I love being in the water. Seriously, my little facebook thingy under my profile picture says “just add water” — and it’s true, that’s when I’m at my happiest.
I learned how to swim when I was 2 years old, and was in swimming classes until around 8 or 9 years old, when our swim coach kept getting upset that I wouldn’t show up for the weekend swim meets and was threatening to downgrade me to a lower level. (I have ALWAYS hated competing while swimming, it caused too much anxiety not knowing if I was winning or not until the end.) My mom finally took me out of the classes and later said it was time anyway, since girls that keep on swimming when their body is developing tend to end up with very wide shoulders and back (the so called swimmer’s body, which looks way more attractive in men!).
By the way, if you think learning to swim when you’re only 2 is young, my brother actually learned when he was 8 months old — we don’t have it on camera, unfortunately, but we do have videos of my mom throwing him from a 3 meter diving board into the deep water and him swimming to the side when he was just short of 2 years old. It’s too cute!
When I first moved to the DC area from NYC metro, I was giddy with excitement that not only I lived in a building with a pool, but I could actually afford a gym with a lap pool. I started swimming again after years and years away. At first it was hard, I would swim 25 or 50 meters and have to pause to catch my breath. But within a couple of months I was swimming a mile to a mile and a half at least 4 days a week. I kept it up for a year.
Then I found that DC also had another thing I loved: VOLLEYBALL! So between doing my lone swim laps or hanging out with a crowd, making new friends while I played volleyball for 4 hours straight 5-6 days a week (really not exaggerating, I was obsessed), I chose volleyball. This was right after I got dumped by my boyfriend when he moved out of the country to work for the State Department in Poland (a very good decision he made at the time — a long distance relationship for that long and that far would have ended badly, he decided to end right after his move when he realized that it would be unfair to either of us to try it. He is now – I think – happily married and they just had a baby girl). Anyway… I was in NEED of new friends. I gave up swimming and didn’t regret it once.
I keep saying that I want to get back at it, specially now that my volleyball schedule died down a bit (and I just left my league last month, since marathon training is taking too much of my free time), but I never actually seem to get myself out there.
On Sunday, while lounging at our pool, I approached a random neighbor who was swimming and asked if she wanted to join me for laps during the week — I just needed something to make me get out there. After such a long time away, I was hesitant to start again. She was up for it, and we made a pool date for tonight. The forecast tonight sucked though, so she canceled, but as soon as I got home from my run from work, I rinsed the sweat off, put on my swimsuit, and out I went!
It was even better that the finger lap counter I bought online on Sunday, arrived on the mail today! I couldn’t find my old one (not that the battery would still be good), so it was great to have it (I get so lost in my own thoughts while swimming that I always lose count).
At first, I had to take a break after every 100 meters… Then I decided to swim the way I used to 4 years ago (not the proper way of swimming but helps defeat boredom and keeps me from tiring out): out freestyle (front crawl) and back breaststroke. After doing that, I didn’t have to take a break once. I was so in peace with myself. Plus my favorite part of swimming is the flip-turn (yes, I’m still a kid), so I get to do it going on both directions! (You won’t ever see me talking about backstroke — I’ve hit my hand on the edge of the pool way too many times so I hate it! Specially since the pool doesn’t even have flags, so I won’t even try it…)
Unfortunately, it started to rain and the lifeguards closed down the pool. I was hoping on using these for some leg drills with dolphin kicks, but didn’t get a chance to. (They’re great for working out the quads, so I highly recommend them. Plus, I have long lost ago lost my core strength to cross a pool swimming butterfly, but this gives me just enough “oomph” that I can pull it off.)
I checked how many laps I had done and did the math: I swam 900 meters today! Not much, but definitely great for my first time out in years. It’s probably a good thing the lifeguards kicked me out, otherwise I would have easily been there for an hour. I’ll definitely be sore tomorrow.
I was surprised I was not once out of breath. Hmmmm, all this running might be keeping me in good shape…
I went home super happy and couldn’t stop talking about it with Karl!
Now let’s hope I keep up with it (I’d be stupid not to, I loved every minute of it). Maybe I’ll finally get those toned arms and shoulders just in time for the wedding?
How do you feel about swimming? Do you use it for cross training with running at all?