Friday, February 27, 2009

Controlling My Excitement

The short taper I'm currently on is definitely making a difference. I'm starting to feel better in the water and somewhat refreshed when I wake up in the morning...minus the terrible allergies I'm experiencing here in Austin:(

Yesterday I swam outside in south Austin where Neil Walker coaches. Neil is a former teammate of mine and one of my closest and dearest friends. He is a two-time Olympian who will go down in history as being one of the best swimmers of his time. What's even more impressive than Neil's swimming career is his character. He is known on the team as the Godfather. I have always looked to Neil as a model of how I should act and carry myself on the pool deck and in life. He carries himself with a great sense of confidence while maintaining the most down to earth and humble attitude. Although we were great competitors he never shied away from helping me achieve my dreams and get better. Without a doubt Neil Walker has been a huge factor in my success as both a swimmer but also as a person.

I swam easy for about 45 minutes with his swimmers yesterday afternoon. The sun was beaming down on me and my emotions were taken to another level of happiness simply because I was outside enjoying the brilliant weather.

Currently around the US there are many conference swimming championships going on. Many people are swimming incredibly fast. I generally don't follow swimming or think about it much when I leave the pool. Although swimming is a big part of my life it does not consume me nor define who I am. One of the main reasons I don't follow results is because it's difficult for me to watch other people swim fast when I am not or when the opportunity is not there for me. This is true not because I'm not happy for them, quite the contrary. The truth of the matter is that I get anxious and want to be going fast too.

Imagine you are an archeologist and you study all year with your peers so that when the time comes you are prepared to make your most astounding discovery ever. Now imagine that they all go to some remote location in search of something more beautiful, more spectacular, more exciting than any of you ever thought imaginable. Here's the catch...you don't get to go. You have to stay at home and read about their discoveries, their triumphs, their record breaking finds and you get to experience none of it. Maybe you will get your chance in a week, maybe in two weeks, maybe not for another five months...who knows when? This is how I feel. I don't want to hear or read or watch other people go fast when I am not allowed to or at that point of my season yet. The excitement literally races through my veins and I don't know what to do with it. I try to keep myself calm and save it so when the time is right I just explode into a fury of speed, but it is hard.

Neil and I talked about it and he could see my excitement and a bit of frustration bottled up inside me. Here's where his wisdom comes in. He told me to be patient and wait for the right time. When the opportunity presents itself I will be ready to pounce...and pounce I will. He agreed with me that there is a lot left in my tank. The possibilities are endless. Essentially I just need to get ahold of myself and relax. I need to look at this as just another test. Challenging my mind makes me better, makes us all better. Seriously, I can't wait to swim fast again. I can't wait to be 100% ready. I can't wait to go a best time. I want to get that feeling again...that feeling where nothing else matters, where all the hard work all the sacrifice seems not only worth it but like the sweetest rhubarb pie my grandma ever made. I want to be on top of the world.

It is only a matter of time.

16 comments:

Lauren Ashley said...

Great blog, Garrett!! I know the feeling you're talking about, I've had it myself and it's so hard to sit and listen to what others are doing when you so desperately want to do it yourself. I'm glad you've got that passion for swimming, though! It's great to read about someone who loves their art so completely! :)

And seriously - thank you thank you THANK YOU! for posting this blog... I needed to hear this so bad... I'm not a swimmer, but I've had the opportunity to do something more than once in the past few months, and wasn't able to do it, but my friends went and told me about it... I've been feeling extremely anxious and upset and this kind of helped me calm down... :) Thank you!

Donna Binkholder said...

That's so awesome!!! Glad that everything is back on the up and up and you are more happier with the way things are going and your progress. It is also awesome to have a support system behind...people who you can talk to and will help you out no matter what, whenever you need it. Oh guess what!! I had my first open track meet last Saturday at Mizzou and I was little bit nervous but I remembered reading your more older blogs and they helped. I was only in three events. I got 1st in shot put, 3rd in discus and 4th in hammer throw...I was pretty happy although the distance times were all very close with me and my other competitors.

Mikayla Cooke said...

Garrett! Yet another fantastic blog!! My favorite thing about you is that you are always learning, no matter how experienced you are! The mere fact that you can admit that speaks volumes about you as a person AND an athlete!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and what is going on in your life! <3

Whitney said...

Wow! Reading these amazing blogs just gets me that much more excited about your future. It's plain to see that you're an amazing competitor with lots of great things ahead of you. I wish you all the luck in the world with training. And don't get frustrated about being overly-excited for the future. I don't think that's a bad thing. It's simply speaks to what a driven individual you are.

Jeff Lee said...

This got me pumped up until the pie reference at the end:(

This is an awesome reminder of the age-old saying "it's not my time". It is sooo hard not to get sidetracked off your own plans by the successes of others...I'm sure you'll do just as well as last year- no conference meets etc but a record in every swim you do!

Garrett said...

You are most welcome...I'm glad this could give you some encouragement.

Good work in your track meet! Keep working hard and stay positive...you will continue to improve.

The future is going to be very exciting.

What's wrong with the pie reference???

Jeff Lee said...

oh it got me hungry again when I'm already full from lunch:( I'm trying to watch my weight here haha

J said...

Good blog...the right to pounce...your writing style is amazing!

Nicole said...

amazing.

J said...

PS -- Go watch Vision Quest...that movie is fanstatic! It depicts a wrestler on a journey, and controlling his vision for the mat...rather the pool in this case!

Donna Binkholder said...

Thanks Garrett!!! That means alot to me!! I am still shocked that I worked so hard for this and even after my negativism in the beginning I started being more positive and it got those medals...I am still soking this all in. This gives me the drive to work twice as hard the next time, but without over doing it.

Garrett said...

I will have to check out Vision Quest...

Stay consistent in your training and the possibilities are endless!

Derek said...

Hey Garrett,

I'm approaching a three week swim taper and wanted to see if you had any advice on "nutrition tapering”. (i.e. Carb stacking/loading, etc..) Thanks

Donna Binkholder said...

Thanks Garrett! How do I maintain my consistency in my trainings?? I know this may sound like a kind of dumb question. As of now my throws are all over the place I mean they are good throws for me being unattached but I was really close in distant times with the college throwers, which I great and all but I wanted to have a little bit better throw if you know what I mean. Ah well I am still very proud of my accomplishments.

Sjtientje said...

You have a great way of putting your thoughts into words. And I can only compliment your self reflection. Here in the Netherlands we use self reflection all the time (called:reflection of Korthagen). It means you know who you are, what you are doing and what means you need (talking with people etc.) to grow. When I read your blogs I can see that reflection is also one of your stronger abilities.
Keep up the good work, swimming and reflections.

gr. Christina

Garrett said...

During this three week taper it is essential to stick to a healthy diet. You need to make sure you're still eating plenty of protein so you don't lose muscle mass or strength. In addition try to eat higher carb content foods at night so your body can digest that and use it as fuel to help your body recover through the night. Make sure to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables with vibrant colors so that you can keep your immune system strong. Good Luck!


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