The workout looked horrible.
The swim workout didn't have total yardage on it, but it did have a monster set of 40x25s. That means swimming 25 yards 40 times. It was broken down into different groups -- some with drills, some freestyle and a few with various strokes. But 40 of them?
So much for the holiday spirit.
But as my lane worked its way through the set at masters swim practice it became clear this was a gentle workout -- the time intervals for those 25 yard "sprints" were generous and rather easy to make. Oh to be sure we worked hard, we just didn't have to leave our last breathe in the pool. It was a workout that got the job done and allowed us to be around other like-minded people -- those who are crazy enough to swim at 5:30 in the morning.
My coach is very insistent that this time of year no one is to stress about training. This is a time for family and friends and not stressing about getting in an hour bike ride. My week remains basic this week and next. There are no crazy speed workouts or intervals or peddling with one foot on my trainer. From a training standpoint, it's about keeping up my basic fitness and staying immersed in joy.
Joy, kindness, forgiveness. Those are qualities we talk about a lot this time of year. They are qualities though, we need in our lives throughout the year, particularly with ourselves. The other day was the winter solstice -- the shortest day of the year. Traditionally it's a time for introspection. I'm a big fan of introspection but there are times when we overdo it. When we no longer are learning about ourselves and what we want, but using it as a time to judge ourselves and beat ourselves up.
From personal experience I can say I've learned there are better ways to spend my time than judging myself.
I judge myself in plenty of ways in all areas of my life -- as a daughter, sister, friend, reporter, writer, teacher.
In my training, I judge myself as an athlete, wondering if I'm really dedicated enough, focused enough. If I should be doing better nutritionally and shunning the holiday cookies and glasses of cheer in order to achieve my goals. If I'm good enough.
I believe asking the questions means I am dedicated and focused already. I believe that living life means being allowed to make mistakes -- and if a anise cutout cookie and a glass of wine is a mistake, then I really need to loosen up the rules on myself.
This is a time of year to be gentle with ourselves and realize that indeed we are already good enough just as we are. Once we realize that, we don't have to try to "do better." We just begin living what already exists inside us.