One of my current, ongoing fitness goals is to swim a mile every week. It’s doable in one workout, or I could split it up, although I’ve yet to take that option. I kind of have a love-hate relationship with swimming. Here are my thoughts on the topic:
1. It’s usually a negotiation to get in the water. I don’t like being cold and that’s the biggest deterrent – the water’s cold, getting out of the water is cold, the locker room is cold, but as with most of my workouts, “you’ll regret NOT doing it” wins 98% of the time.
2. There are four pools at my gym (which is pretty much the only reason I don’t know how to quit it, Brokeback style). I recently discovered that the indoor play pool they use for lessons in the afternoons is the warmest. Because it’s shallow? Because it needs to be warm for the skinny little kids? Because it’s close to the big windows and can sun itself throughout the day? Because the kids pee in it? I don’t know and I don’t really care to know, but I always swim there when given the option because it makes the thought of getting in a lot better.
3. If I want to swim in that pool, it means I have to plan around those kiddie lessons so the lanes are available and usually go early morning or mid-day. The only time I was able to go mid-day was when my office had to close early because someone stole the copper pipes and there was no running water in the building. So, usually I go early morning, but swimming a mile kinda wipes me out and I want to fall asleep at my desk by about 10am.
4. The play pool is 25 yards v. 25 meters like the others, so I feel like I’m constantly turning around and I have to do an extra six lengths to get in my mile, but it’s still worth it.
5. I’m good at flip turns…the secret is to start blowing out your nose before you’re inverted so water doesn’t have a chance to get in…but usually on at least one I get a little chlorine surprise, but I kind of like it because the smell and burning feeling reminds me of summertime when I was a kid.
6. I was on a swim team during summers while I was growing up. I think I cried before my first meet (and in my defense I was five!) but after that I loved it. Yes, I was a Dobson Dolphin!
7. Each season we’d have a stroke-a-thon during one of the practices and the goal was to get a mile. It always seemed so huge and took the whole hour, even though we probably were swimming that daily with warm ups and drills and cool downs anyway.
8. Swimming that much wiped me out back then too and I remember frequently coming home and crashing out for a few hours, which is maybe why my mom signed me up in the first place so she could get some peace and quiet in the summertime.
9. My sister was also on swim team until she lied to our mom about having her suit on under her pajamas. She didn’t and she just sat out the whole time (she was much more into team sports, while – or maybe which is why – I liked the individual sports). I’m not sure why that was easier than just saying, “Mom, I don’t want to do swim team this year,” but it kind of explains a lot.
10. My mom says she swam while she was pregnant with me, but not my sister. I definitely plan on swimming while pregnant because I want mine to come out little fishies too!
11. For how often I’m swimming, I’m still really bad at counting the laps. I count by meters (or yards)…so 25, 50, 75, 100. Sometimes when I get close to the end, like the last 200, I count down by numbers…8, 7, 6, etc. If I think I’ve lost count, I’m more likely to undercount and repeat a lap if necessary so I don’t cheat myself.
12. I keep a decent pace and it feels like work, but by the end, I think it ended too quickly and was too easy and usually add on a 50 or 100 in case I did mis-count somewhere along the way.
13. Sometimes I don’t feel like counting at all and start off thinking I’ll just swim for a half-hour, but counting is kind of a habit and it makes me feel good about the distance I’m accomplishing. During my last swim, the mile took me less than 25 minutes. Swimming is such a great whole-body workout that I don’t even feel guilty about working out for less than the recommended 30 minutes a day!
14. I hate that I smell like chlorine all day and I hate even more that the next time I do a “dry” workout, like running or yoga the next day, I sweat even more chlorine! But I also secretly think it makes me a bad ass.