The Four Purposes of Food

In addition to learning how to swim myself across an ocean, the past four years have afforded me many life skills.

One of the ongoing challenges has been nutrition.  What began as a month long experiment fast became an exploration of food in general.  I dove head first into understanding nutrients, exploring the emotional and intellectual facets of my appetite, and learning about where food comes from and what it actually is supposed to do and be.

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I took this picture and sent it to my nutritionist with the caption: “..I have no idea what I’m doing…” I was joking. But he didn’t know that and called me to make sure I was okay.

The most important revelation for me was understanding the purpose of food.  I can remember my nutritionist asking me what I thought that was and my reply;

“…for energy?”

“Spoken like a true athlete,” he replied.  “Food actually has four purposes.”

Food has FOUR purposes.

Goodness… four purposes.  Four of them.  For really real.  And I know one.

But the truth is – I’m a good test taker.  I can answer questions on tests and get high scores and never ever actually understand the subject matter.  This trait has frustrated me from time to time over the years when I wanted to understand things but didn’t – trying to tell my teachers that, in fact, I didn’t quite get it and having them looking at my straight A’s with question marks in the bubbles over their cartoon heads.

So even though I got one out of four correct – I didn’t even understand that one.

Nutrition: Fail.

But the good thing is that I’ve learned a lot about food’s purposes since then and I’ve learned a lot about navigating it based on those things.  I decided to share some of what I’ve learned with you for your education and betterment.

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Lemon wild cod on a bed of mushrooms with broccoli. SO tasty!!!

Food is for Energy, Medicine, Social Connection, and Pleasure.

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Masters Swimming is Coming to Pico!

U.S. Masters Swimming is coming to Pico Sports Center!

Killington Aquatic Club and I are so excited to announce that U.S. Masters Swimming will be coming to Pico Sports Center beginning Monday, February 23rd.  Masters is explained, in their own words, as follows:

“Masters swimming is an adult aquatic fitness program for individuals who have chosen aquatics as their means of exercise for a healthier lifestyle. U.S. Masters swimming programs do not discriminate between levels of ability or the individual goals of its members. There are many different types of swimmers. Some are highly competitive; others swim for fun or fitness. Many prefer open water events or triathlons.”

Whatever your goal is – to get in better shape, do your first triathlon, or to swim competitively – this program is here to help you achieve that goal while keeping the workouts fun and challenging.  As coach, I can’t wait to share and impart everything I’ve learned over the past few years as an active USMS member and open water marathon swimmer.

In order to participate in any class, whether just dropping in or committed to coming every time, you must be a registered USMS member, and can register by following the link below.  It doesn’t cost a lot and it insures all of us, gives you access to USMS resources, sends you a magazine, and allows you to participate in USMS events and meets.

http://www.usms.org/reg/

We are starting small… but all the best things do!  Practices will be:

Mondays, 5:30pm -6:45pm

Saturdays 12:00-1:30pm

Running from February 23rd – May 23rd, 2015

We’ve worked hard to keep the cost of Masters as low as possible and offer the following rates:

Full Program Access: $300

Drop-in fee: $15.00/session

Cash or Check made out to Killington Aquatic Club

What you will get through our program, in addition to all of the USMS membership benefits, is the following:

Weekly e-newsletter

Weekly workouts

A super smart and fun coach (with red hair, even!!!)

Swimming is one of the best workouts there is – easy on your joints, good for your heart, works out your entire body.  Swimming with a group keeps you accountable to your goals and helps to keep the workouts fun and interesting.  Swimming with a coach gives you necessary feedback for improvement.

What’s not to love about all of this?!?

Register for USMS online as soon as possible and come to Pico Sports Center early on February 23rd to register for our program.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at bethanyboschswim@hotmail.com.

See you at the pool!

US Winter Swimming Championships

You’ve all asked and wondered, and now finally, here it is, folks!  The “What I’m Doing Next”.  At least, as far as swimming adventures are concerned.  Below is the press release from Newport, VT about the Winter Swimming Championships – with my personal interjections from time to time.

This was one of the bays we couldn't swim in.  The one next door only had some ice floating in it.

This was one of the bays we couldn’t swim in when we went for a training swim last weekend. The one next door only had some ice floating in it, though, so we could get in.

Swimming around Ice

Helen and I about to go for our quick swim in Boston Harbor this past Saturday! It was great!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 11, 2015

From San Francisco to St. Petersberg, Finland to Montana, Winter Swimmers sign on to the US Winter Swimming Championships in February.

LAKE MEMPHREMAGOG, NEWPORT, VERMONT – Work begins in earnest this week to prepare for the inaugural US Winter Swimming Championships on February 21-22, 2015. (It’s the first one… how could I NOT sign up?!?!  Right in VT? C’mon!) Winter swimmers from around the nation and around the world have already begun to make plans to travel to Newport, Vermont for the 25, 50, and 100 meter championship swims. All in a 25 meter two-lane pool to be cut in the ice on Lake Memphremagog near The EastSide Restaurant in Newport, Vermont. (Yes.  A pool in the ice – both treacherous and beautiful…) Already, 25 swimmers have registered or committed to joining us. They come from Pittsburgh, San Francisco, St. Petersberg, and Boston, New York City, Vermont (I am not the only Vermonter!), Maryland, Chicago, Montana, Russia, Latvia, and Finland have already registered or committed to join this swim. Current Roster is attached along with a separate introduction to many of them. (You can go to the following article to get some insight into the kind of crazies who do this: http://dailynews.openwaterswimming.com/2015/01/explore-and-excel-in-extreme.html?spref=fb)

Every day we get new inquiries from swimmers wanting to participate. Are we excited, or what? And for local “novices” we will offer a charity “plunge” (quick in and out of the pool – do it, it will be awesome!) on Friday afternoon, February 20th to raise money for Jess Sicotte, a Derby Elementary School teacher battling cancer – to give our local residents an opportunity to experience what winter swimming is all about and to raise money for a neighbor in need. Kingdom Games, US Winter Swimming Association and Newport Parks and Recreation Department have all partnered to make this extraordinary event possible.

