Exercise as a mindset and life goal
Exercise has been a huge part of my life since I have memory, whether it was in th form of doing sports, practicing as a hobby or just going to the gym. When I was only five years old my parents enrolled me in Ballet, but I spent very little time there because I just didn't like it, so my parents decided to give me a chance and then I began doing Gimnastics (for kids, obviously).
Going to my Gimnastics lessons is a very fond memory that I still keep with me, and I remember that I used to have a lot of fun and I couldn't wait for Tuesday and Thursday to arrive so that I could attend my class. Sadly and unfortunately, my parents decided to take me and my sister off the classes, mainly because we moved homes and then the facilities were too far away to go twice a week, especially in a city so populated and with such little regard for city planning, but also because my sister suffered from bullying by a little girl with down syndrome, who always picked on her and since she was special, there was little to do about it, so that also played a role.
I remember one time when this girl locked my sister inside the bathroom with the lights out during the whole Gimnastics class (about one hour)... Nowadays we remember this with a laugh on our faces, but imagine being 7 years old and having to endure things like that on a weekly basis. After that day my sister refused to attend the classes and thus, since I was the younger sis, I had to adapt.
I was 8 years when I left my Gimnastics lessons, but right after that and since we both asked to practice another sport because of our energy and personality, my parents asked us if we wanted to start swimming... We learned to swim since we were little, perhaps only a few months old, but we never had any real lessons, only my mom and dad to teach us their own way, so we didn't hesitate and said YES!
Just three months of training every day won me my first medal. I went to a swimming contest and I actually won the gold medal on every event I participated in except one, in which I stopped swimming to look around because I thought there had been a mistake or that the race had been stopped because I couldn't see any other contestant swimming next to... and right on that moment when I was looking around to find out what was happening, another girls swam past me and despite my efforts to get even, I finished in second place.
My parents and the coach after seeing how good I had become, decided to set me up with the best swimming teacher of the club. My sister showed many skills as well so we changed teams and coach.
The training sessions were increibly heavy and demanding, both mentally and physically. I don't remember how they were at first, my actual first memory of those trainings is from when I was 12 or 13 years old. We used to swim 8 kilometers a day, plus one hour of muscle training at the gym, and when a competition would take place soon (which was very often) I would wake up at 5 am to go swim for 3 more hours per day. This rendered a machine and not a little girl, and there was no competition where I wouldn't win at least one medal, and we are talking about the highest and most competitive swimming scene in Puebla.
Definitely one of my fondest memories in general is attending these competitions, where I cultivated many experiences and made many friends; of course it goes without saying that within those memories there are a lot of nervousness, eagerness, and anxiety but also happiness, excitation and lots and lots of laughs. It was such an amazing experience to attend a competition and having to do your best so you made the cut and earned a place to compete in the regionals, and then the nationals. Nerves at full force, adrenaline on my veins and a willingness to win was part of my every day competitions and I miss them, but I do have great memories from them.
We traveled to many places to compete such as Acapulco, Veracruz, Mexico city and Monterrey inside of my country, and we even traveled to compete in Ecuador and Dominican Republic (and many more that I just don't remember). The team was perfect and we all got along great with each other, even among different age teams we were all a family.
The coach I had during these training sessions was incredibly strict and many times he would be verbally abusing towards the girls who didn't give their best, or the ones that were too fat to be at their best level, and sometimes to those swimmers who were short or didn't have a body made for competitive swimming he used to say things like you have a disadvantage because of your body, you have to put in more effort. I only heard about this years after I left the team, and I heard it from the mouth of some of my closest friends from my swimming days. I always got along fine with him and we were actually fond of each other (as much as a coach and student can be without any weird stuff), I remember I only got punished one time because I used to spend a lot of the time just chatting with my best friend from the team. He suspended me for a whole week but after I went to have a chat with him, we arranged that my suspension would only last one day hahaha.
My favorite swimming style is breastrstroke, but the one where I was the best is backstroke, and for that very reason my coach always signed me up for the 50, 100 and 200 meter backstroke events which I enjoyed, but I wasn't thrilled about it both because you are swimming backwards and it's harder to control not to stray to the left or the right and you also can't check how the other swimmers are doing. There are two types of events, the speed ones and the distance ones (which go from 200 to 1,500 meters). I was better at short bursts like the ones I mentioned, but my sister was a distance specialist. I hated the long distance events because I would get bored at the middle of the competition and most of the times you end up with your googles full of water (if you even still have googles).
