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A History of Swimming

Published February 11, 2016 by sarcasmica

This has been kind of an interesting journey for me, this swim stuff. See, I never could swim as a kid. I tried. I remember having to take a class at the Y when I was elementary school aged. I didn’t do well, though. All I remember is endless kicks while hanging onto the wall. It seemed irresponsible, and illogical to then go from leg kicks to actually jumping off a milk crate into the water. This was their process in the 80’s, I guess.

Needless to say, I was not a swimmer by the end of that class.

My next memory is being at summer camp – again with the Y – and it was a beach day. I must’ve been around 10 or so. Everyone was in the water. This was So Cal, afterall, who DIDN’T go in the water at the beach?

Me.

So when I did, it was all fun and games until a wave took me out. And by “out” I mean “under”. There were no counselors around. This was a free-form beach camp day. I had the cliche` experience of being knocked under repeatedly until I managed to get to shallow enough water and I dragged myself wet and sputtering and spitting and coughing onto my towel. No counselors or campers were the wiser, either. I literally saved my own life. Remember, I still didn’t know how to swim and this was the 80’s. There were no helicopter parents or, by default, helicopter counselors. They were teenagers in Southern California being paid to go to the beach with a bunch of kids.

Next on the water docket, summer camp.

By the way, this whole post seems like an awful yelp review of any and all YMCA programs, and I apologize. It’s not. It was just the way things were back then and as everyone loves to say, “I still made it.”

I was sent to a week long summer camp every year with, you guessed it, the Y!
“YM YM YMCA CA CA CAMP YMCA CA MP YMCA CA MP Y Camp, Y Camp, yeeeeaaaaa!”
We had to do swim tests in the pool if you wanted to venture to the deep end. Since all I could manage was a strong doggie paddle and a decent water tread, I never made it. I was quite happy to stay in the shallow end, though. My only take  away from that experience was being teased for my “extra boobs”. Again, I was the fat kid. The “Boobs” to which they were referring was the armpit fat that gets bunched up between your bathing suit and armpit. I still have it, but i’m much meaner looking now, so if anyone is teasing, it’s behind my back where it belongs.

I didn’t learn how to properly swim until I was an adult. My husband can. He’s ridiculous. We are an oxymoron. He is Canadian and can swim like a large dolphin while the So Cal gal swims like a rock. We lived in Arizona and had a backyard pool like everyone else. It’s a necessity there. That is where I learned to swim. When we went on our honeymoon cruise to the Caribbean we did an excursion to swim along a reef. It was the only excursion I could sign up for since I was 6 months pregnant. (In my defense, we waited to do the cruise until the summer after our wedding)

I had to practice wearing the snorkel gear in the pool on the ship first… for like an hour. I had serious claustrophobia putting that crap on and depending on it for my life. We wont even talk about my shark phobia. It’s nearly debilitating. I’m often convinced that I drowned AND was eaten by a school of sharks in a past life.

Anyway, gear practiced, arms and legs cooperating, we head down to the beach in Cancun. There is a storm brewing, so we actually changed beaches. The guides warned us the current might get rough, but they had a backup raft if anyone had issues.

As suggested by the guides, since this was my first ocean swim, I stayed close to them and firmly on the beach side of my husband. This way, if a shark approached, I was sure the appetizer would satisfy the beast before snacking on me. It was a mile or a half mile swim out to the reef, then a mile down the reef, then a half or full mile back in…  I think it must’ve been just a half mile out to the reef, this was 10 years ago so I don’t really remember.

The swim on the reef was aaaaaaaahmaaaaazing! I quickly worked through my paranoia and fear and soon focused on the fish. We even saw a sea turtle. I thoroughly loved it. Once the reef swim was over, however, the storm moved closer. We had to swim back to shore against the current.

I’m 6 months pregnant. Have never swam in the ocean before this, and i’ve already swam a mile and a half at best. Swimming against a current proved 100% challenging. Everyone else in our group took the raft back to shore. Why didn’t I, you might wonder?

