Yesterday, I went to the gym pool and did laps for the first time in a very long time. It went something like this:
50m: This feels great! I haven’t been here in so long!
75m: Crap! My arms are burning already! I haven’t even done 100 meters yet!
100m: OK, arms are tired. Might not get the full 800 meters done. Will swim until I’m done or my arms fail, whichever comes first…
I took a break at 200m, stretched my triceps and lats a bit, then continued on. The stretch felt really good, and the second 200 meters felt better than the previous 100. No problems finishing all 800. Soaked and stretched in the hot tub for a few minutes, showered, home, about an hour and 15 minutes from when I left home. Not bad.
I first learned to swim (for exercise) shortly after I finished chemo just to have something else to do for cardio. Learning to swim opened the gates to triathlon, and I’m training now for a sprint tri in October that I’ve already registered for.
I like swimming. It’s great exercise. It’s mind-clearing. I’ve been trying to pinpoint what exactly about swimming is so fabulous. Some of it is the water, no doubt. Water is calming. But I think part of it is that there’s no one else’s noise. I don’t hear cars or music or TVs or conversations. It’s just me and the water. I always feel better emotionally when I get out of the pool than when I get in, even if I didn’t feel bad when I got in. The only problem with the pool is that when I have good ideas, I have no means of recording them to remember for later. Many good ideas have drowned.
So if swimming is so great, why have I not done it in so long? I’m pretty sure that I’ve gone to do laps only once since The Kid was born. Didn’t do laps much while pregnant, either.
I could blame it on having a kid, not enough time, not enough sleep, blah, blah, blah. There are a million reasons that I could list that many people would say, “Well of course!” and I would be excused.
But they’re not true. I mean, I do have a kid, and he’s time-consuming. But The Big Man is good about sharing parenting responsibilities (not helping me — it’s our job, not my job), so I know I could get to the pool a couple of times a week. I go to spin once a week, meet friends for coffee or dinner sans baby, etc., etc. Going swimming is no different than any of those. My time is often full, usually with baby things, things around the house, trying to maintain relationships (marriage, friends, family), blogging, business-related stuff and so on.
So why haven’t I been swimming? The answer is so simple, but not obvious.
This is not a vanity issue.
In my pre-pregnancy life, I had two bathing suits: a two-piece (shirt/shorts-style, not underwear-style) that I wore for social swimming, and a one-piece that I wore for swimming laps. I bought a two-piece (shirt/shorts-style) maternity suit when it became appropriate.
But until very recently, the maternity suit was the only one that fit. And it sucked to swim laps in.
“Go buy another bathing suit.”
But you see, I have never liked to spend money on clothes. Ever. And temporary clothes are even worse. Bathing suits are expensive. I hate spending money on bathing suits, especially one I consider transitional. I’m only going to “need” this suit until my old one fits. There are MANY other things I would rather spend that money on. And I really don’t need another bathing suit…
So I didn’t swim.
A couple of weeks ago, after a pee-related incident with The Kid, my last pair of non-sweatpants headed to the hamper. I decided to try on the pants I had that were the most loose-fitting before I got pregnant. They fit! A week or so later, I tried on my biggest pair of jeans. They fit!
And so I got brave and tried on my lap-swimming suit.
It fit! More or less.
Lots of sausage. Not a lot of casing. But it got the job done.
It’s not very comfortable, and if this was a long-haul fit, I would buy one size bigger. But it’s not, and it’s not so uncomfortable that it impeded my swim. Still better than the maternity suit! And it gives me another piece of incentive to keep chunking away at the baby weight.
So what’s the point of the story? There is something that is stopping you from making a change that you want to make. What is it? Move past the normal excuses. Dig a little deeper. What’s stopping you?