It is unusual that I actually know the lovely ladies featured in the Goal Getter and Before & After features here on Trainer Momma. This Goal Getter story is one that I’ve watched unfold and develop within the past year and I can’t help but smile like a proud mother and yell out “That’s my girl!”
Katie is very dear friend of mine here in San Antonio. The very first week I met her she said matter-of-factly, “Well, you’d better be my friend because I’m the only one around here who is not going to move.” She was right. She is the only one the clan that has stayed put and now will be moving away from her in seven days.
I could go on and on about Katie – her untouchable talents in the kitchen, the spontaneous lunches she drops off at my door every few weeks, her sewing talents, hair bow creations, our mutual love for reading, the incredible mother she is to two adorable gals, the large amount of laughing I always do when I’m with her. But, for now, I’ll just let you enjoy her Goal Getter story in her own words.
What was your goal?
I wanted to start swimming regularly and become a better swimmer.
Why did you set this goal?
Well, you see, I have this friend named Mandi who is all about fitness. She can do ANYTHING, and she has this way of making those around her think they can do anything, too. In the spring of 2010, she told me about a freshman triathlon coming up and that I could TOTALLY do it. My initial reaction was, “Who, me?” I am NOT an athlete—I suffered from activity-induced asthma all through childhood and early adulthood, and therefore was somewhat phobic of aerobic activity. The asthma had come under control in recent years, though, so I began to think, “Hey, I can swim. I can ride a bike. I can… well, I can walk. I can do this!” So I entered the tri with my cruiser bike (did I mention I am not an athlete?) and came in 197th out of 200 and something. But despite my triumph of not coming in last (woo-hoo!) I decided I could use a little training. I chose to work on swimming because I enjoy it but was really awful at it—by the end of 200 meters I was on my back in the water, gasping like a grouper.
Describe the specific plan you set up to help you reach your goal.
First, I had to find a pool, which turned out to be easy—the school district has a GORGEOUS indoor pool that has open lap-swimming times every day. I could pay per visit and the cost came to $2.50 per swim. What a deal! Within days of the tri I was off to the pool. I thought I’d start by swimming once a week. I wanted to be able to swim 200 meters without the grouper effect kicking in.
What sacrifices did you have to make to get there?
Good grief, I had to be seen in a bathing suit. By a lot of people, most of them impossibly lithe teenagers. I bought a Speedo bathing suit at Costco, foolishly thing that all Speedos are created equal. Not so. What I needed was a racing suit, streamlined and able to withstand hours and hours of chlorine exposure. What I got was, come to find out, the same suit my mom wears. I came to call it “The Abuela” (“The Grandma”)—it made me feel awful every time I looked in the mirror. My self-esteem soared once I finally got an appropriate suit. The proper equipment is very important!
I also had to take a leap out of my comfort zone. I did not grow up swimming in meets every summer—the competitive swim culture is not something I am at all familiar with. I’ve had to ask a lot of questions and be very dumb a lot of the time. The flip side of that, of course, is that I have had the opportunity to learn A LOT.
How long did it take you to reach your goal?
I started swimming in May 2010. Six months later my good friend Mandi told me about an upcoming Masters swim meet that she wanted me to swim in with her. (See how she’s always encouraging me to try new things and better myself? Darn her!) I decided to do it. The meet was the first weekend in December, so in October I left plain old lap swimming behind and joined the Masters team at my pool. It was really scary because I had seen the Masters swimmers racing around at the end of the pool while I was placidly swimming my laps, and they were GOOD. I was very intimidated, but by jove, if I was going to swim in a meet I needed major help. I had never dived (Dove? Diven?) off a block, never swam in a race. I got lots of help from great coaches, and I ended up placing 4th in the 50 meter and 100 meter backstroke events, and 9th in the 50 meter freestyle. I was shocked and really pleased by how well I did.
In January I swam 3000 yards in an hour. So, my goal was to be able to swim 200 meters without dying. Nine months later, I swam over a mile and a half nonstop.
What were the challenges?
The meet was TERRIFYING. Standing on that block waiting for the buzzer to sound I was sure I was going to either pass out or throw up. (I did neither, thank goodness.) I told my husband that the whole swim meet experience was a lot like childbirth—I was glad I did it, but the best part was when it was all over.
What were the rewards?
First and foremost, I learned that I LOVE to swim. It makes me feel so good. If I could, I would swim every day. I learned that I have a strong backstroke—who’d have thunk? I’m working on all the strokes, and I love the challenge of learning something new. Above all, I love that this something I can work at and improve on for decades to come.
Now that you’ve met your goal, what’s next?
I am going to do the same triathlon again this year, and my modest goal is to finish better than 197th place.
TM Side Note:
I am working towards being able to swim a 100 IM (Individual Medley—25 each of all four strokes) and swim it really well. And I am doing some weight training in order to be a stronger, faster swimmer.
GO KATIE! A few more additions to her Goal Getter story:
- Katie purchased a rocket of a bike and the cruiser is being saved for jaunts around the neighborhood rather than triathlons. A wise decision.
- Katie has incorporated some Trainer Momma weight training twice a week into her workout routine. She cooks me food, I give her workouts. It’s a great deal.
- Katie ROCKED the Windcrest Tri this year. She came in 3rd in the swim, 5th in the bike, and the run — well, we’ll report back on that next year:).
- Watch out! Katie just informed me this week that she is regularly running 3+ miles. Yeeha!