Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Yesterday I found myself at the pool. I haven't swam for quite a long time so I was expecting to lumber up the lane once or twice, spluttering, before admitting defeat. Not so. I actually managed 30 lengths, practically without stopping (as much as is possible when you are sharing a lane with 15 others, some of whom are too slow even for the slow lane), though it was all breaststroke. We'll save freestyle for another day when I'm more in the mood for self-flagellation.

I remembered that I actually enjoy swimming. I love that there is a form of exercise where you can raise your heart rate, but avoid the red-faced, sweaty mess that comes with jogging.

The pools are also one of the places where you don't have to give a stuff what your body looks like. Togs flatter barely anybody; and goggles, noone at all. The lean, fit swimmers are hidden away across the other side of the pool, where us amateurs can pretend they don't exist. Plus (and I feel bad saying this) there's always someone fatter there than you, to make you feel better about yourself.

The one gripe I have about public pools, is about the changing rooms. It seems the one place where it is socially acceptable to parade around naked, is here. I'm no prude, but I am one to discreetly change in the corner, or in a cubicle if there is one. Mainly because I'd rather not accidently get a glimpse of some old biddy's greying pubic hair, or be hit by a stray breast as the women next to me gets overly enthusiastic about her conversation. Maybe I am just a prude. There is definately something awkward about public changing rooms, anyhow.

The reason for taking up swimming again is to train for the Wellington Harbour swim that takes place in January 2010. I meant to enter last year, but not a soul could be convinced to train with me, and it was too scary an undertaking to do alone. However this time I've agreed to enter with somebody, and I'm pretty sure they're going to hold me to that, and so the training begins.

Training for both this, and the 10km run, isn't entirely as crazy as I first thought - I've since mulled it over, over numerous mugs of PG tips (the budget has cut out the wine), and decided that the two should complement each other quite well. Besides the ocean swim is only 750m - though that is 750m in the Wellington Harbour, which even in the middle of summer, isn't the warmest of places. But the fact that anyone that takes is still swimming it after 30 minutes, will be unceremoniously pulled from the water by lifeguards and taken back to shore, is pretty big motivation to put in some laps now, to avoid mortification later.

I still can't work out whether my aching thighs have been caused by the swim and using muscles that I didn't know existed, or by today's walk/jog that probably also involved muscles that have layen dormant for quite some time. Speaking of which I added some pretty steep hills (up the side of Mt Vic) to the walk - and planned on 4 songs walking, 2 of jogging, but added an extra song of jogging after I'd warmed up and my body didn't want to stop. Funny things. Bodies. Takes a good 15 minutes to quell its protests, before it actually decides to work, and by then the work out is about to finish.

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