Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Swimming Like a Fish Out of Water

An LA Fitness opened by my house a couple of months ago.  I joined because it's so close (I can see it from my window), and I wanted to start cross-training.  My running had gotten stale and I was becoming increasingly less flexible. 

It's funny, when people find out that I joined this gym they always ask, "How is it?"  I never know what to say because it's a gym.  If you've seen one average gym, you've seen them all.  They don't have towel service, the classes are fine, and no, they don't do your workout for you.  It's a gym. 

Another reason I joined the gym was for the pool.  Let me first state that I am a terrible swimmer.  It took me, as a child, 4 tries to pass beginner swim lesson.  I don't think I even got wet the first time I took the course.  We grew up near Lake Champlain and I hate swimming in lakes because of the rocks and seaweed.  There, I said it, I'm a wimp.

I can swim and I know strokes but for the life of me, swimming laps is beyond my comprehension.  I've tried it in the past and swam maybe one length and was totally out of breath.  For some reason, I remember swimming during college.  I'd get up early and swim laps.  I can't believe I did that very much.  First of all it was it was swimming and second of all the "getting up early" part seems a bit unrealistic.  I probably did it once and over the years stretched it to "I swam for a bit in college."

Did you know there are DVDs and YouTube videos and articles to teach you how to swim properly?  I've looked some up but didn't do a lot of research.  See, I had some time today to "get my feet wet" so to speak and I wanted to jump at the chance.  So I just dove in.  Are we loving the puns?  I got a whole ocean full of them. 

So I swam a few laps today.  And by a few I mean 7 or 8.  And by laps, I mean up and down the pool.  I don't know what laps actually means.  I was exhausted but my ego requires me to state that I had done a Pilate's class earlier in the day.  The whole time I was swimming I felt like, well, a fish out of water, flailing about in all directions.  I was so glad I had the lane to myself.  I got out of the pool and watched the other swimmers.  They looked so graceful and peaceful and coordinated.  Plus they all had goggles and sleek speedo bathing suits.  I jumped in with my Land's End Tankini and no goggles.  I had to pick my son up from a playdate after my swim and I'm sure the parents thought I was stoned with my red eyes.

I have to say though, I felt really good afterwards and I still do.  I'm relaxed and my lungs feel, I don't know refreshed?  So I'm going to keep trying and hopefully I'll get better.  At least it's a way to get in a short workout or to do a bit extra when I'm already at the gym.  And oh yeah, I think I may invest in some goggles.


  1. What do you mean the gym doesn't do the workout for you? My problem with gym pools is that they don't tend to have a deep end. About twenty years ago I learned to do independent deep water workouts with goggles and, yes, both hand AND foot flippers. I can only think how much better you'd feel doing your laps, watching a 58-year-old woman flapping like a madwoman with her flippers. I draw the line at those old-lady bathing caps with the little colored rubber bits that flop about when you move. I agree... once you are AT a gym, it seems so much easier to do a little bit extra. I have some old goggles...

  2. nice....i love swimming...lakes can be sketchy though, i agree...think it was watching creepshow all those years ago that did that to me...but good job getting out there...i need more exercise...

  3. I don't like to have my feet touch the bottom of any pond, lake or ocean. Years ago I bought "water shoes". Best invention yet for swimming in natural water. Of course, this is all because nobody and nothing touches my feet.

  4. I always feel Good After a Swim + as a kid,I used to get half a day off school to swim because of my Asthma.But I dont swim much these days.Tis strange .I love sea swimming but in pools is so boring to me!
    I'd much rather ,these days, watch a YouTube about swimming instead!

  5. Gah I have a pool. Takes 15 freestyle strokes to get from one end to the other but basically I use it just to get wet. No that didn't sound right - to get cool. OK the guilt has got to me. Out to do a few laps.