The 2012 Summer Olympics are here! Yay!! I plan on spending some time watching all the awesome athletes. To kick it off, I have a high school friend of mine shedding some light on her favorite sport–and one we’ll soon be seeing a lot of–swimming! Mandy has a great perspective and sense of humor. She doesn’t have her own blog, but you’ll see why I’m encouraging her to start one! Enjoy!
Here we are in 9th or 10th grade at a youth group function!
My name is Mandy and I hate running, and lunges, squats, burpies are of the devil, and while I enjoy Wii Zumba it bothers me to not know the words to the music I’m dancing to. No disrespect to those of you who find joy in such venues and I do understand the running fever. I ran cross country in high school and ran every 5 and 10K I could drive my bright blue Jetta to in college. While I was at least 2 heads shorter than other runners I was able to hold my own. But then one day I was walking around in a museum and I was bit by a radioactive spider and I immediately hung up my Sauconys (my then fave running shoe) and picked up a pair of goggles. OK that might not be how it happened but you must understand that I have two sons and have seen many superhero movies so the line between reality and fiction is getting dimmer by the minute.(I actually like it this way and hope it never ends).Anyway some biochemical reaction took place in my body and I fell in love with swimming. So I wanted to share a few thoughts on…
..why I love my sport
1) While running and other intense activities are great for cardiopulmonary fitness it’s about as good for your knees and ankles as carrying a Vampire’s baby is for your spine. Swimming on the other hand is like a nice long Swedish massage for your joints. Many athletes who are injured in another sport crossed over to swimming after experiencing the exstacy of non weight bearing fitness.
2) It’s Like a Bed in a Bag- After a good hard swim there is no need to come home and work your upper body or abs. In fact after a hard swim workout I have difficulty lifting a fork and please don’t make me laugh or my abs will tear apart.
3) I don’t frequent Bath & Body Works because I can’t think of anything else to do with my money. I like things that smell nice. One thing I noticed after I crossed over to swimming is that my car smelled less rancid as well as my laundry.
4) Swimmers are so awesome we have our own aerobics. I remember the first time I went to a water aerobics class and I was pretty sure I had entered the pool version of PBS’s Sit and Be Fit. But if there is one thing I have learned in 10 years of critical care nursing it’s Never underestimate the strength of old ladies. It was intense. Deep water running is excellent as well and most gyms with pools offer such classes. You will leave with your butt kicked I promise.
5) It’s good for your self esteem to wear a bathing suit year round. At some point you realize you are not filming an episode of Baywatch and you get over yourself. Also you will keep up with shaving your legs almost without thinking about it.
The first thing you need is water! If your town doesn’t have a gym with a pool see if your local high school has a swim team and where do they practice. Also since swimming is a summer sport you can always hit the lanes at your public pool. During the summer I often get my workout in while I have the kids at the pool. Granted my kids are 4 and 7 and I can have a friend keep and eye on them without fear that they will eat grass or strip naked whilte I bust out 15 minutes of sprints during adult swim time. Most public pool managers will also allow you time to lap swim either before or after regular hours. Just ask.
Next you need a suit. Unfortunately there are no great sports swim suits at Old Navy prices. Suck it up and go to a Sporting goods store and pay for a Nike, Speedo, or TYR suit. If treated with care they will last a long time and you will get your money’s worth. TYR is my least favorite brand because I like thicker straps. Then pick up some goggles and a cap. Oh and I saved the best for last: We have our own MP3 players for water sports. YAY!!! I got mine from Amazon. Don’t think I have ever seen them in stores.
Last but not least I realize that everybody was not raised by my mother and given the pleasure of waking up at dawn and being thrown into a freezing cold pool (Pool heaters must have been a post 1990’s invention) because it’s good for you to learn proper backstroke technique. If you have never been taught swimming strokes take a class. There are plenty of adult swim classes. How do you think Julia Roberts escaped in Sleeping with the Enemy?
My typical swim workout
It begins with 4 laps of each stroke (Butterfly, back, breast, and freestyle). I start with my least favorite- backstoke. It is my weakest stroke but also the stroke I notice the most improvement with the more I practice. Then I do 2 200meter IM’s with a small break in between cause vomiting in the pool is frowned upon. Next I work my upper body only and swim 2 laps with the foam wedge thingy between my legs. I do butterfly, backstroke, and freestyle. You really can’t do this technique using breaststroke arms which stinks cause that’s my favorite stroke. Near the end I do 4 laps of each stroke with a kick board. I love kick boards!!! Lastly, I do a little jogging in the water just to cool down.
While I enjoy a great weight loss story of triumph this is not it. I am not at my leanest now but I am also not at my heaviest. I am quite content with my current size while the crazy people who created the BMI classification(and clearly have it out for short people) would shudder at that thought. Fitness is part of my daily life and I do things I really enjoy. While my youngest son and I would love to live on a steady diet of Long John Silvers hush puppies, Tootsie Rolls, and coke we work hard every day to put some good nutritious food into our body’s and drink some water (and milk for him). My husband and my oldest son actually prefer healthy foods. ( Yes I have further evidence to support that this may not be there home planet but I love them just the same). As a girl with a Type B personality this suits me just fine.It’s good to know you are taking good care of yourself with obsessing over it. We Type B’s aren’t good at obsessing. I also think it sets a good example. This is a busy time in my life and likely for the readers of this blog. I have a God to serve, a husband to embrace, kids to teach and train, lives to save at work, Legos to build and pick up, recipes to try, some cool new Phineas and Ferb songs to learn on my keyboard, and a Kindle full of Amish fiction that I can’t wait to finish. My encouragement to readers would be this : Find something you love , do it, put something in your mouth that grew in the ground or on a tree, and try to relax. One day you’ll be 80 years old and content to eat a half a cup of cottage cheese and half a peach for dinner. You’ll look back fondly on the days when you desired and could chew a Snickers bar.
Thanks for listening and thanks Clare for claiming to know me and printing this. In the words of Nemo’s Dad “Keep Swimming.”
Thank you, Mandy! I love your humor and distinct way of capturing life in words! Don’t you all think she needs to start her own blog?! Do I have any swimming lovers out there? Which sport are you must excited to watch during the Olympics?