The Ant-Like Approach to Training


The Ant and Bee (Angela Banner) books were, and still are, one of all-time my favorite children’s books series. I’ve read each so many times as both a child and an adult that I have them all memorized. This is probably explains why I often catch myself viewing my life from an Ant and Bee perspective.

For example, lately I’ve felt very Ant-like when returning to a Sierra Nevada Masters team practice after swimming either on my own or with the Carson Tigers Sharks because I’ve worked on different things and learned a new drill or two.

Here’s the Ant and Bee explanation: In Ant and Bee and the Secret (my favorite in the series!), Ant and Bee do various activities (draw with colored chalk, tell stories, play hopscotch, jump rope, make sandwiches for a picnic). At first, Bee excels at everything, Ant, not so much, which causes Ant to become cross and run away for the rest of the day. img_0350

But when Ant returns, he’s somehow acquired new skills. img_0351The “secret” is, of course, where Ant goes to improve himself. (Spoiler alert: Skip to the bottom of this post if you wish to know the secret.)

While I don’t often become cross at practice and run off in the middle of a set, I do benefit from mixing it up. Swimming SCM on my own (especially if I have a lane to myself) at my local gym is an automatic focus day—no rush, no crowd means I can slow down and concentrate on a ton of drills and practice “perfect” technique per turns. Swimming LCM on distance day with the Carson Tiger Sharks boosts my endurance, and thanks to the age group/Masters mash-up, I always come away with a new drill or two and often a new set perspective from the coach.

I greatly value swimming with my base team—the coaches write and guide us through terrific sets and have created such a fun, inspiring atmosphere while my teammates push and encourage me (e.g. Nadia “suggesting” we do the last repeat of any set fly when I really, really don’t want to.) But I also like learning new things, meeting new people and coming back refreshed from being in a different environment for a day, so I’ll continue my Ant-like ways, at least from a swim training perspective.

*The secret: Ant runs away to school.


The Ant-Like Approach to Training

One thought on “The Ant-Like Approach to Training

  1. Nadia Louhichi says:

    I can see why the lessons taught in stories like this one are important to learn as a child and remember throughout life. I struggled with challenges life threw at me, especially when it came to choosing a path of study or career. I believe that in many situations I reacted by giving up and turning to something that seemed easier. I can’t help but feeling regret about some of the decisions I have made.
    When I was 18, I went to college to study computer engineering. My dad thought it would be a great career for me, since a lot of his siblings became engineers. It’s a Louhichi thing. After a semester I failed 2 classes and with ongoing conflicts about my boyfriend and father, I felt utterly defeated. I took a sabbatical year, during which I learned a lot about myself, and became more extroverted working at space camp as a counselor. It was one of the best work environments, where I connected with my coworkers on a deeper level. To my dismay, I found out from other counselors attending engineering school that they failed many courses in their first year as well, but they kept at it. Some of them took 6 years to complete the 4-year degree. I regretted my decision to quit.
    When I reapplied to college to learn Spanish and German, my intention was to become a foreign language teacher. I went to Japan for a year after I obtained my degree and taught English as a foreign language. When I got back, I worked as a language instructor for professionals but wasn’t too happy with my job. I decided to get a French/English translation diploma with the intent of getting an masters in conference interpreting in Ottawa. I failed the entrance exam miserably. I was so embarrassed. (In hindsight, I should have been an ant for that one and practiced beforehand. I really thought that would have been a cool job for me. Stressful but really cool.)
    After getting engaged to Andrew, I moved to the US and decided to teach and translate French. I worked for an evil translation corporation in Cohoes (Albany) as a QA specialist. My job was so ungratifying, it was like the movie Office Space. I was relieved that we were moving to Nevada and was offered a French teacher job at a charter school. After 2 years of teaching grades k-8. I was completely discouraged with some of the kids, it turned me off of having any of my own.
    I was so lucky to be able to turn to radiography and sonography knowing I’ll have a gratifying career working with my husband.
    Life is always going to give us adversity. What’s important is how we deal with the challenges.


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