• Dana Sayre

Swimming With Rob

I adore these pictures taken last August by the incredible Wanda Koch. She is an amazing friend and photographer- and wildly talented!

When Rob and I got engaged last July, we didn't have plans for engagement pictures but we did talk about how fun it would be to capture "us". Wanda enthusiastically took on our project and spent over two hours, in the pool, inviting creativity, color, laughter and a lot of water up our noses! Ha! Such a fun (and exhausting day).

Rob has always been a swimmer. He competed from a young age and continued swimming in college. Freestyle, backstroke, butterfly...From my perspective, he makes it look so easy gliding effortlessly in the water, graceful flip-turns and strength. He is truly a beautiful swimmer.

Yoga and running have always been my athletic outlets. I like the way hot yoga rinses me out and exhausts my thoughts and I like the way running makes my body feel. Both practices are familiar to me. There is a moving meditation; a challenge...I know how to breathe through- move through- and show up the next day.

Swimming is a different story. Swimming with Rob is my story.

Rob is competitive by nature. And how could he not be? He's competed in swimming most of his life.

I am not. Lol. I don't have a competitive bone in my body (until it comes to scrabble).

The first time Rob took me swimming, it was (mostly) a disaster.

Let's set the stage: The year is 2016. We are at the Dowd YMCA on a Tuesday evening. The millennials are swimming. Rob and I are sharing a lane because space is precious, and that's the way it goes...

And Scene.

Rob: Dives in. The water hardly makes a splash. Three dolphin kicks and woosh...he's gliding through the water, breathing easily. Strong methodical movements. He transitions to freestyle. The water is butter. He is nearing the end of 25 meters, flip-turn and repeat.

Dana: Flops in (because apparently I'm twelve and jumping into a serious pool seems like a fine idea), goggles fly off my face. Water runs up my nose. I'm panicking. I wonder if the cool kids are looking. Worse, Rob is making his way back to my end of the pool and motioning for me to stay on my side (as if I meant to have this panic attack on any particular side of the lane- Ha!).

That first experience swimming with Rob was a slice of humble pie. I was accustomed to running distances, sweating and moving in hundred degree temperatures, moving and breathing on my terms.

Figuring out how to swim again...Hello ego.

Swimming has been a journey for me with valuable lessons:

1. Breath

I have learned to appreciate the survivor breath. Yoga taught me Ujjayi breathing. A breath that is taken through the nose, in a controlled flow. The breath was always available to me. Swimming taught me to appreciate the value and rhythm of breath. I would need to learn to create patterns with my movements and breath so that there is a space for each in its fullest expression.

If I panic, I am not moving or breathing. If I focus, I can find space for all of it.

2. The Water Doesn't Care

Without fail, I complain every swim. I'm tired, I can't breathe (clearly I can), my muscles are sore..blah, BLAH. Blah. The love of my life reminds me: The water doesn't care. Ha. Fine. Just keep swimming. If I spent that energy on some positive affirmation rather than looking for a pity party, It would prob change the experience. I'm still learning.

3. It's All Connected

I will always practice yoga and I hope my body will feel well enough to continue running until I'm old. Swimming has become the missing link in my trilogy. Yoga makes running feel better. Swimming makes all of it feel better. Breath. Hip flexors. Mental gunk. Endurance. And on and on...

So the journey continues. Rob and I keep on swimming.

Today Rob and I swam 2000 yards. This week, we swam over 5000. The distance speaks to where the journey started (for me) and where I am now.

Trust the process, Rob says as he gives me chunks of advice at a time.

And isn't that true with anything? Trust the process and keep on swimming.

With Love and peace- Happy weekend-

Dana Sayre~

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