I wanted to swim as part of the Smile Mile, I wanted to swim for Gunnar and I wanted to clear my head after an emotionally challenging weekend.
I’m not sure I managed any of them, but I did swim.
The Smile Mile is something that I saw in passing on Facebook, I’m not sure of the details, but the bit that struck me was the idea to swim a mile this weekend with a smile on your face. As I understand it, it was to remove the need for long distances or fast times, but just to swim for the joy of it again.
Gunnar is the brother of someone that regularly posts on the Facebook group “Did You Swim Today?’ (DYST). Gunnar died recently. Erland wrote a beautiful post on Facebook and many people have taken the memory of Erland with them into their next swim. This was my next swim after seeing the post and I wanted to take the memory of Erland, and of people that I’ve lost, with me. Strangely it actually helped me to smile.
Finally I just needed the water and the exercise and the discipline of having to swim and turn and watch for the people and keep going to help give me something different for my mind to focus on. The weekend has been a bit of challenge for me emotionally and I wanted the water to help wash some of that away.
The plan was to just get in and swim for 35 minutes and then get out – I didn’t want to count lengths as I had too much else to think about. I found it hard going at first. Aside from the triathlon, this was my first real swim since Windermere and, especially with my head so full, I had to ‘remember’ how to swim again.
Pretty soon the fast lane was full of swimmers doing some Sunday evening training and so I moved to the middle (medium pace) lane. That helped a lot as the pressure to swim quickly was removed and I could just leisurely go up and back, occasionally swimming breaststroke as I swam behind a slower swimmer.
I was able to smile for some of it, I did think about Gunnar and others, and the water did wash away some of the emotional stuff too. Swimming’s good like that.