After a quick self diagnostic this afternoon, I have decided that I should be able to try swimming tomorrow. I hemmed and hawed about it, tried to convince myself that I really should give myself another couple days of rest, bartered with myself (I'll go to boxing on Sunday instead!) and ultimately decided that I need to face this.
So tomorrow I will face the fear and don a swimsuit in a public place. Once I'm in the water I will be fine, it's that walk of shame from wherever you leave the towel to when you hit the water that bothers me. Never mind that I picked the gym I signed up for (NYSC btw) because it had locations with pools. Never mind how much I love swimming (I had a brief career in competitive swimming cut short by my inability to focus on anything enough to actually train for it in elementary school) or how much I just enjoy being in the water (I also used to teach swimming). I haven't been able to get past that walk yet. I swim like a fish in my parents pool (which is located in their back yard, nicely screened from the outside world by a fence ) but ask me to put a swimsuit on in any kind of public location (beach, party, you name it) and that clenchy panicky feeling grabs me just below my solar plexus and I use every neuron in my creatively trained brain to come up with a reason, any reason that I just can't, so sorry maybe next time.
The last time I swam for fitness was back in 2000, when I was living in California, and had a pass to a 24hour gym with a huge pool and hot tub. I was overweight then, around 160, but I had been making strides towards loosing weight. I had purchased a very unfortunate silver tank suit, which I thought was The awesomest thing evah, and was all about getting my swim back. Until I realized that As I stood there on the deck, people could see me, and I came to the sudden realization that I looked like a shiny tube of paint. Totally cylindrical. So not hot. I panicked and plunked myself down in the water as fast as possible. I didn't go back.
The major contributing factor, this time, in my decision to face the pool again, is injury. I can barely walk right now, let alone get a decent workout on a treadmill or elliptical machine. I must find an alternative. The state of my body today is the direct result of a previous injury. Back in 2004 I was in decent shape, nay I was the hotness. I spent four or five days a week at the dojo. I kicked many butts. A knee injury ended all of that. Waking up one morning unable to walk, let alone kick, jump, roll, and knee people in the stomach, I totally freaked out. For a while I kept up doing modified exercises. I did all my upper body basics sitting in a chair with hand weights. I did massive numbers of sit ups and crunches and other exercises. But I slowly petered off, as I gave up hope that this was a passing injury. It ended up requiring surgery and totally incapacitated me. It's still not 100%, and I've learned to be nice to my knees, but it took me this long to get over the injury, and my subsequent failure at fitness.
I will not let this injury do the same thing to me. I will face my public swim suit wearing phobia down in the name of my quest to regain my fitness and eventually return to the dojo floor.
But I'm going to bring the biggest towel I own and I will be wearing it up to the very last second I can. One step at a time here.