Day 20- Swimming Day!
I made it to swimming today! I decided to put my bathing suit in the car and just see if the opportunity came up for me to swim. I was able to swim at the YMCA on my lunch hour. I didn’t have much time, so I just decided to see how many lengths I could swim in 45 minutes. It’s a small pool, and it was crowded, so I shared a very narrow lane with another swimmer. This turned out to be good practice for swimming in the open water during a crowded race. The pool was so busy with swimmers that it was very wavy, which gave me practice in what to do when my head comes up for air and gets hit by a wave (cough, spit, roll onto my back till I get over my panic). I also didn’t have the option of swimming in a lane next to the wall, so with no wall to grab hold of, I swam entire lengths without stopping, using the roll on my back method for when I needed to rest or get past a panic. I have heard that in these races, it’s common to get kicked or hit as there are many swimmers and it gets crowded. I got to practice both today! The guy in the lane next to me kicked me in the gut when I accidently crossed over into his way (no one’s fault, just my crooked swimming). It happened when I was in the deep water and I felt that old panicky feeling. But, rolling onto my back and just breathing really helped. I later was hit in the face by my lane partner, and again it was good practice in what to do when my panic comes up.
I have always been afraid of the water. Part of this training is a way for me to get over my fears. I had a big fear last summer when I was swimming with the girls in what looked like a tame little water hole up in the mountains. We were in a shallow area ringed by rocks. On the other side of the rocks was a very deep pool, along with a wide, short water fall. Kaycee was on a floaty and somehow the current carried her over the rocks and into the deep pool, toward the water fall. I had to jump in (fully dressed) and push her back to the shallow area. She got there ok, but I struggled getting myself out of the deep water and into the shallow area. I was fully clothed at the time, still very weak from the chemo and radiation, and my arm hadn’t fully healed up and was weak and stiff. Somehow I made it, but I promised myself that I would one day become a good swimmer. Living in Oregon, surrounded by water, it seems important. I grew up in the desert and didn’t have many opportunities to swim.
I can feel myself getting stronger each time I swim and I can feel how good it is for my arm- the scar tissue is getting stretched and more limber, and I am getting stronger. I used to have almost daily pain in my arm that required pain killers. Now the only pain I have is from sore muscles!
Guess how far I swam today?! 30 lengths in 45 minutes. My record!
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