I have had a long, competitive athletic career. First, I competed in varsity middle school volleyball as a server. In the summers, I ran in age group races. I made it to Junior Internationals in Chicago on a 4x100 relay as the leadoff leg. I remember what a beautiful day it was. I felt like one with the earth that day. The race flowed beautifully.
Even my dreams have centered on competitive sports. Ever since middle school, I had dreamed of becoming an Olympic swimmer. Swimming came out of left field, didn't it? No, it didn't. I started swimming quite young because my parents decided that swimming was better than Ritalin.
I have always loved the water, but swimming opportunities do not always present themselves. The Y in my community was shut down before I even finished elementary school, so I had to take up other sports in the interim. I was able to return to swimming in high school. I loved every minute of the sport and the camaraderie despite the morning, afternoon and weekend practices. I had not given up on my Olympic swimming dream just yet.
With no guidance or plan, I landed in Galveston, Texas, to study marine biology at a school smaller than my high school. Fortunately, there were swimming enthusiasts in the mist. We formed a swim club and swam at the university or community pool. I also ended up on the crew team somehow. We did quite well for a team of eight rowers.
Since organic chemistry and I were not getting along, it was time for me to return to Ohio to finish my schooling in something else. I wanted to continue competing in water sports, but I found the OSU swim team to be quite intimidating. With that, I joined the varsity women's crew team. Participating on that team tested my physical limits, but I still loved the sport.
My life led me to Korea, where I joined an aerobics team, swam occasionally and competed in quite a few 5k races. I was a running fiend for a while. My PR was 21 minutes. Those were the days! Even then, I still longed for the water, so I took up water skiing.
It wasn't until I returned stateside that I began competing in swimming again. The open water competition was extraordinarily more fun than any pool competition. I was sold! Who cares about sharks? I actually swam over one and did not even know it! A person is more likely to injure herself falling into a pool unexpectedly than being bitten by an unsuspecting shark.
As work would have it, I ended up in San Antonio. I started out kayaking. Then I discovered triathlons. With that, I had begun training for those events until being sidelined by running injuries. Fortunately, there are other options. I fell in love with aquabike competitions. Who else can say, "swim, bike, done?” I wish the swim leg were longer. I have a new long-term goal now. I would like to participate in and place in a national aquabike competition. Who said a person in her 40s can’t continue to dream even if the dream has changed slightly?
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