The Long Swim

No matter how far I swim, it’s not like a long run. My mind doesn’t wander. Well, it does, but I can’t let it. In the pool, I can’t allow myself to do deep thinking about life, love or work. Or even triathlon. Swimming demands my attention. If I’m not thinking about what I’m doing, I’m doing it badly. Today I did a straight swim of two and a quarter miles. Being careful not to give up too much early, I swam smooth and easy 1:55 100s for the first 2500 yards, concentrating on my form. Then I began to drift out of the zone. The stroke became short and sloppy and my splits slowed. Just as I began to get things back on track, at 3500 yards a mean cramp in my right toe forced me to pause to stretch. The cramp didn’t totally resolve but I was hell-bent on finishing off the 4000 yards I had set out to do. It was a good swim, the sort of swim I need on the schedule every couple of weeks to get ready for the 2.4 miles of Ironman. And it was interesting, trying to muster the discipline required. It wasn’t, however, fun in the way of long runs, which always seem to end with new insights or ideas, or at least a sense of calm. This swim ended with a crampy toe, tired arms and the need to moisturize my skin.

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