Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Learning to Fly

   I had my second swim lesson with Delissa tonight at Prairie Life Fitness Center, and it was every bit as good as the first. This may be the best 50 bucks I've ever spent! (I purchased a deal from livingsocial for 8 private 30-minute lessons.) In the first, she taught me how to improve my arm stroke for the freestyle, giving me more speed and power with less effort. Honestly if this is all I had learned I would have been satisfied. I improved in the first 5 minutes of the lesson, and any nervousness I had melted away instantly.
   Tonight, she had me practice my arms some more, and taught me how to breathe on both sides. I had learned to breathe on my left side when I took lessons nearly two years ago, but my subsequent attempts to learn to breathe on the right resulted in me sucking down half the water in the pool and thinking, "Screw this!" Delissa taught me in about 30 seconds.
   Then she taught me the side stroke, which she said will be useful when I try a triathlon, because it will allow me to rest a bit as well as give me a better vantage point to assess the other swimmers, cutting to the left or right to take advantage of any available space. And she told me that they are beginning tri training sessions this fall. Bingo.
   I swam for 40 minutes which left me breathless but feeling on top of the world. I might actually be good at this someday! If you had told me 3 years ago that I'd not only be swimming now, but that I'd LOVE it and feel natural in the water, I'd have said you were crazy. Learning something new is the best feeling ever—especially when you weren't sure you had it in you.
   This confirmed what I learned through snowboarding this winter: a private lesson is the way to go. Focused instruction and dogged determination.
   Speaking of dogged, I headed home to walk the doggies, who have been missing me too much since I've been traveling lately. They have started to become destructive for the first time ever. Recent casualties: Ben's flip flops, a magazine, the newspaper, and a pen. Then they got into the clothes basket Monday night while I was at yoga and destroyed two pairs of Calvin Klein underwear. @#*!!! I came home just in time to stop them from killing two bras. Somebody needs some exercise!
   So we went on a brisk 2-mile walk, our usual route around Strang Park. It wasn't so hot this afternoon, I was still damp from swimming + shower, and the breeze felt fantastic. The dogs were beaming the whole time... I guess we all were! As we rounded the western edge of the park, I heard chirping and turned around to see 2 juvenile robins perched on low branches, just learning to fly. Their mother was nearby, giving them encouragement, and they were taking short trips to test out their wings.
   It made me think about how badly I wish I had learned to swim when I was a child—I could have been enjoying it all these years! But then I reminded myself that it would have robbed me of the sublime satisfaction I have from learning it now. And though it only cost me 50 bucks, that's worth more than money could ever buy.