A GOOD SWIM

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Having spent the last two days googling topics related to European travel it’s now time to do something physical. I pulled into the aquatic center parking lot and wedged my ten year old Honda between a new BMW and an equally shiny Mercedes. I couldn’t help but wonder what the patrons must drive at the fancy fitness center; Rolls, Porsche, Lamborghini… Of course if I worked a few more nights, a few more weekends and a few more years I could be driving one of those. But if I did that I wouldn’t be here now and I wouldn’t have the option to swim laps all day. I’ll keep the Honda.

After squirting a few drops of defogger on my goggles I put in my ear plugs. I don’t own a Mercedes but I am the proud owner of custom molded ear plugs. When I was younger water never collected in my ears. As my hair began to thin on top it started to grow out of my ears like kudzu and as a result water gets trapped. Fortunately since buying the custom ear plugs it has not been a problem.

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Next I pulled down my cap and the right side tore off in my hand. I thought, “I can still swim with this, just need to secure it with my goggles”. To figure out how to position it I went into the mens room and looked in the mirror. “Wow. That looks incredibly stupid. I’ll be swimming without a cap today.”

It’s just after 10 AM on a Friday and the lap lanes are the busiest I’ve ever seen them. Most of the swimmers are fit twenty and thirty-somethings. They appear to be competitive triathletes. The young fellow in the lane to my left is swimming hard and churning the water like a speedboat. I enjoy seeing his intensity and the choppy water is good for me as it mimics open water swimming, a sport I would like to try someday. I’ve done a couple half Ironman events in lakes but I haven’t done any open water competitions where you swim two, three or even more miles in a lake or ocean. That would be interesting.

My routine is two laps of crawl followed by two of breast and repeat until I complete a mile. If I feel good I do another mile of all crawl without any breaks. I don’t swim fast, just strong and steady with an emphasis on good form. Typically I get into a zone where the arms and legs move but it doesn’t feel like I’m putting much effort out. The same thing can happen to me running or biking but in the water it’s a more peaceful experience because there are fewer distractions.

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As the laps pass, my mind drifts. The young fellow churns by me again and I think back to the triathlons I’ve done. I always went out too fast on the bike. In the last triathlon I was having so much fun biking that by the end of that section my legs were spastic to the point that I could barely bend them. They finally started to move again and I waddled my way through the half marathon and across the finished line.

I swim on, my thoughts drift, and I lose count. For a couple of strokes I think,”Oh crap. What lap is this? sixteen? seventeen?” Then I smile. “What the heck, it doesn’t matter. Pick the smaller number. You can always use an extra lap.”

The young fellow has finished his workout and there are only a few swimmers left in the pool. The water has become still and as I swim I have a clear, broad view of the bottom and a black hair-tie that rests there. The number of completed laps mount as I swim back and forth past the black hair-tie for the sixty second, sixty third and sixty fourth lap – plus one more lap. I always like to do one more lap after the two mile mark just in case I missed one.  “What the heck, it doesn’t matter. I have all day.”

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Categories: Biking, Travel

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4 replies

  1. Nice! I gotta work some swim time into my schedule….. Val

  2. Great post . . . I really enjoyed reading this.

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