Technically my marathon training schedule began last week, but I’m holding out. A few days ago I succumbed to some of the crud my kids have been spewing for the past few weeks and now I’m in recovery mode, not ramp-up-and-breathe-freezing-cold-morning-air mode.
The good news is that the crud never sank deep into my chest, which would have made breathing hard for a few weeks. Instead, it hit my vocal chords and rendered me hoarse for a few days while I tried desperately to not talk much at all.
My voice has returned (mostly) but my windpipe feels bruised from the effort of coughing up a little post-nasal drip that isn’t even worth mentioning. So today, instead of running like my head wanted to, I dusted off my swim gear and cycled myself over to the Rec Center where I bought a 10-punch pass (bringing the total cost to each visit to a cool $4.50). They have a gym and weights, some cardio equipment and even some yoga classes, so I figured this would be a good temporary investment for the remaining cold months of the winter.
Mostly though I realize that I’m just extremely unmotivated to run right now. I like doing it once I’m out there, but the past month has drained me. The cold hits my bones like never before, and even dressed in fleece-lined running pants in 20-degree weather I feel like I’m running around butt-naked. I got chilled to the bone on December 23 and 24 during back-to-back runs in 2 degree and 6-degree weather and now I’m screwed.
So let’s talk about today. Instead of chancing any cold air hitting my windpipe while running, I biked 2 miles to the Rec Center and hit the pool for some cross training. I used to be a regular at the Master’s Swim over in Lafayette a few years ago but haven’t swum in forever. At least a year. Maybe two. I dunno. Time has a funny way of being fluid like that.
The first thing I noticed when I got in the pool was how warm and silky the chemically water felt against my bare arms and legs. And because I’m just a little touchy-feely like that, I pushed the water around for a minute before adjusting goggles on my face and examining the underworld.
I used to be a really good swimmer. Well, maybe that’s stretching the truth a little too much. I used to be a decent swimmer. I can get from one end of the pool to the other just fine, though any swim coach will give me a ton of pointers for my form. I broke my collarbone when I was a kid and now that shoulder tends to want to compensate for some smaller muscle movements that happen naturally on the other side. I’m aware of the problem, I’m working on it but good God, today I was winded. After 10 minutes.
Yup, you read that right. After 10 minutes of doing a few laps of freestyle and then some breaststroke to give me a breather, I was breathing pretty hard. Since I had forgotten to bring my flippers poolside I jumped out and grabbed them from the locker room. This was a good little 90-second break that gave me the oomph to make it another 10 minutes.
Let’s not linger on the fact that I swam for 20 minutes, okay? Instead, let’s focus on what I did in those piddly few moments. I swam 5-6 laps of freestyle, along with another 5-6 of breaststroke, and a few laps of drills for the arms. I guess after not swimming for a few years I can’t really expect to have the endurance I used to have in the water. No matter. I don’t really care. It just felt good to be in the water and focusing on my body and the feel of warm wet stuff sliding around.