Happy birthday to Kara Goucher, former NCAA Cross Country Champion. Goucher has the Olympic A Standard in the 5000 and 10,000 m and placed third in the New York Marathon in 2008, the first American woman to make it to the podium since 1994. She has also placed third in the Boston Marathon, second at the Arizona Half Marathon, and first at the Lisbon Half Marathon and the mile at the Melrose Games. She has placed third at the World Championships twice.
Courage is the mastery of fear--not the absence of fear.1. After dinner, I was scrolling through Twitter and saw that a former teammate of mine had just committed to Florida State to play soccer. So, my dad asked me if I was still okay with my decision to not play soccer in college and to quit. Looking back on the decision, there were two sides to me. The first and more dominant side was the one at complete peace with the situation. During a tournament in Colorado, I had just scored my dream goal and as I came off the field, I no longer envisioned myself playing in the upcoming season. It was also exciting to think of my weekends not being filled with 10 hour bus rides and Jason's Deli box lunches. The other half of me was freaking out. I had been playing soccer for as long as I could remember. I didn't know life without it. Like I said, Freaking Out.What if I miss soccer in a month? What if my dream school calls me right now offering me a roster spot? What will my teammates think? How am I going to tell my coach? Even though I knew this was what I wanted, it was still so hard. And I was so emotional. On the phone call with my coach, my tears got so bad that I had to secretly put myself on mute so I could blow my nose without him hearing. Through the blurry eyes and raspy voice, I made it through. There are still moments where I want nothing more than to train with my favorite coach and ex-teammates, but overall I'm very happy with my decision. I faced my fear of the repercussions of quitting, and so far I haven't looked back.
I want to start by saying that most older teen female swimmers HAVE bodies. They have hips, thighs, butts, breasts, shoulders and some curves. They have confidence. Looking like a string bean is out. Looking and being strong and powerful is in.
This a big change for me as a former high school and college distance runner. I am short (good for a distance runner) but more solidly built than a toothpick. For most distance runners, it really is a case of “less is more.” For years my coaches bugged me about losing weight, so I would be faster.
Back to swimming. Swimmers who are training hard eat a LOT. Not junk. But high quality calories—carbs, fats, proteins. That tremendous caloric output during heavy training has to be matched by a healthy caloric intake. Anna eats dinner #1 around 5:00 pm for her 6:00 pm practice. She gets home around 8:30 pm, showers, and then has dinner #2 which is more like a heavy snack. It usually involves some fruit, peanut butter, or leftovers from dinner #1.
So yes, women swimmers have women’s bodies. They are expected to train, to eat well, and to swim their fastest. Swimmers have broad shoulders and strong bodies, and those are something to be admired because they represent dedication and hard work.