I just swam the fastest 50 of my life, and the beautiful thing about it was realizing the instant I’d finished it that this particular, perfect 50 was gone forever. I loved it because it was ephemeral.
The clock said 32 seconds; ok, the clock said something less than 30 seconds, but that is not possible. I did my usual warm-up, started my 50 splits, and as I headed down the pool thought “what’s going on here?” Every breath is an opportunity to learn, and I was illuminated by the understanding that “training” is not just building endurance, or strength, or speed. Training is building the ability to maintain technique. Fifty-six years old, 41 of which I spent “training”, and I just got this.
Cap2K time again, but only because I think it’s a good idea to do things you dread. If I don’t die of old age, it will be of hypothermia. I miss my life in the water.
The best thing about the Cap2K is getting ready for it. You meet the most awesome people. There were starting to be way too many awesome people in the YMCA Townlake indoor pool in the morning, so I decided to suck it up and start training in the outdoor pool at the SW YMCA. The water is warm, but nobody wants to go outdoors and swim at 6 am, so I figured I’d have the pool pretty much to myself. Because God frequently tests me, my first trip to the outdoor pool was frustrated by a lack of lifeguards–I was ready to swim,but without a 16-year old to watch over me I was obliged to content myself with a karate workout indoors.
I’m not one to make a stink, and having actually been a 16-year old myself, and raised two, I understand what might keep one of them from showing up at work at 5:30 on a cold morning. Once. So I hit that mother again a few days later–dream realized. I had the pool to myself, and went through three different lifeguards–watching over me, my angels.
All that’s really left to get ready for the Cap2K is working on those open water swims–no lane lines, no bottom, nothing to measure yourself against. You can swim as much as you want in a pool, but if you’re not ready for that open water start, surrounded by a couple hundred pairs of flailing arms and legs, green water beneath, you are in for a difficult few minutes. I put off swimming at Barton Springs as long as possible, but had no excuse on our cold, rainy Easter, so hit that ice bath for the first of my weekly “open water appreciation swims”.There is not much I desire less to do than swim in Barton Springs. As a booster of what used to be the “Austin lifestyle,” I will readily admit that many, many people swim in Barton Springs with no problem. I am not one of them. I am a deep, dark blue, almost purple, after swimming in Barton Springs. Some of you may find this attractive, but for me it is uncomfortable and inconvenient. But once I’d committed to swimming the Cap2K, I really couldn’t not swim there, because swimming the Cap2K unprepared would be way worse than swimming once a week at Barton Springs.
And that’s the amazing thing about the Cap2K once again: here I was dreading the cold, the work, the inconvenience, but I came out of the water in love with my place in the scheme of things. It’s a beautiful pool, surrounded by green and peace in the middle of a crazy, frenetically growing city. I swam my laps, had the place pretty much to myself, and will even share with you a peek inside the men’s change area, reminiscent of Roman baths from an age long gone.
It’s worth the effort, an attempt at perfection.. You have to work hard for it, and dread it at times, but it’s worth the effort. A moment is the most you can ever expect from perfection, but one minute is enough.