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YMCA virgin..

As I went to bed last night, my wife asked me, “Aren’t you going to set an alarm?” My response was simply, “If my body wants to get up at five, it will.”

5:07 this morning, my body said get up. My mind, meanwhile, continued to say, “what the heck are you doing? You are NOT a gym type.” I listened to my body.

I brushed my teeth, threw on a hat and some flops, and left for the YMCA we joined last week. This was the easy part. I felt healthy already, bobbin’ my head to some tunes I got a week ago. As I pulled into the parking lot, it was already 1/3 full of vehicles drivin’ by physically fit people. I noticed the man getting out of a bright yellow Hummer next to me, and thought, “yup, that’s the kind of person I’m not.” But I continued forward with the plan.

Sure, I took the tour. But I still had no idea what was going on. Scan my card, take a sweat towel (even though I didn’t use it at all) and head to the locker room. So far, so good. Flashbacks to insecure junior high locker rooms. Tension builds. I enter the room.

Empty. Or at least, the wing I chose was empty. Suited up, took a quick shower, headed out to the pool. I wonder how busy a pool is at 5:20am? As I walked in, a woman (who looked like a 50 year old professional swimmer, cap/goggles and all) took the last open lane. The lifeguard (who looked like a lifeguard) came up to me the way someone would approach a lost puppy.

Shoot. I forgot I’m not wearing a shirt. There’s no disguising how much I don’t fit in here. But she doesn’t ask me to leave due to my unfit state. She offers to let me share a lane with a man towards the other end of the pool. He agrees.

Great. My first time swimming laps towards fitness, and I’m thrown in to share lanes with someone whose bald head I see once every 3 seconds as he swims away, sportin’ goggles strapped to his noggin’. I glance up at the wall, and see signs posted. “Fast” over my lane and those near it. “Slow” posted over the lanes on the other end of the pool. Oh Lord, help me.

30 minutes of backstrokes and sidestrokes, with a few breaststrokes for good measure; and I’m done. There was a brief moment where John (my lane partner) and I exchanged introductions. Nice guy, and not the buff body-builder I’d imagined. But a very efficient swimmer.

Things I learned for next time: bring my own shampoo, don’t take a sweat towel, don’t try to pace myself with someone like John (I’m so dead), do bring sporty goggles so that I can swim without worrying about my eyes gettin’ chlorinated, do realize that even though I swim in water, and shower in water, I’m still stinkin’ thirsty when it’s all over.

I think I’ll do this again. 🙂


Husband, Father, Pastor, Missionary, Writer, Poet, Friend, reader, coffee enthusiast, hockey Wing-Nut, musical participator, etc...

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