Monday, 2 March 2015

Finding my inner mermaid.

Apart from one week - a week that spanned half term, valentines day and my wedding anniversary - a week during which I was ill with tonsillitis and felt absolutely wretched - apart from that ONE week, the last two months have been amazing.

I would even go so far as to say that the last two months have been life changing.

In the last two months I have transformed myself from effectively a non-swimmer into a reasonably competent breaststroker who is happy and comfortable in the water. I never thought it would be possible. I would guess that I have been swimming more in the last two months than I have in the 50 odd years preceding them. I certainly put in the effort.  I did make a start on my freestyle stroke but I am way off where I want to be with that. My membership to the pool has now expired. Freestyle is a challenge for another day.

So I learned to swim. How is that so amazing and life changing?

On a fitness level it has been fantastic. Without ever sustaining any injury (unless you want to count bruising my ankle when I kicked it against the side of the pool) I have worked all my muscles and improved my stamina.  My boobs seem perkier and my bum is firmer.

I feel differently about my body. It may not be the body of a 20 year old but it is strong and capable. I've stopped looking for the faults and see the wonder of flesh and bone working in harmony. I absolutely love the feeling of stretching out into the longest, most streamlined shape possible to glide through the water.

Learning to breathe efficiently and control it has made me feel calmer both in and out of the water.

Achieving something that I never truly believed possible has strengthened my self belief.

Discovering a love of swimming has opened a wealth of possibilities. Holidaying somewhere with a pool is now massively more appealing. Open water swimming both at home and abroad is an untapped source of potential pleasure. Scuba diving suddenly seems not beyond reach.

And then of course there is competing in a triathlon which was the idea that started the whole 'learn to swim' project in the first place. I am not a fast swimmer. I am never going to win any prizes. But I am no longer fearful that I couldn't even manage the 200m required for a Sprint distance event. I CAN do it. And that is an empowering feeling.

It has been a pretty amazing couple of months.

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