January is going swimmingly

I wasn’t planning on doing a monthly round-up but spurred on by lovely Lee the Pea it seems the right time to have a look back at the exploits of January. Admittedly, January isn’t quite over yet, but it has flown by alarmingly quickly, something that seems to happen all too often the older I get. For lots of people January is a month of abstinence.  From booze, from the over-indulgences of Christmas from food and spending. A month of new gym memberships and a month where there appears to be too much month and not enough money, with 5 weeks instead of the usual 4 between pay checks. For the first time in my adult life, I’m not overdrawn and I’m not scratching around for money which is definitely progress.

I joined the many hundreds of people who use the new year as an opportunity to get fit, be more active and lose weight but also because getting fitter and getting stronger is one of my goals for this year. So far, I’ve been swimming about 4 or 5 times and I’ve started using my lovely Suunto watch to track how far I swim, mainly because I can’t count laps and remember to breathe at the same time! My longest swim has been 1km or 40 lengths of the 25m pool and it was definitely a high point – although I’ll admit I was stubborn and pushed the last couple of laps so the distance was a nice round number.

Last night, there was a new high, one that comes when you learn a new skill after trying to master something that doesn’t come easily. I had my 1st swimming lesson in 25 years with a simply fabulous teacher who had the patience of a saint and never stopped pushing me to do one more length. As per my goals for the year, I wanted to learn how to do a front crawl without looking like I was about to drown. To say it was a tough lesson would be an understatement; I got out of the pool after 45 minutes completely red-faced from exertion and pride. I managed to do 150m of front crawl after spluttering and gasping my way up and down the pool, swallowing gallons of water and inhaling several more. Like my physio, Leanne said I was stubborn and I was trying to get it perfect the first time around. I had to laugh…two of them can’t both be wrong about me!


As I relaxed into the lesson, it did start to get slightly easier, although easy it certainly isn’t. I went back to the pool today thanks to an unplanned day off on account of a burst water main at work, determined to practice my new skills and managed to swim another km, a mix of breast stroke and crawl. I drank some more pool water, spluttered a bit more and spent £6 on a nose clip that didn’t make it a single length of the pool before it fell off, sank to the bottom and lost one of its rubber pads. I don’t have a nose that accepts being sealed off like a seal, so I’ll be spluttering for a while yet but I am doing more crawl each time.

However, I am getting more confident in the pool, less fearful of failing and eager to go back in the pool – so far goal posts are still standing in the same place I left them at the start of the year. See you in the pool.

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