In England and Germany, I ran almost every day. I didn’t run the day I landed, and I didn’t run the day we ventured to Heidelberg. But every other day, I ran, always in one beautiful park or another.
Coming home, it’s been nice to get some variety back in my training and, in particular, to get back in the pool. On Friday and then again today I swam outdoors at my gym. Today, I was fast. I did some sets of 300s, pushing hard for 100 in each set and hitting good numbers for me – 1:49, 1:48, 1:50 and 1:50. Two weeks ago, when I did a similar set, my times were 1:57, 1:53 and 1:56. I’m happy to see that I’m finding my feel in the water, but I know I still have lots of work to do.
Years ago, when I was swimming at the Courtyard at least five days a week as part of a Masters program, I got really fast. I was doing 10 100s on a 90 second interval. I remember doing that exact set on my birthday one year. It was tough, but I did it. Right now, I’m certain that I couldn’t hit even one 90 second 100. I’d love to see my times consistently drop down in the 1:40s and then maybe the 1:30s. I’m feeling ambitious.
But, for me, swimming isn’t necessarily about being fast. I love swimming and even swimming alone because I love the sound of the water. It’s not silence but it’s quiet and soothing. I’ve enjoyed times when I’ve had people to swim with and effectively race against. But I love a solo swim in a way that I don’t a solo run. I especially love swimming alone in the outdoors with the sun on my back under a blue, blue sky. It’s delightful.
Swimming also makes me a good kind of hungry. One of my favorite forgotten traditions is leaving work around 4:30 on a Friday afternoon, picking up someone whose company I enjoy, going to Deep Eddy for a swim, showering in its outdoor facility, and then having a big meal at Magnolia Cafe just up the road from the pool. I enjoyed everything about those nights – the cold of the water, the thrill of racing, the openness of the sky above me while I swam and again while I showered, the sweetness of the company, and the food that I ate with no guilt. I haven’t done that in quite some time, but I have good memories of those nights. Really good memories.
Deep Eddy was closed for a while, but it’s open again. I haven’t been back since it re-opened some time ago, but I’m going to have to go back soon. That’s another pool that I am ready to get back into.