Channeling Katie Ledecky (or, that time I took up swimming)

You know when you meet someone new and they ask you what you like to do? My answer usually starts with running. I suppose for some people that is a pretty lame answer, but then again – maybe it’s a good litmus test. If you don’t understand why I like running so much, do I even want to talk to you anymore?

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Anyway, I’m a runner. If I’m not running, I prefer HIIT workouts or a similar high-impact sweat session. I love the challenge and, now that I’m a mom, the efficiency of these kinds of workouts.

The problem with doing only running and high-impact workouts is that they put a lot of pressure on my joints, something I am thinking more about now that I’m the big 3-0. So: I decided to take up swimming.

This was a questionable decision because I was never actually a “swimmer.” I took my last swimming lessons in middle school and that was the last time I swam laps consistently. When I studied abroad 10 – TEN! – years ago, there was an indoor pool near campus, which I used exactly once – and that was the last time I swam laps, ever.

It was also questionable because I don’t always like putting myself out there or trying new things. For some reason, I didn’t manage to talk myself out of this one though.

So, I went swimming yesterday. That’s right. I marched myself into the pool area and got into the water before I even knew what was happening.

It. was. hard. Swimming is no joke. I’m sure I looked like a drowning cat.

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Plus, all the *old* people around me were putting me to shame with their form and their speed and their stamina. It was no contest. Like at all.

Somehow though, I ended up swimming 10 laps (1 lap = down and back), for a total of 500 meters. Sure, I had to take a lot of breaks in between lengths of the pool, but I told myself it was kind of like interval training that way. I’m sure that’s what Katie Ledecky tells herself when she has to take breaks, too (indulge my imagination here).

Valdrin Xhemaj/European Pressphoto Agency via The New York Times

Anyway, despite how tough it was (or knowing me, probably because of that), I kind of loved it. It accomplished just what I was hoping – it got my heart rate (way) up and I had that rush of endorphins and satisfaction when I was finished, but it was nice and easy on my joints. I’m now planning to incorporate swimming into my workout routine about once a week.

Another benefit? I feel like doing something new – and something I was a little scared to do – first thing in the morning set me up to better tackle challenges head-on at work all day. Exercise endorphins are truly awesome, and sometimes I think I work out more for the mental benefits than the physical ones.

I could have done without the old men swimming faster than me though.

Some questions:

  • What’s the last fear of your that you conquered?
  • What new workouts have you tried lately?



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