The Art of Drowning

Billy Collins is one of my favorite poets. When I was last in Portland strolling through Powell’s (the ACTUAL happiest place on Earth) I came across my favorite anthology of his: The Art of Drowning. I immediately purchased a used copy with a stranger’s lovely, bittersweet note on the inside cover. The title poem isn’t my favorite of the bunch (that honor belongs to On Turning Ten) but the opening stanza echoed in my mind as I swam laps this morning:

I wonder how it all got started, this business
about seeing your life flash before your eyes
while you drown, as if panic, or the act of submergence,
could startle time into such compression, crushing
decades in the vice of your desperate, final seconds.

If you didn’t catch it, I’m being EXTREMELY melodramatic. I finally got into the pool with a swimsuit that allowed me to do laps, and… it was less than awesome. Apparently I can’t breath while swimming laps. It’s like as soon as I find the rhythm of exhaling in the water and turning my head at the right time to inhale again I lose it. So I become out of breath, oxygen can’t get to my muscles, they become fatigued and I want to DIE.

Sam Bangs finished her first triathlon in 12 minutes… when she drowned.

Melodrama again. I painted it thicker this time for anyone who missed it in the beginning.


In all seriousness… I’m sure I’ll be fine. I still did my 500 meters. It took me 25 minutes because I had to catch my breath after every 50 meters or so… but I figure if I commit to being in the pool three days a week, I’ll crank it out. That and survival instinct. (Newbie advice appreciated!)

My diet is still going quite well, surprisingly. Some days I struggle to eat all the calories I’m supposed to and other days I’m ravenous, so overall, I think my metabolism might be evening out and finally functioning again. I should probably stop reading so many conflicting information in terms of BMR and TDEE and whatever new acronym they’ve come up with to help you count calories. Back when I was a calorie Nazi I would limit myself to 1200 calories a day and workout as much as possible to be able to eat more and still be at 1200 and blah blah blah. It made me a crazy person. So I’ve been eating 1500 everyday without trying to factor in exercise and for the most part it’s working. I haven’t had super bad cravings (other than for In N Out on Sunday) and my sweet tooth is kept in check with a nightly Quest Bar or watermelon if I feel like I need it. (Thanks for the tip Melissa!)

I still don’t weight myself because I’d probably be depressed for days if I saw THAT number, but I feel like I’m starting to physically maybe see a difference? My newest concern is that I’m still not eating ENOUGH for how much I’m working out (I work out nearly every day for at least 60 minutes) but it would TERRIFY me to put a higher calorie goal into MFP. After reading into the TDEE thing, it seems like my minimum should be more around 1700/1800, even for weight loss. Anyone buy into this or is it a bunch of garbage?

So for now the plan is to flail about in the water, ride my bike, run, and eat some food. Hopefully I’ll look good in a bikini for the shoot next weekend. We can only hope.

Until then, I’m going to read more Billy Collins to ruminate about my life’s impending quarter century anniversary (seriously, read On Turning Ten) and watch a bunch of swimming technique videos on YouTube. Later dudes.


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