13 Aug

Momentum is a funny thing.  Once you have it a little bit of it, it’s very easy to build up more of it.  The problem lies in getting that first bit.

I have to confess, I’m one of those people who watched the Olympics and not only thought, “I wish I could do that,” but also thought, “didn’t I used to be able to do that?”  It was the swimming that got me, especially the long-distance events.  When I was in college, I used to swim a lot.  As in, I had my own code to the school natatorium.  I would swim 1500 meters, shower, and go to my 8 am class four or five days a week.  I earned my lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor certifications, which both require dive tests and long-distance endurance swims.  I wasn’t a fast swimmer beyond 50 meters, but I was steady and I took pride in that endurance.  Swimming was easy for me, and it was fun.

Then I graduated.  Four years went by without daily access to a pool.  Work schedules, rising costs and unreliable access kept me from using my local aquatic center.  My graduate school class schedule conflicted with open swim at the university gym.  Left with no options, I stopped swimming.  Without realizing it, I lost my momentum.

Then the Olympics started.  I watched athlete after athlete dive into the pool, swim as hard as they could, and emerge smiling.  I remembered the feeling of satisfaction after a good workout, the exhaustion that kept my brain from doing its anxiety acrobatics, and the pride of being able to do something well.  I realized that I wanted that back.

Then I joined a gym.  It has a 25-meter salt water pool, which is shorter than I’m used to, but means no chlorine eating through my swimsuits, the latex on my goggles, or stripping the moisture out of my hair.  It also means access to the rest of the gym’s amenities (including a hydro massage table…).  I was thrilled with my decision, went out and purchased two new swimsuits at the end-of-summer clearance (two $70 suits for a combined total of $47) and a pair of goggles.  I jumped in the pool the first day, and realized something.

It had been four years since I had last swum laps.

Me, upon entering the pool for the first time in four years. I swear, I think I grew two extra limbs based on the number of ways and times I hit myself in the face.

I flailed around like a harpooned squid for fifteen minutes before I decided to call it quits.  The plate glass window at one end of the pool, which allows everyone in the gym to look into the pool, had a lot to do with this.  My screaming muscles had the rest.  I vowed to cancel my membership.

But then a strange thing happened.  I didn’t die.  In fact, I woke up the next day feeling better than I had in months.

Then a stranger thing happened.  I went back to the pool yesterday.  I got in the water, and suddenly my coordination was back.  I could swim from one wall to the other without gasping for breath, and the people outside the window didn’t look like they were trying to decide whether to call 911.

My body in the water was all…

My brain was all…

And when I was putting my shoes back on in the locker room, I had a discussion with a fellow gym-user about the pool.  When she told me that she was going to try swimming because I looked like I was in great shape, I was all…

I have found my momentum again.  This time, I’m not going to lose it.


2 Responses to “Momentum”

  1. Sue Maden August 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Well done Katie! Not only did you do yourself good with this forward momentum, but you clearly inspired someone else with your efforts (the fellow gym-user). Talk about win-win! Oh, and extra points for using Squidward pics to great effect. 🙂

    • Losing My Cents August 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

      I’m glad you approved of the squidward pictures. 🙂 I’ve been waiting for a chance to use them.

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