Feeling The Burn (out)

For the past 4 years, returning to the competition pool has been an amazing experience. Freestyling or “Flying,” blowing off Covid and work stress, feeling fit, forging new friendships, you name it, swimming has been the complete package of that term we now call Self-Care.

Workouts and tallied-up miles are in 2 of my IPhone apps, letting me know what strokes were done and even what my times were. Looking at it gives me a true sense of accomplishment, as at one point while training, I wasn’t too far off the distance I swam back in college. Hooray for me.

To think that Little Old CS would even consider swimming in a meet after 33 years was insane. But U.S. Masters Swimming and my Saturday 9:15 a.m. Crew embraced all of that. A New York State Championship meet record was broken after several years, and my Old Person Personal Best Times improved along the way. There is gratitude beyond words for what’s happened in these 4 years.

But, my shoulders and back hurt. More than ever. Remember, I am not 20 years old, I’m triple that, so with age, comes triple the aches and pains. Stretching is a daily occurrence, but twinges and the sounds of joints cracking are ever-present.

Excuse time: There are currently no meets, so why even train? The pool water has been really, really warm lately too. It’s kind of yucky, to be honest. And speaking of honest, well, honestly, my noggin isn’t on straight, either. A lot is currently happening with work, home, kids, and dogs, so lately, when I’ve gone to swim, I almost get out right after I warm up. Ugh!

Could this be…burnout? It’s not the burnout you may have experienced as a kid. Perhaps you had a son who hung up his hockey skates as a teenager, or a daughter who couldn’t handle the pressure with the high standards of playing piano. It’s the feeling that swimming has become more of a chore than enjoyment.

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com

The remedy?

Time to take a breather. Not quit, but just reduce the time in the pool, and supplement with something else. A recent article in AARP magazine suggested that an hour of weight training can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, so maybe that’s the route. It’s also golf season, and more time spent at the range before the weekly 9 hole Twilight league could also reduce the embarrassment on the course with my friends. Cross training? Ah-ha…in fact, yesterday – as much as it hurt my posterior – I sat on a spin bike at the Y, and the “5 minute plan” turned to 10, then 15, then downstairs to change and a hop in the pool for a quick 1,000. Maybe that’s the way to go.

Time will tell whether I’ll start really missing the rather intense swims I’ve had with my friends. But feeling burned out has not been a picnic. Stay tuned, or better yet – look for me taking the dog for a walk, no cap or goggles required!

Author: sinkorswim204

I'm a “veteran” Broadcast producer as well as a former high school and collegiate swimmer who still loves to write. I hope to inspire others to stay afloat in these often turbulent waters while enjoying some new challenges in my middle age.

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