Wednesday, April 4, 2012

And Now My Lung is Full

I write to you as a survivor. Yes, indeed. I survived not one, not two, but three days swimming as part of the masters (older folk) program for Oliver's swim team!

You can't really imagine what swimming is REALLY like until you actually do it. You can watch all the old video footage of the likes of Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps, and they are so graceful in the water, you think, That looks like fun! But the reality is far different, my friend.

The first question I was asked when I arrived was, "Did you swim in high school?" And the answer is no. I had to make a choice, drama or sports. I obviously chose drama but had I decided to take up a sport, it would have been swimming.

The person who asked me that quesion was Coach Ben who is probably about twenty-two years old. Nice guy who shows up at 5:45 AM four days a week to dish out a workout for people who are, in general, two to three times his age.

I had to assure him that while I did not swim in high school, I can make it across the pool without dying. And in all honesty, that's what I FELT. I have not swum in a big pool for over twenty years. So how would I know?

After I swam the first 50 yards (up and back), I honestly did not KNOW if I was going to make it. I worried a bit about the embarrassment if they had to call an ambulance after I keeled over in my lane, floating face down in the water. Or just as horrifying, they would have to administer CPR. Imagine how awful it would be to be typing my blog from a hospital bed!

The reasons it was so difficult was: a) breathing, b) sheer repetition of movement for a long time, c) my lack of stamina.

Honestly, never underestimate the importance of oxygen. For whatever reasons, there were moments when I became anxious or nervous and felt unbearably desperate for air. It seems so simple to just lift your head up and breathe, but sometimes it just isn't enough. I reached points during my workouts when I just thought that I could never have enough air.

I also imagined that my lung fell out and I kept swimming, because that's what it felt like.

While swimming with good swimmers, I came to realize how very weak I am physically. I realized how much work I need to do to build strength. My arms were so tired from repeatedly moving them in the same direction. My legs felt a bit like jelly the first day.

Perhaps the most humiliating thing was not being able to lift myself out of the pool. I had to swim under the tarp to get to the step ladder.

So you are probably wondering why I continued with it after the first day.

I saw progress. Laughable, silly progress. The first day, I struggled completing 25 yards. The second day I struggled after doing 50s. Today, I was able to do 75s and after 5 seconds complete the last 25 yards to make a 100.

The other thing is that I actually love the water. I love the feel of getting in the water. I love the feel of moving through the water. The blueness and stillness of the water early in the morning attracts me. I like the way the water feels on my skin and how bracing it is when I get out of the pool and find relief in the warmth of the hot showers. I like having wet hair and finding comfort in a hot coffee after my work out.

I like working out in the water because you don't get sweaty and smelly.

Each swimmer pretty much had their own lane so there was less stress about how slowly I moved. Nobody paid any attention to what I was doing. I am sure they were thinking I had to be pretty weak to not be able to lift myself out of the pool but I was glad they didn't offer to help me because that would have been more embarrassing!

Another great thing is that Oliver sweetly offered to help me get improve my strokes and more importantly, he and Jovanny (swimming on high school team) knew that I have at least an inkling of what they endure. I jokingly offered the suggestion to the swim team that participating in the masters should be a prerequisite for the team parents. Just so they know what it feels like. Although I was joking, I like the idea.

The only thing negative about my experience is that I have to start all over again in the summer because whatever progress I made will be difficult to regain.

Moz the Dog
Moz (the dog) is resting as I write this, recovering from his surgery (neutering). Poor baby.

Morrissey the Human
Morrissey tickets for the San Diego show go on sale tomorrow. I am kind of anxious about getting them. I just want to get them in case they sell out and I want better seats than last time.

He has added a date in Bakersfield as well but I just don't think I could deal with the drive in May. Just too busy.

He is also playing a date in Turkey in July.

Morrissey-Loving Ghost?
A strange thing happened earlier today. After texting a friend, I folded a towel and as I was stacking it in the cabinet I heard music. At first I thought Jovanny had left music on but when I listened I could hear Morrissey's voice down the hallway. I followed it and discovered the source was my phone. It had randomly gone to Pandora and to a song by The Smiths. It was very odd.

Jovanny is convinced  we have a Morrissey-loving ghost.

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