The 2 Minute Swim (or How I Learned to Run)

Sometimes I like to brag that I’ve run a half marathon.

This is only half true. I haven’t run a “real one”- one that was timed and had a medal and a finish line and all of that exciting gold stuff, but I’ve run a half marathon on a treadmill. I took pictures of my mileage. As evidence. Okay, maybe that’s not even impressive at all. Whatever. But I did it.

So I can run. I run a lot, sometimes 4-5 times a week, with 30 minutes of running being my bare minimum for a workout with running.

I really like running, actually.

However, during my first running workout- excluding gym class in grade school- I didn’t even run for THREE MINUTES. I’d never run as a workout before because I didn’t really do any kind of workout before. I thought exercise was against the nature of my body. This really meant that I gave up on my running career before it started in order to pursue my fated path of couch potato extraordinaire. Alas, it was not to be.

The first time I whimsically decided to work out, I told myself I would only run for two minutes…and I barely made it! When I got to one minute and 30 seconds, I almost had to stop. But I kept going, and made it to two minutes, and then turned off the treadmill and walked away. For the next few days, I did the same thing: two minutes of running and then walking away. After that, I upped my challenge to three minutes for a week or so, and then to 5!

Suddenly, I was running for 5 minutes straight, and then 10! It probably took me a few months to get to 30 steady minutes of running, but everything came from that first 2 minute run! My success really boiled down to allowing myself to change only 2 minutes of my life.

When I jumped in a pool last month at an Orlando hotel, I tried to swim a bunch of laps, and quickly got exhausted after maybe a quarter of one. I haven’t really tried to swim in years. Actually, I’ve never really swam laps- maybe once. I don’t really know how to swim, for that matter.

And as I took a choking, water-tinged breath in the Olympic sized pool, a vision of my first 2 minute run from long ago popped into my head. I allowed myself some mercy. “Just 2 minutes of laps today!” was my mantra, as I swam a wholehearted 6 feet or so and then gasped for air. But I went back under and swam my 2 minutes- and then another 2, and then another. I don’t know if you’d really call my swimming “laps” or “skilled” for that matter. But there was movement.

And sometimes a little movement is all you need.

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