What Our Bodies Can Do: Lee Skallerup Bessette on Coaching Young Swimmers (and Listening to Yourself)

Episode 2 of the Second Breakfast podcast

Welcome to the second episode of Second Breakfast, an audio companion to the Second Breakfast newsletter, which explores the history of the future of food and fitness and "wellness" technologies. Here on the podcast, we look at our own stories of our bodies in motion and at rest.

Today's guest is Lee Skallerup Bessette, Assistant Director for Digital Learning at the Center for New Designs for Learning and Scholarship at Georgetown University, where she specializes in technology and pedagogy and collaborative learning — and I know I know, I said I was done with ed-tech, but I think — I hope — that if we adjust the lens slightly we can see not only the ways in which stories about tech shape our brains but shape our bodies. And we can look at the multitude of ways in which teaching and coaching work (or fail to work) in our day-to-day lives.

Before we get into today's conversation, I want to thank the paid subscribers to Second Breakfast, who make this show and the newsletter possible. Among other things, I'm able to pay my guests for their time. This podcast is available — as soon as I get my act together with the syndication — via your favorite podcasting app, as well as on the Substack platform.

Audrey: Yay! Okay, so honestly, when I started this whole project, the whole second breakfast idea, I knew I wanted to talk to you about it because I just have so many thoughts and like, unformed ideas about how coaching relates to and doesn't relate to teaching. And the whole idea of being a progressive educator, like what does that look like for coaching? Right? I think there's just like a lot to unpack… all of the fitness stuff and the tech stuff, it's like so much Skinnerism, right? And it's so much about training and conditioning. And so I just knew of all the people I know, I knew that there were just like handful of people that also think about these things. And so, yay, you.

Lee: Well, it's actually a really great question. And I have done a lot of thinking about that. And I don't know if I have a perfect answer because, you know, like I was educated in the 80s and 90s and I was swimming in the 80s and 90s. And the idea of what good teaching was then and the idea of what good coaching was then is very different than what it is now.

As background, I swam competitively for 13 years from the age of eight to 19. I tried to swim collegiately in Canada and just I, you know, I couldn't do it anymore. And then still love the sport and have been coaching off and on ever since. I did some master's swimming when I was doing my PhD, which was fabulous. And I've coached masters, I've coached kids, I've coached. And so currently I'm coaching in Northern Virginia for a small swim team up here.

So I have to do coaching certifications. Swimming is one of those ones where it's not just a background check, right? Like we have to take water safety. We have to take CPR. We have to do a lot of work.

And one of the things now is safe sport. And, you know, the first time I did safe sport and the first time I've done some of these trainings was like, this is what abuse is, right? And they outline every single one of them. And I was like, oh, I experienced every single one of these as a swimmer.

And, and I know that friends of mine experienced in other sports as well, right? If we were where I grew up in the suburbs of Montreal, aquatics was huge. We had Olympic divers, we had Olympic swimmers, we had gold metal synchronized swimmers. We had tons of people on the national team. The current head of swim Canada is where I'm from and was one of my colleagues. The current head coach of water polo, same thing. The current head coach of Canada swimming — West Islander, right?

That's what, what I grew up in. But it was humiliation. It was body shaming. It was — breaking point — it was sexual harassment. That was just how you coached, right, or how you were coached.

But on the flip side of that in order to become a swim instructor in order to become a swim coach at that time actually had to take coaches classes in pedagogy.

Audrey: Interesting

Lee: We had to learn how to give good feedback for swimming lessons. how to organize a class. What do you do for 30 minutes with different swimmers of different levels? There are skills you need to teach them and here's how you build skills. And here's how you deal with different age groups and different levels and not overloading and all of those kinds of things. And then so when I went into a classroom situation as a PhD student, I'd never had any pedagogy courses but I'd learned all this stuff from teaching swimming and taking these lessons five, six, seven years earlier and was like, oh, okay, well, here's how I plan a 50 minute session. Here's how I adjust my expectations. Here's how I build. But I was still in lecture mode because that's how I had been taught.

