The mental exercise of swimming.


Sunset at The Oahu Club.

@postaday 198; #postaday2011.

Last night while swimming with the masters program at The Oahu Club, it took me a while to find my rhythm. The rest of the kids were leaving me behind. In fact, at the end of the session, coach Joe Lileikis came over and gave me a hug and reassured me everyone has sessions like that. That. Bad. I guess. Sigh.

Here’s the thing. I am swimming because it is something I did as a child that gave me real joy. But swim team and the routinely methodical execution of laps does not. Only the results give me joy. A better time, a svelter body, an outlet to work through the myriad of thoughts, concerns, problems and challenges that compete for attention in my mind. 

As I watch the tiles below me I try to tune out everyone else who is in the water. This is hard to do. Last night there were two new guys in the next lane getting the kind of attention new guys get. Coach Joe was trying to assess their abilities and to see where they might fit in. They weren’t getting moved into the fast lane anytime soon. But there I was in the next lane over and they would race me to the other side of the pool every time. I tried my best to keep my head down, focus on my stroke and forget they were there. But, because I was wearing paddles and because the evening was mostly pulling without kicking, I wasn’t exactly being left in the dust. We’d get to the other end and they’d look over at me with this stupid-ass “I Win Grin.” I wanted to say: “Yay, YOU! How’s it feel to out touch a 52-year-old mom who dragged her ass out of bed at 4:30 this morning, spent the day working, just fed her kids, and cleaned up the kitchen before dragging said kids to the club so she could drag herself across the pool for 2,000 meters? HOW DOES IT FEEL? Yay YOU!”

Because, honestly, so what?

Right about now my husband would call me out. He says I’m competitive. OK, I am. But I know that young men in their 30s and 40s, and even older guys in their 50s and 60s will beat me in the pool regularly. And the women? I am hoping my invisibility lasts a long time.

When I feel stronger they’ll know it. I have a goal, and I swim that distance each session and then some. When Joe asks how they did in their ocean swim contests and I hear their results, I’m in awe, I’m inspired, I’m humbled.

But these are my arms, my legs, and my lungs. So really, all I need to be concerned with is MY progress.

Author: lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer is my new opponent. Writer, super sub teacher, triathlete, awesome cook, ocean girl with head-to-toe sun protection.

1 thought on “The mental exercise of swimming.”

  1. you put in the work, you reap the rewards. you do one lap, you’re better than if you hadn’t. you do a bunch of laps, you’re a bunch better than if you hadn’t. even if you DFL, you’re a winner. somebody blows by you? hooray for them. now back to work. you’re busy winning.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s