There's been 3 major bouts of swimming, and one minor one. The first was way back in the day, when I still had hair, roughly when I started working for the City. I remember being fairly fast in the water, though it was all strength and cardio, and little actual technique.
Then I stopped. That was the first bout. I blame the shift work. I blame it for a lot of things, and with good reason. But I'm not going to let this digress into a shift work rant. The only thing I'll say is don't. And if you are, move heaven and earth to get off it.
Then in 2002 or 3 I realized I was getting really big, and feeling out of breath after even a short walk. I read something about un-fitness and diabetes that frightened me. Lots of my co-workers at the time were runners, which I thought was nuts at the time. I have since apologized to those people, since I had a major outbreak of adult onset running about then. I'm mostly over it now, I think, though there are periodic yearnings.
If I organized my life carefully, I had time to swim before work, so I started back working on fitness. I had remembered that a 20 minute K, (or 40 lengths of a 25 m pool) was easy peasy, not even getting into aerobic zone. It took a long time to get back there. A really long time, much longer than I thought it would be. I clearly remember pushing hard to finish the first time just under the 20 minutes, and nearly puking on the pool deck after. Then the very next swim was 19:30 and it seemed like I wasn't even trying.
From there swimming became part of the Ironman training. This is where the running came in. The focus of this swimming wasn't really to swim fast, or particularly far, only 4K max, but rather to swim the iron and half iron distances in a respectable time without trying, to save the energy for the bike and run.
As a digression, one of the training sessions was Katie giving me a swim, and apologizing because it was so boring. I had to swim for an hour without stopping. No sets, no ladders, nothing, just a swim. We met up for coffee after and she apologized again when asking how it went. I still remember the look of shock on her face when I told her the first time I looked at my watch was an hour and 12 minutes, and with only a few hundred K to go, I just rounded it up to 4 K and stopped.
Some of my readers might remember blog posts about my inner shark. Here's a post with several links. The best one is here, but the others might amuse you. I've been hoping he'll come back to visit soon. There's lots of prey in this pool, but I have to admit they wouldn't be much of a challenge.
That second bout of swimming started at Inglewood pool, since that was on the way to work. I remember the really really shallow end. There were some swims at the pool in Forest Lawn, but they were a bunch of yahoos with no respect for the lane markings. Lots of swims happened in Renfrew. There were lots of serious swimmers there in the morning, and we all knew who was fast and slow, and we sorted ourselves into the appropriate lanes. Then I was working downtown, and started swimming at Lindsay Park/Talisman/Repsol/MNP. I loved it there, and would love to still be swimming there, if only it wasn't so far away. I'm swimming now at Canyon Meadows. It means about an hour less in the car for each swim, so I call that a win.
Even after the one and done Ironman, I still swam regularly. One of the major rewards of staying in the pool was teaching Michelle how to swim. That bout ended Dec 2018 with a trip to New Zealand. Essentially 2 months without swimming, and the first swim back it was like my arms had forgotten how. It was pitiful. I was actually worried about the lifeguards harpooning me and hauling me out on deck to render down the blubber for lamp oil.
I was just getting back into the groove when we went to New Zealand again. That was the minor bout. This time, I was determined to find some pools and take the time to get in a few swims, and I did. Dunedin pool is lovely. One of the swims was in Auckland with my buddy Katie, just before her return home. That was fun. It was sort odd seeing a friend home on the other side of the world.
Except it was all for naught. COVID was in full swing when we got home with the pools closed. I didn't swim again till August 2021. I walked lots but I missed the pool. As expected everything had forgotten how to swim, but I kept at it. My consolation was that everybody else at the pool was in the same position, so I didn't feel so bad.
At the beginning of 2022 I set myself the goal of swimming 365 Km, an average of 1 Km a day, but knowing that there were lots of days the pool would be closed, or the times wouldn't be convenient for me, or I'd have other things on the go. The stretch target was 400 Km. Typical swims were 1.5K or so, and I was tired after. Distances gradually got longer, and a bit faster. It's funny, during training I tracked bike and run distances, but I don't think I tracked swim.
And today, Nov 26, I clocked 365 K!! Yay me! Michelle videoed my marking up the Board at the pool. Now working on the stretch goal of 400 K, and as long as I stay healthy it should be attainable. Next year I'll be working on getting faster. The movie is actually pretty terrifying in some ways. Here's a still from it.
Of the Day
I have often seen house cats in this exact pose, almost but not quite taking a step, waiting to see if the human has noticed them sneaking up on the prey.
Sean and I took a walk through Carburn park, me with Kodak Gold 200 in the GW690, looking for reflection photos. This starts a short series of photos. For whatever reason I didn't want to put them all together in a blog. Except first there is a Linda serendipity from July 2017. I couldn't remember being on a boat then, and didn't recognize the background. I had to go into the other photos from that day to realize it was Heritage Park.