Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Well, I finally did it. After three months of telling myself I would go, I went.
Swimming has been a love/hate relationship for me for a very long time - and on so many different levels. I began competitively swimming at the age of four. I asked my mom if I could be just like the sychronized swimmers and found out I needed to develop endurance and perfect breastroke. So my mom signed me up for the swim team. I never stopped - from age 4 to 18 I swam for the same club team and eventually joined high school when I was old enough. It didn't stop there. I also swam in college, eventually earning one of the two captain spots. That's a grand total of 18 years of competitive swimming.
And now it takes three months for me to get in a pool.
It's such an emotional thing for me - at times it's been theraputic and other times more cathartic. I had practices that flew by with a huge sense of accomplishment and others that had me completing the same workouts only to cry in my goggles. I swam the same times at 160 lbs. that I did when I was 120 lbs. and I always led the lane at practice only to be beat by the two teammates that swam behind me. I threw myself into the pool, religiously - and at times mindlessly - no matter what the season or time of day. I swam enough that I naturally stretched out shoulder ligments to the extent that one day my shoulder just dislocated. It is safe to say that swimming ruled my life for 18 years; it determined most of my friends, my class schedule, even my major.
And so when I dive into the water now, completely out of shape, with absolutely no sense of my former self it is beyond frustrating. It reminds how much I've let go - the discipline, the endurance, the long-term goals - in just a few years. But it also reminds me of the emotional turmoil I've experienced since high school because the pool was where I sorted things out. And once that pool was gone, I depended on what apparently was food for the same support.
There was a time when I could swim a competitive mile (1650) in 17 minutes and 34 seconds. Today it took 29 minutes, broken into sets with sporadic kicking, but nevertheless was an accomplishment on THIS journey.
And in the spirit of times gone by I also rowed. I am so amazingly sore this afternoon.