I went swimming today.
It has been a while since I put on my swimsuit for any reason except for sunbathing, or for a gentle paddle in the sea.
I haven’t done “proper” swimming since I was about fourteen when hurtling up and down lanes was fun. Then I discovered fun in the form of boys, alcohol and nightclubs; suddenly splashing around in chlorine filled water never really held the same appeal.
Don’t get me wrong, on occasion Ihave been known to go to a pool to “exercise” and I perform mum swimming beautifully. My neck gets a strong workout as I battle to keep my hair dry, and I cruise slowly up and down until retreating to a steam room or sauna to relax my aching limbs….
Today wasn’t about any of that, today was about “proper, proper” swimming. Frontcrawl not breaststroke, getting my hair wet, putting my goggles on.
I didn’t go well….
The only reason I found myself in the overheated retreat for pensioners that is my local baths; is because I have somehow managed to get myself on a team of 12 for a CrossFit competition in three weeks. My eleven other team mates look like CrossFitters, they are slim, strong, beasts at lifting and cardio bunnies.
In comparison I look like a tubby northern bird who stumbled into the wrong party…..
This competition is hard-core, far more extreme than anything I have attempted before, my team are fab, and I strongly suspect I’m the weakest link.
And someone has spread a rumour that as well as being expected to run like some dude in a Halloween mask is chasing me, and being able to repeatedly lift chuffing big weights, and having to burpee till I die, it seems there will also be a swimming workout thrown in for fun….
Why, why, why….
If I wasn’t absolutely bricking it before, I am now.
I have three weeks to turn from a chubby northerner to a lean, mean athlete who can swim like a fish rather than a whale.
So today, operation slim down and bulk up began.
A couple of hours in the gym and then I drove over to the pool.
It was rammed….
An aqua aerobics class was dominating the main area and everyone who was anyone over sixty-two was in the pool gently bouncing in time to the music.
One lane for swimmers remained and over ten people were already in it.
I persevered, pulled on my goggles, adjusted my hat and climbed into a lane where 80% of the occupants were trying to not get their hair wet.
(I may need to pause here to describe my swimsuit to you – so you get a full visual idea
I recently purchased a sportswear swimsuit. It is a deep blue, has built-in underwiring for my bouncing bosom and comes with interchangeable straps which can either crisscross over my back or go up and over my shoulders.
Get the picture?)
So back to the pool….
I set off in the middle of the lane, cutting a path between those going up and those swimming down. I wasn’t sure if this was the right etiquette but I needed to see if I could actually swim at a decent pace.
As it stands I am still not sure, but I can confirm that swimming is definitely still not up there in my ‘fun’ activities to do.
Swimming in the middle of a lane does cause a few complications and I found I got a few knocks from the blue rinse brigade as I swam past. Each time I got to the end of a length I tried to apologise to whomever I had bumped if I could identify them above water.
On my fourth lane attempt I had a clear run, no one was swimming down, I could really see what I could do.
I set off like Rebecca Adlington, gliding through the water like Flipper on speed.
Then I felt a gentle knock on my arm…
Which was curious as no one was around me.
I continued, half crazed in my front crawl, going for my best time.
Then again, something hit my arm, more forcefully.
Even more confusing it was my inner arm, on the right side.
Under the water I glanced quickly to the left and right to see who my attacker was, and I caught a glimpse of flesh then nothing. I started to suspect a haunting….
Ahead of me through my goggles I could see a woman approaching. I wondered if the ghostly hand would extend to her to.
I continued, ignoring the now persistent knocking on my arm. Fear made me faster….
In front I saw a woman headed towards me, like me she swam in the middle, like me, she wore goggles and a hat, clearly like me, she was a “proper proper” swimmer.
Before we passed in the pool, just before, our eyes met under the eerie blue pool. I tried to tell her of the mysterious touching I was experiencing through the power of telepathy. She went for a more direct approach of communication and merely pointed at my right breast which was hanging out of my swimsuit swinging happily against my arm…..
Drowning would have been acceptable when my eyes realised when she was pointed at.
Those adjustable straps apparently are not that reliable when taking part in sporting swimming.
I don’t think swimming is going to be my sport…..