This morning I visited a very familiar but also very distant place from my past.
Ok, so I'm probably being a little dramatic....I mean, it's not like it's a place from 20 years ago, or even 10 (actually it started about 11 years ago...) and it's not even as though I haven't been there since i stopped going there, if that makes ANY sense (it makes sense in my mind and that's what counts!).
This place is somewhere I know really well, somewhere I spent alot of time until I was about 18, and somewhere I had some of my favourite and most precious memories, for a variety of reasons.
Hands up who's worked out where I'm talking about?
heh heh you were sitting at your own computer with your hand up in the air, weren't you? Ok, so since you endured looking so silly for me, i'm going to tell you what the hell I'm on about.
This morning I got up early (for me) and I went to a pool. I joined a club. I went swimming. With a squad. With a coach and everything. In fact, the pool was MSAC - my old training pool. The club was Vicentre - my old club. The squad was the Swim Advantage squad (basically for triathletes and old people)- NOT my old squad! They train three times a week, and I have decided that for something I used to love so so so so so much, I really don't swim very much any more, and I missed it. So instead of doing what i've done for the last year or so, and going to the pool once or twice a week by myself and doing an easy km or two, that I would put some structure into it. I am now officially going to be "training" (I use this term quite liberally) three times a week, and doing about 3kms at a time...to start with at least!
Today, even though by the end i was embarrassingly wrecked, i absolutely loved every single second of the session. EVERY SINGLE ONE. I loved my first dive in, I loved the fact that I still can't, no matter how tired I am or fast I want to go, leave early in any set. I loved the fact that I still push off every wall in a perfect torpedo, I still don't breathe on the first stroke up or the last stroke into a turn. I love that I still thought about doing perfect turns, and I still counted my strokes when I was doing breaststroke. I still thought about not doing a big dolphin kick at the end of my split stroke, and not letting my feet sink at the end of my breaststroke kick. I love that I made the times for each set, and that I still counted each lap and repeat exactly the same way in my head. I still got annoyed at having to pass people who seem not to notice someone's trying to pass them(!!!!) and I still got annoyed at people who crowd at the end and wouldn't let me finish at the wall on every lap.
No no no, i'm not a perfectionist!
To most of you reading this, almost none of that will make any sense, but that's ok. To those of you who feel the same rush of excitement and enjoyment when you look back on those days, those who so loved that time, and who now appreciate and cherish every little thing it taught you, who remember every second of every race, every medal on the podium, every record, those people might have some idea how I feel right now. I know not everybody loved the sport like did, but that part of my life is, and will remain, one of the most fun-filled, educating, exhausting and exhilarating times of my life.
Remember the time in your life, before it all fell apart, before you got all confused, before you decided to change everything, before you got lazy, and before you stopped caring. Remember when you knew who you were, and everybody else did too. Remember the time when you were doing exactly what you wanted to do, and you were brilliant at it.
About 5 years ago I made what i now think was one of the stupidest decisions of my life. Actually, I made a few of them, all within a few months. They were decisions I had to make, just as the last 5 years was a journey I had to take, but it is only really in the last year or so that I've been able to start to get my head back together and my life back into order. This morning, this feeling, represents a very large piece of that.