Wednesday, October 10, 2007

1600 Meters

My neighbor, when I was 6, was on the Olympic Swim Team. My mother convinced this young man to come over to our house and work on the swimming skills of my older brothers' and I. Mostly what I remember is that he made me do too many laps and I had to choose which side I was going to breathe on. He doesn't get swimming, I thought. He only enjoys going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Where is the joy in that?

Years later, long after swimmers started being taught to breathe on both sides, long after I could no longer could amuse myself for hours on end in the shallow end, and months after gaining the equivalent of a 6th grader while pregnant, I returned to swimming laps.

It took me a dozens of sessions a la snorkel & mask to relearn breathing both left and right while making my heart pump (although I never really got used to the looks at the gym). And it took applying my knowledge of Jeff Galloway's training method to convince myself I could cross the pool multiple times without drowning. A couple birthdays later when I started training for the sprint triathlons this summer, I was still pretty uneasy in the pool. I look forward to my runs, I enjoy taking my bike out, but going to the pool always seemed like homework.

But last week, it clicked. The runner's high morphed into the swimmer's high. Three months ago, I committed to defining a swim workout as a total of 1600 meters, roughly a mile. And twice a week, more or less, I've been plugging through, 100 meters of Freestyle, 100 meters of Breast Stroke
(I think of it as Break Stroke, since I can catch my breath), followed by a 30 second break. Last week, by the time I was half a mile through, I was craving more - like the water was a drum and my arms were pounding out a jungle rhythm - Bom Bah, Bom-Bom Ba. I didn't want to stop, I could hear the song and needed to continue. I dropped the Break Strokes and replaced them with Freestyle. Bom Bah, Bom-Bom Ba. This is all at a stark contrast to what my swim usually is: Oh, dear god, I have 2 more laps before I get a break. Not last week. No, I understood my old coach's back and forth, back and forth.

Bom Bah, Bom-Bom Ba
Bom Bah, Bom-Bom Ba
Bom Bah, Bom-Bom Ba
Bom Bah, Bom-Bom Ba

I have to go swim......


Kimberly said...

I am SO sorry I looked at your site! Those cakes and pies look way to good!!!

crumbs said...

I run to eat and eat to run!

poorfoodie said...

Thank you for an apt and elegant description of the same discovery that I made earlier this year, after injuring my calf on a run and being -forced- to switch to the water for a period. The month-long conversion was littered with pleasant discoveries, including, shortly after finding my rhythm, "Wow, swimmers really are able to breathe comfortably," and, not long after that, on my walk home from a relaxed mile+ workout, "Why am I smiling like this?...oh, swimmer's high."