After running 13.1 miles last Saturday (and I use the term “running” loosely), it became apparent just how out of shape I am. And then, in speaking with my brother afterward about his knee pain research, I realized that I really do need to cross train much better than I have been. Not only that, but I have this very strange desire to complete a full Iron Man at some point in my life (I don’t know that it will ever happen, but right now it’s a seed waiting to be planted in my garden of goals…geez, the analogies that I come up with at 1:20 am).
Anyway, my point is that I decided to start swimming again. My mom was a swim teacher and coach, so I started on a recreational team when I was four-years-old. Yes. Four. I was never very fast, but I always had great form and could teach, so for a number of summers I followed in my mom’s footsteps and taught lessons. I made this decision on Monday. I’m happy to report that I swam twice this week (among other things). I had forgotten how much I love swimming and just being in the water. I had also forgotten how much I hate smelling like chlorine. But whatever, it does remind me of some of my happiest childhood memories.
When I started my laps on Tuesday, I just began with freestyle, not really taking into consideration whether that was the best decision. And then I had bathing suit issues. I won’t go into the details of it, but freestyle and my swimsuit were not getting along. I was really frustrated because I felt like if I wasn’t swimming freestyle, what was the point? (I’m not a perfectionist or anything…now do I have any unreal or unnecessary expectations about what I should be able to do.) I tried backstroke and that worked just fine with my swimsuit, but I didn’t want to just do backstroke. Being that I am no longer accustomed to swimming laps…and that I’m not in great shape, butterfly was out, so breaststroke it was.
I seriously compare breaststroke to walking on the treadmill. Can it really be doing me any good if I’m not gasping for air? But I decided to just go with it. I happily swam for 30 mintues (that’s all the time I had), got out of the pool feeling great (read: not winded) and was off (after immediately attempting to shower of the chlorine).
I was happy to discover the next day that I was sore. Not like “can’t move” sore, but just sore enough to know that I’d been working different muscles. This was encouraging. Swim #2 I had more time, so I swam for an hour. I was wearing a different bathing suit this time around (no issues with freestyle), but I continued with my back/breast routine. This time, though, to be sure, I checked my pulse every 10 laps or so, just to make sure that I was in a good fat-burning range. Happy, happy…I was. The hour passed like it was nothing. And there’s something so therapeutic about water (and not listening to music or talking to anyone).
I think I’ve found my new love at the gym: the pool. Now, if I could just convince everyone else that they don’t love it, so much the better (it was a little crowded on Friday). We’ll see how this continues, but I have a feeling I might make some space sacrifices in New York in order to be in a building with a pool. How great will that be?!