And it wasn't until, you know… I may have been coached horribly, but I, as a swimmer, wanted to create the team environment where people wanted to come to practice. And so, and there's lots of reasons for that, you know, more personally, it was because I made swim team my family, basically. And I was like, what is the family I wanna be in? What is the kind of team I want to be on? And I worked really hard to make sure everybody was included, to make sure that the swimmers felt supported, even if we had just been treated like shit by our coach. Now we would call it gaslighting. I refuse to gaslight. I would acknowledge that, yeah, that was a shitty thing. And it wasn't perfect, because I'm 15, and you know, I fucked up as much as I did well as a 15 year old trying to be like, I'm trying to create this positive inclusive environment because we were a small team. We were a small fish in a big pond. And so in a lot of cases, by the end of my career on the swim team, we were getting swimmers coming back to swim who had burnt out from other teams because we had that reputation of being the least bad. And part of that was very, as purposeful as a 15 or 16 year old can be about something, I would organize team outings. We would crash at my dad's place after Saturday morning practice to watch movies. We would make sure that, you know, everybody cheered for everybody else at swim meets. We made sure that we didn't care what size you were. We didn't care what, how fast you were. Everybody was welcome on our team and everybody was a valuable member of our team.

Audrey: This is super interesting to me because I've been thinking a lot. I was just never, ever, ever an athletic kid at all. Part of it's my eyesight. I mean, I can't see like more than like a foot in front of my face. But swimming was something that I always really enjoyed, got much better once I was in middle school and I got contacts and I could wear goggles. Swimming was never a sport that frightened me, even when I couldn't see in the pool.

And now that you're talking about this, it was so different than my experiences in PE. And part of that is that swimming lessons, I mean, any kind of lesson as like extracurricular thing, your parents are paying for it. There's a different kind of investment, literally in the children. It's a smaller setting, you know, there's never 35 kids in the swim class. But this is a lot. Yeah, yeah, but it was just pedagogically like a very different experience than gym class at school, which was pretty much the worst part of my week, I would say, school, and worst part of school. And the reason I don't actually have a high school diploma is I needed two credits of PE to graduate high school. And I took swimming in high school. So I think, oh, they offer swimming. And then I never took the second PE credit because I'm sorry, like, fuck that. So yeah, I mean, swimming is really, yeah.

Lee: Yeah, I was terrible at PE as well. Like I am the most awkward person on land, which is actually kind of funny where I later was diagnosed with ADHD and it is very common for people with ADHD to have bad proprioception, like body knowledge.

And even now I walk into walls, I misjudged where door frames are, I have no sense of balance and fall over really easily. I was a distance swimmer. I was working out 30 hours a week between weight training and swimming and other kinds of cross training that we would be doing on dry land as we called it. And I could barely pass any of the any of the P.E. the beat the beep as we call it (which they still do, shocks me). The pacer test they call it, we call it the beat the beep.

We bought a house when I was very young or very small that had a pool in the backyard which was not uncommon for where we lived and so my mom was just like she's got to learn to swim. This is not like we're not expecting anything from this. This is just we go to the lake. We have a pool. You need to know how to swim.

Because we were such a hotbed for aquatics and for swimming, we actually had an opportunity to not do like those Red Cross ones, which was part life-saving, part like elementary backstroke and side stroke and like, just like rudeness. We had Clifford Berry, who is a huge name in Canadian swimming and just swimming in general, had just moved to the area and introduced the Olympic way, as they called it. So it was very much focused on strokes and all of that kind of stuff. And, you know, that's what she signed me up for. And I took to it and they were like, she is a prodigious swimmer. She is amazing. You know, she's gonna be a really good swimmer. You need to sign her up for swim team. And I loved it. Right. I loved it.

On the flip side of that, because I was seen as this like “natural swimmer,” you know, and combined with the poor proprioception is that I didn't progress very much because it was just like, Oh, she can swim. So make her swim. And so it made me swim and then when I did get stroke correction, I didn't understand it. It's that body awareness and realizing this after the fact is also really informed how I teach in terms of that progressiveness is that not everyone's going to get it.

“Engage your core, engage your core — isn’t that what I’m doing?!”

But when I'm swimming, they were like, engage your core. And I'd be like, I don't know what that means, right? Like a sit up, like this is not, I'm like this in the water, not like this, you can't see this cause it's a podcast, but like I'm stretched out in the water lengthwise. And for me, engaging my core is to make myself smaller, scrunched up because that's how you engage it. And so it was just being told the same message over and over again: engage your core, engage your core, make a high catch, make a high catch. And you're like, isn't that what I'm doing?

I only realized I was doing it wrong when I became a master's form was like, oh, that's what it meant. Oh, that's what we were talking about. But no one tried to explain it to me any differently. So I take into both my teaching and my coaching: thinking about ways to engage, to have swimmers or students engage with things in different kinds of ways so that they can get a better understanding of what, so like a drill might work for some swimmers, but might not work for others. So you have to kind of find that drill or find the way to describe what you want them to do that clicks for them. And same thing with teaching. You have to sort of find that way to describe or to give entry to something that makes sense to them.

And it's okay if you're not an Olympian. It's okay if you never make nationals. It's okay if you don't go to a D1 school or a D3 school. It's okay. If you don't go on to get a PhD, it's okay if you're never going to major in whatever it is that I happen to be teaching, right?

Audrey: And most of us aren't, you know? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I mean, as a runner, you know, now it's like, I'm never gonna win, I'm never gonna win a race. It's all participation trophies, right? But I think you still have to be able to find joy in your body, but also I think, for me, it's like the joy in the improvement and joy in the practice and also figuring out what my body can do. And I don't know that you can actually do that if, if the coaching is toxic, right? You can't actually uncover your own strength if you're being told that, you know, you're not good enough. You're not thin enough.

Lee: Yeah, yeah, and that was, you know, that was always a huge component and it's really funny — not funny, haha — but I was probably the least negatively impacted by it. And again, I think that has something to do with my neurodivergence, but also the fact that I love to eat so much, but may also be a part of my neurodivergence because ADHD means you don't have enough dopamine. And one good way to get a dopamine hit is to eat good food. And swimmers are also notoriously always hungry. Like we are always hungry. Swimmers can out eat just about anyone.

You know, cause I, I was getting those messages, you know, I was getting those messages at swimming, I was getting those messages, you know, from the media. I was getting those messages in high school. I was even getting, you know, those messages at home. And yet I almost stubbornly was like, just refused. I was just like, no, I'm just going to keep eating. Like you tell me to eat less. I'm just going to eat more. Which is probably also not healthy, but, but because I was swimming, I could get away with it. Now once I stopped swimming, it was a little more problematic, because I'd never learned how to, I'd never learned how to really listen to my body. I never learned how to differentiate and, and again, having ADHD makes this extraordinarily difficult. We're bad at listening to our body in any way, shape or form, hunger, pain tolerance, like just threshold. We'll just keep going. But again, there was no conversations around those things.

So it became a different kind of issue around food. Not a catastrophic one, thankfully. And I was really, you know, I knew I was never gonna be thin. I was, this is, you know, my mother is very tall and very thin and was a ballerina and a high jumper and a track athlete and a basketball player. And you know, to her credit, you know, I came out and was not any of those things. You know, I was not tall. I was not thin. I was not graceful. I was not coordinated. And so she, you know, when I expressed an interest in swimming, which she was doing to, you know, just like, I don't want you to drown, she was like, great, this is what you're going to do that.

If this is what you want to do, she didn't try to force any of her activities on me. It was just like, you want to swim? Swim. And if I'd said I'd wanted to dance, she would have signed me up for dance. If I'd said I'd wanted to play basketball for some bizarre reason, she would have, she signed me up for that. I mean, I tried soccer and I tried baseball because everybody did that. But like at the end of the day, it was like, no, I'm going to swim. She's like, great, swim. So in that sense, it was good.

Audrey: So as a coach now, do you find yourself, I mean, how do you navigate, I think, the messages for your athletes now? But also, how do you navigate the parental messages too? Because it's one, you know, you've gotta like, you have to help your athletes understand that they have to eat. Which I don't think it's a message that girls in particular do not get the message that they need to eat. But then also, parents bring a lot of that crappy anti-fat bias to the table as well. I mean, for a lot of reasons, that's almost the rationale for why we do sports. When I volunteered last year with a youth running group, is the amount of anti-fat bias was like, the reason that you want your kids to run is so that they aren't fat. I'm like, wow, no. Like that's, you know, so how do you navigate that as a coach?

Lee: I prefer to coach the younger kids. Basically they hit middle school and I don't want to have anything to do with them anymore because I'm just like, I can't take this energy. This is not, I'm little kid energy. I am like 10 and under energy. I am not middle school energy at all. And, and, and it's also because I am more of a technician and more of a teacher, I guess, where, you know, I am like, we're going to work on these skills, right? Kind of like the parts that I enjoyed the most and the parts that I was trained in, but I'm actually pretty good at it too, is how can I create a base on which you can have a solid had solid techniques and all of your strokes so that when you move on from me and start doing actual yardage, actual training, actual pushing that you'll have a good base, you're not going to injure yourself, you're going to set you up well. I don't do garbage yardage as we call it. So it's a lot of 25s, it's a lot of just drilling, it's a lot of that kind of stuff. And also just to keep them enjoying it. I try really hard that too to instill that kind of passion for it so it remains fun for them.

And so we don't talk a lot about food, right? Sometimes we have to have a conversation around, okay, well, if you're not feeling well, and our practice is at an awkward time, like we train from seven to eight o'clock, and so it's like, have they eaten dinner ahead of time, or are they eating dinner afterwards, right? What time is everyone coming home from work? What time is school over? What time is bedtime Maybe you need to eat something before you come to practice and change up a schedule that way. Not because they're not eating. It's just that like, they don't know what the routine is yet. Right? Because they've never done this before. I'm dealing with swimmers who are swam in the summertime, like recreationally, but this is the first time they're coming to like, we're going to practice for an hour, two or three times a week. Right? Like this is a big shift often for them in terms of effort level, in terms of scheduling, in terms of all that. I'm more concerned not about the food to be honest, but how over scheduled all these kids are. That's where I'm really concerned more on those lines, at least like I said with the kids I coach.

“I'm more concerned, not about the food to be honest, but how over-scheduled all these kids are.”

Audrey: Oh my God, that's so true.

Lee: I don't talk about bodies in terms of like shapes or sizes. I talk about them in terms of what they can do. If any of the swimmers are engaging in that kind of dialogue, and usually at that age it is less about themselves and more about projecting on the other people, I put a stop to that immediately. And we have a conversation around, again, we wanna focus on what our bodies can do, not what they look like.

“I don't talk about bodies in terms of like shapes or sizes. I talk about them in terms of what they can do.”

Audrey: So you aren't currently swimming, you're coaching but not swimming. So how do you stay, how do you manage to stay sort of a fan or are you still, do you think, a fan of the sport?

Lee: I am probably a bigger fan now than I was when I was a swimmer. I just understand the mechanics of it and also just like the camera angles you get and like that you just didn't have when I was, you know, it was an overhead camera. You'd watch the Olympics, it was an overhead camera. They'd go back and forth. You'd be like, great. And it was kind of grainy. But now you've got like the underwater cameras, it's HD, it's, you know, 1080p. Like you can see the details. And I mean, I would say that it drives my family crazy because it's the Olympics and I'm like, we're watching swimming and they're like, oh God, really? And I would just be watching like Michael Phelps and watching his butterfly would make my heart hurt because to me it was so beautiful. It was so technically perfect and flawless that he made it look so easy. And if you've ever swam butterfly, you know that it is not easy. It is a terribly hard stroke.

Audrey: I've never learned that stroke. It looks so hard. Yeah.

Lee: It's so hard and it's body control, it's timing, it's strength, but it's also flexibility. It is the most physically challenging of the strokes, but if you get it right, it just works. And so I can watch this and appreciate it and sit there and see, okay, how are they doing this? Why are they doing this? You know, what's changed, what are they, you know, looking at underwater, how are they doing it? So I can really get into the finer details of what they're doing in their races to kind of understand like all of that, like just all of that sort of detail oriented stuff. Like there's like they're swimming fast and you know, you watch Katie Ledecky and she's, you know, nobody else is in the screen with her during the 800 or the 1500. Right? Like there's like, here's Katie Ledecky and here's everybody else. There are full 50, if not 75 behind her. She's just chugging along and you look at her splits. You're just like, how do you even do that? How do you do that for, you know, 13 minutes?

You know, so there's that appreciation, but then, you know, you can also, you know, with social media, you can get so many more ideas about coaching and about training. And like, you know, I can't do breaststroke, just physiology wise, I'm knock-kneed and they turn in and that's exactly opposite of what you need to be able to do for breaststroke, which is to turn out. And so like I understand it technically, but because I was never really able to do it physically very well, I have a really hard time than trying to explain it. And so like, being able to find drills to be able to be like, oh, okay, here's a way that I can, I wish somebody had explained breaststroke to me this way because maybe then it would have made sense. Something clicks, it's like, other than my kneecaps when I do it. Why I don't do it.

I try to give my swimmers the language and awareness of their bodies to be able to advocate for themselves.

“I try to give my swimmers the language and the awareness of their bodies to be able to advocate for themselves.”

Audrey: One thing about Michael Phelps in particular, I think, and just in general, I'm fascinated by the way in which sports help us have conversations — “normal people” have conversations. So Phelps has been really interesting, I think, for talking about mental health. And so do you have any thoughts on either like the mental health piece of swimming for you or just the way in which these sports kind of help us move forward politically?

Lee: Swimming is, despite being a team sport, an extraordinarily solitary activity. I can't swim by myself anymore. I need to be on a team. I can't swim by myself because it is quiet, which is nice, but also really hard. Right? And it's only recently that you could, you know, really pay a lot of money for a set of headphones that, that are on your bone to be able to listen to music. ‘Cause Bluetooth doesn't work. Right? And like everything was too bulky and it's still out of that. You could listen to music while you swim. And particularly if you're swimming over long distances, right? These sets are an hour long of just back and forth. That's why swimmers are very special people because it's just back and forth and back and forth. And it's a line on the bottom of the pool or it's a line on the ceiling that you just stare at. And it becomes very mechanical because at a certain point at a certain level, and even I was at that level, you take almost exactly the same amount of strokes per length, right? Per 25 yards or meters or 50. And so your body even knows without looking that it's time to do a flip turn.

“It's a line on the bottom of the pool or it's a line on the ceiling that you just stare at.”

And so you can very easily go on autopilot. And then what does your mind do? Well, it wanders. And sometimes that can be a good thing, but often that can be a bad thing, depending on, again, what is going on around you. You know, all of that comes in as one of the things that I had a hard time doing was leaving stuff outside of the pool. I'd bring that all with me into the pool. And so because of that, you know, because of you don't always have to watch the ball. You don't always have to watch what everybody else is doing. At a certain point, you know, if you're seven in a lane, then yes, you have to pay attention to everyone and make sure you're going five seconds apart and who's passing whom and what's pace and why are you touching my feet? And I gotta make sure I don't hit anyone.

But like, if you're just like in a zone where it's like you and one or two other people in your lane and like, okay, we're going to do this set for the next 45 minutes. Like you just, you know, what, what do you do? And I think that swimming in particular, we've been hearing that hearing about it a lot can be very dangerous mentally. Just because you are alone with your thoughts in silence for extended periods of time. That's why you hear a lot of swimmers take up meditation and visualization and those kinds of things because you need to know how to deal with it. And we're only learning about these things now. So I think it's important that we talk about mental health.

I so am happy that bad coaches and bad actors in swimming are getting called out. I think at Cal in particular, I mean, she, Terry, you know, the hero of the sport, you know, somebody we all admired and aspired. And then, you know, I am devastated for those swimmers who are on the off list, who developed eating disorders, who developed major depression, all of that kind of stuff. But I am so proud that they are calling the shit out now because it is so important that to understand that, no, this is not good coaching. This is abuse and it has real impacts. But even in the most supportive environment, you can very easily slip into depression and anxiety and OCD and all of these things. And so like, I think the more athletes in all sports talk about it, right?

The joke with swimmers is that most of us swim cause we can't run. Cause if we could run, then we just do triathlons. We get very, we're very jealous of the triathletes because they're like, oh man, they get to swim and run and bike and all we do is swim. Like we're not really good at anything else. And all these swimmers were like, no, I took up running afterwards. I'm actually really fast at that too. And you're like, my knees hurt.

Audrey: I have to say we are in the age group too of the most badass competitive athletes ever. Like the 50 to 54 year old age group, Masters women are just like the so incredibly strong and fast. I mean, I feel like we like have it over like the youngsters any day. So, but what's key is what we have for breakfast. So Lee. What's your breakfast situation look like?

Lee: Definitely coffee with almond milk. Usually like three shots of espresso with some almond milk, either steamed or cold, depending on how I'm feeling. It's been, it got warm here again. And then I like protein. I really like protein in the morning. And so I'm a kind of eggs and meat kind of person, where I can get some eggs together with some meats and some usually leftover meats from the night before and just like cook all that up and just have a big bowl of like protein in the morning.

I was never allowed sugary cereals growing up.

Audrey: Yeah, so my mom is British and so the sugar cereal wasn't really part of our, it was very much a toast. We would have toast and you could have marmite, which I would not have, marmite or jam on your toast. Not even like a peanut butter situation. It was pretty much toast and an egg. Toast and an egg, yes. Yeah.

Lee: Yeah. That was, that was me growing up too. Like there was the, we'd go through, I'd go through phases. And I mean, like after I, cause I couldn't eat before morning practice, cause it's 5 a.m. And it's just like, if I choked anything down, it would be like, oh gosh, I don't feel so good.

But then once you got out of morning practice, like I needed to have like a full-on swimmer's breakfast. Like it was, give me eggs, give me bacon, give me toast, give me potatoes, give me coffee, give me juice, give me, you know, like just like give it, because you were so hungry after the fact. But I don't need quite that much breakfast anymore, but I do like a good hot coffee and a pile of protein.

Audrey: Yeah, I'm a big protein person in the morning as well.

Lee: It's also how your body changes. Because like, I'm just thinking of my husband where he can't do carbs in the morning anymore. Because it gives him atrocious heartburn the rest of the day.

Audrey: Ugh. That's sad.

Lee: Yeah, it is. It is. And it took him a while again, this whole listening to your body thing as you age and change and all of that, where he just like, for a long time was just like, but I love my whatever carb in the morning, right? Like, I want my croissant, I want my bagel, I want my, and then he'd just be like, Oh God, I feel terrible. And then finally, he just has to say that I can't do this anymore, right? It's just, I might want it, but my body's like, screw you, buddy.

Audrey: The aging, this aging thing is very weird. I hate it. I love it. Actually, no, because it's fine. It's fine.

Lee: So here's what I've found about aging and my body. And part of this is also like my own, my own, again, neurodivergence, is that like, because I have bad proprioception, like, you know how there's the saying that you'll, nothing tastes as good as thin feels? That stupid saying. I literally don't know the difference in my own body.

