Thursday, June 25, 2015

Zen and the art of the backstroke

I recently took up swimming after some injuries prevented me from running regularly. Swimming is a form of exercise (I think) most people have a hard time talking themselves into. At least, I did.

There's the whole having a to wear a swimsuit in public issue, getting your hair wet, shaving your legs, sunblock, and a whole host of problems for women associated with showing most of your skin while looking like a drowned rat. Basically, there's a lot more involved going to the pool than going to a regular gym (sweats, shoes, hat, if you haven't washed your hair in a while, and you are good to go).

I was nervous and reluctant to try swimming for all the reasons listed above so I signed up for swimming lessons. It did the trick and I've begun going to the pool regularly to swim laps. I feel good afterwards and I sleep SO hard after a swim session.

It's still not my favorite form of exercise. Swimming laps is hard to get jazzed about. The freestyle (or crawl) stroke is really difficult for me. Just one lap of 25 meters had me out of breath. But I've been sticking to it. And, I'm learning to focus on the little positives about swimming.

One of the little positives for me is the backstroke as a breather or cooldown. I remember loving the backstroke as a kid. There's something so relaxing about it. For one thing, there's no panicking about breathing. Your nose and mouth are free to breath whenever you like, so that helps. But my favorite thing about it is staring up at the sky and watching the clouds go by. I love it.

There's something so unhurried and elegant about the backstroke. I kinda feel like Esther Williams in a technicolor musical while backstroking.

It's hard to worry about what's going on in your life when you are focused on not ramming your head into the end of the pool while channeling Esther Williams.

If only I could figure out how to do a damn flip turn I think I would do the backstroke for tens of minutes (that's a lot), I enjoy it so much.

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