Of course it all started with the big "4-0," that infamous mid-life crisis-inducing birthday. I had 'aged up' in the Masters Swimming world, was still traveling quite a lot both domestically and internationally (mostly for business), and was looking for a little bit of extra motivation to help force me to get in my workouts when I was on the road. Since my earliest days as a competitive swimmer, I'd kept swim training logs off and on, so the notion started quite simply - just track the pools in which I swim and use novelty as a motivator - the theory being that I'd be more likely to wake up to swim somewhere new.
The list worked like a charm - not only did I find myself training more, on average, each week than I had before, but the extra training meant I started racing faster and, being the Type A guy that I am, racing faster got me more motivated to train more. In addition, I re-learned the lesson that my work performance was always better on days that I swam, whether it was that morning or the night before. On top of that, I got the unanticipated benefit of seeing new parts of cities I was in, meeting new people along with way when I dropped in for Masters Swimming workouts, and developing a real love for the varied architecture of pools.
The goal, the 1001 pools idea, formed more slowly as I tracked my workouts since late 2008 as part the US Masters Swimming online forums. As my list grew, it took on a competitive life of its own ...
How many states could I swim in? Countries?
Could I add more new pools this year versus last year?
How many different pools could I swim in on a single trip?
... and, the career business analytics guy in my head eventually formed a (maybe not-so) SMART goal - to swim in 1001 pools from the time I turned 40 until I die.
Well, to be completely honest, the original goal was simply 1000 pools, but when my oldest daughter convinced me to launch a public blog to track my progress and I found this guy already gunning for that, the racer in me had to go for 1,001 ;)
For now, I have set this blog up with three key components: