It’s been months since I last swam for exercise, for lots of reasons, mostly just time. I told the desk worker that it had been a while. She was encouraging, “Oh, but it will feel so good to get back in the water.” I laughed and told her I was nervous, as if it’s possible to forget how to swim.
I really was nervous, butterflies and everything. I like that they don’t have real mirrors in the locker room, just polished stainless steel plates on the wall. That way I didn’t have to think about how the cap or goggles looked strange, or the suit didn’t fit the same way it did months ago.
Walked past the lifeguards contemplating turning around. I was there with a water aerobics class, but besides them, I was the only person in the pool. I hate that. I can handle being on stage with a spotlight on me, but something about being in a more intimate setting like a room or a class, I get nervous and self conscious. Add to that already being nervous, being in a swim suit in water, being slow and awkward and the only moving object in the pool, I felt like every move was magnified.
It didn’t help that getting into the pool and getting warmed up I felt like a drowning duck. I kinda did forget how to swim.
The girl at the desk was right, though. It did feel good to be back in the water. Well, after the initial shock of the cold enveloping my body when I jumped in. I struggled to get into a rhythm. I felt awkward. I worried it had been too long and I was going to run out of energy way before I had planned to, but I made it through my workout and on with my day feeling fantastic.
I like conquering the voice in my head that tells me I can’t or shouldn’t do something I want or need to do. I like how I feel when I push through with my plan and ignore all the reasons my mind compiles to dissuade me. I like feeling like I am stronger than my fears and excuses. I feel like training my mind and my heart is as important if not more important than training my body. I feel strongest when I conquer and rule myself. Sometimes, you really do have to just do it.
I’ll spend lots more time in the pool while I can’t run, and it will get much less awkward. I’ll get the hang of it again. Then I’ll have to conquer that same negative voice that says I can’t get back in the gym or on the trail. It’s a never ending cycle, but I won’t give in to “I can’t” until I actually physically can’t. Then I’ll just have to find something else to conquer.