Sunday, August 16, 2009

Floaties No More

So, in preparation for this year’s LiveStrong Challenge, I thought it would be nice to incorporate a new physical activity, to keep my mind and body engaged. It is pretty much a no-brainer that someone who has had four knee surgeries should probably stay away from running, which left swimming as my best bet…great on the joints, full body workout, easy access to a great natatorium on campus. There was only one problem: I don’t know how to swim. Yeah, I know, I know.

But I am committed to this, so I signed up last week for an Adult Learn to Swim class on campus. For some reason in my mind I thought that learning to swim would be easy – you know after a week I would be jumping off the high dive and swimming laps leisurely up and down the pool lanes. I am here to tell you that learning to swim as an adult is no picnic. I call it 60 minutes of controlled panic. Trying to remember all the things you have to do is proving a challenge – stretch the arms, flat back, head straight down, rotate shoulders, kicking legs, breathe out, head to the side, breathe in, etc. The thing that I find so troubling is that quite literally every instinct you have in the water is wrong. When you panic and start moving faster, you sink. When you want to tilt your head so you can see where you are going, your legs sink. When you are about to crap your pants in fear, you have to relax (which actually seems like a good play regardless of where you are).

So in my class I have had some small victories as well as some humble pie. The same night that I was finally able to breathe and swim at the same time (a little bit), I had a four year old jump into the pool (something I still can’t do) and literally swim rings around me. I thought I was decently athletic until that night.

In order to really get the hang of this, I was told that we’d need to continue to practice for a couple more weeks before we can even get into the lap pool. Needless to say, this was a let down. But, Jenny has agreed to come to the pool with me to help me practice…or maybe just for a good laugh. The best part about this whole ordeal is that my knees have never felt better. That whole thing about water exercise being a good for the joints isn’t a giant steaming pile of crap after all. Man, I wish I’d done this years ago…for a variety of reasons.