A Swimmer Is Born: OAC Member Rekindles a Passion for Fitness in the Water
Oregon Athletic Clubs at RiverPlace member Caroline Eccles took some time out of her busy schedule to share her fitness success story with us: how she learned to love exercise and overcome her physical setbacks by re-kindling a childhood love for water.
Throughout most of my adult life, I have struggled with injuries and ailments. I was diagnosed Fibromyalgia, and after 26 years as a Computer Programmer, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I also have severe sciatica, neck issues, and shin splints just to name a few. I never considered myself to be unhealthy but I never really enjoyed exercising even though I did it.
Two years ago, I joined Oregon Athletic Clubs at RiverPlace and began taking morning aqua classes three days a week with the “Ladies of the Pool”, as we like to call ourselves. The members in these classes are very inspiring! They’ve run marathons, had hip and knee replacements, kidney transplants and heart attacks. There’s so much friendship and laughter, and everyone gets in a great workout.
After taking a few classes, and through the encouragement of my friend Arleen, I began arriving early before aqua class and swimming laps. I went from gasping for breath after five laps, to gradually completing a mile. My kids gave me a waterproof iPod for Christmas, and I was able to push past the mile mark while listening to my favorite tunes. On the recommendation from my chiropractor, I also started using a snorkel and goggles, and was able to reach the two mile mark.
A swimmer was born! Now I take aqua classes three days a week from Stephanie (Drill Sergeant as I fondly call her), Michelle (The Runner) and Josie (Smiley). I sometimes start early, and swim two miles before class, or work up to eight miles on the Elliptical Machine. On Thursdays, I join my friends along the waterfront and we walk for five miles.
I wish I had discovered that swimming was my happy place earlier in life—I grew up playing in the water in my native South Africa, but had never swum laps before. The key is to just start moving! And I still take it one day at a time, one lap at a time.
I would like to thank Stephanie for all of her encouragement, and Arleen for pushing me through those early morning swims. I would also like to thank my husband Colin, who has run 27 marathons and ultras, for his support. Most importantly, I would like to thank the “Ladies of the Pool”. They often tell me how proud they are of me, and I have to say, I’m proud of me, too.
See you at the pool!
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