Did you ever turn to your favorite newspaper columnist to read "Favorite Columnist is away, but we're running one of his old columns in his place" -- well, I'm trying that. Some people may not have seen a series of guest columns I did a couple of years ago on an online swimming site, but now that I'm training again I think it's relevant. Plus, I just saw Mr. Perimeter again. Good to know some things never change. Read below, it is updated as needed.
Laney College pool is awesome, but I never actually swim in that pool. I never train there because people would bother me too much. I like to go to a small club that my family belongs to near our house. Almost all the swimmers there wear really dorky goggles and put in their 20 laps before calling it a day.
Training there also makes me look like Marcia, God of All Swimming – which is nice. The pool has faded targets and a black line on the bottom that is light grey, but there is a hot tub and nice showerheads. Unfortunately the pool is kept at 82 degrees, which always feels good when you first get in, but about halfway into your main set you feel like your head is just going to fly off. I can only swim well in the morning, because in the afternoons there are always beachballs flying in and out of my lane, and the sound that really makes me look for a ledge: “Marco . . . Polo.”
And, did I mention the current?
Being a distance swimmer I’m used to the first lap feeling really good, but not acting on the impulse to sprint like a nut. But here, it feels re-e-e-ally good because it is two strokes less on the odd laps then the even ones. Some pool-construction genius directed the incoming water pipe from the pump room down the side of the pool and heading towards the far end. I’m thinking it was probably aftermarket. It’s good, I guess, that I get used to overcoming adversity on the final lap (not to mention every other lap), but it’s not something that, say, Teri McKeever at Cal probably has to deal with. You know, not that I would want her job.
Anyway, yesterday during my workout the water was its normal balmy temp, but because the morning was overcast there was only one other person in the pool. Unfortunately he was on his back, sculling at his sides and doing some sort of bicycle kick that was one notch up on the exercise-meter from lying on the couch watching ESPN. Did I mention he was doing perimeters? Just scooting around the eight-lane pool, backwards, ducking under lanelines about as fast as syrup oozing across my kitchen table. (Ha. As though my daughter would spill!) Every lap I lived in fear that I wouldn’t see him in time and come flying into his gut on a flipturn a la NASCAR as he was meandering on his way. He said he was doing his “mile.” Glad I caught him at the end.
And then when I got out I think I cut myself drying off with the pool towels.
You know how everything is getting bigger? Not just food portions, but towels too have also jumboed up. Washcloths now are the size of hand towels; hand towels are the size of bath towels; and bath towels are the size of spinnakers. Except at my little club. We’re allowed to take two towels each day, but the first one doesn’t even fit around my hair. I have to use it as some sort of large headband. The second one has to dry only one limb at a time, but they are so sharp that you have to rub really slowly unless you’d intended to exfoliate. Down to the bone.
What the heck, less laundry for me. And I didn't hit Mr. Perimeter. It wasn't Laney, but it was okay.