Monday, August 29, 2011

Runners Get "Runners High," But What Do Swimmers Get?

Whatever the swimming equivalent is to "Runner's High," I experienced for the very first time today in the pool.

It was kind of strange really. You'd think I might have experienced it last week when I was at Watervale and swimming across Lower Herring Lake. You remember the saga from last year. Last year, I struggled physically and in my head to swim from the dock to BooHoo. It took me an hour just to get there and then I had to kayak back. Last year, I couldn't swim a straight line to save my life. Rather than swim from Points A to B, I swam it via points Q, R, and S. That is to say, I swam completely out of my way...multiple times. Although Dave didn't have to pull me in the kayak, I did have to stop a lot and hold onto the kayak while I caught my breath and tread water.

This year, I swam to BooHoo like a champ. Rather than taking an hour to get there, I swam round trip in an hour. Round. Trip. In other words, I swam each way in 30 minutes or half the time it took last year! Swimming round trip to BooHoo in under an hour was a goal I'd set last year and I did it. And then I did it again two days later. On the first swim to BooHoo, I did have to stop and hang onto the kayak twice, but those times were only to de-fog my goggles. Thank goodness for my Watervale swimmer friend Craig who clued me in about licking the inside of my goggles to prevent fog. That man is brilliant. How no one else told me that previously is beyond me, but I digress. I didn't have to hold onto the kayak on the way home or on the second trip two days later.

Back to tonight. I hopped into the pool, licked my goggles, which, as it turned out, were full of Watervale sand and headed out. Let me just say that swimming in a lap pool no deeper than 5 feet, where I can see the bottom of the crystal clear, chlorinated water, and with stripes on the bottom and lane markers on either side felt like I was swimming with training wheels in comparison to the treacherous waters of Lower Herring Lake.

In the wild open waters of Lower Herring Lake, I bravely fought off speed boats, survived strong currents, huge waves, 50+ foot depths, an internal GPS that worked sometimes and was on the fritz the other times, the voices inside my head (and a rather unpleasant conversation with Dave once when I needed a break), the Lower Herring Lake Monster, and very uneven water temps. I even got cramps once. But I swam it. Round trip. Twice.

Tonight I powered through my swim with a new-found vigor. I swam with power and strength I didn't know I had. I even had speed that I've never had before. I cut 30% off my best time. The voices telling me I couldn't do it, that I'm weak and slow were gone. Instead, they were replaced with "How much faster/further can I go?" and "I'm done? Oh crap. I could go another 15 minutes or so. Too bad there's a bunch of people waiting." I ran into the wall a couple of times not because I wasn't paying attention, but because I thought the length of the pool was a whole lot longer than it actually is. In short, I felt exhilarated.

I can't wait to get in the pool tomorrow. And next year? I'm gonna swim round-trip to BooHoo each day in less than 45 minutes.

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