Swim Meat

I am a tall chick. I’m 5’11. It’s not news that i’m big. This body and most bathing suits do not mix. The tankini, while probably designed for a slim marathon runner, is the ideal suit for me because one pieces simply do not work. They just aren’t long enough. We have pants that are “T” (tall) why can’t we have a one piece spandex body suit that is supposed to cover your nethers and your uppers available in a proper length as well?!

Truth be told, the plus size stores may have the right length, but the tops of those things are nowhere near fitting my body. Someone in the fat lady design department decided all plus size women are 5’2 and have 42DDDs.

This is not me.

The steel-lined, padded strapped, quadruple pronged fasteners simply hang on my inadequate decolletage. One could build a canoe out of the uppers of a plus size bathing suit in an emergency.

The point of this ramble is that my husband and I joined a gym. I’ve been on a quasi health kick since mid 2015 and needed an extra something to motivate me to do more than the once/week workout with a trainer. I told him I wanted to go somewhere with a pool so I can swim for aerobic exercise. You know … something where you don’t have to feel the sweat and smell the stink.

In order to properly swim in the pool, however, I needed a one piece bathing suit. My billowing tankini would just slow me down. I ran to Target today with my croupy congested 5 year old so she too could pick a suit. (I have also signed the kids up for swim lessons)

Finding a bathing suit in Washington mid-winter is challenging, to say the least. I had one option. One. The rest were all two pieces.

My daughter began screaming that her ear was hurting, so I didn’t have a chance to try it on. I grabbed it, grabbed one in her department, and we left as she was howling and crying and generally making a scene. People were offering her stickers, giving me ‘is she abducting her, or just an unfortunate mom’ looks.

I decide tonight would be the night to try out the gym swim routine.

I park and sit in my car in my stretched-to-the-max new suit underneath stretch pants and a sweatshirt.

My brain: “What the hell are you doing? You have some freedom right now after a week of hell. Why are you not at a bar?! DRIVE TO THE BAR!”

Me: “No. I can do this. I can’t wear flip flops, stretch pants and a Jack Skellington sweatshirt to a bar. Go. In. … oh look, an email.

Brain: “Ok, but make it quick.”

I enter the women’s locker room and find a gaggle of junior high girls all finishing up after some kind of practice or swim meet or something.

Like 20 of them.

Nothing is as intimidating to an overweight stay at home mom in an uncomfortable hideous Target one piece as this scenario. The only thing worse would be walking through the Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoot.

I almost left. Instead I hid in a bathroom stall and tried to work up the courage to just look at the pool. Afterall, these girls weren’t paying attention to me. One good thing about a mom in the midst of a bunch of barely-teens is that they are pretty invisible.

I found a locker, stashed my purse with my wadded up tank top and chonies to change into after and headed for the pool… just to see if a squad of high school swimmers was waiting out there.

Thankfully it was nearly empty.

I headed back into the locker room, stashed my sweatshirt, took a deep breath, and headed for the pool.

It was actually quite nice! The water was a perfect temperature, the pool was competition sized (since they have actual swim teams at this location) and there were 2 lanes available.

I was trying not to focus on the creepy old dude hanging out in the jacuzzi. What is it about the jacuzzi that attracts old creepy hairy chested men? I was also trying to keep my tiny ta tas from flopping out into the over chlorinated pool. It seems the Target designers also believe the tops of their one-pieces should allow space for a semi-supported pair of watermelons. Being as how I was only sporting small cantaloupes large peaches, every back stroke reach was a gamble.

After one length of freestyle swimming, I was feeling pretty smitten with myself. I can do this! Halfway through the swim back, my heart began telling me a different story.

But I kept going. I did a back stroke for another four lengths. I had to ignore the panicky water pressure feeling I always get in a big pool. I think in a past life I was on a sinking ship and was eaten by a shark. Sharks terrify me. Big and/or deep pools give me serious anxiety. Masks make it worse, snorkels require hours of rehearsal. But I get through it. I’ve learned large predators do not fare well in chlorine. … except the ones in the jacuzzi.

I ended my panting boob-gambling session with one more free style length and then a slow back stroke back. All in all the 8 lengths took me 15 minutes. I don’t think Michael Phelps needs to worry , but at least I did it!

As a reward, I headed over to the jacuzzi trying not to feel like an elephant in a loin cloth. I ignored the creepy dude and only lasted 5 minutes in the hot tub. My eyeballs were beginning to implode with all the chlorine fumes. I walked into the steam room, inhaled the eucalyptus, and turned and walked out after seeing the thermometer read 150 degrees.

I showered and left and felt very proud of myself for tackling the first maiden attempt at swimming for cardio. Next time I will wait 10 minutes longer in the parking lot and hopefully avoid the jr high gaggle, but all in all it was a great little workout! Go me!


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