Thursday, 27 December 2012

Still Kicking (literally)

Swimming and I bonded later in my adult life after a few missed attempts in my youth. When I was 5 or 6, my mother enrolled me in swim lessons at the local community pool. After completing the first six week session, I was devastated when the instructor didn't promote me from the beginner "minnow" to the intermediate "guppy" group and I would have to repeat the "minnow" session. "But, you'll be a high minnow," My mother tried to coax me, but I was having none of it. Fuck that. Even at that young age, I still had too much pride and I refused to be humiliated by being the oldest one in the minnow group. Instead, I threw a screaming tantrum declaring that I would not be going back to swimming lessons, and my mother obliged.

Many years later, when I was in my second year at University, I developed a crush on a guy who was on the swim team. After hearing that I failed swim lessons, he offered to teach me with some hands on instructions. I would later discover that being in the pool together merely provided an opportunity to feel each other up in the water, but I did manage to learn the basics of each stroke and got to the point where I could swim laps. The swimmer and I went on a few dates and engaged in intimacy after the third or forth. The next morning he informed me, "I can't continue to see you anymore. You're interfering in my relationship with God." Thus, I stopped swimming to avoid potentially running into him at the pool.

Fast forward another 15 years. A friend asked me if I wanted to sign up to do a triathlon together. I've always been intrigued by triathletes, and had it listed on my life goals, but there was only one small issue. I couldn't swim. "No problem" she told me. She knew of a swim instructor who taught swimming classes for adults. I went to my first class thinking it would be like my sessions with the devoutly religious swimmer ex-boyfriend, only without the groping. Wrong. It was a masters swim class with mostly former high school and college swimmers. There were drills and training techniques. I went through 45 minutes of agony only to learn we hadn't started the main set, which is the bulk of the work-out! That would be (6) 1-2-3-4 IM's (25-Fly, 50-Back, 75-Breast, 100-Free) followed by (4) 4-3-2-1 IM's (100-Fly, 75-Back, 50-Breast, 25-Free). I plunged through it and did my best just not to drown. The humiliation I avoided by not repeating the "minnow" session was coming back to me nearly 30 years later. I was prepared to get dismissed from a swimming class for the second time in my life. "Well..." the instructor prepared her honest assessment, "Everything else is a disaster, but you have an awesome kick! I can work with that!" I had no idea that holding on to a kickboard and kicking in the water was something that one could be good at, but apparently one can and for some reason, I am.

So when it was announced that we would be doing kicking time trials in December, I knew it was my time to shine. After my miscarriage, I felt I needed to set a personal best and the experience would give me extra motivation. The whistle sounded, steady at first, you can't break any records on your first lap. Infertility sucks. kick, kick Having a miscarriage sucks. kick, kick, kick Having a miscarriage after infertility really sucks. kick, kick, kick, kick . It's not fair, it's just not fair. kick harder Damn you Universe, why did you get my hopes up only to crush them? kick harder, kick harder Michelle Druggar has 20 kids and counting, I only want to have one! more kicking Fuck you Universe, why do you make it so easy for women like Myrtle, and so difficult for others? Keep kicking Are we not deserving? What lessons are you trying to teach? C'mon KICK! Why? Why? Why? I am searching for answers that do not exist. Final 50 yards. K-iiii-ck My ovaries may be crap and my uterus may be weak, but my legs are strong. This is something I can do. I touched the wall and heard my time. 7:34 -a full 8 second faster than my previous best. It's not the same as dancing around my house after my BFP, but it's the happiest I've been since the miscarriage. I placed 5th out of 50 swimmers, and for the third time, beat Phelps -one of our fastest swimmers. "Wow" said a fellow swimmer. "The only time I beat Phelps was when she was pregnant!" I smiled to myself. Technically, I was pregnant during the two previous trials when we went head to head and I prevailed. I looked at my flat stomach, I won't have anything to show for this accomplishment in nine months, but I'll know. If I ever have a baby growing in there, her or she better be a good kicker... just like their mother.


  1. As a avid childhood swimmer, I love this story! I am sure your future baby swimmer will be one heck of a kicker, and that you'll love every minute of it! Happy ICLW!

  2. Wow, looks like infertility can be good for something! Maybe I need to get back into tae kwon kicks might be vastly improved! I also signed up for swim lessons a few years ago to do a triathlon. I think I was the second last one out of the water...but I did it. Keep it up!

    1. We should be a relay team, I do well on the swim and get my ass kicked on the bike. Always wanted to try tae Kwon do!

  3. What a great post! I remember getting promoted to the guppies only to be demoted to the minnows when I couldn't dive. It was traumatic. Keep it up! Visiting from ICLW.