Ten Lessons from Swimming at 5am

swim

So over the past several weeks I have been trying a new routine, complete with getting it all kicked off with a wake-up alarm of 5AM.  This is quite a new thing for me!  I’m guessing that if you do in fact know me, and have seen my early morning posts lately, you just assumed I was still awake from the previous evening.  Nope friends, I have been getting up and heading to the gym for a workout.  Given the fact that I am extremely not used to getting up that early I have found it best to do laps in the pool.  I have found it far more difficult to go back to sleep under the water!  Though this, in and of itself, is a mighty great lesson it is merely just the beginning.

Here are my ‘Ten Lessons I’ve Learned from Swimming at Five AM’:

10) All pools are not created equal… At the gym I workout at, there are multiple pools.  Some are inside, others are outside but though they all have water they are not the same.  The outside is often far colder than the others, even more interesting is that it is longer as well.  I didn’t really realize this until I thought I was shattering my time from the day before (times compared to the longer pool).  Though I love thinking I’m a super swimmer in the smaller pool, I find true peace and solace from taking the plunge and enjoying the deafening quiet of the outside large pool.

9) Most businesses are not open yet so plan ahead for breakfast… We all know that businesses have hours and that we should always plan for the day BUT how many of us actually do?  My morning swim has caused growth far beyond simply going to the gym.  Instead, it has forced an entire lifestyle change to take place.  Each night before bed I lay out my clothes, pack my workout bag, pre-prep an easy breakfast meal and even place my toothbrush and toothpaste by the kitchen sink.  The goal is to not only get out of the door but to do it without waking everyone else up.  What’s crazier still… Is the amount of time I have “found” from executing a very planned out day (More on this in the future)!

8) No matter how much you plan sometimes things just won’t go your way… One morning after finishing my laps in a very cold pool I decided I needed to take a few minutes and get some hot tub time.  Unfortunately the hot tub was closed, saddened but not defeated I went to the showers only to find the soap dispenser was completely empty and don’t get me started about the used bandaid on the floor.  Oh yeah!  I was frustrated but still had the entire day ahead of me.  I once heard a speaker say: “Have you really had a bad day or did you just have a bad couple minutes that you’ve milked the entire day?”

7) You have to stay in your lane… Apparently, like many situations in life: standing on the left side of a walk way at the airport, leaving at least one empty urinal in between you and the other guest or that the toilet paper goes over the top not under… these and “stay in your own lane” are apparently very serious rules we must live by to keep all of us civilized!  In related new: You are not being clever if you try and pass everyone waiting in a line for the stoplight by using the shoulder only to cut in with your fast beating blinker at the last second.

6) Don’t be intimidated by others… Fact, there will always be someone better than you at something.  This is double true when you are taking on a new hobby, you just don’t have the experience (or cool gear) yet!  Though I do not require the swimming cap, mirrored goggles or super towel that could, if necessary, absorb all the water in the pool… I am however on the look out for a swimsuit that will tie just a little tighter while moving.  Though those folks look like experts, don’t get caught up in it and just get in and get started!

5) Learning the right ‘How’ can make it a whole lot easier… What I love about this lesson is the fact that if you apply the previous lesson (don’t be intimidated by others) you will have earn some respect, or pity, from others and they will jump at the chance to help.  Though I had only swam a couple lengths, apparently others noticed when I was hyperventilating at the edge of the pool.  Out of shape…Yes but that wasn’t the whole story as they pointed out.  I was simply wasting some of the motion of my arms and not being steady and true with my legs.  Sure enough, just a few lengths later and I had found my glide.

4) Find your sweet spot… Too far to the right and your arms scrape the sides, too far to the left and you get tangled up in the ropes.  However, if you can focus on the painted line below the water, keep an even glide, you will begin to really not only make the distance but do it with far more speed and comfort.

3) Remembering the ‘Why’ is the only thing that will keep you going… As I recall, it was only days two, three, five, six, nine, ten, etc. that I had problems wanting to get up and get started.  This is a lesson I know I do not have to sell to you yet probably one of the most important.  If you don’t continue to remind yourself of the why, you will never find the reasons to keep going and make a difference.  Whether its working out, eating right or even making your marriage work, you must find ways to help yourself remember why you started!

2) Sometimes you just have to jump in… Some mornings just don’t go as planned: you’ll hit the snooze one too many times, you’ll have forgot your goggles, there are too many people in the pool, the water is just too cold, etc.  That’s resistance and rest assured if it has found you, you’re doing the right thing… Jump in, try and stay positive and just KEEP MOVING FORWARD!!

1) You will never know until you try it… I do not recommend this in all walks of life: singing through all of the verses in “this is the song that never ends”, painting your body gold, smoking crack or googling “Find Chuck Norris” (okay, maybe you should do that last one).  I do, however, think all of us should have a list of things we want to do before we die.  I call mine the DDW list (Don’t Die Wonderin’).  No, swimming at five was not and is not on the list… being in the best shape of my life (before my fortieth birthday), being present as a great father and being a better husband than the man my wife married is.  I didn’t know swimming at five in the morning would bring other goals to fruition but here we are… killing it!

There are many more lessons I’ve learned from swimming at five but they are things only you can understand if you choose to experience them for yourself.  Is this your moment?  Have you been making excuses?  Bottom line, some times it’s as simple as getting up, getting dressed and jumping in!  Try something new this week and let’s change our lives and this world together.  Looking forward to seeing  you out there, just make sure you stay in your own lane!