We have been staying with my parents since Boxing Day, and so far the family’s clocked up two trips to the local pool. I drew the short straw yesterday, and missed the swimming races (Footballing Son & Father doing 2 lengths v Super Swimmer Daughter doing 3 lengths, and yes she did beat them), to do a food shop. Today I dashed down to have a solitary swim. It’s a public 25m pool operated by Better in Wantage, and I love it.
I have visited this place on and off for 4 decades. It’s the pool of childhood lessons, doggedly swimming laps to earn those fabric badges to be sewn proudly onto costumes, and weekend mats and balls sessions brilliantly designed to exhaust my own kids. I have done my heel in and am off Proper Walks, so the itch to swim was particularly strong. Up and down I went, without the Task Master (aka Super Swimmer Daughter) to challenge me to races or sets. The little voice started up in my head ‘well you’ve done your lido distance, you can get out now’. “But you can’t compare swimming in 29’C water to 10’C water, you have to keep going, you have to do more!” replied my own internal task master. I carried on, did some sprints, had a lot of rests, and did an ok distance. Well not really ok as only 1km but the flipside of this outdoor swimming is my fitness and stamina has dropped with the temperature.
The thing about running is you get going and carry on, you don’t turn back early. But with swimming the dastardly voice in your head offers an exit every time you turn – you can just give up and get out.
I need to set myself a very clear target before I get in and stick to it.
I need to remind myself why I’m swimming, it’s not enough to just do a dip, I need to use the time to refresh myself and challenge myself.
I don’t have a target as I don’t have a goal beyond a very loose ‘stay fit-ish / get fitter / look better’. I clearly need to be a whole lot SMARTER with my target setting, and need to start using plans from sites like SwimFit for some new indoor / warm water swims. They produce sets of cards with different workouts on, which I’ve found at Ironmonger Row and Barnet Copthall but nowhere else; I need to dig them out online, laminate them and take them poolside.
After today’s swim I lay on my back floating in the shallow end, doing ripple angels in the water (think snow angels and you get the idea), looking up at the ceiling that transports you to a ski chalet or into a sauna with its pale brown wooden planks, thinking about challenges and not giving up.
Wherever you’re swimming enjoy yourself. Don’t give up.
PS the second Christmas hat belongs to the Super Swimmer Daughter