Sunday, March 4, 2007

Swimming in My Living Room

The rumors are true: Neil and I are looking for a house. Unfortunately, it's not in New York.

We’re both pretty practical about what we look for in a home (a roof, garbage disposal, two-car garage, front door, etc.), but I’m totally in it for the neighborhood. I was eyeing the neighborhoods we visited today, assessing their runability—sidewalks, streetlights, no noticeable sink holes—and think we have some likable candidates. It will be nice to have a neighborhood in which I can wind through streets, get lost and find my way back with little anxiety.

I also dug the speed of the roads, which will help me ease into riding my bike on the street! In fact, I even saw a couple of kids riding their bikes on the street. My faith was sealed!

Not exactly air swimming, but just as cooky.By the time we arrived home, however, I had run out of time to go swimming at the rec. center. So, I did some air-swimming: a not-so-complex maneuver involving 7.5-pound weights, a stability ball and my toes tucked under the edge of the couch. I typically go 13-16 freestyle strokes each lap in the pool, and “swam” about 20 laps in my living room this evening.

The most difficult part, aside from the balancing act, was keeping my mind occupied. Staring at the bottom of a pool can be less than exciting (even when you’re focusing on your stroke or swimming one-arm butterfly!), but staring at your living room carpet can be dizzyingly boring. At least I threw a few butterfly “laps” into the workout.

It wasn’t really swimming, but it was better than sitting on the couch and moping about it. One of these days (I swear), I will get that third day of swimming in each week. But air-swimming is better than no swimming.

But I must stick to my schedule for running this week: run on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday; swim on Tuesday and Friday. The big race is on Saturday, so I would like to have a relatively rested day on Friday.

All I need is to find a way to get some sleep the night before the race. I have always had anxiety the day before any type of competition—swim meets, the fifth-grade math contest, first dates. But this month’s Runners World tells me there’s nothing to worry about: “While most first-time racers experience ‘last place phobia,’ the reality is that you almost certainly won’t finish last.” Sure, someone will finish last, but odds are that it won’t be me.

And while that concept is remotely comforting, I have that nagging fear that I just won’t be able to finish the race. I could run 10 miles day-in and day-out for a year before a race, and my anxiety will run wild the night before with irrational fears about falling short, getting a stitch or just tiring out. It's my tragic downfall. Needless to say, I cannot wait to get this first race out of the way. Then there will be the first sprint triathlon to finish in August. And on up from there.

One step at time.


Landon said...

My favorite line in all of Runner's World this month is from the same blurb you quoted: "... simple statistics show that the odds are overwhelming that you'll finish in front of someone else."

I showed at least one person that quote for a laugh.