The Pool

It's like a treadmill, but there is no place to put your music or magazine.

It’s like a treadmill, but there is no place to put your music or magazine.

When most people think of a pool they probably think about relaxing with a magazine on a lounge chair while soaking up warm rays from the sun.  There are some people who don’t even get into the pool.  They don’t want to get wet because it might ruin their makeup or damage their hair.  Well, I know that is not the case for any of my mommy friends with young children because when they go to the pool they have to make the committment to actually get in the pool.  Lounging is not even an option.

Well, for me, lounging is definitely not an option even when I go to the pool alone.  It does feel odd to go to the pool alone, but I do it quite often now.  My kids get jealous when I tell them that I have to go to the pool.  I use the words “have to” in order to make it clear that it will not be as fun as it sounds.  I don’t wear a fancy swimsuit, carry a cute little tote or grab magazines on my way out.  I wear my black, boring one-piece with my cheap black flip-flops and use the coarse towels that the gym provides.  As I walk into the facility, I look longingly at the mommies who are splashing around with their kids in the little pool.  Then I think about the peace and quiet I will have for the next hour.

As I get in and swim my first lap I realize that it’s a bit too peaceful and quiet for my liking.  Not only that, but it is nearly impossible to get your heart rate up when you are working out in a prone position and I am definitely not sweating.  I never feel like I am working out when I am swimming.  Yet, I know it is a necessity.  Something I have to do in order to achieve my triathlon goals.

I just wish I were good at it.  That is my challenge.  I don’t know what I am doing.  I just flop around like a fish who is missing its fins.  My head sticks up too high and my legs hang down too low.  My body zigs and zags down the lane as my mouth collects gallons of chlorinated water.  I do feel like I am getting somewhere… just very, very slowly.  I started swimming pretty regularly nearly a year ago and I still haven’t gotten the hang of it.  It didn’t take me that long to improve my running.  It is very frustrating, but I know that I need to do some research in order to get it done right.  Either that or find someone willing to teach me.

I think a lot of people like to swim because it is calm and relaxing.  I find it rather boring.  I try to daydream when I swim, but then I kind of lose focus on my already poor form.  Lately, I have been trying to make it fun by doing sprints.  I usually end up gulping down more pool water, but I do think that it helps me swim with better form.

Yesterday was a rather interesting day at the pool.  I am not a big fan of sharing a lane with others (I know, I have lots of complaints about the pool) so I always try to go during non-peak hours.  This time I decided to try 8:30 PM because I expected it to nearly empty.  Boy, was I very wrong.  There were more people in there than I had ever seen before.  Lots of teenagers who were obviously swimming with a club or team.  After about 5 minutes of swimming alone, someone asked to share a lane with me and of course I obliged.  5 minutes later 3 people got into the lane, but they weren’t moving.  When I asked them what they were doing one woman responded and said that she was teaching the other two how to swim.  Okaaaaay… so I basically just nodded and asked the guy in the next lane over if I could share his lane.  That made 3 in one lane.  Then a fourth came over.  Now I was in a lane swimming with 3 young guys who obviously knew how to swim better and faster than me.  I was sprinting at that point.  As I turned (um, not a flip turn) in the deep end I would see them right behind me.  As I approached the shallow end I always considered stopping to let them pass, but then they would be 10 yards behind me.  I think it was because they rested at the deep end.  I don’t know, but time sure did fly by!  The next thing I know there were only 2 of us left and I think the dude was thankful to have his own side of the lane so he could cruise at the speed of lightning.

One good thing about swimming with a group: it is a more realistic training environment.  I was getting pummeled with waves and had to be very observant of where I was going, who was in front of me and who was behind me.  However, I do still enjoy being in my own lane all by myself… even if it is rather boring.


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