dog walker, and house keeper positions I also maintain. Also book club meets next Saturday, and I chose the last book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I still have 150 pages to read at some point before we meet! Keeping motivated while tired will be my biggest challenge!


I like to have an end goal. Without one I know I would always be in a Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime “show hole” on the couch. Usually in January, I detox. Detoxing to me means no caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and packaged goods. Whole foods and water only! Instead of losing inches and detoxing like I typically do in January, and while my North Channel Pilot team creates my swim training and nutrition plan (which I should receive this week), I’m going to participate in the barre3 January Challenge (this starts tomorrow too the same as school), which aims to encourage me to “trust” myself rather than try to “fix” myself. Participation in this challenge will include completing barre3 workouts and participating in mindfulness/meditation activities using the program/app Headspace. Currently I do not meditate so I’m going to try it out and will share my experiences using the program. I hope that this experience will further inspire me and supplement my swim training.

In addition to being excited to start this new program tomorrow and continue to increase my training, I’m keeping motivated by my swim friends (Michelle, Lee, Steve, and Cindy), my barre3 instructors, Brooke and Christy, and my new swimming suits from Q suits (patterns pictured below). Hopefully one of the designs will encourage me to put it on and head to the pool for a 6k swim tomorrow night after work!

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