Friday, December 4, 2009

The Significance of Steam

This would be a good moment for me to remind us all that this is supposed to be a running blog. Sadly, due to my wonky knee, I have been enduring self-imposed rest for nearly a week now.

To cheer myself up and make me feel like I'm still doing something useful towards my March marathon, I very reluctantly took myself off to swim instead.

OMG. I will never, ever complain about dark, cold, drizzly runs again. Swimming at an outdoor pool in December really should qualify as an extreme sport.

On Wednesday evening I visited pool number 1, which was giving off more steam than the Night Mail pulling up Beatock. Three lanes out of four were marked for 'Slow' swimming, but the triangular torpedoes freestyling up and down appeared unaware of this fact. I shivered on the edge (looking most fetching in ski jacket and towel) and willed myself not to run away. A full five minutes passed before space became available and I dared insert myself into this thrashing throng. At that point, things did improve. The torpedoes turned out to be fairly friendly and not too concerned at me doing a hybrid doggie-paddle-breast-stroke up and down their pool. 4o minutes later I made the dash back inside, grateful for the cover of all that steamy darkness. Alas, this California pool really had been constructed for the summer months - the changing area was tiny and freezing. I literally threw my clothes on and scuttled to the relative warmth of the car.

In view of the torpedo situation and igloo-like facilities at pool number 1, I decided to try pool number 2 last night. It's closer to work but the lap-swimming hours are not as convenient. Happily, this is a larger facility (what luxury, a lane to myself) and the changing rooms even had heat! Alas, I should have been suspicious at the comparative lack of steam coming off the water. Heck, I could even see right the way from one end of the pool to the other. The water was breathtakingly cold and for someone like me who doesn't move very fast, 30 minutes was about as long as I could tolerate. I never earned my penguin diploma in high school and really don't want to start now.

Of course, only the very dedicated will choose to swim outdoors in December. I have new respect for those who choose to do so, but am more determined than ever to resume dry-land activities as soon as I dare.

Photo thanks: Steve Knight, Kristin Thompson


  1. need to get better! Swimming in December is too much torture. I ran today in high winds and cold weather then wussed out after 9 miles-- but next time I think about swimming in said weather and keep going.

  2. Brrrrr.....

    Hope the knee gets better soon!


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