Thursday, July 1, 2010

June 30th, 2010 – 1 Mile Swim

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

My last run was such a drag, I thought I would try swimming. I used to swimming quite a bit and I always enjoyed it but the truth of the matter is, public pools are disgusting and I swear, now that I’m older, I just don’t react well to them. A few days after I swam in the local 24 Hour Fitness pool and a single drop of water bounced into my throat, I was diagnosed with Strep Throat and I had never had it before that time or since. It may have been a coincidence, but that was the last time I ever swam in that pool.

The pool I swam in tonight was the pool at the community center where Jordan has lessons. I had no reason to believe this pool would be any better kept, but they have lap swimming from 7p to 9p, so I thought I’d give it a go.

It’s been well over a year since I’ve swum for my workout and I wasn’t sure how it would go. But I decided I would treat myself and wear the new bikini I purchased for the summer. Typically, when I purchase a bikini, I do weeks of research on the best style for my body type, purchase one, try it on in my bedroom, then never wear it in public. Any time I need a swim suit, I pull on my trusty, competition style, royal blue, one-piece, full coverage, Speedo. But not tonight! I was going to wear my new bikini with pride and hold me head up high at this very public pool, where college and high school swim teams practice.

So I get there, pay my entrance fee, ask what the rules are and find a place to stow my gear. The lanes are set up. There are 5 lanes and one girl swimming laps while her mom looks on. On the far end, there is a Men’s water polo team practicing. I pull out my swim cap and goggles, I kick off my Crocs and ask the little lady in the pool if the water is cold. She smiles her charming, metallic, toothy smile and says, “No. It feels good”.

Now there is no other reason for me to dawdle. Either I throw off my cover-up and jump in, or I’m just that 38-year-old weirdo who paid three bucks to watch underage children in their swimsuits. So, I pull off my little cotton cover up and remind myself that I’ve worked hard this year and even though my body is riddled with evidence of childbearing, it is strong, healthy and remarkably fit. I look great!!! And not just “great for a 30-something mother of two” but actually damn good! I throw my shoulders back and my chin up and I walk across the deck and drop into the pool. The water does feel good. I dunk my head and emerge to slick back my hair so I can slide on my swim cap. I rinse and shake my goggles and those are in place too.

It’s been awhile, so I want to take it slow at first. I do a fairly well formed free-style and a clumsy but effective summersault at the end of the lane. I do 4 lengths before I stop for breath. That felt good!

The little lady is at the starting position too as she asks me if I’m training for something. I felt pretty good about that! My focus and form have obviously convinced her that I am a real athlete! At least that's the story I'm stickin' to. I told her I was cross training for a Half Marathon. She said she was in 9th grade and was on a team. She asked me if I wanted to race. What?!

I am well over twice this girl’s age and she’s on a team!!! Swimming is not my sport and I tell her so, but I accept her challenge and she calls the start.

I take my mark… Get set… Go! And we’re off!!

My form was good. Stroke, stroke, stroke, BREATHE! Stroke, stroke, stroke, BREATHE! It was good. I get to the end of the lane a half second behind her. Well, like I said…. I’m old and swimming’s not my sport.

We go again, and this time she beats me by half a body length. Still not bad. The third time, I beat her! Obviously, she's quick, but lacks stamina. Not uncommon for the young’uns!

After that, we get back into regular lap swimming. Me, with my free-style and she with her kickboard. After 4 more laps, she said she wanted me to do well in my Half Marathon, so she wanted to challenge me further. She pulls on a pair of flippers! There is just no way I can beat this girl when she’s wearing flippers, but I’m up for it. She says she'll give me a 5-second head start. That’s fair. NOT!!!!

She calls the start and I’m off like a shot! I am working my butt off and I want to compete well even though there is no chance of me beating her. I get to the end of my lane and she beat me by one second, which of course means she would have left me in her proverbial dust without the 5 second head start. Still, she was wearing flippers and she is HALF my age!

She said she was impressed. She said she was afraid she wasn’t going to catch me. “After 5 seconds, you were already half way across the pool!” she said that racing with people makes you better and asked me if I wanted to go again. I was exhausted, but I wanted to try it again. She called the start.

We were off! Then a cramp in my right foot! Damn! But I have to plow through it! I have to finish! I flex my foot, which of course, produces drag and she beats me by a full body length, but that’s not the point.

The point is, I hung in there and I finished even though I was cramped. That was good.

By then, she was ready to go and I was too. It was after 8:30p and I had I dinner to cook and children to feed.

So I got out of the pool and approached the girl’s Mom. I know how important it is for parents to feel comfortable when their kids get too chummy with strangers. I told her that her daughter was lovely and a very good sport for letting me race her. She said, “You’re a good sport too! You kept her out here. She was ready to leave 30 minutes ago.”

What a blessing! A divine appointment, for sure.

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