Swimming – my old friend

I’m a swimmer. Since I was 7, I have defined myself as such. My shoulders might not click as much or be quite as broad these days (gosh, I hope…) but I still can spend 40 minutes in the pool and come out with a solid workout and a new perspective. The smell of humidity and chlorine, my latex cap… there’s a familiarity and comfort there for me. I spent a lot of time swimming through my growing up years, through awkward phases and happy times… it was just always a constant in my life. I swam right up until the end of my pregnancy with Margo and enjoyed it (I didn’t suck!) It’s like an old friend I can visit whenever, and nothing changes. For that, I’m very thankful.

Swimming laps is a different type of workout, in practically every way I can think of. (Duh, you say.) When I run, I’ll either go with friends or with my iPod and Garmin, choosing between my folksy running list or top 40 running list, seeing new scenery and enjoying the weather. Running, even when it’s alone, is social to me since it involves seeing new things that might spark new thoughts.

Swimming takes more of an internal focus. Some days, that’s far from what the doctor ordered. Some days, getting outside, taking my mind off of work and parenthood and whatever while running is great. A diversion can arise anywhere and 4 miles later I’m in a great mood and can approach problems with a different perspective. Depending on the diversion, I might not even notice I’m running really fast! Swimming doesn’t offer as many opportunities for diversion. I find many times I’ll spend entire workouts making lists and repeating them, often of what I’m going to do when I get to my desk, before a certain meeting, when I’m going to eat my fruit servings… (my mind is a really fun place, you guys.)

But, I guess what I’m saying (*admitting?) is that some days, I do LIKE having the dedicated time to get back on course. I have to count laps in the sets I’m doing, count total yardage, think of new ways to keep it interesting AND what I’m going to do once I get to work. IDK, that can easily make a half hour workout fly by. And when I emerge, all chlorinated and breathless, I feel like I did something I know how to do and I can ride that success to tackle stuff I’m not as confident in.

I can’t do it daily… and even two times a week seems a bit excessive. Once a week is perfect.

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