Long weekend…

but it’s over already! I can’t believe the weekend went by so fast. This was the first time in school history that Cornell had off on Labor Day, so at least we didn’t have class! πŸ™‚

This weekend I worked, did homework, tried to sleep off a bad cold and played ultimate frisbee with my team! It was a nice little bonding experience with the new freshmen, who all seem really awesome so far. Our team has a lot of chemistry this year and we’ve been having tons of fun already! Of course we haven’t begun the reallyyyy hard practices yet…but I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get there!

I didn’t want to write about this today but the truth is I’m wrestling with a little bit of a dilemma. Last week, my therapist asked me if I wanted to do group therapy with her this semester. She said it would be good for me specifically because most of the girls in the group have done more intensive (i.e. inpatient) therapy and are further along in recovery than I am. I thought it sounded great and wanted to jump right on board. ALAS – there is a catch. The group meets during my (mandatory) swim practice on Thursday evenings.

Now, my coach is very understanding. He had no clue I had an ED until my “Exit” meeting after last swim season, when I broke down and basically said “Remember how I blew it last season? Oh yeah, there’s actually a reason why that happened.” He has a son who is an alcoholic, so he “gets” addiction. He’s always been supportive, even instrumental, in my recovery.

Unfortunately, missing practice is a more complex issue than it looks on the surface. I already have to make up a practice on Friday mornings (for missing half of Wednesday afternoons). I will be doing early morning workouts Tues, Thurs, Fri, and Saturday, so it doesn’t make sense to him to have me come in another morning. And if he has me come in, a coach has to be there…but having a coach for one athlete doesn’t really work out. He did agree, however, to meet with me and discuss possibilities (if we can brainstorm any).

I’m conflicted. I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. I feel great right now because I’m swimming (a lot), and I don’t want my coach to treat me differently because I’m missing a practice. At the same time…when I’m not swimming, I still feel…sick.

That statement, in itself, makes me think that swimming serves a dual purpose in my mind. Yes, I LOVE spending time with my teammates. I’m truly having a blast so far and catch myself smiling and laughing all the time at practice. And it’s been easier than ever for me to eat what’s on my meal plan and to even supplement before bed if I’m still hungry.

At the same time, part of me is wondering how much, if any, of this newfound “peace” around eating is due to the fact that I’m exercising an amount that would be considered “excessive” if I was just doing it on my own terms. Today was the first time I even thought that might be part of why I’m so attached to swimming. And so – maybe putting group ahead of swimming would be better.

I feel like I have to choose between what I love now (and won’t have in six months) and my recovery.Β On the other hand, my ED took my swim season away from me last year and I swore to myself I would never let it have the same power over me ever again.

I guess I have the rest of the week to sleep on it! I’m going to try and figure out any possibilities for making it work on both sides, but – if not – I owe it to myself to swim. And this is why…

Since I was six, my whole life has revolved around competitive swimming. I went to school, came home and then went to practice for between two and three hours. Countless weekends were spent on drafty pool-decks, waiting through four hour sessions to swim two events (each of which lasted a maximum of two minutes). The morning of Christmas Eve was spent doing a 12,000 yard workout, while the morning of New Years Eve was 10,000 yards. Halloween wasn’t spent dressing up and collecting candy – it was spent trying to win our club meet’s “Halloween Invitational.” My friends in high school went to basketball games, to the movies, to parties…and I went to swim practice.

Don’t get me wrong – I made some of the closest and best friends I will ever have throughout my fifteen years of swimming. There’s no better bonding exercise than waking up at 5:45 and walking through the snow to jump into a chilly pool for morning practice πŸ˜‰ But my goal throughout high school was to swim well enough that I would be get recruited and be able to swim Division 1 in college. And – I was blessed enough to be awarded that opportunity.

That is why I need to give this last year of swimming everything I have. For the last fifteen years, swimming has been my life in one way or another. I have the whole rest of my life to pursue other passions, but in six months I will no longer have swimming. I want to end my career on my terms. I want to give it everything I have and pour my soul into it.

I owe it to the little girl who first put on the funny-looking swim cap and goggles.

I know this isn’t from when I was little (my parents weren’t the best photographers back then!! haha…probably a good thing) but it’s from my sophomore year here before I got sick. This picture was taken after a meet in which I won my first individual race in college – the 50-yard freestyle against Columbia. I’ll always remember how happy I felt that day – like I was invincible, and that only good things were to come. And I think that is how I can come out of this season if I give myself that chance.

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3 Responses to Long weekend…

  1. edoutsider says:

    Thats great that your coach is supportive! I told my swim coach I was bulimic a couple weeks ago since I swim like crap half the time because of it. I think a huge reason I keep swimming is just for the exercise. Im not going to put in a good swim workout like that on my own at 5 am. For me I think my swimming right now is hurting me more than helping me. Mentally.

    • Kim says:

      It’s a great sport but can definitely be negative when “using” it for an ED – bulimia or otherwise. I hope your coach was supportive. I was definitely in a place last year where it was making my ED (and life) worse more than better. I put so much pressure on myself to do well (and lose weight) that I lost the love I had for the sport. This year I went in with a completely different attitude and it has made all the difference! I have goals, but they’re not “life-consuming” and I know there is life beyond swimming. And I love the actual process of just getting in the water everyday and being with my friends. I hope you can find that too – especially if you want to try college swimming

  2. edoutsider says:

    Lol we always have Regionals on halloween so I never do anything. But the regional meet is my favorite so i dont mind too much

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