Taking up a New Sport


Te Anau Wharf

I have taken up a new sport here in NZ. And while I know you are “not supposed” to do anything new when pregnant, I use the term “taking up” very loosely.

I have started learning how to open water swim.  At first it started with just a simple goal: be able to swim in a lake for 300 meters and not hyperventilate.

In my line of work: coaching, teaching and coaxing people to go beyond their perceived limitations, it is hard not to get inspired and want to go out and try something that terrifies me . Also, being a mother to a wild and curious toddler is a constant reminder to learn something new and step out of my comfort zone.

So, since I now live part of the year in Te Anau, NZ- home to the deepest most beautiful lake I have ever seen, I thought “what the hell, lets dive in.”

Swimming in anything but a pool may sound simple to many, but for me the idea of being in an open body of water with no walls is terrifying. It’s weird. I was a raft guide for 9 years, I have been surfing off and on for 10 and I grew up around lakes and rivers.

Perhaps its because I grew up in Alaska where the act of getting into a lake or river (glacier fed and cold) always followed a dare and looked like this – take off all your clothes, jump in count to 5 and then as quickly as possible get out and shiver in front of a fire.

My goal of not freaking out is still a work in process, but primarily an emotional and mental one. While I do need to work on my stroke, it is the “moving meditation” bit that I am fascinated with. Calming down my heart rate, breathing slower and taking my time are all things that will eventually help me go longer and faster.

It has been fun and slightly addicting to work through all of the different sensations and thoughts that come up when I am swimming out into an open expanse of blue.  Trying to shut off that part of my brain that is freaking out and instead focus on my breathing works for a few minutes, but so far never seems to last long enough.  But the little bits that I do get it, are so, so satisfactory.  Perhaps that is why I find myself strangely yearning to go for a swim everyday. Progress for sure, as two weeks ago it took all day for me to build up the courage to even put my wetsuit on.

This experience of setting small swimming goals every other day has solidified my belief in our training protocols and the way we live our lives: Bite off a small digestible piece of your goal and focus on that, once you hit that checkpoint or feel good with the progression, start on the next task.

My journey thus far with swimming has been quite enjoyable. I have gone from being terrified and needing someone in the water with me to going out and swimming all on my own. And, it is pretty freakin amazing way to be “IN” the elements surrounded by beautiful mountains. I don’t know yet where I will go with it. Perhaps I will enter some races this summer in Bend, or maybe I will continue to use it as my meditation and breath practice. Either way, I am more than happy about my progress, and for the first time in my life I feel like a “swimmer”.

Huge shout out to my sister in law, Tammy (who swims laps around me) for the constant prodding and inspiration to try it out.

Here’s to more training, more swimming and more growing this little baby!

15 Weeks: 

How I am feeling: The nausea is still there at times, but is feeling less and less.  My energy is high and I am either running, biking or swimming everyday.  This past weekend, I even got to climb which felt really good.

Lil C: I have felt Lil C here and there, but not consistently yet. I am looking forward to more and more wiggles and flutters.

Cravings: I am still craving lots of eggs, beans and meat.  I feel like I could eat nothing but breakfast burritos and I would be happy. However, ground beef has made me sick twice, so I am staying away from that for a while.

Coffee? Coffee is very much in the picture. Although I can only handle one cup a day.

Showing? I am showing for sure. I feel like way more than I did at this stage with Max and Spirit. But, I think that is pretty natural.

Max is enjoying all of our NZ adventures. He especially loves it when “Mama goes swim in lake” as he loves water. We often have to pull him away kicking and screaming. He loves Kindy and is making many friends, they all wave and scream “bye Max!” when we go home.

Spirit: I have not heard from Spirit lately. But I am reminded of him every time I hear a beautiful birds call or see a hawk. Max, Daddy and I say goodnight to him every night.












One thought on “Taking up a New Sport

  1. Chelsey–so glad you’re getting into the swimming. it is one of my favorite ways to turn a bad or ho-hum day into a great one–the cold, the immersion in the skin of the earth (ah, that viscosity!), the waves…it’s especially great midwinter–a 15 minute swim on a crazy windy day in an 8 degree (Celsius) lake gives me that same rush of crazy as a big effort in the mountains under better conditions (:


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