I’m starting to feel like you meet some cool people swimming. “Swimmers,” meaning people who identify themselves first by that tag, are like “Runners”, in that one physical aspect of their lives slowly defines them Everything else they do all day long is either a preparation for or recovery period after that one activity. Other than that, swimmers and runners are pretty different. Seeing myself as a “runner” for years, I always tended to look at “swimmers” as some sort of weird sub-species, especially to good ones. Their activity was so specific, and required so much work, and so much natural talent–and a pool–that they just seemed a little strange to me. A little pretentious. Even their bodies look funny, especially their skin. Runners, on the other hand, as long as they don’t get carried away and turn themselves into one of those dried out old guys who pound out the same miles, week after week, afraid to race because it interferes with their “training”, mostly seem pretty unassuming to me. Put on some shorts and just go.
But the more I swim, the more often I realize that I’m sharing the pool with someone else who is there because they love to swim. It is what makes them happy in the most natural way. Perhaps swimming was too much work for me until recently to even imagine that someone could find pleasure in swimming hard, well, and a lot. My workouts are around 2,000 yards now, about four times a week, and although I’ve still got some progress to make I can feel that my physical and technical improvements are allowing my brain a buffer to conceptualize actually feeling the beauty of the thing. Not there 100% yet, but I can see it coming if I let it. I suppose that’s one of the most fulfilling things about practicing hard any sport: you meet some really nice people. Being passionate about something positive makes anyone more interesting, and it’s only by being around people like that that I realize there are times when that has been missing.
Cold and wet weather has hit Austin, and I’m really looking forward to swimming in the outdoor pool at the Oakhill Y on Sunday. I always feel sorry for the lifeguard, but it is pretty cool to be swimming in a comfortably heated pool outdoors while everything above the surface is miserably wet and cold. Reminds me of dives I’ve made in the past, where I’d look up and realize it was pouring down rain on the surface, while I was in a world where the entire idea of “rain” had no sense.
Wanted to mention that the longer I’m involved in the Cap2K preparations, the more I appreciate several very good people whose friendship and good will are a beacon to me. My world is richer because of people like you. You know who you are. And it really does help that I’ve told you all that I’m going to do this, because I don’t want to disappoint you.
Finally, I may have mentioned this before, but I am amazed by all the people who have shared with me since I began this project their own experiences with prostate cancer, either their own or a family member’s. Their courage and faith are humbling.
Ok, enough serious stuff for tonight. Have a big day tomorrow, as I compete in a relatively heavy-duty karate tournament. Once that’s over, I can focus more completely on swimming. Karate’s a totally different experience, because talent is not always enough: judging counts for a lot. I don’t have any particularly glaring level of talent, so let’s hope for kind judges and a minimum of blood loss.
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