Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
Stop the press!
Sound the alarm!
Alert the troops!
Move that bus!
Other loud and obnoxious phrases!
I have an urgent news message…
I went swimming.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a big freaking deal. I, Page Spicer Williams, put on an actual bathing suit that is used for exercise purposes only (that is so old I used in college), a red, white and blue swim cap, goggles that still had the stickers on it, and jumped in the pool for a swim workout.
What? You still don’t understand the magnitude of this event? Well, allow me to explain: I haven’t swam for exercise in probably six years. In fact, the last time I swam for exercise was when I dabbled in triathlons in college. The sudden addition of swimming into the mix will be explained soon (including my hip feeling the worst it ever has), but know this: I freaked out, but then I did it, and it was a success.
I arrived early enough at the gym to try and claim my own lane. When I arrived, I jumped in the shallow end and wouldn’t you know it, the creepy guy who makes comments on my running asked to share my lane with me. Great. Perfect start.
The workout was broken out into a warm up, drills, a swim workout and a cool down. I won’t lie, I was terrified. What if my swimming is as efficient as a taco trying to go upstream (go with it, it’s messy). Or would it all come back to me from my college years and I would be like, “BOOM! That just happened!” I literally had no idea, but by the looks of my puny arms I would bet it would be the former.
The first exercise of the warm up set was 200 yards freestyle. 200 yards = 8 laps. Easy shmeezy, right? I don’t know what happened, but I felt like I had an anxiety attack with my face in the water and my nostrils sucking air. Gasp! Flap! GASP! SAVE ME! There was no logic, just my heart and my heading working against me – those evil, evil things.
After I suffered through eight measly laps, I intentionally tuned out the creeper in my lane who was trying to talk to me, I pretended to stare at the clock like I was actually pacing myself and instead had to have a little pep talk with myself, “Why the hell are you freaking out? You know how to do this! It should be like riding a bike, well, not really, but you know what I mean. Get your stuff together and stop being a baby.”
With a moment of calm and a few self-slaps, I told myself we’re not in a race here. I am brand new and it is going to take time, but you’ve got this – just keep with it. With my little pep talk in hand, I decided to take the rest of the workout slow and steady and do exactly what was prescribed. Like magic, it all clicked. My mind calmed down, my arms started to remember how to reach forward in the stroke and my breathing began to sync up. By the end of the work-out, I had swam and kicked a total of 1600 yards! Granted, I had plenty of breaks in between but it was a start and something that I am proud to shout from the rooftops: I KINDA, SORT, WELL WAS IN THE POOL, FOR A FULL MILE!
There’s something invigorating about a blank canvas and a fresh start as the possibilities are endless, and hey, there’s nowhere to go but up! Thus, despite my self-induced warm up freak out, I consider my first swim in over six years a fantastic success. I’ve tried incorporating other types of cross training into my training schedules, but I always end up injuring myself, especially with lifting. But swimming seems safe and a fantastic alternative; thus, I’m going to incorporate swimming into my upcoming half marathon training and can’t wait to see what evolves.
Tell me, are you a swimmer? How did you start? Best advice for newbie swimmers?