Well, swimming on rocks seems hard to do, but if anyone is going to do it, it’ll be me. For sure.
My happy work out place.
Remember my friend, Korten and her motivation to run? Well, she lost almost 100 pounds running. She loved running. She needed running. Her kids needed her to run. And then she was devastated to discover she had Rheumatoid Arthritis. Her doctor literally forbade her to run anymore. The one thing she needed for her health was now working against her health. That she couldn’t run anymore crushed her.
In the time it took for Korten to love running, I apparently Forrest Gumped it, and just quit running one day. Someone asked me what hurt when I ran, and when I surprised us both by saying, “Well, it starts with my teeth…” I knew it was time to stop. Running is just not for me. And also, I just don’t wanna.
My last few full triathlons, I’d get out of the water, feeling accomplished with a fairly good time. And I’d be all excited about the swim and then I’d remember I’d have to still bike and then run. Dammit. Two thirds of the triathlon suddenly was ultra-sucky.
Turning 40 has been so liberating to just suddenly have the unabashed freedom to do what the hell I want. As it turns out, I love swimming. So, I just swim. Maybe it’s a phase. Maybe I’ll Forrest Gump swimming one day and move on to Bocce Ball or something. But the workout for me now is to swim. It works with my schedule. Swimming burns the most calories in a set time frame for a work out. And I love my gym’s pool accessibility.
On top of it all, and once again as it was working with Korten to run, it is now our connection to swim “together.” At least weekly, if not daily, we send a text or a picture of the pool that we’re about to jump in to, or if she’s lucky, I send a picture in my swim cap. Because there’s no faking a workout that involves the commitment of putting a swim cap on.
It’s stunning portraits like this that I send to Korten for proof that I’m swimming with her. Inspiring, I know.
But trying swimming is different than trying running. It’s daunting for a new adult swimmer. There’s a constant concern A) that you can’t breathe and 2) if you’re doing it right. Also, putting a speedo on is never fun.
And chances are you’re not doing it right. There’s how to turn your head and breathe, or how many laps you should do. Don’t get me started on how to not bonk your head doing back strokes or flip turns.
How to breathe:
How to do it right:
If the conversations and texts about running were fun and funny and motivating between two friends, imagine conversations about speedos and breast stroke. All kidding aside, once again, I find our friendship growing even strogner with this common ground. I swim because I love it. Korten swims because she has to.
When I was back in Texas, Lucy and I had the pleasure of meeting up with Korten to swim. When I go swim, I drop my kids off at school and go swim. After I finish, I usually hit the steam room. And then I take a nice long shower. Korten works full-time though. So, when she swims, she leaves work, picks up her kids, and heads to the gym. She gets her three young angels out of the car and grabs the swim bag for her kids and her own – both she’s packed early that morning. She herds her kids into the locker rooms, but her boys aren’t allowed in the women’s locker room, so she takes the two boys to the family changing room, gets them in their swimsuits and with their floaties on. She then has her daughter (and today, Lucy) get their swimsuits on and meet the boys in the pool. Once everyone is situated with their goggles and pool toys, THEN Korten can go get ready to swim. She lugs everybody’s clothes back to the locker room, crams it up into a locker, and gets her swimsuit on, goggles and swim cap. Now we can swim.
Korten assures me that’s not her everyday adventure to get to the gym. And even if it is, she’s happy to do it.
Another pic of proof that I’m at my gym, ready to swim. That’s my lane on the left- because it’s wider than the others.
And in between a couple of time outs, between us in the lap pool, and the kids in the fun swim pool, we manage to swim together. It’s hard to laugh and not choke on the water. Not only did I realize how easy it was for me to get to the pool, but we also discovered something else – my gym is better than hers. Because my gym posts accurate distances! Her gym has a sign that says “66 laps = a mile” So, she’s been swimming what she thought was a half mile in just under an hour. As it turns out, she’s been doing just under a mile in an hour!
We giggled over my attempt to do math while treading water.
Korten works hard to get in the pool. When she was running, she’d lace up and go. Now, it’s more of a challenge to swim, and some days to just get to the pool. I remain inspired and motivated.
Swimming with Korten is like a whole new sport, and I love it. I am so proud of her for so much more than her perseverance to get in the pool and swim. And I’m so honored to swim with her.
Keep on Rocking.
Song of the day: Call Me, Maybe