I finally got around to doing what I’ve been thinking about doing for at least a year — swimming laps.
Apparently the Lord knew it was time for a good humbling, because man ‘o man I am not good at swimming. Being in the pool is never something I crave. I don’t seek out hotels with pools nor do I wish I had a house with an fancy pants swimming pool in the back yard. Growing up, I enjoyed my share of swimming in Lake Erie and jumping in my friends’ pool on a blazing hot summer day, but unless it’s a million degrees outside and water will provide relief, I’d rather just sit poolside, dipping my feet in every now and again.
The local middle school has a pool that they open from 5:30-7:20 every morning for adult lap swim (along with a few evenings a week for community family fun swims.) For many months I’ve been contemplating adding swimming to my morning workout rotation, but I just couldn’t get up the motivation (or perhaps the courage) to go. It costs $30 for a 6 month membership which is pretty much nothing, so money wasn’t the issue.
I am a runner. Running has become a workout I enjoy, something I am good at. It’s not easy, but it is natural for me. I intersperse my running with one of my 12 (yes 12) different Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper workout DVDs which provide good variety and strength training. I consider myself in good shape. I am strong, I have toned arms and legs. I feel pretty good about myself.
Which is why I DIDN’T want to swim.
I knew that lap swimming would be terribly difficult for me. And quite frankly, I just don’t like to do things I’m not going to be good at. I don’t like being embarrassed and I don’t like trying something new if there’s all these other things over here that I’m already good at. Last summer it was biking – another sport I’m not good at. But biking 10 miles a few days a week really improved my running skills. Hence my thought process that swimming may have the same affect.
The alarm went off at 6am, and as if by magic (or more likely, the Lord’s prompting) I was awake and motivated. I threw on my suit and headed out the door for the school. (Luckily it’s 0.7 miles from my house.) The lifeguard told me I could try it out for a few days before paying the membership fee. (cool.)
What happened next was completely expected, yet shocking. I am a terrible swimmer. After watching the swim team girls compete yesterday, I have a brand new respect for their ability and an unavoidable reality of my inability. It took me about a minute and fifteen seconds to do 2 laps (whereas it took the swimmers about a quarter that.) I had to stop to catch my breath every 2 laps. Another embarrassment, especially because the older and more overweight individuals were lapping me left and right.
My heart rate was soaring near 170 beats per minute, and I was gasping for air like a fish out of water. (Ironic if you know my maiden name and how unnatural swimming is for me.) I have no idea how many laps I swam; I didn’t want to keep track and embarrass myself further. I just wanted to get out there and try something new, something difficult.
And so, with unbelievably sore arms and a decidedly smaller ego, I can say, “I did it!” Let’s see if this lasts.