I have come to really love swimming. I think it’s my favorite sport. I really enjoy all of the parts of a triathlon, but swimming feels the best.
There is a certain freedom that comes with riding a bike. You see the world a little differently and feeling the wind in your face is pretty amazing. But also, when I’m on my bike, I tend to worry. I worry about cars on the road, about falling off, about swerving into the road. It’s not as relaxing (and I mean “relaxing” to mean something like mental peace, since exercise is obviously not meant to be relaxing) as I would like. I don’t have friends who ride or any good place near my house, so it’s a bit more of a hassle sometimes.
Running is a great way to release everything that’s stored up inside of you. Stress, frustration, even at times exhaustion, seem to get absorbed in running. But I think I get caught up in the numbers game. I want to run faster, I want to run farther. I get annoyed when I get a cramp or feel that I need to slow down. I wish I could run with more abandon, but I’m not there, yet.
But swimming… when I’m swimming, everything else just kind of fades away. I’m not thinking about anything else besides my strokes and breathing. I don’t worry so much about times and numbers and find that I move even faster and swim even farther without trying. I leave the pool after each swim feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the day.
But I’ve been landlocked since I broke my wrist back in December. Clearly I couldn’t swim with the cast on and even once I had that off, my doctor said to get back into the water slowly. It’s been a month now since I’ve had my cast taken off and I’m not going to lie, I’ve been nervous about swimming again. I was afraid it wouldn’t be as strong as I thought. Or that I might accidentally hit my wrist on the wall or on another swimmer as they pass by. Not to mention, swimming is the hardest sport to wake up for in the morning. Especially in the winter. You just think about how cold it is and that you’re going to have to undress, get wet and then drive home still wet. Trust me, that does not sound appealing at 5:00 in the morning.
But last week, for the first time in over two months, I got back in the water. And I can’t even tell you how good it felt. It made me realize truly how much I’ve missed it. But it also made me realize how far I have to go. Any swimmer will tell you, you have to consistently swim in order to keep up with it. Even just a short time out of the pool and you will notice a difference. I could feel it in every muscle in my body.
It’s going to take me some time to get back to where I was, but I’m not totally discouraged. When I first started swimming last summer, I could hardly make it one length of the pool (25 yards) without gasping for breath. Just a few weeks before my triathlon in October, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make it the 250 yards for the swim portion. But suddenly, everything just clicked and I made it past the 250 yards up to around 2000 yards in just a few weeks. And now, I’m still able to make it those 250 yards, although my arms are tired and my wrist is still weak.
I’m taking it slow for right now, keeping it to about a half-hour swim. As I start to feel a little more comfortable with my wrist I’ll continue to increase the time and distance. But I’m so glad to be back in the water. Now I just can’t wait for warm weather!