Tuesday, June 25, 2013
When I was younger (from a small kid to a teenager), I was one HELLUVA swimmer. It was my absolute favorite activity to do in the entire world. In the summer-time, I would be in the pool from the time it opened until it closed. I especially liked being there when the pool opened, because I would almost always have the whole place to myself for at least a couple of hours. (Keep in mind that this was 20 years ago, and the world was a safer place...parents could actually drop the kids off at the pool for the day, kids could play outside on their bikes and not go home until it got dark, etc). I was always, ALWAYS the best swimmer in the pool. I even joined the swim team for a while until I found out the coach was an abusive jerk. Honestly, he was the one who really ruined swimming for me. He took an activity that I loved to do, and made me feel like I was completely worthless. I remember once during a swim practice, I choked on the water so badly that it completely blocked my airway. I mean, 100% blocked. I couldn't breathe in or out for several seconds. It was terrifying. I was in the middle of the pool and made it to the edge. He stood on the diving board just SCREAMING at me to not stop, keep going, he didn't care if I was dying, don't ever stop, etc. I finally caught my breath and managed to croak out, "I choked and couldn't breathe." He said he didn't care and to keep going. I got out of the pool and never went back.
I quit the swim team, and from then on, swimming was just really spoiled for me. There were many other things in my life at that point that were in turmoil. Gosh, now that I'm sitting here writing all this, I feel bad for that kid. Sometimes I look back at myself, almost as if I were a different person. I wish I could have been my own older sister or something. Anyway. I swam a little here and there over the next few years, but not like I did. During summer vacations in high school, I worked at a summer day camp. We'd swim with the kids and on our breaks in between shifts, we'd go to the lake and swim the entire time (I think it was a 3 hour break).
I know part of the change with my swimming has to do with the coach, part of it has to do with just getting older (who does the exact same things they did, the exact same way as they did when they were children?). So...one theme that has remained the same with my swimming over the years, is every single time I get back in the water, this little part of my soul just feels so complete. Like I'm "home" when I'm in the water. I can move exactly the way I want when I'm in the water -- even in the overweight, obese, out-of-shape body I currently have. I just feel so good.
Today, I took Daughter swimming after we'd been out and about for the day. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a pair of swim goggles at the fitness center we go to. I told her we could share them. Today I decided I would wear them while I did some lap swimming. I do lap swimming while she swims every time we go to the pool, but I don't really haul it like I know I can. It's more of a leisurely swim. Today, I put the goggles on and swam HARD. I (still) can't get over how much easier it was to swim hard with those goggles on! I could just get my whole face in the water. I was just gettin' it. I swam and swam and swam. I got out of the lane for a while and practiced flip-turns against the side of the pool, since it's been eons since I did them. I know I'm no Olympian, but I got my flip-turns down and got back in the lane. I swam and swam and swam.
I heard an expression once: "If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life." I thought about that while I was swimming. It just didn't seem like a workout. I was having so much fun. I just felt like I could do it forever. I stopped after about 45 minutes because it was time to go...and I was actually bummed. I wanted to keep on swimming. It felt so nice!
My quote in my title is from the Robin Hood movie with Russell Crowe. When it comes to getting fit and losing weight, I have started over countless times. I have fallen and risen sooo many times. There have been times I have considered giving up for good, but I always come to the same conclusion: I have to rise again and again, until I accomplish this goal. Until this lamb becomes a lion.