Saturday, June 30, 2012
I ran a 4 mile race last Saturday with a few friends (see my last blog) and we decided to make post-race a beach hang-out day.
There was a sandbar out in the ocean that my friends and I wanted to swim out to. However, it was a bit of a distance out there. Now, I can swim. But I only ever learned how to do the crawl and the backstroke. My friend tried to teach me how to do the breaststroke with my head out of the water (I wear contacts so I wasn't dipping my head into the water). So I tried doing that.
Oh boy was that HARD. Like REALLY, REALLY HARD. Like this is the HARDEST thing I have done ALL DAY kind of hard. Like this is way too hard, forget this sandbar nonsense. I just ran a 4 mile race! How come I can run 4 miles in less than 45 min but swimming 4 yards makes me feel like I want to die? It gave me a new found appreciation for all those Sparkers out there who use swimming as their primary form of exercise. Yes, BOSS61, I am thinking of you.
Well, there goes my dream of doing a sprint triathlon. I thought I was pretty physically fit. What a humbling experience.
Up until then, I had considered myself "fit.' I am at my happy weight. My BMI is safely within the normal range. And whenever a medical professional takes my history now, I can honestly answer "why yes, I exercise 60 min five times a week." Then they nod approvingly. This is much preferable to before when I'd answer "no" and then have to listen to my doctor tell me why it's important not be overweight and why it's important to exercise. As if I didn't know all those reasons already.
Since I got back on the fitness bandwagon in January, I have noticed that exercise has gotten easier and easier. My preferred mode of exercise was always the elliptical machine and although I still use it, it's simply not as difficult for me to do anymore (and yes, I keep upping the resistance). Back in January, a 20 minute, one mile Leslie Sansone Walk Away the Pounds video would have my heart racing and leave me drenched in sweat. But a month later, the video was no longer difficult. So I started doing her Walk/Jog video. But again, a month later, it was not challenging enough anymore. So I took up running in March. When I started running, I barely ran faster than my fastest walking speed. Now I can run a mile in just over 11 min. When I started running at the Duck Pond, it took me almost 20 min with walk/jog intervals to make one loop around. Now? Just 10 min.
I'm getting fitter and fitter every day so why can't I swim? Oh yeah, that's right. I'm fit enough to run. I'm fit enough to kickbox. But I haven't trained for swimming. That's a whole 'nother ball game. Silly me. If I knew that I couldn't just start running 5Ks without training, what made me possibly think that I wouldn't need training in order to swim? There's a lot I need to do before I can become "swimming fit." So the new fitness goal is to be more rounded when it comes to fitness. And to be able to swim more than 4 yards without getting winded.
Just because I'm fitter now than I was in January, it doesn't mean I've come to the end of the road when it comes to exercise. I have to continue to push myself. I'll never be 100% fit. I'll always be "fitter than I was a few months ago."
We can never truly achieve fitness. Itís not a destination but a journey.
(By the way, I can't claim credit for that lat line. I'm paraphrasing GIRLALLIN who is paraphrasing John Bingham. You should check out her last blog "I look like a Dalmation" as she touches on a similar topic there.)