Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Almost Like Sleeping

No detached observer of my swimming will ever confuse me with a "real" swimmer. In fact, I think there is a freeway warning sign ("NON-SWIMMER") that starts blinking at each end of the pool when I resort to my candy ass open turns instead of doing a manly flip turn. That said, one of the beauties of age-group endurance sport is that we each get to measure current selves by our past selves. By that measure, I'm freaking Michael Phelps.

A little over a year ago, before I took my grownup swim lessons, I dropped into the pool and tried to swim a workout. It was written down on a card and everything. I had no reservations. I was a two time marathoner, after all. I was reasonably fit. I was in training to ride a 180 mile tour.

That card is in a landfill somewhere, along with what should have been my first season of multi-sport training. I did not make 100 yards. Indeed, my heart rate and breathing could not have been more ragged and panicked if I were swimming through chum during a shark feeding frenzy while being strafed by the U.S. Navy. FIGHT OR FLIGHT!!!

A little more than a year later, it feels like Zen and the Art of Swimming. I dropped into the water intending just to see if I could swim for an hour, any distance, good form, zone 2, nothing special. It was so meditative that I essentially lost count of some of the laps in the middle of the hour. The goggles fogged over. So what? Just close the eyes and occasionally check the black line on the bottom of the pool. Keep the rhythm . . .

Blow bubbles. . . breathe in . . . bubbles . . . in . . . bubbles . . . in . . . z-z-z-z-z

The swim was longer than the half-iron I intend to do in June, but I could have continued indefinitely, or jumped up and cycled without feeling worn out. No real triathlete would have been impressed with my current self, but my former self sure was. He will have to wait until some other day to tell me I don't belong here.

It was almost as good as sleeping. Really, even better.

1 comment:

greyhound said...
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