Thursday, February 19, 2009

There's something about a good swim...

There is something about a good swim that is completely cleansing and cathartic. Others may have a different way for mental cleansing - whatever that activity is, it is such a blessing when it arrives.

I did not want to get out of bed this morning to schlep my self and my stuff down to the gym. I wanted sleep. It was to the point that I stayed in bed without eating my breakfast because my brain (working on its own dark purposes) remembered that Joe Friel says that if you can't make it up for breakfast for an early morning workout you can either drink a bottle of your favorite sports drink or eat 2 gel packs and 12 oz. of water 10 minutes before warming up. (He prefers you eat breakfast, but says its better than hitting a workout without some sort of fuel for it.) Of course, his definition of early morning was more around 5 am but for my purposes this morning it was 7:15 am when I hit the pool. My Gatorade was ingested on my commute when 10 minutes from the gym. I couldn't fall asleep last night until midnight despite being completely exhausted, and this was my "reward."

But somehow I found the way to get myself in gear and hit the pool. And I am all the better for it. (For some reason that just reminded me of Robert Frost, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. " Anyhow.)

I think I mentioned that I didn't make it to Monday night's group swim but that I had done the workout for today on Tuesday. So, I didn't really feel like doing the same swim workout again and devised my own. I did a 400 warm up that was really 4x100 but with only a break long enough to switch out gear. It was a 100 swim, 100 kick, 100 pull, 100 swim consecutively. Then I did a nice 800 (32 lengths of the 25 yd pool), a cool 1/2 mile. Then a 100, 200, 100, and a 100 cool down. The 800 was truly cathartic . Focusing on my stroke, the sound of my breathing in and the continuous exhale into the water before I breathed again, the sound of the water as it changed with the stroke change each time I breathed, the counting of laps... which I do in sets of 8 (I counted to 8, 4 separate times but without stopping). I have no idea where counting in 8's came from but it's my number of choice while swimming laps. The idea of being lost in my swim... counting to 8 in sets lets me know when to stop, but otherwise it is as though I'm adrift and apart from all else that is in this world. Poetry in movement. An interpretive dance where arms and legs move and torso sways and somehow the stress and grime of daily life floats away... if only for the length of the swim.

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