“I’ll Show You!” -Me, to Myself

August 1, 2008 at 3:52 AM (Goals, Musings) (, )

Once upon a time, I was a competitive swimmer.

One of the really nifty things about my high school was that every student was required to participate in three team sports during the school year.  As you may have guessed, my winter sport was swimming.  For as long as I could remember, I’d always loved being in the water at summer camp, and despite being a runt, the lifeguards were always impressed with how well I could swim.  When one guard finally wrote “Should look into joining a swim team” on my evaluation right before I started high school, my winter activity looked like a no-brainer.

A competitive swim team was a lot tougher than I’d imagined, like most activities I attempt.  I was used to flailing about as quickly as I could in order to get from one end of the pool to the other, laughing at the kid I’d just whomped in the race, and floating about, care-free for the remainder of the hour.  It didn’t occur to me that I’d have to swim drills, learn how to pace myself, and sweat for two hours a day, four days a week.

Long, mostly boring, story short, I adapted and improved tremendously throughout high school, taking about 17 seconds off my time in the 50-Freestyle since my freshman year and graduating as MVP.  Although I learned to appreciate that practise improved technique which improved time, I was almost completely oblivious to how great a work-out it was.  To put it eloquently, when I graduated from high school, I was jacked.  It did not occur to me that I would have to maintain an incredibly active and healthy lifestyle in order to stay in shape, especially since my metabolism wouldn’t stay in high gear forever.

Now I dance for about 10 hours every week, but practise isn’t nearly as rigorous as swimming was.  In addition to that, I’m probably about as voracious as I was when I was swimming competitively.  Granted, I’m still in very presentable shape, but relative to where I was in high school, I have gotten “out of” shape.  As my Latin dresses get smaller and smaller,  I have less and less with which to hide.

About two weeks ago, I decided I would take advantage of my fitness & recreation centre membership and start swimming in the mornings before work.  On Monday morning I woke up at 6.30, looked at my phone, muttered an obscenity and went back to sleep.  On Tuesday morning I woke up at 6.30, got out of bed, checked my E-mail, walked to the kitchen and poured myself a glass of milk, then went back to bed.  On Wednesday morning I woke up at 6.30, and thought about packing my bag.  I then remembered that I needed a swim cap in order to use the pool.  I muttered an obscenity again, knowing that I had several swim caps back at my parents’ house three hours away.  I rolled over and went back to sleep.  When I woke up two hours later, I felt defeated.  Once again, I had decided to make a healthy lifestyle change, and had failed misreably.  Even when I swam on a team, I skipped the 7.00AM practises.  The cynic in me mocked my feeble attempts to regain my chiseled abs.  I recalled that my roomate had a swim cap sitting on her dresser.  Half-heartedly, I told myself that I’d ask her if I could borrow it in the mornings to swim.

Later that day, I casually asked my roomate if she’d mind lending me the cap, because I wanted to start swimming in the mornings.  Her face lit up as she asked, “Seriously?”

“Sure.  If I want to get serious about my dancing I’d better be in appropriate shape for it -”

“Oh my God: I wanted to start swimming in the mornings, too, and I have two swim caps!  Wanna go together?”

And just like that, I had a date for Friday morning with my roomate, the pool, and her bright pink silicone swim cap.

At 6.00 on Friday morning, my alarm started chirping at me.  I repressed the urge to mutter another obscenity, and reset the alarm for 6.30, swearing to myself that I’d drag my good-for-nothing posterior out of bed then.  After all, I couldn’t leave my dates hanging.  At 6.25, my roomate knocked on my door and peeked inside at the sorry excuse for a human being curled up in the fetal position on my bed.

“Still wanna do this?”

“Do you?”

“We should . . .”

She was right.  I’d spent a week failing at trying.  I got out of bed and started packing my bag.  By 6.50 we were on our way to the pool, and by 7.00 I was in fight-or-flight mode as I looked through the glass at the Olympic-sized swimming pool.  At 7.15, I dipped my big toe into the pool, like that would help me at all when I dove in, head-first to swim my first 100-free in years.  By 7.30, I was in ecstacy.  My lung capacity had gone to Hell in a handbasket, as had my stamina, and my eyes burned like they’d never burned before because I didn’t have goggles, but I was swimming again.  I was doing every stroke I knew, even the ones I’d hated in high school, and loving it.  I loved the feeling of cutting through the water, feeling my muscles burn in all the right places.  What was even sweeter was that I had actually made good on my plan.  It took me a week, but I did it.  And I would do it again.  Once I got my mom to mail me my goggles.

I received a package this week from home.  I’ll give you one guess as to what was inside.  I’ll also give you one guess as to what I’ll be up to tomorrow morning.


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