Linda Lewis Griffith

‘Phew, I’m glad I’m done.’ How SLO retiree reached goal of swimming 100 miles in a year

Let’s cut to the chase. I just reached my goal of swimming 100 miles for the year.

In case you’re doing the arithmetic in your head, that’s up and back across a 50-meter pool 1,600 times.

I was happy to participate in the challenge.

I was already swimming two mornings each week. I had the time to devote to the activity. And I’d built up my stamina to the point that 100 miles was definitely doable.

Still, I’m relieved it’s finally over.

For starters, it dominated my scheduling. If I wanted to visit my kids out of town, I tried to leave after swimming on a Tuesday or get home in time to hit the pool bright and early Thursday morning.

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Retired therapist Linda Lewis Griffith, left, celebrates with Missy Teel at SLO Swim Center in San Luis Obispo after swimming 100 miles in a year. Polly Nelson

I had to calculate time for vacations and the occasional oversleeping. Heaven forbid I’d get sick or injured.

It also consumed lots of mental bandwidth. I had to figure out how many miles I needed to swim each session and how to maximize those workouts to hit my numbers.

I swam strokes that I could do fastest. I kept track of my progress in a personal log.

I wasn’t always a swimmer. While I was fortunate to get swimming lessons as a child, my time in the water growing up was limited to the occasional pool party at friends’ homes.

But a chronically cranky back made me decide to dust off my swimming skills as an adult and include time at the pool in my fitness routine.

Believe me when I say those early days were not pretty.

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Retired San Luis Obispo therapist Linda Lewis Griffith celebrates swimming 100 miles in a year with a pink cap and a towel embroidered with the words “100 Miles.” Fred Griffin

It took forever for me to swim a single lap. When I finally did reach the other side, I clung gasping for breath, wondering how I would ever get back.

Now, it’s a different story. I stuck with it. I made friends at the pool.

I enjoy being in the water. I feel great the rest of the day. And my back is definitely happier.

Therefore, I didn’t want my goal to interfere with what I had. I was already plenty motivated. I didn’t want added stress.

So, I had a talk with myself. I told myself that I could participate in the 100-mile challenge under two conditions.

The first was that I continued to have fun. I wanted to look forward to swimming and feel relaxed in the pool.

If I ever felt pressured or resentful, I’d back off, no questions asked. No goal was going to interfere with something I already loved.

Second, the increased training had to be good for my body. If I became concerned that my physical health was somehow being compromised, I’d pull the plug ASAP.

Fortunately, neither of those things happened. I felt great and received tons of kudos from family, fellow swimmers and staff at the pool.

I also earned a pink cap for my efforts and treated myself to a towel embroidered with “100 Miles.”

Yes, it was a terrific experience. But phew, I’m glad I’m done.

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