I never played football in high school. There was some silly requirement about having athletic ability and sports specific skills that somehow eliminated me from consideration at a very early stage. But I remember hearing stories about the dreaded “two a days” that the players endured before school started. For whatever reason, players would practice once in the morning and once in the afternoon/evening… avoiding the worst heat of the day, I suppose. Football players got nothin’ on triathletes.
This week marked my return to swimming, and a return to two workouts a day. I’m never planning to do even a half ironman, but just an olympic tri training regimen drives you to two workouts a day eventually. My hardest workout is scheduled for first thing in the morning… the run or the ride. Evenings mean swimming or strength training. Fortunately, I’ve been able to find a pool about 5 minutes from my office where I can get in a short workout over lunch. I’m not actively training for a race right now, so my swims won’t be very intense. I really have missed being in the pool, though, so I was glad to find a facility that would fit my schedule.
I was pleasantly surprised that my swimming was almost as bad as when I had to stop in the fall. My mechanics and form are somewhere on the scale from “how do you not drown?” to “sir, aren’t you a little too old to be rough housing in the pool? You’re scaring the children.” Somehow I am able to propel myself from one end of the pool to the other, albeit in a time that could almost be measured on a calendar. And I enjoy it, which still amazes me. I never learned to swim as a kid (despite a number of failed attempts at lessons), and only taught myself a couple of years ago when I committed to training for my first triathlon (and only one to date). Perhaps its the satisfaction of having taught myself something that I was always convinced I couldn’t do. Just getting into the pool and swimming laps reminds me that life holds far fewer limitations than I might have thought.
I think the part of swimming I enjoy most, though, is the feeling afterward. After a good swim workout (good is a relative term in my case), I can feel it in my whole body; a satisfying feeling of work. Arms, chest, legs, shoulders… It’s a whole-body workout and it feels good. The overwhelming drowsiness that hits after about an hour is a different story, but that’s just another reason for a big cup of coffee.
So, I’m back to two a day workouts, and enjoying it. Here’s to the hope that I can recover some of my lost form. On second thought, considering what my form was like before, maybe not.