how do I loathe thee?


Let me count the ways.

Have you ever hated a sport? Like the whole sport? Or a particular physical activity altogether? Just… everything about it?

Because yesterday I hated swimming. In my last attempt to minimize my chances of drowning at the Olympic triathlon on Sunday, I made it out to a 50m swimming pool, instead of my regular 25m.

This community centre is much older, and the pool is only four lanes wide. In fact, it did not look any longer than the one I’ve been suffering in twice a week for the past few months. I even came up to a lifeguard to check. “50m”, he nodds. I glance at the pool again and shrug. “Must be some sort of optical illusion”.

Of course, I realize that the pool is, in fact, 50m about half way through my first half lap, as right about where I can usually stop and catch my breath, there is water. And more water. And I have to keep swimming.

“Just keep swimming
Just keep swimming
Just keep swimming swimming swimming”


Very quickly, I am in an incredibly foul mood. I’m about as buoyant as a brick this morning. The more rational part of my brain desperately wants to attribute that to a great full body workout the day before, the exhausting 5k timed trial on Tuesday, or the cumulative 4-5 hours of kayaking I did  this weekend. But the lizard brain is already on “I’m-a-failure” train.

“This is dumb!” Choo-choo!
“What’s the point of this mindless activity?” Choo-choo!
“I hate swimming!” Choo-choo!
“I suck.” Choo-choo!
“I can never do anything right!” CHOO-CHOO!

I. Am. Pissed.

Today swimming seems like a pointless exercise in holding my breath. Quick sip of oxygen, followed by a long torturous exhale. Another quick sip. Not enough. Not nearly enough. I want more.

I like to breathe whenever I like. Call me a glutton.

I am angry, because I do not see progress.

I am not worried about covering 1.5km of distance. I will breast stroke, back stroke and fucking doggie paddle (there is a zoophilia joke in there somewhere) all the way. [At a second glance this whole sentence reads dirty.] I can do 1.5km on sheer brute force alone. Iron shoulders for the win.

It’s just so… unreasonable. If you practice a skill, any skill, be it swimming or prancercise, you should see progress, no? If I work on my basket weaving twice a week for few months in a row, my damn baskets should look better by the end, NO?

In the water, all reason stops. Regular laws of physics and life are suspended in liquid like the body itself. Body that is so lithe and strong on the ground, goes so limp and heavy in the water. Universe is in disarray.

Hey Mr Grump Gills
You know what you gotta do when life gets you down?
Just keep swimming
Just keep swimming

Just keep swimming swimming swimming
What do we do we swim, swim, swim
OH HO HO How I love to swim
When you WAAAAAANNTTT to swim you want to swim

Fucking Dory.

Have you ever hated a sport? Why? Been stuck with seemingly no progress?

Signing off,

Posted August 9, 2013

7 responses to “how do I loathe thee?”

  1. Michael says:

    Solo, you have a great base to be a great swimmer. Swimming is a messed-up sport to learn for land lubbers like you and I. It requires a level of muscular coordination that isn’t used in other sports. Its movement patterns are very different than running or cycling. Worse still, swimming is a sport where efficiency of movement is king. Water is not air, and strength and power will alone will not be able to overcome its soggy grasp.

    That means that when you practice, you must practice the correct, the most efficient movement patterns. If you just keep slogging through workouts and ingraining bad habits, the odds of getting better are slim.

    The upside here is that as you learn progressively more efficient movement through the water, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your awesomely strong body will be able to go.

    • admin says:

      Awww… Thanks, coach. This Sunday will be a race for survival. But, who knows, I may be so pissed, I’ll want to come back and do it properly next year. 😉

  2. I decided I hated running all over again yesterday. Running and I became friends over a year of giving it a whirl and culminating at my first Half in May – and then I pretty much pretended we weren’t even acquaintances anymore for the last three months, until last night.

    With the realization that I have the Oasis Zoo 10k and Tough Mudder (what the F was I thinking) on the horizon, I decided running was likely something I’d have to reacquaint myself with – and quickly. After a killer workout yesterday morning, I decided that a two-a-day was in the cards and headed out for a run when I got home from work. Everything about it SUCKED. I hated running. Why was a running. Why was I so out of breath? Why was everything so sore? (Stupid deadlifts) Why was I running??? I had to actually stop and walk like three times on a 5k run, I haven’t done that in over a year.

    ugh. Running.

    • admin says:

      Sarah, I decide I hate running about once a week. Totally normal. Although your two-a-day probably did not contribute to the love of running. 🙂

  3. Katya says:

    I know this is a stupid thing to say, but I promise it gets better. When I switched from head-above-water leisurely breaststroke to lane style breaststroke, it was annoying (the breathing part) but doable. When I switched from that to freestyle, for 3 months I thought I was going to drown. No, make that 5 months. Got better after that. Still hate freestyle, but I can swim for a long time now if I have to.

    I think swimming is one of those things where you have to experiment and change your technique slightly and try different things until you just get it, and once you do get it, it’s amazing feeling (I am sure you’ve had that with running or other exercises). One thing I find that helps a lot to reduce the OMG-I-AM-GONNA-DROWN feeling is to take it slow and move up the lanes when people in front of you start to annoy you :P. The efficiency (mentioned above) comes either from lessons, or experimenting, but the latter is a lot more satisfying.
    This is coming from a swimming enthusiast though, so yeah, if we switch places and you give me similar advice on running, maybe I won’t be so enthusiastic, eh.

    • admin says:

      Haha, no, not a stupid thing to say, at all. I’m sure I say this all the time about running, and people probably hate me for it. LOL

      And yes, I know what you mean about playing around with technique. It’s like realizing one day how much of a difference a strong kick makes.

      I have to keep reminding myself to go slow, not fast. Which is SO HARD.

  4. […] are you afraid of?”, Goss asks. “I’m afraid of DNF-ing. I’m afraid of the swim”, I […]

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