Monday, January 19, 2009

Taking Away More than Vitamin D

This past week in Florida was great. I had an uplifting time training with Randy Reese and getting a break from Texas. I definitely learned a few things or was reminded of a some things while I was down there.

1. Randy told me emotional and mental stress is twice as taxing as physical stress. I never thought about it in these terms but it makes a lot of sense. We were talking about the Olympics and he was telling me how much travel, changing times zones, being in a new place and doing new things can all take a much bigger toll on your mind than you realize. I have thought a lot about the Olympics since they finished but never did I attribute being emotionally drained to my poor individual performance. I'm not saying this is the reason for the not so great swims....I still don't know. In any case, it is something I will most definitely give some thought to and consider for next time.

2. We must always remember where we came from and help those coming up behind us. Sometimes it is easy to forget what it was like to be an age-group swimmer, a kid, or an aspiring athlete. While in Florida I was surrounded by more kids than I have been in a long time. The kids ranged anywhere from 4-17. Seeing them made me think about all the hopes and dreams I had when I was that age. I got the chance to do a clinic for the Clearwater team and talk to everyone about my experiences as a student at the University of Texas, as an athlete, and as an Athletic Foodie. It is amazing how influential we can all be to our younger generations. I was reminded just how powerful a compliment can be to an 11-year-old girl who was swimming really good butterfly, or how thankful a 15-year-old boy was when I took time to talk to him about nutrition and maintaining his health. I think it is of the utmost importance to help nurture their hopes and dreams just as our older generations did for us. There were literally hundreds of times when I asked my role models for help or guidance and they were there for me. I love being able to help and hopefully inspire others as well.

3. I was reminded that it isn't always about swimming fast or doing our best job every time. The key is to give our best effort and focus in on improving something we're doing. In comparison to what I've done in the past, I swam very slow this weekend. However, this weekend was successful because I realized where I am in my training and where I need to go from here. Getting faster, smarter, stronger, more efficient...really about realizing where we have been, where we are, how we got there, and strategically planning where we want to go and the changes we will make to reach our goal. Along the way I constantly assess where I am in my training and if I'm on the right path. This weekend was a good showing of how tired I am and that the hard work I've been putting in is helping me get where I want to go.

4. I was reminded how funny kids are. Like I said, I am not really around kids very often but this weekend was a humorous treat. Here are a couple examples...One kid came up to me and said, "I saw that you went 46 in the 100 free." I said, "yeah I did." The kid responded by saying, "well that's not very good, that's like five seconds off your best time isn't it?" I couldn't help but laugh and say, "dang you're right it is!" The next one was by a six year old who is also named Garrett. I was talking with him and his mom and his mom told him I had won a Gold medal in the Olympics. He smiled and said wow. Garrett proceeded by asking me if I won my race that day. I said yes. He then asked me if I always win. I told him no not always. He looked at me with a surprised face and said, "you mean you have a Gold medal and you don't always win?" I said with a bewildered kind of smile that was part laughter and part sadness, "no." Hahaha! Kids really are very comical...the great thing is that most of the time they don't even realize it.


Hapke said...

It is so cool that you understand and embrace how you can and do influence the younger generation! You are smart and very mature for your age dude!!

The younger generation really needs to understand about nutrition and how it can affect your training and performance. Otherwise if they eat whatever they want whenever they want - our (US) swim program (and sports ingeneral) could be damaged!

Keep up the great work sir! Looking forward to seeing you win (yes - because you have a gold medal - you must!!! KIDDING but not about the win part!))at the World Trials in Indy!!!

Sarah said...

Sounds like you learned quite a bit down there. Life's all about the lessons and things seem to unfold exactly how they're meant to or how you need them to at that very moment. Glad it was a good trip for you in more ways than one. And kids are hilarious. I've often discovered that if you want pure honesty, ask a child. They will tell you. : )

Kate W. said...

I love reading about all your "adventures". Glad you had fun during your break from training. Kids always brighten my day, it is so funny when they are trying to be so serious about something, but it just comes off so funny, if you want an honest opinion, kids will always tell you! The younger generation needs more people like you to educate them about nutrition and how it affects them.Thanks for keeping us updated! It means alot that you take so much time for your fans!

J said...

Another great post. The fact that you remember where you came from and where your going is humbling to the experience. It shows that you don't forget all the people who helped to motivate you in swimming, and also in turn motivate the younger generation. I swam competitively for over nine years, but my favorite times where teaching swim lessons. The younger generation gets so excited at the smallest encouragement..from learning to put their face in the water to swimming in the deep end. Its a truly good feeling to give back, and also adds instrinic value to the experience. Good luck in the pool!

Mark said...

I talk to you every day and I still like reading your blog!

Ellen said...

Garrett, your blog is great, as is your outlook. Can't wait til Joe starts talking - he'll tell you some stuff!

Soly said...

Kids can say the darnedest things.LOL.

Garrett said...

Nutrition is super important...

Thanks for your kind words.

We need to remember where we came from:)

I can't wait until Joe starts talking either haha!

Isa said...

It’s awesome when we have people that can help or give us some guidance, so in my opinion it’s really awesome what you did with those kids….

Kids are really great because they are very honest, a quality that sometimes is hard to find in an adult.

Keep up the good work….:)

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