For more info about the swim or to register to join us, check out: http://www.uswsa.org. (Check out this website, anyway.  It’s bizarre and extreme and fun!) Newport Parks and Recreation Department will be cutting the pool on Friday and Saturday, January 23rd and 24th. We are looking for help from local contractors and high school students to build the wood liner around the edges of the pool. We are also looking for trucks, trailers, and other equipment to move the blocks of ice from The EastSide Restaurant to Gardner Park for use in the ice maze as part of the upcoming Winterfest Celebration to be held on February 7th. Anyone interested in helping, please contact Phil White at 802-249-9100 phw1948@gmail.com or Andy Cappello and Jessie Booth at 802-334-6345 newportrecreaqton@gmail.com. (Volunteers make the world go round!)

The Winter Swimming Championships are part of a full season of Winter Games on Lake Memphremagog hosted by Kingdom Games, including the North American Marathon Speed Skating Championships (1/31-2/1), The Great Skate (2/1) and Memphremagog Pond Hockey Classic (2/7-2/8). With the support of Newport City Renaissance Corporation, Newport City Inn and Suites, Little Gnesta, the City of Newport, and Dan Gauvin of Lakeview Aviation we will be maintaining the speedskating oval and a Nordic Skating Trail as long as we can this winter. (Even if you can’t make it for the swim, do something else wintry and fun!) They will be open to the public.

The Unlikeliest Christmas Tree Ornament

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It was the day after I’d spent 17 hours and 39 minutes swimming the English Channel. I sat in the little phone booth with WiFi outside Varne Ridge on my computer busily doing something electronic when a man came to the booth to use the internet. He was obviously a swimmer and so I asked if he had swum yet. He asked in three separate languages if I spoke something other than English. We briefly attempted French, but that was a no go. I had never met a language barrier so thick. We finally gave up, unsure what to do with each other, neither of us willing to resort to pantomimes.

As I returned to my trailer, I noticed that my “Congratulations on Swimming the Channel” banner had fallen down so I went about sticking it back to the window. As I did, I heard a “Hey!” from across the yard and looked up to see my European friend holding a similar banner as he stuck it back on his trailer. We both waved and smiled excitedly, clapping for each other.

Later, I was on my way to town and the man emerged from the phone booth again, holding this glow stick. His glow stick. The glow stick that was attached to his swimsuit during his channel swim.

“Dis is congratulations for you!” He said as he handed it to me.
“Oh, thank you,” I said, both touched and bemused by the gesture and unsure how to respond. “Congratulations to you, too!”

His face clouded with confusion (I think he thought I meant to give it back) and we resumed our language barrier with much nodding and smiling as I accepted his gift.

I got in the car, laughing – honored and slightly befuddled with what to do with somebody’s used glow stick from their Channel swim. I decided, eventually, that it would make a great Christmas ornament. And I put it on the tree with a very broad smile, remembering my non-english speaking friend and what a wonderful experience it was that we shared… No words required.

What’s Next, Bethany Bosch?

Typically, after people congratulate me on my big swim, they ask me what I’m going to do next.

My response is always:

I want to give back to my community and build a pool in Rutland, VT. I consider this to be more important than any other extraordinary athletic feat I could ever hope to accomplish.

However, seeing as I’ve had quite the monumental year this year – what with swimming the English Channel and turning 30 – it seemed like a good time to pause and evaluate my personal and professional goals.  Back when I turned 21, I made a list of 21 things I wanted to do in the next 21 years.  Curious about my progress and even what was on that list (as I haven’t looked at it in years!) I went back and dug it up.

I was amazed at how much and how little about me has changed.  My 21 year old self, as different as she may be from the person I am today, was absolutely the seedling capable of accomplishing many great things!  So I decided to re-type the list and give you a glimpse into who I am and who I hope to be.

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Perseverance

I would like to dedicate this post to Wallingford Elementary School.  They invited me to speak this past Friday, October 3rd and it was one of the best experiences of my life. The school theme for this year is Perseverance and I was asked to come and speak about my English Channel Swim as a part of that.  I pondered the topic for a while.  I mean… how can I help a school full of children to learn to persevere?  I was delighted to come up with the following four elements of perseverance and it seemed like a revelation well worth sharing.  This is basically the presentation I gave to WES, modified slightly, and without some of the swim details and facts or video presentation I made for them.

On September 1st, 2014 at about 4:40 in the morning, my hand turned around in its normal swimming stroke and struck something.  Sand.  It was the sand of a French beach!  I was so excited, I jumped to my feet.  I had been swimming non-stop since 11 am the morning before when I left Shakespeare Beach in England.  I hadn’t ever left the water since starting.  I hadn’t had much to eat.  I hadn’t spoken to very many people.  It had been dark in the sky and black in the water for hours upon hours after the sunset. I had been fighting the cold, cold sea and navigating her very strong tides with my boat and crew beside me… just swimming… turning my arms around and around and around…   I had been very, very sick for most of the night.

But when my hand touched the sand, I knew I made it.  I knew that all my hard work was worth it.  I had persevered and it got me to the other side.

I’m sure you all know what Perseverance is by now. The dictionary defines it as:

  • steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

It’s kind of easy to define perseverance, but how do you get it?  Where does it come from?  I was thinking about it and I came up with four ways that I found perseverance within myself.  It came gradually.  It took years of making myself strong.  Not just physically strong – I developed strength of heart, strength of mind, strength of body, and strength of spirit.

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