I hauled myself out of my warm, wonderful bed this morning and took myself to the swimming pool. Believe me, it wasn’t my first choice for a way to spend the early hours of the day, but I powered through. In my vision of the morning, I saw myself wrapping up my swim and going to class feeling refreshed and invigorated, so I put on my suit, covered the horror with sweatpants, and backed out of the driveway just this side of the butt crack of dawn.
Two things happened that cut rather dramatically into my swim time.
Thing One: Sherman goes to daycare on Tuesdays, which usually means a very brief stop on my way to work to drop the pooch off for playtime. Sadly, there were three dogs waiting to go in ahead of us today, and they weren’t listening to the daycare people. Dogs who aren’t listening aren’t allowed into the playroom, so I was delayed in signing in Sherman.
Thing Two: My punch pass had expired for the public pool. I tucked my debit card into my jacket pocket so I could just pay up front for another ten swims before I headed into the locker room today. Sadly, a sweet elderly couple with limited English were trying to buy a facility membership when I arrived. By the time all that got straightened out and it was my turn, I was more than ten minutes behind.
My tired body begged me to turn around, slink shamefully to my classroom, and change out of my swimming gear without actually hitting the water. Well, my entire body tried to influence me to just give up the swim except for my butt. My posterior keeps reminding me I’m about to be thirty, and dimples are only cute on little kids, and not on the cheeks where mine reside. I hustled through the change room (wincing every time I stepped in an icy puddle that must have dripped off some lucky someone who was already done swimming) and got myself in the pool about thirteen minutes behind my normal splashdown time. Ever the problem solver, I started working out how I could turn the 17 minutes remaining until I had to be out of the pool and preparing for work back into the 30 minutes I usually spend paddling back and forth.
Luckily (ish) I noticed when I dug about in my swim bag for my little makeup pouch that it was apparently back home on the bathroom counter. Having no makeup bag meant I wouldn’t have to use up five minutes post-swim to smear a little pretty on myself. Makeup is to women what cream cheese is to bagels, as I see it; plain bagels are a beautiful thing and people love them, but often that little bit of pizzaz makes such a difference. Five minutes from my post-swim routine could therefore be reallocated to the pool.
Officially I was up to a 22 minute swim, which is much less pathetic sounding than a 17 minute swim. My goal is to swim for thirty minutes at a time, so the only other option was to turbo charge my workout and get as much cardio into my 22 minute window as possible. Then, a light shone down from somewhere above and illuminated the big blue locker on the pool deck by the deep end. I had no idea what was inside, but the label on the door invited me to enjoy the contents for my workout and please return items to the appropriate shelf afterward. I opened the door and the angels sang: row after row of flippers were piled inside. In case you’re wondering, the angels sounded a bit like Ke$ha, but that’s probably because she was on the radio at that moment.
I found flippers small enough for my feet, almost slipped and killed myself on the tiles trying to slip them on standing on the deck, and decided to climb back in the water before putting on my fins. Guess what? I have always thought of myself as a crummy flutter kicker. I’ve always had to kick like mad to go anywhere. Apparently, all that’s wrong is my feet are way too small to displace adequate water for impressive forward propulsion. With a pair of fins on, I am an aquatic rocket. I am a swift, not quite sleek sardine in polka dot lycra. I am so fast I can just clasp my hands in the small of my back and cut through the water like one of those boats that breaks up ice in the arctic.
Like all thrilling things, being a zippy swimmer this morning got the better of me. After gliding back and forth, so overjoyed at the speed and ease with which I sliced through the chlorinated swells that it was suddenly time to go to work, I pulled off my fins, crawled awkwardly onto the deck, and attempted to put them back in the blue flipper cabinet.
Apparently, what feels like easy swimming with fins on is a dangerous, evil lie. Back on the deck, I was faced with the sudden realization that my “sea legs” were refusing to make the transition back to land. After propelling me back and forth with great enthusiasm under water for my brief but enthusiastic swim, my legs were nearly useless. I felt like jelly from the hipbones south, and just navigating myself back to the change took everything I had.
I had a bit of a weave in my step for the first two hours of my morning. It’s a little embarrassing to have to focus all one’s energy on steering to avoid looking like a drunk at quarter after eight. To offset my apparent lack of motor control, I just told all my classes I was a little wobbly from swimming with fins on.
With any luck, they think I swam thirty miles this morning and that I’m a lane paddling rock star, not that I overestimated my stamina and had legs that felt like ABC Bubblicious. Let’s hope they err on the side of rock star.
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