I took an “Advanced Swim Class” at my gym this week. I’ve been talking about going to the class for a few weeks now and I finally made it there Monday night. I haven’t really swum laps since before I was pregnant. I went a couple of times when I was pregnant but I felt so nauseous I had to get out before I really got started.
I used to be a competitive swimmer. In high school I swam on the varsity team and played water polo. Basically I was swimming 4 hours a day and constantly smelled like chlorine.
In college I swam laps, but I was never good enough to compete on the college level and when I inquired about playing water polo it wasn’t something that I loved enough to devote my college career to.
Those were both many years ago.
I sort of gave up swimming out of sheer laziness (and lack of pool access) when I moved to Chicago and picked up other exercise routines that I was more inclined to do without having to get my hair wet (that just adds a layer of complication to things in the winter) like spinning, jogging, elliptical, etc.
When I joined the gym I’m at now I knew that I wanted to get back in the water – I purposely chose a gym with a pool. I got in immediately (with a 9 month break), but my own pool workouts are too simple and doing lap after lap just makes me bored. I stopped getting the pool time that I wanted because I didn’t feel motivated by my workouts and wasn’t treating the pool time as a serious workout.
Ultimately, what it comes down to is that I need to be pushed. That’s why I have a trainer. That’s why I joined the class on Monday.
I knew that to get back in the water and take it seriously (aka, get a good workout), I had to step outside of my comfort zone. Talking about the class for the last few weeks was doing nothing but making me lust for the pool.
So, Monday night I donned my speedo, goggles, and cap and entered the water a bit nervously. I kept telling myself to just try. I’m not sure why I was nervous – probably the unknown, the feeling out of shape from pregnancy, and the fact that I haven’t done sprints in, oh, 10 years?
But I showed up and I jumped in. My goggles were old and foggy (but luckily not leaky), my swim cap was a bit gross, and my suit a bit tight, but I did it.
The workout was tough but not impossible and I wasn’t the slowest in the pool – I was actually keeping up quite well. I finished every lap and made the times set by the instructor. I kept up. I did flip-turns. I counted breaths. I tried to remember my good technique. I felt really good.
My arms started to hurt towards the end and I felt exhausted and hungry – maybe even a little nauseous. I kept thinking about the protein shake that I would have when I got home and wishing that I could have it RIGHT NOW.
When we got to the toughest part in the middle of the workout and then again at the end, when we were doing sprints, I kept thinking about Simon.
Yes, being fit is important to me and my own health, and I was at the pool for me, but I really believe that it’s also important for Simon to see that I am healthy. That I’ve made workouts a priority. That I don’t deprive myself of treats but that I also prioritize time for working out and sweating a little.
When the workout was getting hard and my mind was starting to wander into the “this is hard” stuff I reminded myself that I am trying to be a healthy, fit mom for myself and for Simon. I want to be on this planet long enough to teach him about being healthy – that means that I actually have to be healthy.
When I got out of the pool the instructor said, “Nice job. Did you ever swim competitively? For someone who hasn’t swum since before pregnancy you have really good endurance.”
THAT. FELT. AWESOME.
I left with such a high.
I got home feeling like I had a terrific workout. I was even a tad wobbly. The good kind.
I devoured my protein shake and a plate of sautéed veggies and wheat pasta. I earned those carbs!
Next Monday I need to eat a better snack before I jump into the pool, but I will be going back for the Advanced Swim class for sure. I just bought a new pair of goggles and a couple of new swim caps, so no excuses.
Tuesday I met with my trainer and I see him again Saturday. I have OWNED this week. I like it.
p.s. I was pleasantly surprised that my fitbit flex tracked my “steps” while in the pool. My old fitbit wasn’t waterproof so having one that is may be another motivator to jump in! Whoop!