How I got started swimming

I have been swimming regularly for the past 30 years, though never as much as I am right now with one exception: when I was on swim team in junior high.

When I was growing up, my father was a runner until he hurt his knee.  I didn’t find out until late in his life how he hurt it — doing a test for how much resistance he could manage with a leg press at a doctor’s office.  He thought he was supposed to push all the weight on the machine and damaged his knee.

At the time (this was the 1970s), doctors treated this type of injury with surgery in which all the cartilage was scraped off the back of the knee bone.  I can’t imagine a more inappropriate way to treat such an injury, but that’s what they did.  As a result, even walking became difficult.

This put an end to running as a form of exercise for my father, so the doctors told him to swim because it was non-impact.  Instead, he pressured me to join the swim team.  Swim teams are extremely popular among school kids today, but I didn’t like it.  I quit after a year.

swimcatThen college came along, and I needed some form of exercise to combat all the sitting and studying.  Without thinking much about it, I turned to swimming.  I went irregularly in college, but began going more regularly in graduate school.

By my 30s, when I was hip deep in a journalism career, I went very regularly.  I turned into a fitness buff, alternating between workouts on weights and in the pool.  I was in the best shape of my life.

By my 40s, I began to ease up on my workouts.  Then I started taking classes part time while working full time, and my workouts became even more sporadic.

Besides raising money for two organizations whose work I believe in, part of my motivation for doing this event is to get back into the habit of working out.  My health was to the point that little things like bending over to pick something up off the floor had become a real bother.

Swimming a mile a day takes a lot of time, but I am feeling much better.  I have more energy and cope better with life’s stresses.  I am even thinking better.  Just ask my husband who is getting beaten more often in word games like Scramble With Friends.

Day 13 Swim Report

Number of laps: 45
Time: 75 minutes
Pace:  Right at goal speed but felt fast


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