Friday, March 16, 2007

Top 5 Hardest Things About Returning to the Pool

5. Actually swimming.
4. Putting on my bathing suit.
3. Getting in the cold water.
2. The pain! Oh, the pain.
1. Dealing with ‘Flipper.’

That’s right: after a rather long absence, Flipper was back in the rec. center pool. Not only was he back in the pool, he was in my lane.

I have no problem with lane-sharing. In fact, I think it’s a required part of pool congeniality that everyone should observe. When I see a person sitting on the deck waiting for a spot, I stop to invite that person into my lane. I like swimming down the middle of my lane as much as the next person (and with the angled ceiling rafters, I’m not the straightest backstroker in the pool—that’s just beyond my control). But if there are more people than lanes, I’ll stick to my side of the lane and you stick to yours.

And people have different approaches to the lane-sharing dilemma. Some people ask; some wait for an invitation; others just jump right in and swim.

Flipper. Well, that guy’s just rude.

Only two other people were swimming when I finally got my butt to the pool (according to my blog, March 1 was my last swim). I grabbed a kick board, put on my cap and began the painful process I require to ease myself inch-by-inch into the water. Don't ask.

So, I was sitting on the edge of my lane with my legs in the water when Flipper walked around the corner from the recreational pool/hot tub area. Because I have such an aversion to this man, I tried not to pay attention to him and the subtle flexing and purring I’m certain he was doing behind my back. I could hear the flippers slap on, clap against the deck and walk toward me. He walked right up to my lane, stepped on my kick board and essentially jumped over me and into the lane.

Perhaps it would have been a cute maneuver if I actually knew the guy (and didn’t just blog about him on a semi-monthly basis), but that was just plain rude.

What’s more is that the three marked lanes were all occupied, but the unmarked other half of the pool was empty. Not a soul over there. And he steps over me, takes my lane and swims down the middle of the lane.

At first I thought that he may have been swimming in the lane before I arrived. But isn’t that just tough noogies if he wasn’t there when I took the lane? It’s like saving yourself a place in line for Barry Manilow tickets and not telling anyone but yourself.

So, I had to use my best weapon in the water. It wasn’t my incredible ability to do handstands and back flips in the shallow end. No, it was butterfly. I hadn’t been swimming for more than two weeks, but I had the angry energy to pull out a few laps. I felt like one of those animals that uses a gesture or action (like a bull stomping its foot, a gorilla pounding its chest, a lion licking its chops) to signal my huffing madness.

Well, a girl’s gotta do what a girl has got to do. Good thing for me, it only took about 2.5 laps of my warning shots for him to swim over to the open end of the pool. Grrr.

Once I had my lane back, I swam the following 1,500 yard workout:

- 500 yards free
- 200 yards one-arm fly
- 100 yards fly kick
- 200 yards one-arm fly
- 500 yards free

About 300 yards into the first freestyle set, I actually became winded and tired in a way I haven’t experience in a long time. It entered my mind that I should break, but I would never let anyone I know give up that easily. So, I followed my own [constant] advice and pushed through the tiredness and the pain. Lo and behold: 400 yards hit and it was smooth sailing past the threshold from there.

With all of this time out of the pool, however, I felt really out of rhythm with my strokes today. I couldn’t even get my fly kick going. But at least I completed the swim.

Once the semester ends and I get my Monday and Wednesday lunches back, I would like to start working on building my yardage again. It will be nice to have at least five weekdays at my training schedule’s disposal. But May couldn’t be close enough.

(Despite the Flipper incident, I promise I'm not being a poor ambassador to the triathlete community. I'm just sticking up to the rec. center bully. Look out, Flipper!)


Charlie said...

Blog looks great.
Good luck going into 2015. Thats a well thought goal.
We shared a birthday weekend this year.

Jim said...

Flipper sounds like a real a**hole and is trying to compensate for some inner (or perhaps, outer, hmmmm) shortcoming. You just keep kicking butt in the pool and not let Mr Unhappy get to you.

Thanks for the post to my blog. Sound advice is always great to hear.

Joe said...

Strike up a conversation with flipper dude some day and once you gain his trust, ask him either:
1) Why do you always swim with fins?
2) Do you ever swim without fins?

Alternatively, and perhaps the better solution, why don't you join a masters swim team so you can swim with people that have manners?

TRI Vortex said...

Don't forget hard thing number 3.5: Looking at yourself in the mirror on the way to the pool. Sweet workout. That threshold is a B. Its like the stomach cramp while running. Just run through it for a few minutes and its all butter baby.