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How to Apply a Swim Cap

LOTR? read. Five pull-up goal? Accomplished. Mugbowls? Now the homes of four young cacti. True, my attempts at bread still turn out bricklike and yeasty, but I’m finally starting to creak back into motion; body mind and spirit.

And I forgot to add one item to my list of things you can do when your knees are healing. No, it doesn’t have to do with alcohol or drugs stronger than Ibuprofin. I’m talking about swimming! It’s something my PT’s and PA’s and MD’s and pretty much everyone have always suggested for me and something which I have always scoffed at because I am not, and have never been, a swimmer.

In fact, when I got sick of moping and finally gave it a try a few weeks ago I almost died trying to finish one length of the pool. It started out fine enough with much enthusiastic splashing and some (slow) progress, but then I found my arms had turned suddenly to lead, and I was in the deep end, and I couldn’t breathe as much as I wanted to, and then water was getting up my nose…when I finally reached the wall I clung to it, feeling exactly how I imagine cats feel when in pools.

Unlike a cat, I struggled through a few more lengths with the aid of various pool toys, and when I finally dragged myself out of the water twenty minutes later I felt something familiar and amazing- I was exhausted.

I immediately made it my goal to swim a mile, which is a sad indicator of the way my brain works; give me something difficult or potentially life threatening, and I will vow to master it. Ideally within six weeks, which is about the limit of my attention span.

To start I assigned myself ten warmup laps with pool toys, and then as many unaided laps as I could handle (without drowning) after that. At first I could do three. Then I did five. Eventually I was doing ten. I started “swimming” three days a week.

As always, being an absolute noob is fun- I literally have no idea what I’m doing, and when people ask me questions like: “do you want to circle swim?” I have to shake my head like I don’t understand English. I don’t know how to do those flippy things at the end of the pool, my goggle gave me a temporary black eye, and I even had to ask someone how to put a swim cap on the other day. Hint: you can fold your earlobes over your ear holes inside the cap so water doesn’t get in- genius!

Mostly I just try to focus on not splashing everyone around me. Because that shit is the WORST.

Then came the day (yesterday) when I swam fourty laps, which is just a bit over a mile in the school pool. True, I stopped after almost every lap to catch my breath, and true, I used pool toys for some of it, but all in all I covered a mile of water distance by the end of my
“workout” and for that I am pretty damn proud of myself.

Sometimes you don’t have to be marching in the opening ceremonies- it’s your ability to keep making ridiculous goals that counts.

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