I love the feeling of swimming laps as I glide across the water erasing my busy thoughts as I focus on my breath and stride. The water lulls my aches and soothes my spirit as I disappear into the water.
I push-off the wall, stretch out , rotating my arms, relaxing, and begin to count 1,2,3,4 breathe, 1,2,3,4 breathe, 1,2,3,4 breathe.
It’s the of edge of the pool that waits for me to do my flip turn and push-off the wall - 1,2,3,4 breathe.
The last few weeks my knees have been disagreeable and I decided it was time to ease up on them by returning to the pool. I have not swam laps for months and dreaded the thought of not being conditioned enough to swim without gasping for air.
I hopped into the fifty meter pool awkward, unsure of myself, but pushed off the wall gliding into a front crawl.
Every four strokes I would take a breath and count.
I made it half way before I was gasping for air.
I switched to a scissor kick and swam on my side to save my drowning face.
I gave myself a pep talk after reaching the other side of the lane.
You can do it! It has been a while but you know what to do!
I switched into a back stroke, catching my stride, my bathing suit had grown a size, and one of my lady parts started to fall out.
You have got to be kidding me!
Red in the face, I straightened up, and tightened my tankini top. I felt humiliated!
Damn it! I am going to swim for forty minutes even if it was going to kill me regardless of swimsuit malfunctions!
I switched back into front stroke finding my stride but my mind wandered from counting the breath. Again, at the three-quarter mark I had to switch to the scissor kick.
I reached the end of the lane and decided to focus on the butterfly as I slowly glided through the water. I heard a splash from behind me and it was a man trying to pass me in his formidable front crawl.
Something competitive launched from within and I was not going to let that man pass me. I had pride. I use to be a strong swimmer. I picked up my arms and immediately resumed into front crawl.
At this point it was a race and I was not to be defeated.
I found my rhythm, my breath fell into place, and I won! I made it to the end of the lane pushing a good distance between the two of us. It was that moment I knew I could swim a whole lap and had finally found my stride.
As I finished my last lap someone told me “You look very calming when you swim.” I blushed and clearly thought he must have been watching the wrong person reaching out for the edge of the pool. I was reminded that day that there is a reward when you force yourself out of your comfort zone. It is in the movement of your stride, the perfect pace when everything falls into place, and the present moment which allows you to treasure your breath.
This post was inspired by Andra Watkins “A Change Would Do You Good” series.