There is this elusive state of mind that people who exercise regularly often talk about. They say that you eventually stop thinking about how much your knees hurt and how out of breath you are and how much you want to stop and you just move. You, somehow, transcend all the complaining your body. I’d never been to this magical place, and in fact wanted to call bullshit many a time, until a few days ago.
I’ve been exercising a lot this summer. I bought a membership to my local recreation center and have been swimming laps, running on the elliptical, lifting weights and taking some fabulous work out classes. On top of that, I’m trying to train to run a 5k. I know that probably doesn’t sound like a lot to those of you who run often, but it’s going to be a big deal for me. I don’t think I’ve ever run even a mile, let alone more than that. But anyway, even with all the exercise I’ve been doing that mystical place seemed to be beyond me. I finally found it, underneath the water.
I’ve always been a fan of the water, but just recently began swimming laps after taking a swim class in college. I love the feel of being in the pool, from the smell of it to the slick of the water on my skin. To me, there’s something wonderful about just being underwater and being completely within yourself. The sounds of the outside are muffled and it’s just you and that line on the bottom of the pool. Most of the time I swim laps, though, I’m often so concerned with my stroke, or my breathing, or the people I’m sharing the lane with that I don’t completely get into that zone. Until a couple weeks ago, when I finally reached it. The movement of my body is just that, movement. It does not hurt, it is not a chore or seemingly impossible to finish, it is simply motion. I am totally within myself, sometimes I am thinking about what book I am reading, sometimes I am thinking about what I’m going to post on the blog. But I’m never really thinking about the fact that this is a workout.
Nothing is quite as satisfying as getting out of the pool after an hour of swimming laps. Not every work out is as successful as that – sometimes I my pattern gets off, or I get worried that I’m not doing enough. Suddenly I have more confidence in myself, because I know that there isn’t something defective about me that keeps me from getting into a workout.