We tried! It was like loading a sedated elephant into a Prius.

I’m 5’10 and at the time weighed over 250lbs. Our guides were small Latin men maybe 5’6..? The raft was getting tossed around by the current and the waves, my husband literally went under the water to try and elevator me into the raft, but my belly and giant ass prohibited anyone from being able to pull me up.

So, die or swim? I swam. My husband the dolphin swam beside me. I did some of it on my back, but I did it.

I have never been so exhausted, aside from the 2 times i’ve been in labor.

I loved the snorkeling part so much, we did it once more on a LOCAL beach at our last stop. No marathon swimming was necessary, either.

So after all that you’d think i’d hate swimming, right? That just explains the lengths of hatred I’ve developed for exercise that this is the thing in the end I end up choosing as “fun”.

 

Working On It

Published February 11, 2016 by sarcasmica

So foggy today. We have a sleep number bed, but damned if I can find the magic number that will eliminate my husband’s snoring.

He’s getting over a cold, so I can’t completely blame him … .but that doesn’t stop me this morning. I tripped on the bags under my eyes on the way to my Keurig.

This week I’m working on moi. This sounds so douchey, right? The whole “me time” thing is a little grating for this stay at home momma. Mostly because I have friends who are in a situation where this is not an option, so I don’t like talking about it … but hell. This is my life and I should just live it regardless, right?

It’s taking a lot for me to fix some stuff. Taking a lot of energy and money and time. I’m blessed to be able to be a stay at home mom and have these opportunities. I’m badass for taking the opportunity and making the most of it. .. finally… after seven years or so of being a SAHM. It helps immensely that my mom lives with us and is open to being a last minute and scheduled babysitter whenever we need it.

I’ve been working with a trainer for six months now. We had a rare sunny day recently and I dusted off a stretchy then-too-snug pair of capris from last summer. I was so sure of myself that they would finally fit nicely!

Spoiler: They didn’t. They fit the same. Needless to say I was kinda butt hurt. However, it was my own fault. I’ve been working out with a trainer for six months once a week… and most weeks that’s the only day I exercise.  I haven’t overhauled my eating habits, either. Just consistently have made minor tweaks. It’s my own damn fault, but i’m trying my hardest to use it as motivation to get to the gym.

Another point of sale is my new gym membership.

On one hand one could argue losing weight is hugely expensive and not realistic. On the other, paying for outrageously priced medication that is necessary to live everyday can be more expensive. With this in mind i’ve been also seeing a therapist to help work through some issues. Specifically food-related. .. well, that’s how it started anyway. It’s morphed into a lot more areas, but it’s all been for positive change and I thoroughly believe if you’ve been overweight your ENTIRE life, there’s more to changing habits and ingrained beliefs about yourself than just “exercise for 30 min/day!” and “eat the rainbow!” … which, loosely translated could mean “eat a pack of Skittles everyday!”

So I have it in my head that i’m a swimmer. It’s the perfect exercise for a fat chick. You are nearly weightless (hence eliminating all the daily aches and pains that go along with carrying a Goodyear tire or two around your body for 30+ years) and the best part; you don’t have to feel sweat! I love it.

I have swam/swum/swimmed used the pool twice and actually managed a good starting work out time. After a week of a sick husband, a sick kid, and 4 doc appointments between both children, I neglected to swim at all last week. Upon taking my daughter to her lesson this week, however, I felt the first pang of regret at an exercise. I actually missed swimming when I smelled the overbearing chlorine and saw the swim team practicing. 

It was a very surreal experience. I’ve hated all forms of exercise my entire life. To find the holy grail of something I enjoy is literally mind altering for me.

So today, despite having to pin my eyebags up behind my ears, and fighting the urge to fall asleep walking from one room to the next, I WILL fasten that new swim cap over my headache and strap on my new goggles, and I will head to the pool.

I may drown from lack of effort or motivation once in the water, but that will just look like I pushed so hard and worked so much that I died from exhaustion. Something I never thought my obit would say!

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