Then, a funny thing happened on the way to waking up this morning: I kinda wanted to do it again.
First, I wondered if I had simply dreamed it. But, then, the proof was still on my arm.
You have to understand that, other than a short stint as a gymnast from about age 9 - 12, I was never EVER an athlete. I was the opposite -- the kid picked last for gym teams (having no ability to hit or catch or smack a ball or run), the one who quit gymnastics because it was ultimately too hard on my body. The one who quit tapdancing and ballet because, well, because I am a pretty crappy dancer. And, yes, I was the one who skied off a cliff into a tree with my best friend and two boys watching at age 15.
For most of my adult life the extent of my athletism, therefore, was relegated to secretly doing Jane Fonda or Tae Bo tapes in the privacy of my own home. For a few years I did some hot yoga to keep fit.
But if there was one thing I wasn't, it was anything that resembled athletic. Or hardy. Or hard core.
And, then, two months ago, I braved an open water swim. I went from being able to do under a mile to a mile and a half and then two. In doing so, I braved not only cold water, horseshoe crabs and other slimy things that hit your fingers and your face as you swim, but currents that could seriously fool you when you're body was already tired. I began to think of myself as stronger and to believe that I could push myself in ways at 45 I never had before.
And yesterday, I showed up for a 5k.
And, I jumped in.
And I swam.
At the three quarter mark, she cramped up and had to stop back at the kayak. I waited for her at the turnaround. By then, we must have been nearing two hours in. The swim back should have been not much more than 20 minutes. I felt good. I could do that easy.
But then the current set in. The guy at the turn around boat warned us. She fell behind again, and now, each time I stopped to try to wait for her, the current dragged me back to where I had just swum from. My body was getting tired and I was afraid that I wouldn't make it and the next time she stopped, the kayakers waved me on. For the first time in the race I was alone. I couldn't see her or our kayak anymore. The swells picked up and my muscles really started to hurt. The yellow house to my right stayed exactly in place at my left shoulder no matter how much harder I swam. Thick sharp (?) seaweed got in my face, kept strangling my arms and legs. I started to wonder if I'd actually make the finish.
But somehow, nearly an hour later I did.
Exhausted but proud of myself, I went home and slept. And slept and slept and slept. Everything hurt. I was glad I did it, but vowed having done it, I'd never ever do it again.
And then I woke up this morning. And I felt good. And I saw the 14 on my arm. And, the first thought that popped into my head was, "...hmmm, when's the next 5k swim?"
So, I guess maybe we'll see.