One previously unknown, irrational, and paralyzing fear: CONQUERED!

This is going to sound stupid, but I learned something about myself recently:

I had a fear of swimming at the pool at the gym.

Not because I’m a germophobe, not because I was scared I could drown, but simply because it was totally unfamiliar.

Every time I’ve been swimming in the past 10 years at LEAST, it’s been either in a natural body of water or at the pool of someone I know personally.  There’s no random crazies swimming laps faster than Superman, there are no unwritten rules of the pool, just a large body of water and maybe a beaver trying to eat me.  No big deal.

Being the determined (read: STUBBORN) girl that I am, I knew I had to keep up my fitness somehow and that the ruffled rainbow suit in the following picture would not suffice in a REAL pool.  Some suits just ain’t made for swimmin’ if you know what I mean…

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so Friday after class I forced Andrea to the Westbank Andrea and I went on an adventure to the closest Academy Sports, just a short trip across the Crescent City Connection to the Westbank where you see things like this:

…yeah.  So ANYWAY, $70 later (thanks Mom) I had all the stuff I needed to go swimming for fitness and presumably not be judged too much by all of the superhuman athletes that are surely populating the Reily Center swimming pool.  Bonus: my mildly impressive running skills have earned me a group of friends that are even crazier than I, who all do triathlons, and one of them – my pal Luis – swims at my gym and offered to be my swimming mentor!  SCORE!

Only, I freaked out.

What do I need to bring?  How do I put on a swim cap?  Do I need flip flops?  Do I look ok in this suit?  I frantically texted Alysse and Kari, who calmed my nerves and answered my questions, and got out there.

Luis, well aware of my insanity, took a solid 10+minutes giving me a thorough intro to the facility and discussion of form.  He had a workout planned for himself that he graciously explained and with that, I was off!

The anxiety that I felt, I think, was related to a fear of totally sucking.  It’s like when people ask me if I have ever tried snowboarding: why would I switch over to snowboarding, which I would be terrible at, when I’m a good skier already??  I suppose that is a burden of adulthood – we get comfortable with proficiency and it makes us afraid to try new things.  It’s a bit of a contradiction, because I fancy myself an adventurer, but there is a difference between trying something crazy and trying something that you know you’re going to be terrible at.

But why should that matter??  The answer is that it really shouldn’t.  Who cares if I am the slowest swimmer in town?  I’m in the pool to get my workout in, and to get my leg healed.  I’m doing this for me, not for anyone else, and I never claimed to be fast anyway.  If I spend enough time at this I’m bound to get better, and it will give me another weapon in my fitness arsenal.  Having swimming for fitness to fall back on may even help prevent future injury!  Maybe I’ll even get decent at it and enter a tri!  Of course, I would need a bike for that, and I’d need a job to get a bike, but I predict that it will take me longer to achieve swimming proficiency than to get a job (fingers crossed).

After the workout, I felt awesome.  Maybe it’s all in my head but my leg felt a tiny bit stronger as I came out of the water.  I could tell that I improved at least a little with my stroke over the hour and a half that we were in the pool, and I definitely tired myself out.  My mood improved dramatically.  That is what makes me the saddest when I’m injured – I miss that feeling of exhaustion that comes with a good workout.  It’s like pressing the reset button, you zap all the negative energy and replace it with pure satisfaction.  Yesterday, I was reminded exactly how amazing that feels.

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If I can post this horribly unattractive photo to the internet, I can hop in the pool at the gym. AND YOU CAN TOO!

Lauren signing out, feeling thankful for exercise.  Now I challenge all of you to get out there today, and do something that you are absolutely terrified of but have always wanted to try!! 

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One Response to One previously unknown, irrational, and paralyzing fear: CONQUERED!

  1. Runner Girl Eats says:

    I can totally relate to your gym pool fear. I have never swam in a community pool because i am absolutely clueless to the unwritten rules. Luckily I have a pool in my backyard so there is no rush for me to get over this crazy fear lol

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