Swimming was rather less successful than I had hoped, from the get-go. Not that I didn’t suit up, and climb in the pool, and dutifully haul myself from one side of the place to the other, while water went up my nose and my suit rode up my butt. It is one thing to pose poolside with a glass full of vodka in a cute suit; it is another to actually try to swim laps in one, also wearing a swimcap. They made me wear a swimcap. No one looks good in a swimcap. But I’d like to suggest that "especially me" be appended to that truism as a permanent and incontrovertible part of its truth. And did I mention the water in my nose, and my eyes hurt from the chlorine, and I kept swimming into the wall because me and straight lines are not best friends and do not enjoy picnics together?
I thought it was such a brilliant idea. It remains a brilliant idea on paper, even. Swimming! Swimming is so much fun, it is barely even exercise! It is cavorting around in the water and laughing joyfully while at the same time getting terrifyingly fit without even noticing it! Swimming is so wrapped up in the idea of beach balls and splashy-splashy that all the exercise benefit is muffled and you cannot hear its cries for help. Also, you don’t get all hot and sweaty in the water. It’s swimming! I love swimming! I hated swimming.
It was such a brilliant idea in theory, which also kills me. I am losing weight quickly, right? Well, less quickly now. Now, I’m just sort of going down three pounds and then gaining five and then staying there and then going down five pounds and gaining three et cetera. Shortcut: I’m staying about the same, right now. And when you lose weight quickly, you also lose muscle along with the fat. Which is a disturbing image, isn’t it? Picture all the yellowy fat being flushed, swirling around the bottom of a tub, interlaced with red streaks of muscle and I am freaking myself out here, now. Sorry about that. Anyway, you lose muscle, you don’ t find it underneath the couch cushions, you have to do something about that.
Enter swimming! Because I tried weightlifting, once. Once. Maybe a couple of times. And I found it boring, and I found myself having absolutely no idea what I was doing. Do I just keep picking this up and putting it back down? Am I supposed to be in this position? Where do my hands go? Are my knees really supposed to be like that? I don’t want to know what I look like. It was like really bad sex, except I had no one to ask for a little help, here, with this bit. So really bad sex with a drunk partner. Ah, college.
Since diagrams on the Internet are confusing (I am a tactile learner) (ah, college) and personal trainers are expensive and Grunty McGruntersons in the weight room are not so much approachable and I am also shy and out of shape, I cast around for another way to get me some muscle tone back, and to continue to avoid that drainpipe image that was so hauntingly disgusting (and yet, strangely motivating!). I thought about Pilates (aaah!) and I thought about "Full Body Toning!" classes (aaaah!) and then, you know how this story ends. Which makes it not a very good story, I guess.
But I found out my new gym has swimming pools, and there I was, climbing into my bathing suit and reserving a lane and bouncing out of the locker room wearing nothing but a towel and a very inappropriate suit, carrying my stupid swimcap because I have some dignity. No, really, I do. And I love swimming. I put on my stupid swimcap and I jumped into the pool, and I felt so good and purposeful and fit, and I struck out down my lane, and I realized that I am just not very good at swimming. I could not make straight lines. My head was barely above water. The water kept sloshing into my ears, which was uncomfortable. I couldn’t see a goddamn thing, I kept forgetting to kick, and I am really not that buoyant any more, and I did not enjoy it.
I swam for my allotted 30 minutes, but did not feel particularly pleasantly wrung out. Mostly just, you know, wet. And that was disappointing. I am going to keep swimming, and in that way I will improve, and the addition of goggles and earplugs will both make me look like an asshole and make things more pleasant, I’m sure, but in the meantime, I have to figure something out. Maybe I will save up for some personal training. Or hijack a club person and ask them to please tell me how the machines go–the club people at this new gym, they are slightly less awful than the college kids who used to staff the weight room at my old gym. Or maybe I will go ahead and swallow my terror and go crazy and try Pilates! There is nothing like being unsuccessful at something in a room full of people. But at least I’ll have more clothes on.