Friday, December 5, 2008

Feeling of Nostalgia

Well, this week, hubby and slacker-ass (me) decide we are actually going to do that thing we used to do- go to the gym. I've devised some weird schedule which will allow for me to actually make it through the week being active each day. One of my new activities is to swim.

So I head out, this week, to find a bathing suit. FYI- finding a cheap bathing suit in December in New England is a silly idea. Be prepared to pay serious coin. I had some goggles buried in a drawer and was not sure if I would buy a swim cap. So I head to the Sporting Goods store, find a suit, try it on and this feeling washes over me. I swam competitively for 13 years growing up. I basically grew up in the pool and in bathing suits. Summer in our back yard, winter/spring in the high school pool, saturdays for 8 hours at swim meets. It felt so familiar to squeeze that suit over your hips (the first time you put a new suit on it doesn't fit right. You need to get in the suit and then get wet. It kind-of molds to your body). I find the right size and head out to find a bathing cap.

My parents hardly ever discussed finances with us and I have no idea how expensive swimming was, it was just something we always did. But I do remember driving to some scary part of a nearby city for this remote discount store for speedos b/c they were so darn expensive and if you're swimming in a suit (and as you get older, 2 or 3 each day) they wear out quickly, get rips and become see-through and sag at the butt, so you need a few to get you through the year. And the plastic bathing caps- those rip and tear, you can easily go through 1 a month. So now, buying my new speedo (for $50!) and thinking about a bathing cap, I head over to check them out. While they are really cool-looking: faded colors from dark to light, they are also $12. Holy crap, for a head condom? So I decide not to get a cap and grab my suit and go home.

I get home, put the suit on and throw some clothes on and that feeling came back again. Thinking about what I need to pack for my way home. Oh man, how many times growing up did I forget to pack undies for the way home and have to go home commando? We don't have a designated 'swimming' towel so I grabbed a bath towel. I have some Ultra Swim (shampoo to help keep the chlorine out of your hair), a comb, a winter hat (so your hair doesn't freeze).

So I hit the library first, while I'm there, ask for directions to the high school pool, get a little map drawn and head over. I'm very nervous and picture myself wandering around an empty high school trying to find the pool, but it's the very first door! I open the door and that feeling comes over me. The warm, moist air, the smell. The sound/echos. Oh wow. So I walk around the corner and find a really nice pool! It's warm in there, reasonably clean- not spotless and not packed with people. only one other swimmer (and 5 lifeguards). I pay my dues, head into the high school locker room, change, grab my goggles and head out.

Standing at the edge of the pool, toes over the edge, I am really comfortable. I am thrilled to finally come swimming. I dive into the pool, goggles in hand, and OUCH!!! I must have pushed off with my ankle. Damn it. I breastroke to the other end, legs together, throw some goggles on and start swimming. It felt wonderful. I felt great. It felt like two things finding their way together: me and swimming. I know HOW to swim, but my body doesn't really fit into a suit the way it should, my arms were burning, my ears had water in them, gurgling around and a few times I swallowed a bunch of water- all in a days swim... I start going a bit more, try some flip turns, the throbbing in the ankle going away and suddenly, I'm OFF! I am swimming, I feel great, I know I have a pretty stroke and that makes me feel great. I love the feeling of stretching out as far as you can. I never was a big kicker so not using my legs was fine. I felt wonderful.

I can't wait until next week!


  1. Good for you! I was never on a swim team, and don't really know any official strokes, but being from Florida, I grew up in the pool too. Some of my first memories are of swim lessons, and swimming with my dad in our backyard pool. In Florida, I used to love going for a dip right before bed, to cool off on hot summer nights. Now that I am a grown up, I realize how much work it must be to maintain a pool, and I am glad my parents did. Isn't the feeling of weightlessness in water wonderful?! Have a great weekend!

  2. Wow Colleen~ That was a great post ~we swam through the winter too & I almost want to go.. except you know how the SF public pools smell. not quite the same! (and don't you remember wearing double suits for practice? so you could 'stretch' them..)