My husband and I took the kids to the community center pool for some Friday Family Fun. As enjoyable as it was to feel my thighs and midsection jiggle in the rushing waters of the lazy river while I followed alongside the kiddos, I wanted to take a few minutes to swim by myself.

I put on my son’s goggles, did a mean breast stroke towards the wall, and went in for a Michael Phelps-esque underwater turn.

I ended up just doing a somersault by the wall in the deep end. #nailedit

Apparently the skills I acquired during the swimming unit of my co-ed junior high gym class didn’t stick. I came out of the water and looked around to get my bearings like a ground hog coming out of his hole…dazed and confused. How was I not on my way to Olympic greatness right now? My husband and kids were cheering for me from the other end of the pool. I mean, it kinda sounded like hyenas laughing, but my goggles were fogged and I couldn’t see their faces, so I’m just going to assume they were cheering for me.

Refusing to be defeated, I re-inflated my ego and decided to come back the next morning — this time to swim in the lap pool where my fellow athletic professionals swim.

I was intimidated as I once again adjusted my son’s goggles to fit my fat head while I watched one lone swimmer gracefully backstroking his/her swim-cap-laden body across the serene lap pool, diligently watched over by a pubescent male lifeguard who was probably playing a Batman video game in his head. My legs were freshly shaved and my morning hair was gathered in a high pony tail, so I anticipated being able to glide through the water like a knife through butter. {Mmmmm, butteeeerrrr.}

The water was cold. Like, take your breath away cold. It’s never good to start out your cardio activity with your breath already taken. I had also apparently picked the deep end of the pool to get into, so I clung to the edge trying to control my cold-induced rapid panting…lest I sink to the bottom of the ten foot pool and give the pubescent male lifeguard an incredible story to tell at school of the thirty-year-old mom/Michael Phelps wannabe he single-handedly rescued with his red floaty.

I channeled my inner Kelsi Worrell, Katie Ledecky, Ariel, Dory, and any other swimming inspirations I could think of as I pushed myself off the wall and began my lap.

Man…these lap pools are long. And one breath in between breast strokes is NOT enough. I think my face is tingling. What if I’m having a stroke? And why is it called a breast stroke?……..{giggle}…Can’t think about that right now…{giggle giggle, gulp, cough}.

I completed that lap with a new respect for swimmers. And with a recognition that I was not going to be able to move my extremities the next day. It turns out, swimming laps is an incredible workout…not just cardioly speaking, but muscularly speaking. By the end of each lap I could feel my body starting to sink to the depths where the Band-Aids, hair thingies, and hair clumps reside. My arm muscles were having to work even harder to pull myself up out of the water until I could cling to the wall and wait for the tingling in my face to subside. But then I would push off the wall again and press on for another lap with all the perseverance of a grandparent walking to school up hill both ways through the snow for five miles.

So to all of you Olympic swimmers…legitimate or pseudo, I salute you. I’ll be checking my messages while soaking in a hot bath of Epsom Salt and essential oils if you’d like to leave me some encouragement.