Swimming laps for exercise is high maintenance. It used to be that I could swim laps before work, at 5:30am, while our daughter was at practice. Since the college swim team appropriated that early morning time slot, our daughter’s practice has moved to later in the day, and the pool is no longer open for lap swimming while either swim team practices.
This means that my personal swimming now takes effort. It takes effort not just to actually swim laps, but to plan to swim laps: to find a time in the day to get over to the pool while it’s open, to arrange my workday around the time that I can reserve a lane, and to drive the 15 minutes each way for myself separate from the times we already go to the pool to drive our daughter.
Swimming laps for exercise wasn’t special in the before times. It used to be that my post-swim shower kit was filled with sloppy seconds of shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, and body lotions. I’d swim, then shower in the locker room with whatever bottom-of-the-bottle stuff I had left over from home.
These days, I go out of my way to swim laps in a way I never had to before. It’s kind of a pain in the ass. It disrupts my day, it uses extra gas, it takes time out of my morning writing because I work for an hour before going to the pool, come back to work an hour and a half later than my normal start time, and extend my work day by a half hour.
Swimming really has a lot going against it.
But I love it. I love swimming laps. I love the actual swimming of the laps. It’s all the annoyances that go into swimming laps that make it high maintenance.
It recently occurred to me that to balance out some of the negatives of my new swimming normal, I can make my lap swims feel special instead of feeling guilty about their disruptiveness. I threw out all the old bottom-of-the-bottle toiletries. I treated myself to high end shampoo for my swim kit, fancy facial cleanser, and luxury moisturizer and body lotion that I only use after I swim.
These are very simple things. Very basic. And yet, they are enough to get me excited about going to the pool beyond the laps I’ll get to swim. They tip the scale from annoying disruption to special occasion.