Wednesday, 4 June 2014

A plum's guide to swimming.

Last night I became a woman on a mission.

You see, I have this habit of making large sweeping statements when it comes to exercise, and then never seeing them through. It's basically what I've done my entire life. So after I posted yesterday's post about my plan of starting back up with swimming again, I inevitably started to feel the classic "Can I really be bothered?" feeling that usually swiftly follows any plan I have that involves physical effort.

By the time I had left work, I was tired and irritated for no apparent reason. The last thing I wanted to do was to go about trying to find somewhere to swim which would then lead to having to wash my hair afterwards, which I'd only just done and that was even more effort to add to the list of tasks for my evening, when all I really wanted to do was to curl up in bed and watch me some Doctor Who.

However, as my train pulled up to my stop, a flash of the bridesmaid dress I had to fit into (in less than two months) went through my mind and I knew that this wasn't just something I could do that was good for me, but actually a necessity that needed to happen. With that realisation, I felt another wave of determination and I wasn't going to let it fade away this time. In order to keep this determination alive, I had to put into place a series of tricks to keep my mind on point and not let my laziness take over. These tricks all amounted to one important thing to ensure that I went swimming last night: Under no circumstances was I to go home first. No matter what, I wasn't to step foot in my front door, as to do so would definitely result in my crashing and not wanting to get up.

So I went straight to Primark, bought the cheapest towel, hairbands and hairbrush available and then to Sports Direct to buy the cheapest Swimming costume. All bought, all complete. I now had everything I needed for a swim, and with each purchase, I had felt my determination grow. I couldn't back out now, I'd spent money on the cause. So I googled my closest swimming pool, got on a bus and headed off; feeling very pleased with myself.

When the bus arrived at the local community pool, to say that I was underwhelmed by the whole look of it would be an understatement. It was a run down looking brick building that, if it hadn't had the graffitied sign on the front, announcing it was a pool, I would have assumed was condemned. I got off the bus and tried not to think about the many diseases I was going to get, or the amount of pee I was going to ingest. Instead, I once again pictured my bridesmaid dress and figured if I got some form of stomach bug from this whole experience, it would only help my cause. Having said that, my enthusiasm for the whole swimming thing was beginning to waver, and I forced myself into the building.

The first thing I noticed was the amount of parents hanging around and the screaming sound of kids coming from the pool area. I snuck a look at the pool and saw it full to the brim of kicking kids with floats. They were obviously having a class and therefore the pool was shut to anyone else... I'm not going to lie, I was fairly happy with this news. I had found my out and it was completely not my fault. If anyone asked, I would be able to say that I had tried but that other things had got in the way, I was guilt free.

I checked the timetable, fully prepared to justify my not swimming by finding a time when it was free and rescheduling my exercise for then... the only problem was that this particular pool seemed solely designed for kids and no one else. There was only 'break of dawn' adult swim sessions and there was no way I was going to be able to drag my arse out of bed for that shizzle.

I left the pool and began my search for my bus stop to take me home. Thankfully, I had a 15 minute wait until my next bus... as such, this gave me enough time to once again remind myself of the bridesmaid dress and the need for my exercise to happen. So I called around the next nearest pools to me, only to find that they needed me to be a member before I was allowed access... by this point, my competitive nature had kicked in. I had wasted most of my evening on this search, I was not going to fail now. I was kitted and ready to go... and then I found one. A sparkling leisure centre who were elite enough to guarantee a clean and pretty pool, but not so elite that they don't allow non-members like myself in. Huzzah! I found the place and I went to it...

Things that I have found from my swimming experience:

1. Swimming costumes really aren't as unflattering as one might think. In fact, they're more the other way. They suck everything in and holds all flab under it in place... so impressed was I, that I'm considering fashioning one to wear underneath my dress on the day of the wedding.

2. Remembering how to swim again after a while of not doing it is no problem whatsoever. Having the stamina to be able to swim to the extent I used to 14 years before, is going to be more of a problem. Just because I was once the queen of the 50-60 laps without breaking a sweat, does not mean that I am capable of this feat now. Apparently, I have become less fit than I was at that time. Apparently, my youthful exuberance and energy is not quite as strong as it was when I was 14. As such, what ended up happening was I would swim one lap and then award myself myself with a little rest of floating in the water. Also, even with this regime, my leg cramped up after 45 minutes which apparently wasn't going to get any better if I "swam through it" so I had to get out after that.

3. I've never been a fan of goggles. They hurt, especially on the hair when you have to take them off and the rubber strap gets all tangled in. Also they're another expense that I'm trying to do without. However, once I had come out of the pool, I soon remembered why it was that I had always reluctantly wore them anyway. To say my eyes were bloodshot doesn't even cover it. There was no white left in them. I looked possessed by some form of demon. Also, when my eyes get wet, they change colour from 'sort of green' to 'the greenest green you have ever seen'. This is something that I am generally proud of, and it's a shade I wish I could have all the time, but with the red surrounding on this occasion, all it did was aid to the 'possessed by a demon' look I had going on.

4. I had been joking yesterday when I said that I would invest in a nose plug for the swimming pool. After last night, I'm beginning to think about it seriously. Yes, I will look ridiculous with them on, but no more ridiculous than I look when I dunk my head under the water and then come scrambling back up with arms flailing, stopping mid swim, and gasping because all kinds of nasty feelings were shooting up my nose. Chlorine may keep that water clean, but it is a bitch on my facial regions. Also, I then ended up sneezing all the way home as my body rejected the chlorine that had somehow managed to stay hidden in my body. Twas most annoying.

5. Trying to go back into swimming as if nothing has changed in 14 years will resort in my underarms feeling like the world's strongest man has grabbed me from under my armpits and yanked me into the air. This pain is a good thing, it means the swim wasn't a complete waste of time and I did in fact workout in some way, but man do my arms hurt now. Also, although the front crawl was an easy one to pick up again, when I tried to attempt the breast stroke to give my armpits a rest, I struggled a lot more. Mainly due to the issue in point 4 and the fact that every time my head dunked under the water, it was faced with another shot of chlorine right up the nasal passage. I'm going to have to get used to that experience again.

I left that place, feeling fairly pleased with myself. I had managed to force myself to swim again and I shall continue to do so and it will be glorious.

Peace out my lovelies.

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