In the Short Run

Today is a travel day, which meant I’d need to squeeze in a workout somewhere. Travel consisted of a 3 hour drive to the Toronto airport and 7 hours of combined flights and layovers before arriving in Tampa at 1:00 a.m. Any workout was going to be early in the morning.

My planned workouts were a swim and strength training. Since I can fit strength training in on almost any day, in any place, I decided to salvage my swim before working for 4 or 5 hours prior to the drive to Toronto. The good news is that the hotel had an outdoor pool. The bad news is that it’s only 14 yards long (by my pacing estimate). Back to the first couple of months of swimming, when I taught myself to swim in a pool that was even a little shorter than that!

There were a couple of other swimmers in the pool already at 6:00 when I got there. Wow, how many warped people like me are there? I mean, I can see it at the city pool, but this is a hotel where a lot of the people are on vacation. Who gets up at 5:30 to swim while they are on vacation? Okay, I do, but I know I’m wound a little tight. Anyway, the pool was wide enough for us all to swim laps without running into each other, so off we went.

The “not running into each other” part proved to be a little more challenging because of the lack of lines on the pool. Even in most hotel pools without lines, there is usually some sort of liner with a pattern that gives an appearance of texture. Not this one. It was interesting how difficult it was to judge movement when the bottom of the pool was a uniform blue. That, coupled with the pool being 10 yards or so less than what I’m used to, led to a few surprise encounters with the wall at the end of the lap. It did give me the chance to practice some sighting techniques as I tried to keep track of where the other swimmers were, since none of us appeared capable of swimming in a straight line.

Despite the unbelievable monotony of counting almost twice the number of laps for the same overall distance, I was able to get in a full 2000 yard workout before going to my other job (the one where they pay me). Swimming is always a great way for me to start the day. It wakes me up, and I know I’ve done some real work by the feeling in my chest and shoulder muscles for the rest of the morning. It was especially “invigorating” this morning, since the temperature was in the mid 60s at the outdoor pool. The pool was heated, but anything exposed above the surface of the water got a nice blast of cool air. That will definitely wake you up.

I’m in Tampa for the next two days, which means I get at least one ride on the tri bike during that short stay. I’ll also try to squeeze in another swim and a strength workout… but no running. The foot felt surprisingly good after yesterday’s ill-timed return to running, but the lesson was clear. I haven’t waited long enough to hit the road in force yet. Short seems to be the word of the week.

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