Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


July Swim for Distance Progress Report: 29,425 meters (about 18 1/4 miles)
Charities Benefiting: Mercy for Animals, Goods 4 Girls Africa, Survivors of Torture International and whatever my mom picked

Do not adjust your computer screen. That figure is not an error. Last night yours truly really did swim the Big Swim, the 2k race, in 59 minutes and 17 seconds.

You can't see this through my goggles, but I have my eyes closed.

That's approximately 100 meters every 3 minutes (I had two really fast ones at the beginning, 2:40 and 2:18, which is what got me under an hour).  That's almost a full ten minutes faster than last year.  Ten minutes.  Truly, I'm stunned. I was pretty sure I had a decent shot at breaking an hour but I somehow wasn't prepared for that when it actually happened.

I've done the Big Swim four times in four years, and this year was markedly different.  It seemed like it went by really fast, which I guess it did.  I usually start running out of air at about 800 meters, which didn't happen at all this year.  I also tend to start seeing things that aren't there, which probably goes hand in hand with running out of air.  That didn't happen this year either.  On the one hand, polar bears and Hillary Clinton in a white suit and spats make for entertaining diversions when you're swimming up and down a 50-meter pool over and over again.  On the other hand, I'd sort of rather have reality stay the way it is until I'm finished, if it's all the same to you.

(I'm just kidding about Hillary Clinton.  It was actually Karl Rove.  Brrr,)

Another thing:  Sometime before I'm halfway finished I tend to start wondering why in the hell I'm doing this, anyway, what does it prove, isn't this kind of stupid, all this backing and forthing.  That didn't kick in until around 1400 meters, way too late for it to affect anything (by that time you can see the finish line). And somebody, I forget who, told me to try playing my favorite album in my head, switching songs every 100 meters.  If you do that you won't lose count because you just figure out what song you're on and count backwards from there.  Whoever it was, thank you.  It worked brilliantly.

As "races" go, I came in dead last.  But who cares.  A long swimming race is like climbing Mt. Everest: Are you alive when you get to the top? Good.  Carry on. (And in the case of Mt. Everest, getting down alive is also kind of important.  Just ask Andy Harris.  Oh, wait, you can't.)

Big big thanks to my great friend and massage therapist, Kellum, who counted laps and kept time for me!  (And by the way, he is awesome, so if you need someone to rub you the right way, check him out at  Big big thanks are also due to my swim instructor/coach, Douglas Moyse, who taught me a new breathing pattern leading up to the Big Swim and got me down to 1:17 on a typical 50.  Anybody who wants to swim faster and longer without killing himself/herself in the water should be dropping Doug an email:  He also coaches kids' swimming and is a great guy all around.

There are still a few days left in Swim For Distance Month.  I'm not sure I'll make the full 21 miles, but I shouldn't be too far off.  And now, I think I'll do something radical and go to bed early.  Because, let's face it, I'm kinda tired.

1 comment:

DonaLeigh Engstrom said...

Doubly well done! One 'well done' for finishing, and the other for accomplishing your time goal!