Sunday, June 21, 2009
Back from Hiatus
Well, I am back in the pool after a 20-odd year hiatus.
I am feeling my age. My joints just aren’t up to long runs or running every day. My knees routinely complain by creaking as I climb the stairs. So what do you do when you still need to exercise but your body is weak? In my case, I started looking for ways to break up the exercise routine. With summer arriving here in the hot and steamy east and me looking for any relief from the constant humidity, I guess it was only a matter of time before I jumped in the pool again.
I used to love swimming. When I was eight, I was on the swim team for a summer, and I rocked the competition out of the water, coming in routinely first place in the 25 meter free and back. Oh, yeah. That’s right. I am re-living The Glory Days. I loved the pool, and I went through all the swimming classes offered at our local YMCA, even mastering the horrid butterfly stroke (o.k. so I never actually mastered it—my upper body strength has never been my strong suite. But I totally mastered the theory.) At some point though, I stopped swimming. I think it was about the time that I started caring about what I looked like. I heard horror stories of chlorine turning your hair into brittle, coarse twine, and that was the end. I have always been a bit vain about my hair.
Now, 20 years later, I am in the pool again, and while I am sure my form is a bit rusty, at least I remember more or less how the strokes should feel. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of my endurance. At one point in my life, I had no problems with 200 meters (which is still a really short distance). Now, I can barely make it 25 before I need to stop and catch my breath. I think I need to remember how to breathe. In any case, I can’t say that I am getting a killer workout since I am now the world’s slowest swimmer—with people passing me on their little blue kick boards. I hope though, this improves with time.
Oh, and my hair issue? (Because although I would like to say that I have become less vain about my hair, that wouldn’t be entirely true.) I have learned that you can prevent a lot of the adverse chlorine effects by wetting your hair thoroughly, applying conditioner, and then wearing a swim cap. So, yeah. I am working that system. So far, so good.
Here is to a summer of revisiting past hobbies, relearning old skills, and keeping the heat at bay.