It was a Saturday, a couple weeks after my first full marathon. Foolishly, I’d jumped right back into a significant running schedule. About three miles down the road it hit. Major pain. I began limping back to home base.
Soon the Ford Explorer pulled up. My coach, Terri, opened the door and said, “Get in.” As we spoke about my situation, she added, “I want you to start cross training. Swimming.”
That afternoon I joined a gym with a lap pool. Today – several years later – there’s a swim coach, two or three workouts a week, and participation in all kinds of group events and competitions.
Swimming is amazing, in an ultimate paradoxical kind of way. It can be poetic, musical, artistic. As beautiful as ballet. It’s also frustrating as … well, you know. Because unlike running, which is a primal homo sapien activity, proper swimming must be learned. It’s purely about technique. Make that plural. There are so many actions to master.
But in those moments when it all comes together, few experiences are better. Arms and legs moving rhythmically, every muscle in harmony, water supporting you as you glide along feeling on top of it.
Some people say that swimming is a total body workout. I’d call it a total human workout, because it goes beyond the physical. Emotionally and spiritually, your whole being is focused inward (it’s hard to converse when you’re swimming), so it’s a perfect way to get to know yourself and explore whatever’s going on in there.
Feeling severe pain in my leg on the run that morning, and the time it took to get back to the streets, was disappointing in some ways. But I’m actually glad it happened, because through it I gained another highly enjoyable activity: Swimming.
All I had to do was add water.