I have been been fat, I have been thin, I have been strong, I have been weak. And internally it feels all the same to me. And it's really weird in that way. And sort of acknowledging that, but also just kind of saying like, I am proud of what my body can do. Even if I'm not in the best shape, I still have accomplished a lot. I've still done a lot. I'm still here, I'm still breathing, I'm still walking. And if and when I do find a team and find the time to get back in the water, I'm gonna be like, my body will remember how to swim freestyle, heck, it'll probably even remember how to swim butterfly.

And I might not be able to go as far and I might not be able to go as fast, but like it'll still work. And I'll make sure that it works in a way that's beneficial to me. I'm more aware of my body. I'd listen to it more. I'll know if my shoulders hurt in a certain way that I should ease off. And that's okay. It's learning how to, as we age, taking away those value judgments of good and bad, right? It just is. And then you just have to think about, well, what am I going to do about this? What does this mean? And that as long as you're not hurting yourself, then that's a good decision.

Audrey: Yeah, for me, I have, you know, having never been an athlete until I turned 50, everything now is like a new accomplishment. I am the strongest I've ever been in my life. I'm the fastest I've ever been in my life. Maybe not in the pool, maybe not in the pool, but yeah. And so for me, it's, you know, it's learning this new part that I knew part that I never dreamed I could accomplish these things physically, always having been a very cerebral child and never having any confidence in my physical capabilities to now have not just the confidence in athletic events, but just general everyday occurrences too. I mean, I think that that's... I feel... after everything that has happened to me, I know that I am incredibly strong. And so I think, to me, I move forward as aging, knowing that it's not actually a story of weakness, it's actually a story of strength. You know, and I'm gonna be stronger, not because I'm gonna necessarily be faster, but because I am smarter, and I do know how to listen to my body.

Lee: Yes. Yep. And, and to tune out the noise, right? Like I, I was as fast as a master swimmer swimming way less and training way less than I was when I was 19 and quit the sport. Because I had really good coaching and taught and I learned how to swim smarter as opposed to just like mindlessly chugging along in the pool where it was like, no, we are here. Yeah, we're here for an hour and here's how we maximize that hour, right? We're all busy and we're old and we probably can't train for two and a half hours anymore because ouch.

But that's okay. So let's figure out then the best way to do it. And I think that that's something that I've carried with me as well. Is that it's just like, there's, there are different ways to go about these things. And if you can tune out the noise that tells you, and again, this is coming in terms of my ADHD as well, if you can tune out the noise that tells you that that's not how you should be doing things and instead just do things the way that makes sense and feels good, then you'll go a lot further. And I think that is hard fought wisdom that comes, unfortunately, in most cases, with age.

“If you can tune out the noise that tells you that that's not how you should be doing things and instead just do things the way that makes sense and feels good, then you'll go a lot further.”

Audrey: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, and I think that one of the funny things too is that there's so little, there's so little research about post-menopausal athletes that like, I think that we are, you know, we are able to tell and crack open new stories now because the kind of way in which training is designed is for, you know, college age men.

And so I think that our capabilities are really not, they're not known. And so I think that, you know, people can say, well, the science says, and the science doesn't know anything. I think that the, I was talking to someone the other day, is I think they're realizing now that a lot of the things that we associated with old age was actually more associated with being inactive. You know, and I think that if you are able to retain activity and sort of, it's...

It's not this, again, it's not this story that somehow you turn 30, what, 30, and it's just downhill from there. God forbid you hit your 50s. I think that we're going to be able to demonstrate that you can age and continue to have strong, joyful movement in your body. So hopefully.

Lee: You know and but also like accepting your own limitations like everybody's like well You could just get up real early in the morning. You can go swim at 5:30 and I'm like, oh I could. But I'm not because that does not bring me joy. No, my body is like "you made me do this all through our teenage years we are never doing this again."

Audrey: Thank you so much Lee, I loved that we could have this conversation about all these things — coaching, aging, teaching, swimming, flip turns, protein for breakfast.

I used to be able to point to the social media formerly known as Twitter and perhaps you do know Lee as @readywriting there. You can still find her on her own website at readywriting.org.

Thanks you for listening, and we’ll see you next time on the Second Breakfast podcast.