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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Training Trip

I honestly don't think I've ever been so exhausted.

On New Year's Day, I drove back to Memphis after a much too short holiday break to embark on a 14 hour bus ride (that was only supposed to take 11...) to Florida for training trip. It was to be a week of rigorous swimming that would leave us all tired and sore, but better for it. 

We left Memphis around 8 o'clock that Thursday evening, and arrived in Florida around 11:30 the next morning. I had never taken an overnight bus ride before, and let me tell you, it was perhaps the worst night of sleep I have ever had. Armrests are not pillows, y'all. But regardless, we made it to the pool and had our first training trip practice.

I had heard from the upperclassmen that training trip was a notoriously challenging week. Not only was it physically stressful in terms of exhaustion, but it was also mentally challenging to continually motivate yourself through some very difficult workouts when your body was screaming in pain or exhaustion. Needless to say, I wasn't exactly looking forward to it.

Upon arriving and surviving our first practice (side note - we didn't really stop for breakfast so many of us had not eaten in over 15 hours and were being asked to go workout for 2 and a half. It wasn't pretty), we headed to our hotel to unpack and go get groceries for the week.

Luckily we had the afternoon to settle in, for the next morning's practice was perhaps the most difficult of the entire week. For all you swimmers out there, it was a mid-distance test set, where the first half of the round descended while the second half ascended, and we did 4 rounds of the set. After really struggling with those intervals, we had our first beach day of the trip. I mean, after a rigorous 3-hour practice, I think we definitely deserved it. 

Sunday, however, we had two practices, and we did every other day of the week from then on out. These practices ranged from sprints to stroke work to pacing, and I've never been so sore in my life. The whole week feels like a blur, frankly, because it was a week where my mind had very little to think about besides swimming. 

We did have a few beach workouts, one of which was in the midst of 40 MPH winds (aka sand. EVERYWHERE.), and all of us are still pulling sand out of our hair/swim bags. 

I think by the end of our time in Florida, we were all pretty sick of each other and being in the cold (because Florida was cold and that was just depressing), but fortunately, our time was up, and we were heading back up north to Tennessee. 

We stopped in Chattanooga for the night, and luckily this meant that I got to go home! I was home for less than 12 hours, but honestly, I was just so glad to see my dogs and family that I didn't really care. 

The next morning (this puts us at this past Saturday), we headed up Monteagle to swim against Sewanee. We are rival schools, and it felt so good to beat them, even though none of us were posting best times since we were all so exhausted. We really stuck it out together as a team to plow through, and I'm so proud of all of us for that. 

Although training trip was extremely physically demanding and grueling, we really powered through and stuck together to get each other through the late nights, early mornings, and long days that make competitive swimming what it is.

xx, Victoria

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xx, Victoria