Spinach shakes and Olympic lengths.

I am a water baby, of the variety that loves to be submerged in it. When I go to the beach or to a pool, I prefer not to sunbathe. I don’t even own a bikini — actually I never have — but I’m a master at the fabled “deck change”. My swimming get-up consists of a tight suit, a drag suit (a bigger, baggier one that goes over it to create drag while swimming laps), a swim cap and swedish goggles. It’s so comfortable to me that I get this relaxed feeling every time I put it on. Even the smell of chlorine gets to me, in an “oh-yeah-take-another-deep-breath” sort of way. You’d think that I’d be splashing away all day long, in between classes, and on my days off! The truth is, I really haven’t been swimming regularly in over 6 years.

A few weeks ago, while I was reflecting on the number of years that I’ve put this passion of mine on hold, all the while justifying my neglect by the amount of reading I had, or the need to check this “one last thing” on the Internet, or how tired I was (mentally), I realized that something was out of whack: my priorities.

I’m excited to say that I’ve joined the Masters Swim Club at my school, and I’m having a blast. Although 50 year olds with better body definition than undergraduate students are kicking my butt, lap after lap, I am overjoyed to be back in the water. We’re practicing at an outdoor, olympic-length course, and I’m learning to differentiate my pace when I have half as many flip turns to do. I’ve also learned a new acronym: DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness). To put it into perspective:

May 8, 2012 – last day of off-and-on swimming. Total distance: 1100 yards (short course).

August 22, 2012 – first day of swim club. Total distance: 1700 METERS!!! (long course)

August 23, 2012 – morning after swim club. Distance from bed to door seems an eternity. Somehow made it to class.

August 24, 2012 – second day of swim club. Total distance: 2600 meters (long course)

I don’t know why swimming has this effect on me, but unlike any other sport that I participate in, I come home after practice hungry enough to wipe out my pantry. A tired, hungry, emotional eater can be a dangerous combination. Instead, I am feeling really fulfilled with the following protein shake. I’m digging it now, but I know that I’ll be looking to diversify my flavors. Anybody have any suggestions?

 

 The “Best Spinach Shake Ever”

(inspired by Drew Manning, the man behind “fit2fat2fit”)

In a blender, combine the following ingredients: one big handful of freshly cleaned spinach leaves, 1/2 of a banana, two tablespoons of peanut butter, one scoop of protein powder (I like my vegan Sun Warrior Protein), 3/4 cup of milk (or almond milk, etc), and then 2-3 handfuls of ice cubes. If you want it a little sweeter, you can always add a bit of agave nectar (or other). I also like a third tablespoon of peanut butter if I’m in the mood. This makes one very refreshing protein shake. Enjoy!

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