I stopped swimming when I was 15 years old, almost 16, with hundreds of medals on my warehouse. Being so many years on a high performance swimming team is exhausting and the burnout syndrome is almost guaranteed, especially at that age where you are just starting to go to parties, have stronger friendship bonds and much more. My sister also left the team at the same time, we were both too fed up from having to wake up at 4:30 am, having to go to the gym every day, swimming for so many hours every single day and having no life.
One of my last memories of my swimming run was the last meeting we had with the coach in the cafeteria of the club, right in front of the pool. He said that we were making a mistake but in the end it was our decision, and that he would love for us to keep training and giving our all because we have a bright future ahead if we continue on this path. We were both competitive and very good at it, my sister even reach the Olympics and she even won open water events. I left the swimming world with a good taste in my mouth, those were years were I learned about discipline, to never give up and continue working for your goals, to always give more than what you have and the most important one, team work.
It's been eleven years since I left the swimming team and the competitive world and I am still in touch with my best friend from that scene. Our paths are very different now but we always find a way to make them intertwine and to catch up. She's a mother now and she studied education, she's working on a school but since Covid she's been giving personal consulting.
But my sports history is not over yet. After a few months of rest and getting my mind off the swimming mindset, I met a coach that invited me to be part of his triathlon team. I love cycling and running but on hindsight, joining the team was a dumb thing to do because I left a high performance team because of the requirements and then I joined another high performance team. As a good or bad mother, take it as you like, my mother convinced me to join the team and I accepted the coach's offering. I knew I would leave the team eventually, what I didn't know was that I would leave it after half a year... my mom was pissed off, you have no idea, and that was with reason because she bought me a triathlon bicycle and you know how expensive can those bikes be. I don't regret joining the team, today I see all those who stayed on the team and all of them suffered from several fractures or flowering their face more than once.
Doing Sports was and still is a way of life for me and since I wasn't going to just stop exercising, I joined a Crossfit team once I made up my mind of what I wanted to do sports related after leaving the triathlon team. A few months after doing Crosfit, I decided to take back the swimming life along the Crossfit life, but neither were high performance, both were just normal teams and in the swimming one I used to swim for one or two kilometers every day.
Now that I think about it, and this is way I am loving to write on Hive, is that I spent so many years swimming competitively and I joined the triathlon team to please my mom, because I remember that when I was 12 years old I left the swimming for a little while and tried Tennis, but I ended up going back to the swim scene because she said that I was too good to leave and that I should give it another chance. I thank her for that, if I hadn't gone back I wouldn't have reached my peak level and competed at a National level, and I would have missed all the experiences and I wouldn't have all the amazing memories I have from those days that in some ways, marked my life and made me who I am.
But well, life goes on, and when I started my University path I joined a Flamenco dance team, a Spaniard traditional dance style. I decided to join that team because I had to enroll in an extra-curricular activity as a requirement to keep my scholarship so, when I saw that the dance team was open for enrollment I didn't think twice and I joined without a blink. I wanted to know if I really wanted to dance Flamenco (I wanted to do that since I was little) or if it was just a childish idea I had for years and I would hate it.
Well, I loved it so much that when the semester was over and the Flamenco workshop closed, I joined a specialized academy to keep dancing, learning and practicing. I used to have lessons twice a week, two hours per day. The time I spent dancing was one of the things I have enjoyed the most in my life. During my times there we presented our dances several times, even outside of my home state. If it was up to me, I would still be dancing Flamenco, but since my knee surgery almost a year ago, I have prohibited to do any sort of activity related with high impact so, Flamenco is a no go for me, sadly.
Right now all I am doing is Gym sessions to strengthen my leg muscles and to continue my rehab. I lost a lot of muscle in both legs because the surgery rendered me walk-less for almost 3 months. Once I am able to, I want to start doing AcroYoga. I find it amazing what one is able to do with her own body without getting hurt, besides I have an astoundingly good flexibility. Some times I try it with a friend but the videos make it look so much easier than what it really is. I need to practice, I want to practice, I will practice. I will join a team once I am able to.
To finish, this is me a couple of weeks ago, I still got it :D