July Swim for Distance Progress Report: 19,700 meters (about 12 1/4 miles)
Charities Benefiting: Mercy for Animals, Goods 4 Girls Africa, Survivors of Torture International
It's not too late! Pick a charity of your choice and sponsor me by the kilometer, the meter or the mile. Put aside your chosen denomination of currency and send it to your charity at the end of the month. Oh, and let me know which charity you picked so I can list it here. You'll feel better, I'll feel better, your charity of choice will feel better. Win-win-win!
With another 11 days to go, I'm just over halfway to 21 miles for Swim for Distance Month. That doesn't include The Big Swim, of course, which will happen next week (Oh God, that's only a week, I'm not ready yet, can I postpone?). So that's pretty good. I'm optimistic that I'll get there and post a nice total at the end of the month. Some years I've done upward of 25 miles in July, but 21's enough for this year. And if I go over, great. Charities get a few extra bucks. Next year I want to do the 5k instead of the 2k (that's 2 1/2 solid hours of swimming, minimum). But I'll need to work up to it. It's hard to contemplate 5k when the farthest I've ever managed was 2800. Still, that's more than halfway there. I wonder if I could get one of those waterproof iPods to wear while I'm swimming. Always arguing that I could hear myself think over the splashing and the deep breaths and the pool noises. You'd think it'd be pretty quiet underwater, but it's not. On the contrary, it's darn noisy. Except for the very first moment when I jump into the pool. It's like my ears take a second to adjust from land noises to water noises, and for that second there's this Absolute Silence like the beginning of the world. Which, you have to admit, is pretty cool.
I've probably mentioned this before, but I don't exactly look like a swimmer. Swimmers are tall, lanky people with long arms and impeccable midriffs. I am short, fat and have li'l T-rex arms. But you know what? I swim anyway, I swim with a masters team, and it's fine. No, I'm not very fast (though I'm a heckuva lot faster than I once was). Yes, I hang around in Lane Six with the older folks, the recovering-from-shoulder-injuries and other people who are, well, slow. And that's okay. Slow people get where they need to go. It just takes them longer.
Being fat, for a lot of people, means postponing everything. "Oh, I'll go to Paris when I lose weight, I'll get a new dress when I lose weight, I'll start yoga when I lose weight." I probably once did that, too, but I quit. I remember the day I quit pretty clearly, too. I was probably 26 or so, and I kept driving by this karate school on the way to work. Several times I thought, "I should really go in there and sign up," and the immediate thought following that was, "I can't do karate now. Maybe when I lose weight." The irony being that that was almost a hundred pounds ago. Well, anyway, one day I was driving by and I had the same thought, and I suddenly realized that I might never lose weight. I might be fat for the rest of my life, and I would die having never tried karate because I was waiting to lose weight. So I made the turn into the parking lot, went inside and signed up. I took three classes a week for three years, made it all the way up to purple belt, and then quit during the great seismic shattering of 2001 when the Twin Towers fell and Stuart died and Joan's mom died and hey, it was not a good year. 'Nuff said.
The thing is, you don't have to be fat to postpone things. I know all these people who have "bucket lists." Stuff they want to do before they die. Why not do some of it now? I mean, you could die any time. You could come down with some malignant neoplasm or get a terminal case of 18-wheeler. I'm not sure if there's any time to regret stuff on the other side, but I'd hate to have the last thought that rushed through my mind at 80 miles an hour to be something like, "I should have taken up karate when I had the chance." I mean, what a way to go out. I'd much rather think something like, "Man, I had a good time." Because I should. We all should.
On that note, and because I have swimming on the brain, here's what a fat woman looks like in a bathing suit. And don't let the sweet, innocent expression fool you. I'm tough in the water. Like a harbor seal.