I have previously written posts about swimming (see also here!), but it's been a while since Jon or I have hit the pool for some laps. Like . . . I don't even remember the last time I swam laps at my friendly, neighborhood JCC indoor pool. I knew my endeavor yesterday evening was going to be hard, which is why I was glad I was the only one in the pool. The 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. slot is THE BEST for when you (i.e., I) need to make a fool of yourself (i.e., myself) lap swimming. I very rarely have had to share a lane during that time, and when I did in the past, I shared with only Jono. Apparently no one wants to swim that late, or they are *too cool* to feel the need to hide under the cover of darkness and they choose the busiest lap-swim times to show off their mad skillz. But I'm not jealous or anything . . .
I pushed open the door to the pool and accidentally said, "Oh!" when I saw it was just me and the lifeguard, Michelle. (Her name was written on a handy whiteboard so you know whose name to scream when you start to drown.) I have always found this personal-swimming-pool thing a little awkward, as it's has happened to me in the past: I feel a little bit like I'm putting on a one-woman show for Michelle or whichever lifeguard has the misfortune of watching me gasp for air at each end and adjust my dang earplugs and foggy goggles a hundred times. I'm at the point now where, while I'm swimming, I make up introductory sentences I would say if I ever got the guts to chat with them. "Got any pointers for my freestyle, besides to generally improve everything?" "Is there a trick to keeping these stupid goggles from fogging up during EVERY lap?" "Are you judging me for taking a break after every 25 meters? 'Cuz this sh!t's hard."
Of course what we actually said to each other was "Have a nice night!" after I thanked her for watching over me so diligently. I ended up doing 500 meters over the course of twenty-five minutes. I would say I did about fifteen to twenty minutes of solid swimming and about five minutes of catching my breath. I was able to fall back into bilateral breathing pretty easily, and I swallowed water only once! And it was just a little bit! I managed to do freestyle for the most part. I probably logged about 75 or 100 meters of breaststroke, including my first lap because, honestly, I was afraid I'd lost so much technique and would end up inhaling water and sputtering all over. Instead, I got halfway into my first 25 meters before my left earplug started to fall out. I need my earplugs to be locked in tight or my ears will hate me for days, so I had to stand up right at the ramp leading into the deep end and fix it. (I even had to back up to before the ramp because when it says "five feet deep," it means my mouth and nose are not above water at that depth. Lol.) Eventually, after a few more laps and adjustments, my earplugs were no longer a problem. The one accessory that did not give me any troubles was my swim cap! Finally! Turns out it's way easier to get a swim cap over a pixie cut than it is over a soggy horse tail. Whodathunkit?
As I paused at the ends of the pool, I would check my pulse just for funsies. My heart was pounding. And probably mad at me for pushing it so hard so soon after eating delicious peanut butter M&Ms. (Yes, I logged it into MFP so it truly exists, and I am still trying to get my sugar down! I had a coupon, so sue me!) My skin was turning red from the intensity of the workout, something I haven't experienced in a while. It felt kind of nice to really feel my body working. The added bonus was that, with my skin so warm, the best way to feel cooler was to do another lap! The water felt great on my skin, especially my beet-red face.
As I drove home from the gym, I thought about how excited I am to swim again. I had been so afraid to get back into it. Jon and I had talked about it many different times, but neither of us acted on it. I know I have been afraid of a couple of things: (1) as I mentioned before, not being able to do it very well anymore and (2) looking ridiculous in my swimsuit, if it even fit.
I don't know why I decided to swim today, though some of it might have been the peanut butter M&Ms and me thinking I needed a higher-intensity workout to burn them off. Regardless, I am SO glad I did. I am fired up about adding in swimming as a cross-training option while we get ready for the Buffalo Half Marathon in May. My hopes are to not go on hiatus from swimming like we did before (swimming year round!!) and to improve my stroke and overall distance. One thing I do know is that my triceps will be plenty sore tomorrow!
Nice job Ellie!! I’m going to get back in the pool soon too! I have only taken off maybe a month, but I miss it for sure! Cross training is fun yay
Cross-training IS fun! Maybe mostly because it’s something other than running and it’s like a little treat, but I love it. Send me a pool selfie when you go, hehe!
I’ve lived in two buildings for a combined three years with swimming pools and used them a max once a month. Now I regret not using it more!
My parents recently got a pool installed but I don’t know if I can really do laps there. I’d probably get more dizzy changing directions than anything else.
Ha ha, I hear ya. I’ve tried doing laps in non-lined pools or pools with no distinct lanes and it is surprisingly difficult! Gotta invest in one of those endless pools!
Great job on the swimming! I love swimming, but man is it tough. The technique helps a lot because then I feel like I’m not dragging my butt off the bottom of the pool. Doing a lap of breaststroke helps get my breathing under control before I can start doing freestyle again. Again, great job!
Thank you!! I definitely had moments where I literally felt my butt sinking in the water and my legs dragging rather than kicking, haha. Thanks for your comment!
I’ve been swimming since I was 3, I’ve been there! When I get tired it feels like my whole body sinks.