Just keep swimming

We’re lucky to be in one of the biggest running booms in history.

Marathon times are at all time slows – and marathon entries at all time highs. That’s because theres’s so many more you and me’s signing up for these fun runs.

What’s great is there’s so much positive energy and education about the process of starting to run. There’s the amazing Project Start movement (#PSYouGotThis) and programs like Girls on The Run. I mean, I can go on.

But, this isn’t about running. This is about something so much scarier. This is about swimming.

Three weeks ago I got cleared to start swimming. Keyword here is start, since I really have never swam before. I have dabbled in the doggy paddle and had a brief phase in college where I swam laps in our state-of-the-art pool, but that was more to spy on the lifeguard I was dating than perfect my freestyle.

So, clearly, the immediate first step was to dress the part. They said that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. In this case, the job I have is professional horizontal computer specialist and amateur (and/or immature) drama queen. The job I wanted mostly involved everything I was pre-March 17th, but in this specific case it was Michael Phelps. Or at least, someone who knew what swimming was.

See, that’s something I realized. There’s knowing how to swim, and then there’s know how to swim. Compare this to knowing how to run (putting one foot in front of the other) and then knowing what a speed workout is, a tempo-paced run, long run pace – etc, etc.

The fact that I didn’t know the protocol or the WOD is what really intimidated to finally get my feet wet. I was desperate to move, my body hadn’t broken a sweat in over 4 weeks, but I was also super freaked. My need to move it, move it is what won out.

As soon as I got the hang of the whole “swim over there and swim right back” thing I realized a few things

  • Swimming is very difficult.
  • I think I suck at this.
  • When’s the next time I can come?
  • A yard and a meter are very close in measurement.

This experience gave me a fresh perspective on how difficult it is to start running.

Starting anything is hard, but imagine starting an endurance sport alongside people who look like pros. Imagine getting winded and having to stop, just to convince yourself to start again. Imagine looking at the time and realizing only 4 minutes have gone by.

 

But then…imagine your first stretch without stopping, or covering a distance in a shorter amount of time than you covered it yesterday. Imagine going for just a little bit longer this run, or swim, than you did last time.

Yeah, that’s pretty great.

A month and a half from my injury I have finally begun to turn the corner and start seeing the silver lining. Bottom line, I would’ve never tried swimming if it wasn’t my only choice. And honestly, who knows how much I’ll do it when I’m back to my old me. But it gave me a flashback to being a beginner, and maybe a flash-forward too…

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