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Mar 06

And the cow jumped over the… lane buoy?

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Someone call Greenpeace back and tell them it’s a false alarm. No beached whales here and Baby Beluga will live to swim in the deep blue sea for a little while longer. Stow the harpoons- there are no harp seals in these parts either. Nope,no marine wildlife in these parts, just me, in a swimsuit at the local pool.

I never lose weight faster than when I swim. You’d think that would make me swim more regularly, if for no other reason than to stay in better shape, but I’m not really one for parading around the pool in the lycra equivalent of a chastity belt. I’m not really one for parading in general.

I’m also not particularly fond of sharing a lane with someone who has no concept of swimmers’ courtesy. (You get ONE HALF of a lane. That’s why there’s a line down the middle, and you DO NOT get to arbitrarily change which side is yours. DO NOT come to a dead stop in the middle of the lane, or I will head butt you in the groin and then keep swimming. Most importantly, DO NOT blow your nose in the pool, you douchebag. Chlorine doesn’t kill everything, or diseased vermin like you would not be hindering my workout.)

To avoid the general rush hour mayhem, my prime time for laps is about 10:00pm after class lets out, but some nights, I’m just too damn tired. When I can get there though, it is the greatest workout. For one, there’s nothing more freeing than the feeling of moving through water – head down, focused, and even some motivating music if you have the equipment – back and forth for 30 minutes. You are actually sweating more than you would on a treadmill, and you’re getting a good resistance workout to boot.

But I did remember a few things about swimming, and athleticism in general, after tonight’s workout.

1. You’re probably not replacing any fluid loss unless you have a water bottle conveniently stashed at the end of the lap (and dehydration is a meaner bitch than I am first thing in the morning).

2. Buoyancy. When you’re fat, you have to fight harder to keep your ass (or as I like to refer to it, my built in homing buoy) from breaking the plane of the water to better ensure your continued forward motion.

3. I pride myself on having a pretty keen intellect, but I can only count strokes, count off breaths, or count off flags to the edge. I just can’t manage two or more simultaneously without breaking the rules of swimmers’ etiquette, or running into the wall.

4. Swimming is great for your figure, but terrible on your hair and mani/pedi. However, chlorine is a wonderful cuticle remover.

5. After you’ve spent at least 30 minutes in a semi-weightless environment, you will find upon exiting that gravity is not your friend and you will probably experience vertigo, blurred vision, and nausea. Try not to eat floor tile on your way to the locker room.

6. Likewise, driving less than 10 minutes after you exit the pool is dangerous for you, those around you, your car, and possibly your upholstery if you’re still nauseous from the vertigo.

7. Given the relatively high probability of dehydration and gravitational side effects, you should just avoid eating altogether for five hours prior to swimming. The point is to lose weight in a healthy way; not to vomit your way into a size 4.

8. As tempting as it may be to collapse into a shameful, sodden heap on the floor following a swim, for the love of your body, DO NOT DO THIS. Nothing says self-sabotage and “Holy full body paralysis, Aquaman!” like delayed onset muscle soreness.

So the experience has left me humbled since I used to be such a great swimmer and this basically equates to learning how to walk again. I was a stunning failure on points one through eight. I now remember what coracobrachialis does, and my body will not let me forget where it is located for at least 3 days, along with pec major/minor, teres major/minor, deltoids, rhomboids, lats, traps, lev scaps, biceps, triceps, TFL… My lung capacity is absolute crap. I get winded after a full lap because I can’t remember how to synchronize my breathing.

But hot damn, I’m going to be so skinny that it kills me.

I’m pretty sure that I mean that last point literally. My arms will just be too tired and sore to pick up the food necessary to feed myself and I will starve. (Insert joke about tube steak diet here.)

Or maybe this last 2 weeks of vegetarian living have left me weak and whiny, and desperate for animal protein. Both are entirely plausible.

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