When my second daughter was about 8 months old, I decided to pick up a new sport. Maybe it was those 600 hard, high impact miles I ran pregnant, but I was ready for something a little less jarring. I love being a momma, but I needed a little “me” time.
My daughter started sleeping through the night at 7 months. After a solid month of her sleeping through the night, I felt invincible. I needed a big workout that wouldn't interfere with her naps and my 2 year old's schedule. Clearly, I also wanted to get back in shape. Running alone in the dark did not seem appealing, so this felt like the perfect time to take up masters swimming at 6am.
Looking back, I am a little shocked that I started. I had never worn a swim cap, done flip turns or knew what IM (individual medley) meant. Not knowing anything about the coaches or program, I just picked a day and started. My first day was rough. I could swim, but I had no technique and definitely no stamina. I would swim a 25 and stop gasping for breath. It didn't help that I could only breathe on one side and did so irregularly. I must have been a sight!
Over time I improved and picked up the frequency from one to three times a week. I learned how to breathe, do flip turns and even eventually the butterfly. One of my coaches told me after about a year that now I had a new sport for life.
My swim club really has masters swimming figured out. Most of us, start with a hot tub warm-up before walking over to the pool. We are in California so everything is outside. When my confidence grew, I made some friends swimming. Eventually swim became more than just a great workout. This was a place people knew me for me. After becoming a mother and before I started swim, I didn't have a job to meet people or school. I mostly met people as a family or with the kids.
I would never have guessed that all of those cold dark morning swims could mean so much. Swimming gives me a sense of self, a heck of an appetite and a non-impact workout option. Meeting great friends on top of that has been the unexpected bonus.
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