Here’s something that everyone else knows and I forgot: swimming is hard. REALLY HARD!!
The actual act of swimming is tough – the movements, the breathing, the turns. I’m learning what I can, in an effort to trim a few seconds off my time. It’s inevitable that during each pool workout I reach a point where I forget all that technique stuff and just worry about finishing by any means necessary. The good news is, as April 26th approaches that point comes later and later in each session.
But dangers abound, make no mistake. There are dozens of things that can go wrong before you take one stroke, and once swimming, the hazards to health and happiness spike exponentially. No? Here are a few you may not have considered.
To swim you must to go somewhere with hours of operation and employees. All other Quad events can be done on your own. Relying on others is not easy and more than once I have not been able to swim because of last minute pool closings, lifeguard no shows or other unexpected events. The select few competitors out there may have an indoor pool on which to practice, to them I can only say, “Give me a call.”
The floor is wet. There are “no running” signs posted but you are half walking, half running in hopes to get a lane. I equate this part of the swimming experience to the great land rush in Oklahoma, or at least how it has been presented in film. As soon as those locker room doors open, the rush is on! You slip and slide, skidding into an open lane, hoping as you fall into the water it looks more like a graceful dive than an uncoordinated tumble.
Gravity? All the other events happen on solid ground. Sure, we are fighting gravity and that’s what makes it difficult. But gravity also makes it predictable and somewhat normal. The pool has a sort of anti-gravity feel to it. The water means you now have 360 degrees in which to mess up, twice as much space to do so as when you are running, or biking or even skiing.
But there is one hazard that reigns over all others. Everyone I have talked to has warned me. The old-timers, the retired 30-somethings, the I’m-in-a-new-age-group-this-year-and-kind-of-freaking-out-about-its, they all say, “Make sure your goggles are on tight.”