Day Ten of My Newest Obsession.



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My apologies for any typos, because I am headed to - you guessed it - the pool.

When I started swimming ten days ago, I had no idea it would become an obsession for me.   Today I completed my seventh swim workout, and I wanted to share my experiences so far...

Day One was hard.   I took the next day off because I went to EBAS stretch class and ballet.   Last Friday, JC came with me to the pool and worked, poolside, while I swam.   Much to my amazement (and his), I did 75 laps.   JC noted that my swimsuit - bought at Goodwill as part of my swim experiment - was waterlogged and causing resistance.   We went to Dick's sporting goods and he bought me a new mask (I don't know the technical terms, but it is a full eye mask, as opposed to just barely covering the eyes), as well as a Speedo Hydroslice, and an extra swim cap.

Day Three (Saturday morning), I swam 65 and sliced through the water so easily in the new suit.   I felt like a dolphin.   I wanted to do more, but alas, it turns out that bacon and eggs before swimming was a poor choice.

Day Four saw me at 56 laps, because people turned up to use the pool, and I didn't want to be in their way.

Day Five I did 85 laps!   There were people there - and I think I possibly broke up someone's romantic interlude - but they said they were swimming laps.   Riiiiight.   So I got in the water and swam as well.

Day Six I got down to the pool late - 8pm late.   A grandmother and granddaughter turned up, and they were just lovely!   I swam 60 laps, mostly freestyle, but with 5 backstroke laps.   The granddaughter called four more laps that the three of us swam together:   Freestyle, backstroke, breast stroke, and then we all treaded water for one lap.

As it turns out, I have found that the breast stroke is the best way to get the pool water directly into my sinus cavities and down my throat.

Today - 14 hours after my previous swim workout - I got down to the pool and swam 100 laps!   I was, quite frankly, astonished.   For one, yesterday not only did I do the swim workout, but I worked hard in EBAS stretch and ballet, and was feeling the fatigue inside my hips and lower back.  For another... that made 164 laps in fourteen hours.

I have encountered various people at the pool who have all been surprised to learn that I started ten days ago.   "I couldn't do that", is the refrain I hear again and again.

And I say "You couldn't be more wrong.   Anyone can swim.   You do it one lap at a time, and take your time, and be stubborn."

And yes, this has been an exercise in stubborn-ness, and I absolutely love every stroke of it!

Here are the things I have seen and realized in the past ten days:

1.   The sunlight coming through the trees and into the water, dapples the insides of the pool like a giraffe's skin.    There are not really words to describe how lovely it is.

2.   When I swim, I live entirely in the moment.   I spend the lap experimenting with hand and arm placements, moving my head, trying to see what works and what does not.   I don't hurry.   Hurrying will wear you out - and it can get you in trouble.

I count one lap at a time, and it is an exercise in meditation.

3.   When I backstroke, I tend swim all higgledy-piggledy-crooked.   So now I have a favorite tree on each side of the pool that I use to keep myself aligned.   One of them is named Goliath.   I haven't chosen a name yet for the other tree.

4.   Sometimes, I can go straight through ten laps, rest 30-60 seconds and go right back into another ten.   Sometimes, it's all about one or two laps at a time.

But if I stick with it, I will ultimately get a second wind somewhere between #50-60.   If I can get past 50, I can keep going.

5.  My caffeine intake is down by about 1/3 to 1/2 of what it has been for years.   I don't crave coffee like I normally do.

6.   Swimming just makes me happy.   Happy obsessed.

If you are able, you should try it.   Set a small goal, start with 20, but give yourself permission to take lots of breaks.  You aren't competing with anyone.  Slow and steady.

p.s. - Dick's Sporting Goods price matches - I was able to show them that the swimsuit was nearly $20 less on Amazon and they matched it, with no hassle, and a very friendly smile.   :)

Fifty!



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I just swam FIFTY laps!   My arms and legs feel like wood.

I woke up thinking I should go to some dance classes.   I have a monthly membership at a dance studio, where I pay a set price and can take up to ten classes at that set rate.   It's a great deal, but I think today is the last day of the billing cycle, and I only used six of my classes.  

But I just couldn't get myself motivated.  I was feeling pretty 'meh' about driving to the studio.   But I'm also anxious that I have gained a good bit of weight since the show closed last month.  I am up eight pounds.   Some of it is water weight, but I can't rely on that, and I knew I needed to do something today.

Plus I have two flamenco classes tonight and I didn't want to walk in cold.  So I finally decided to get off my can and go swim some laps - something I have been saying I wanted to do since Thanksgiving.  I read a lot about how Natalie Portman got into shape for Black Swan, and swimming was a big part of her training.

If it's good enough for Natalie, it's good enough for me.

I thought, walking down The Hill to the pool, that I would shoot for 50 laps, but in truth, I had no idea what steady swimming would be like, so I promised myself I could stop whenever I really felt like I was done.

I really felt like I was done at five laps.   

But I rested for a minute, then went for ten.  I took a break, drank some water, used the washroom, got back in the pool, paddled around, stretched a bit.

Then I did five-lap increments, determined to get to 20.   And I got there.  So I decided to try for five more.

Those next five were very hard and took some mental pep talking.   Just one more, I told myself.   Then I said it to myself again, just one more.  Until I hit 25.

At 25 laps, the service truck pulled up (they do maintenance on the pool and the clubhouse), but then they didn't seem to be coming into the pool area yet, so I thought, let me see if I can get in five more.   At 30, some random guy came in and sat down in a loungechair, with headphones and sunglasses.   He never took off his t-shirt.   I nodded politely and then ignored him.

I was aiming for 40, but then I thought, let's try 45.   Then at 45 I thought, what the hell, why not shoot for 50.

I DID IT!!!

The poolside guy left a minute after I did, and followed me partway up The Hill - but a neighbor friend of mine was driving down the hill, and he stopped and we chatted. Random Guy was still behind me, but veered off to the building across the street and went around like he was going in through one of the backdoors.   It's a steep hill, and we all do what we can to be lazy walking up The Hill.

I mention this, because, while I was very aware of being alone at the pool and in the clubhouse when I used the restroom, this was a very good reminder that the next time, I will be checking in with JC before and after my swim.   Today was about 45 minutes, door to door.   I think it is very important for anyone, but especially women who are alone, to be cognizant of their surroundings, and have a plan.   And a Backup Plan B.  I didn't even have my phone with me today, but you can bet I will next time - which I think will be Friday morning, but a little earlier.   The sun was a little strong by the time I wrapped up at 11:15, even with 70spf.

The interesting things I noticed while swimming:  How clear and aqua-sparkly the water was.  How the clouds were forming an arc of little cotton puffs across the sky.   A random bird calling out in a clear, treble voice.   The cicadas starting to warm up and really sing.

And how very, very, ridiculously steep The Hill was, walking back.   


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