I've been back in the pool for a fortnight now - what a wonderful feeling! I was never sporty as a kid, but as an adult I've found that I can swim further and faster each time I follow the black line, and it makes me feel awesome. Swimming gives me lots of energy, and my breathing is so much more efficient after I swim. I love the feeling of my arms pulling my body along in the water too - it compensates for the inadequate feeling of my poor little size 6 feet trying valiantly to do their bit despite being about as efficient as using chopsticks to paddle a canoe.
It's hard to find a quick hour in which I can have a happy, sleepy, full-o-milk baby Rex looked after by a willing cuddler, but my Mum, Justamum and Mr de Elba have been able to give me 5 opportunities over the last fortnight to dash to the pool. Over those five swims, I've seen my stamina improve from swimming just 600m the first time, to swimming 1.5km today. Now I feel I'm only limited by Rex's sleeps and I could keep going if I had the time.
I was looking up motivational fitness quotes to have engraved on my iPod and I found these which describe so well my experience in the pool:
"The feeling you get after a workout today makes you want to do it again tomorrow."
I modified this one from running miles to swimming laps. Now it fits:
"At lap 10 I thought I was dead. At lap 14 I wished I was dead. At lap 18 I knew I was dead. At lap 20 I realised I'd become too tough to kill."
Turns out the average iPod Shuffle can only fit 30 characters on it, in about 4pt font. I managed to squeeze in " By lap 20, I'm invincible" and that will have to do.
But I didn't want to go on about how much I'm enjoying swimming in this post - I wanted to share the humiliating things I've been doing at the pool, because that's funnier.
When I swam on Wednesday, I started by nonchalantly putting my things on a chair beside the pool and pulling my swimming cap on. SNAP! - the thing broke in my hands, not from overuse but from underuse. It hasn't seen much chlorine in its 8 years and probably gave up the ghost more from depression than from being 8 years old. It was the loud jerky snapping noise that made seasoned swimmers stare at me - it was the disheveled hair-all-over-the-face look that made them start a bit too long or comfort.
Better get in the pool, I thought. I unzipped my jacket and walked to the edge of the pool. It was there that I realised that my grey swim shirt was sporting large wet patches. Milk. Great.
So I wore nursing pads before my swim today. I don't expect an appearance of milk while I'm in the cool water but I would expect a bit of leakage in the few hours between putting my swimmers on and when I actually get in the water, so pads would be a great idea, right?
Halfway through my first lap I remembered the morning's mantra - "I must - I must - I must remember to take the pads out before my swim." I decided then and there to get out of the pool to fish them out, dripping wet. The occasional bandaid on the bottom of the pool is understandable, large fabric nursing pads - not so much.
I found them(!), removed them and continued.
Tumble turns are a special sort of magic trick I hope to master before the end of the summer. They are proving harder than first thought, so the jury is out on which summer they should be mastered by. After today's performance, it looks like nothing magical will be happening in the tumble-turn department until about Summer 2016.
I'm having trouble with a few aspects of form, but the biggest one today was my trouble remaining tucked until I can push off horizontally from the wall. It seems I'm pushing off before finishing the turn, going by my habit of ending up on the bottom of the pool with that pool-water-leaking-out-from-my-eyes feeling.
My lane-mates were faster than I am and today they crept up on me a few times, causing me to crash into them as I pushed off. Humiliating. I abandoned turns and focused on swimming without damaging other members of the public.
When I had done 30 x 50m laps, I got out feeling quite pleased with myself. Then I discovered that the spongy floor on which I'd put my towel was leaking water upwards into anything dry on its surface. My towel was soaking wet, my socks were soaking wet, and time was of the essence for salvaging my swimming bag containing car keys, mobile phone and dry clothes.
I carried my kickboard, fins, paddles and goggles in one hand. I balanced dry shoes, wet socks, dry jacket and wet towel inside my open bag and hurried to the change rooms. I certainly didn't look all that sporty and in-control, dropping swimming fins from one hand and shoes from the other.
I gave up on the idea of a warm shower - my towel was not going to dry me but probably put dirt on me instead. I avoided the dozen large, naked elderly ladies in the change rooms because I couldn't identify which one gave me the stink-eye while straightening my car in the carpark (I'd hampered her dash for the last free park before her aqua aerobics class) so I didn't know which lady to avoid. In my defense, the last time I saw her, she'd been clothed.
I locked myself in a tiny toilet cubicle to get changed in peace, and to sit on the lid of the toilet and text Mum. Baby Rex was asleep, she said. I gathered my wet things, grimaced at my Addams Family goggle-prints in the mirror, and got the heck outta there.
The swim was awesome, but my goodness, I don't look like "A Swimmer."