Pressed for Pool Time

I thought I had another week, but just found out the pool was going to close this Wednesday after the morning swim instead of next Wednesday’s 7-8:30 a.m. window. Then a four week pool drought would commence. Having been on a streak of swimming at least 3 miles each week and wanting to keep it going, I’d better get my butt to the pool this morning. My original plan was to bike to the pool for the noon swim, then bike home again. But now the pool wasn’t going to be open at noon. Bike commuting is my chance to feed two birds with one seed. It serves as transportation and bike training,  saves the miles on the car and puts them on my legs and cardio. Anyhow, I would have to be up, fed, dressed and out the door by 6 a.m. to get to the pool before open swim ended at 8:30 a.m. It is 5:45, so better get going.

Rolling into the womens locker room by 7:38 a.m.  T1 needed to be quick  to allow me at least 45 minutes to wrap-it up by 8:30. I hang my sweaty bike gear to dry while I swim. Then wiggle a sweaty body into a very tight bathing suit that keeps rolling up. Cap, goggles, my little basket of shampoo, face scrub, conditioner, and towel I give my  wrist to see the time, 7:42, I can pull this off. Bathroom, shower-brrrrrrrrrrr-, rinsing my face I feel the salty sweat on my lip. I hand over my pass to the lifeguard. A few friends are swimming whom I haven’t seen in a few months. A brief chat, they know all about being pressed for pool time. Again, it is brief, we all get it. 7:47 a.m. Down to 37 minutes of swimming.

A new swim plan. Steady, non stop swim as though I am in the ocean with two focal points: pay attention to lead arm depth going more forward than down, and keep rhythm.

From the deck I slide in, it feels warm. With no lane cables it is like open water, 5 adults crashing through the water, the place is rocking and rolling. Good practice.

The water moving over my skin feels amazing after getting out of tight cycling pants and jersey, hat and gloves. My skin feels awake. My movements feel easy, just shifting the weight of my body. Occasionally my mind wanders to other things, then I remember depth and length. Amazing how shallow my arm feels, but when I peek forward to check on it, it looks right. Keep the hips up, lean on the lungs. Oops, back to depth and rhythm.

About mid pool I can see the clock on the wall, so when I breathe I have a look: 7:05-25 minutes left, stroke, stroke, stroke, turn, breathe, 20 minutes. Things feel so good, my body streamlined, loose, rhythm is comfy and spl (strokes per length) hanging at 18. I feel I want to pick up the pace to be sure I get in max distance in the time I have. Maintaining my focal points I switch the pace to fast for 50 yards, I note that I hit 19 spl, then settle back to pace, 18 spl. As I increase my tempo I aim to hold good form without loosing it for the sake of speed. During the easy 50 I deepen my attention on form. The best of both worlds of speed with good form, attentio

n on form equals mind training.

Two people have left the pool, the waves settle down.  I see Ken is here, he often comes in the last 15 minutes to do some underwater swimming, something to do with search and rescue? Seeing him is a sign, open swim is coming to an end.

Looking up to the pool deck I see the lifeguards stand up from their folding chairs, fold them, the sign: time is up. But I just need to swim one more 50. Coming into the wall I flip fast, bounce off  the wall and keep going. About mid pool I roll to my back to take a few backstrokes, my chest opens up, my face to the air, it feels so good to switch it up. The final 25 yards the water is flat, just me. My movements are super slow, specific, long, balancing front to back and side to side. Touching the wall I hit “stop” on my watch. Thirty eight minutes. Wohoo. My body feels alive, awake. It feels so good to have put that little bit of pressure on myself to keep going, determination, keep it focused, not frantic but calm and settled. I have had those kinda swims where I was pressed for time, hurried, but felt messy and disconnected, just funky. So this was a treat, I would rank it as one of my best swims to date. But I feel the calm and connected sensation was more about my mind staying settled. My mind was calm, my body reflected that. Therefore things were connected. It feels great, memorable
when that happens.


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