Speedo-clad, we'd all sit around the pool on lawn chairs waiting for our coach to arrive. She was in college and had an androgynous, Pottery Barn Chandelier-type name: Hadley or Hartley, or maybe Halton? Anyway, when she got to the pool, remnants from the previous night's mascara still clinging to her eyes (and smelling like alcohol, although I didn't know what exactly the smell was back then), she'd immediately collapse on the lawn chair, "warm up with a 500 Free."
The pool was cold. It always was. But once we got swimming, it felt warm, like the absolute perfect place to spend the morning (aside from a warm bed, which would have been the absolute). She'd choose a different person to "pace" the lane everyday, and we'd fall into a graceful line of arms & legs & splashing water. The distance didn't phase us. Swimming a 500 Free to warm up exerted the same amount of energy as our nighttime family walks around the neighborhood.
We went on to swim many more 100s after that in our hour and a half practice, the only truly difficult part being sprints at the end. Five days a week. An hour and a half each morning.
I'll clarify, in case you guys weren't swimmers growing up: one lap down the pool is 25 meters - so a "100" is four lengths of the pool (down & back, down & back).
This past weekend, I decided to switch up my cardio by swimming laps. I don't think I've swam for exercise in the past decade. And boy oh boy! It was 3,000,000x harder than I would've expected. Like, really hard. Like, gasping for breath hard. Like, lactic acid explosion at the end, hard.
I think part of my problem was pacing. I couldn't swim slowly, which I know doesn't really make sense, but my body was just moving fast and I couldn't control it. Then I'd forgotten that swimming can put a lot of pressure on your achilles tendon, didn't stretch beforehand, and thus managed to strain my left one. And the outdoor Rhodes pool was pretty hot, which isn't exactly ideal.
But you guys, I got out of the pool and was shaking in the way your body shakes when you've had too many coffees. My legs were jello, but jello with a strained achilles tendon. And I was tired. And hungry. It was an undesirable state to be in.
But mostly, I was dumbfounded. Because I'm in pretty good cardio shape right now, I think. I can run five miles (albeit slow) somewhat easily, I just usually have to quit because my knees start bothering me. And I'm pretty positive that when I was a middle school-aged kid, I could not have run 5 miles. Or even close to that. The day in gym class when we had to run the mile was my personal nightmare. So how was I able to swim so many laps? Butterfly was my stroke of choice - the one I did in meets -
Do you guys ever swim for exercise now? Have you had similar difficulties?