Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Tale of Two Swims

Part 1: The Bad Swim

Today was my "hang out and relax before I start the new job" day, but it wound up being anything but. Definitely enjoyable, but my day is better titled "how is it already 6 and why do I have to be in the pool again?"

I got up, put in my morning shift at Miriam's, then headed home to have a leisurely breakfast of a waffle, homemade apple pear butter (patting myself on the back for how amazing it turned out) and pears, courtesy of Washington's Green Grocer (if y'all are in the market for weekly amazing produce at incredible prices, I strongly suggest you check them out). And then I realized I needed to get some pool time in and fast if I was going to make it in time to have lunch with Chadd.

My pool workout was grueling. This must be what it's like for someone who is starting a couch to 5k program to be faced with running a 5 miler. I'm sure it didn't help that I spent last night working punishing my upper body with Blair (I hurt oh so good this morning).

I jumped in the pool a little after 11am, which is apparently geriatric hour. The upside is that everyone is very nice and has no problem chatting or splitting lanes. The downside is that my ego got a bit artificially inflated lapping the septuagenarian in my lane who was swimming with full use of 1 arm and 1 leg and questionable amounts of his other limbs. I suppose I shouldn't leave out that he wasn't huffing and puffing and clinging to the side of the pool every few minutes. You read that right. I got schooled by a retiree recovering from a stroke. Humble pie.

But, aside from 1 300 set, I did finish the workout. In total, the swim was 2300yrds. I don't know if that's a lot or a little, but it felt like a lot and I felt like a badass leaving the pool. It may have something to do with the awesome swim cap mom and dad got me for my birthday:

You should know I have a thing for pink and skulls.

After a lunch with Chadd where I calmly ate my sandwich (read: inhaled food like a vacuum), I ran to Costco, got my watch resized and other random errands...

Just in time to get changed for the pool. Again.

Part 2: The Good Swim

What makes my tale of two swims even worth blogging about is how different they were. I went to a swim clinic tonight that my coach and Mei Mei Connors put on. I was both excited and terrified. Excited because I really wanted to love the pool and swimming and fearing it because, well, I'd just finished a brutal workout and oh hell I was going back to the water.

I also learned this crucial tip: have two swimsuits. If you don't, when you put your same suit back on from this morning's swim, you will be cold and damp. I'm in the market for a bright pink swimsuit with skulls. Project Runway, get on that, ok?

After a couple of minutes of talking about pool etiquette, we changed into our gear and headed into the pool. In case you didn't know, the Wilson pool is HUGE. Like...50 meters kind of huge. I have a hard time making 25 yards in my pool at the Y. 50 meters looked like sure death.

I had a choice at this point: cling to the side like I did when I was 6, or sack up and swim. It's not very iron to IM your best training buddy (Hi Bryan!) and say "I wimped out on the swim..."

When Mei Mei told us to swim to the end of the pool, I took a deep breath and tried to think of nothing. I made it to the end, nails dug into the ceramic edges. Then back to the other side. I was proud of myself, but panting like a dog. Mei Mei reminded me that it's okay to be afraid, that my body's reaction is normal, and that it's going to get better. Then she told me to slow down. But how?? My new favorite swimming tip is to reach for an extra inch per stroke because once I did that, I slowed down. I found my happy pace. I actually...get this...loved swimming.

I feel like I've been sprinting my workouts instead of actually doing intervals. What a massive change this is going to make.

I left the pool excited to go back for my next workout and really excited that I've found a pool with a hot tub.

And thus...a slightly less paranoid swimmer was born.


  1. The Wilson Pool is amazing. I might even consider joining you for a swim if we went there. I would make you look like a FANTASTIC swimmer.

    1. Yes! Let's go! We could sit in the hot tub afterwards :)