Saturday, November 30, 2013

Adult Swim

Last night, I found my swimsuit and tried it on.  To my surprise, it fit quite well and looked nicely.  Therefore, I decided to incorporate swimming into my routine at the gym today.  I hit the weight room for about 45 minutes, then got showered and changed to go into the pool.  Keep in mind that I haven't really swam since middle school.  Yes, I did earn multiple swimming certificates through the American Red Cross, but I was not a very strong swimmer.  I never really mastered the crawl stroke, but I enjoyed the elementary backstroke and the survival stroke (I think some may call this the breaststroke).  I decided to play to my strengths for my first time back.

Well, it was a funny sight to behold.  Before I go into the reasons as to why this story is funny, let me first remind you that I was in the lap pool, and it was at its deepest point 4 feet 10 inches. I could touch the bottom.  You have to be able to laugh at yourself in life.  I do that often.  Okay, back to the story...

1.  Water Temperature: The water was freezing cold.  I tried not to go into shock.  It took me 5 minutes to get into the pool (and stand up).

2. Walking Lap: Instead of dunking in the pool to get used to the water, I decided that my first 'lap' would be walking to the other end to see if  I could get used to the water.  In the meantime, someone else got into the pool in another lane, just jumped right in, and started doing a beautiful crawl stroke.  Ummm, not me.  I was in my swim cap, goggles, and swim suit literally WALKING down the lane.  Hilarious.

3. First Immersion: I got to the other end and finally decided to bite the bullet and immerse myself in the water - but only up to my neck.  I did so, but I gasped loudly (sort of like the prepubescent boy who shrieks and his vocal cords have not yet developed).  I did not go all the way under...that was just a step too far at this point.

4. Onset of Panic: Once I stopped laughing at myself, I suddenly felt a huge sense of accomplishment.  I was ready to start executing my game plan (which was to get 10 laps in, of whatever stroke I was able to figure out).  So, I decided to start with the survival stroke.  I was very good and comfortable with that one in middle school.  Okay, so I go under water completely, panic because I can't breathe, try to muster some form of a movement that will propel me forward, and then I come to the surface after a few cycles of this....GASPING for air.  I kept trying to move forward, felt like I was sinking, then panicked because I would come to the top for air and sink back down.  Somehow, I forgot that I was only in 4 feet of water and started kicking around like I was about to drown.  Man, I wish I had a video camera to tape this entire sequence.  However, once I stopped laughing, I managed to make it half way down the lane.  (keep in mind that Mr. Crawl Stroke is still executing beautiful laps a few lanes over from me).

5.  Clumsy Moments: Why did I stop halfway down the lane you ask?  Let's just say that is the point that clumsy made a grand entrance.  Someone in my flailing to gasp for air like a fish, I hit my damn foot on the lane dividers.  Okay, let me just say that those things are not soft. They are made of hard plastic, and I proceeded to whine like a little kid.   I tried to just keep 'swimming' in the hopes that feeling would somehow return to my foot.  Eventually it did, but this was still just too much to take in.

6.  Commitment to Just Do It: Finally made it to the end of the lane, thus completing my 2nd lap (if you could the 'walking' as a lap by itself - questionable).  So, I decided that if I was going to do this, I was going to try every single stroke that I could remember, regardless of how well or not-so-well I did.  To be honest, I did keep wondering how wet my hair was getting.  I had on my swim cap AND a shower cap.  I just hate what chlorine does to your hair, so that was definitely in the back of my mind. However, the only alternative was to suffer the damn crawl stroke or just accept that the probability of getting chlorine hair was very high and just live with it.

7. Tickle-Tee-Touch: For my 3rd lap, time for the elementary back stroke.  I was excellent at this one.  Tickle-Tee-Touch...I still remember learning it.  This one came back easily, and I was doing a great job.  I was able to somewhat calm down with the whole breathing thing.  I just kept telling myself to pay attention so that I didn't overshoot the other end of the pool.  Made it down to the other end (albeit crookedly) without any major issues.

8. Beloved Crawl Stroke: Next I decided to take on my arch nemesis the crawl stroke.  I made it halfway down the lane and gave up.  I kept hearing my brother's laugh in the back of my head. He would particularly enjoy my frequent attempts at the crawl stroke and would laugh heartily at my efforts.  I said "oh boy, if only he could see me now!"

9.  Made it through: I was able to get in my full 10 laps, and I did the elementary back stroke and survival stroke to finish them off.

10. No matter what - Laugh:  Once I finished my "laps", I went to the locker room immediately.  I was actually proud of myself, and had a good laugh in the process.  Also, I didn't give up!!

I can't say that this will be a regular part of my routine, but it was certainly a nice change.  I was proud of myself for even having the guts to wear a swimsuit in public and feel somewhat comfortable. As I sit at home typing this blog, I realize that the swimming, even for that short amount of time, really helped with the knots and tension in my shoulders.  Could be on to something here.. :-)

Until later, keep selecting those challenges and confronting them one by one.  Variety is the spice of life, so try something new or different and HAVE FUN while you do it.

Good night!

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