Friday, June 6, 2008

In the Swim

I had my first swim lesson last night. It was my second workout for the day, I will give you the CRAZY workout trainer Traci put me through tomorrow. Today, let's chat about coach Kelli, that's the name I have given her - she is my swim instructor.

Not at all shockingly, Kelli is a friend of Traci's from back east. (eastern Iowa) Kelli was a high school and college swimmer. She has great technique and a body any woman would kill for because she uses her skills almost daily.

"Why do you need swim lessons?" That's the first thing people ask. Then they say, "Can't you swim?" First, I want them and I need them. Second, yes, well enough not to drown, but that's about it. Okay, yes, I can get from one end of the pool to the other, but with no style and an inability to breathe properly. I expend WAY more energy than is necessary to get the job done.

Humiliating admission - I used to dive in the water with one hand squeezing my nose shut. Plus, I swam with my head uncomfortably above the water, like a cow just trying to get to the other side. Four times they tried to put me through swimming in high school. Four times I was having my period for the six weeks of the class, thereby failing. In my defense, I did generally have two+ week periods at the time. However, the brutal truth is, I was fat to obese and me and a swimsuit during those formative high school years was not going to happen.

I have thought about swim lessons for years, but the swimsuit thing was an issue. As was the real possibility of keeling over in the water from over exerting my larger than it should have been form. The idea has been poking at me harder over the past several months as I have gotten health. Recently my friend Colleen sent me a notice about a 'mini' triathlon and that was it. The tri is coming up soon, so I won't be doing it this year, but I am readying my game for next year.

I am always looking for that next fitness challenge and swimming is it. And it will get me in shape for another one, that triathlon.

Last night we covered the basics. She was excited that I was immediately willing to try the breathing and the strokes. I'll be honest, I have only three fears - burning/being buried alive, losing a family member to senseless violence and losing my mind and drowning. Early on last night as I sucked water and panicked a bit I realized what had really kept me from this, fear.

Not any more. Kelli is patient and kind. She was willing to go over things again and again. She didn't make fun of my fears real or imagined. Instead she did what all good teachers do when they see a block - she changed the way she was teaching the topic. She plans to be a pharmacist and is leaving for Colorado to pursue that in August. But I hope for little girls in Colorado she keeps giving lessons to pay for school, she has a natural talent.

That talent has me excited to practice on my own over the next week and already looking forward to my next lesson. This is another thing I never saw coming, it hit me like a splash of water in the face and I actually like it this time.

Yours in fitness, Kate


  1. Swimming is the best! I miss it a ton.

    Hey, I'm thinking about doing the Pigman next year, provided my ortho guy and PT fix me up to run. Is that the one you're considering?

  2. I'm not sure which one it is, Colleen told me about it. I looked at the distances on the Pigman website, that may be the one. I'm up for doing the short one next year, for sure.

    (I think I just about plotz, who knew?)