Sports and I have never really had a good relationship. I never really enjoyed sports at school, I didn’t see the point and I never seemed to show any talent so wasn’t picked for teams. But moving outdoors for myself I did enjoy, like riding my bike or swimming in the river with my friends.
As an adult, in a bid to be fit and healthy I have exercised and when I find something I like I find that I actually really enjoy it. However, it seems that I have a mind of a lithe athlete and a body of a sloth after eating Christmas dinner. No matter what I get into and how much I love it, my body seems to just not move the way I think it will in my head. I carry on regardless and as I have got older I have gained more assertiveness in doing only activities I truly enjoy and not caring so much what people think, which is why I think the ‘This Girl Can’ Campaign is truly amazing!
The unexpected thing I have found in outdoor swimming is this feeling of inclusivity. It truly doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are, how young or old, how fat or thin, how muscly or squidgy; everyone can swim. And I love that. When I get to the lake I love the feeling of how everyone is there for the same purpose, and it is the only sport that I have done, where it really doesn’t matter how athletic you are. When I’m on land doing other exercise, I can sometimes feel a bit like a seal when it gets out of water, but in the water I feel in my element, my body moves how I want it and I feel free and relaxed and as streamlined as a seal. I truly love it.
Even better, is swimming without a wetsuit. At my local lake on Monday it was 26 degrees! I couldn’t wait to get in without my wetsuit and it was amazing. I didn’t rush round the course, but took my time. I aimed to keep trying with front crawl which I still struggle with, but I kept in mind why I was here in the first place, to swim outdoors and by taking my time and doing breastroke I really loved seeing and feeling my environment.
I still don’t have a swim wetsuit yet, and I’m considering if I’ll actually do the mile in skins yet…. Watch this space.