The alarm sounds off at 4:50am. I roll out of bed, stumble to the coffee maker and try to maneuver in the dark. I shuffle around the house grab my bag and drive over to Sunrise Middle School for swim practice.
At 5:25am the pool is pitch black, coach John Grzeszczak of Hammerhead Aquatics turns on the outside spot lights. A few more minutes of procrastination and I take the 5:30am plunge.
Coach John calls out our warm up for the 25 yard heated pool:
400 yard swim
200 yard Pull
200 yard kick
After about 20 minutes of warm up, the coffee has kicked in my system. My eyes begin to adjust, and I notice other swimmers in neighboring lanes.
There is a quiet rhythm with the morning swimmers. Its almost metronomic/zen like: the monotone rhythm of the water as swimmers go down the lane and push off the wall. The Splash of water and breathing are the only sounds I hear.
After warm-up the coach gives us our work-out. With the warm-up, the main sets are usually a cross of breathing/speed/drill/kick and timed exercises ranging from 3000 to 3800 yards.
Friends say I am crazy. " You are off all winter and you choose to get up and swim at 4:50am". I quietly nod my head and agree, but think how lucky I am. How lucky that I am able to participate in a masters swim program in Fort Lauderdale with kindred spirits, and a spirited coach.
There is nothing like swimming 3000 + yards (80 to 90 minute workout) and watch the sun gently rise over the horizon. How lucky I am that my father took me to swim lessons as a child. How lucky that I have the motivation.