In my town the opening of the local outdoor swimming pool was delayed by two weeks due to COVID-19. You might already know I’m a keen swimmer. You might also already know that I’m no stranger to overdoing it. Living in a land with a swimming pool that’s only open for 3.5 months per year just exacerbates my desire to make the most of the season and swim as much as possible. So what happens when Coronavirus wipes two weeks off that measly 3.5 months… what do I do, you ask?
I flat out panic.
On the Saturday of the official swimming pool opening, with temperatures in the mid-teens and an irritating drizzle, I was there, with bells on. Actually it was a swimming costume. And I smashed out 50 laps. Because… well… that’s what I do.
And I proceeded to do that for the next 6 days.
A normal person would probably have foreseen the consequences… but I did not… I was blinded by my desire to swim.
My back wasn’t in the best of places to begin with, but back pain loves swimming. It’s the best exercise you can do. So I stubbornly persevered… despite the cold water and the cold weather. However, the day my back actually started twinging, I got out of the pool real quick.
But it wasn’t quick enough.
Hence followed three days of me barely being able to walk. It was like I’d gone back in time to the land of slipped discs. I was on the cusp of visiting my favourite doctor and asking for spine injections.
Luckily, and amazingly, it seemed that the pain was caused only by a slight setback due to overdoing it. After a week and a sheepish visit to the physio where I confessed all, I was able to get back in the pool.
When I think back about it, I realise that even in my most enthusiastic days of swimming in Australia I don’t think I ever swam 6 days in a row – especially not when I hadn’t swum for the previous 3 months. Add to this the fact that our local pool holds a temperature of around 22 degrees, rather than the lovely 26 of Australian pools… I may not like the cold, but my back truly hates it.
Although I acknowledge my mistake, I have no doubt that I will do it again. Because I am a classic over-doer. I am aware of it, I do try to curb it, but there’s that part of me that just hates missing out, be it a swim, a run, or a hike.
But I’ve learnt my lesson this time. I grumpily took a week off swimming, and I forced myself to start out at again at less than 50 laps, taking a day’s break in between and wearing a wetsuit to keep my back happy.
I’m feeling a lot better, and the main thing is, the pool is open, the weather is warming up, and working from home means there’s so much more opportunity to get to the pool.