Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Russian Bathhouse

This morning I met Laura at the Westside YMCA for a swim. I checked in using my guest pass with no problems. While I was waiting for Laura, I noticed that this wasn't just a gym, it was also the kind of Y where you can stay the night. It seems like you really don't see those kind of old school Y's anymore.

We walked into the locker room, which was possibly the largest one that I've seen in quite some time. It just kept going on and on and on forever. We picked out two lockers, with an empty one in between us. It seemed like the perfect location - near the stairs to the pool, the showers and that aisle of lockers had two stools - one for each of us.

We headed to the pool and walking in, I immediately thought that we were walking into some sort of Russian bathhouse. Not that I've ever been to one, it just was similar to what it would be like in my imagination. There was really detailed tile work, which I think was the main thing that made it feel like a bathhouse to me. There was also a balcony/catwalk around the entire pool, which made it feel very old fashioned, but also pretty cool.

We hung up our towels, took off our flip flops and got into the water. Freezing cold. In those situations there is only one option - to start swimming. That's the only way I know how to warm up. And I really did warm up very quickly. After swimming a 300, I realized that I hadn't started my watch, so I was at a bit of a loss for exactly how long I had been in the water already. I figured it didn't really matter in the scheme of things if I didn't know the precise amount of time that I had been swimming.

Because I hadn't known what kind of pool this would be and what to expect exactly, I didn't print out a workout. I figured I would just go and do a long swim. Although I really love the Terrier swim practices with all the drills, I did just want to get in a long continuous swim. I decided that I would time myself swimming a 500 to see how it compared to Sunday's crazy-fast 500 time of 7:37. Swimming at my normal leisurly pace, I swam a 500 in 9:21 (1:52/100 pace). That was pretty much what I thought my 100 pace was, so I'm not too surprised by that. It is just crazy to think that I went almost two whole minutes faster on Sunday though!

While I was swimming, there was a guy and a girl in my lane chatting about Ironman triathlons. The guy is doing Lake Placid this weekend and he was explaining everything to the girl and was encouraging her to try out triathlons as well. I sort-of feel like I can't escape Ironman talk. I still haven't come to a decision about Ironman Switzerland next year. Yesterday I watched these incredible videos on YouTube about the Kona Ironman in 2006. (As a side note, if you have time, you should watch all 9 of them too as they're ridiculously inspiring!). I am still trying to figure out if I have the dedication and determination needed to finish the Ironman myself. I'll keep you posted on what happens with my decision making.

At some point this morning, the guy next to me got out of his lane and said if I wanted to move over and have a lane to myself I was welcome to. So, I thought that sounded like a nice idea and I did. Of course, I had been swimming in the far left lane and swimming against the wall half of the time and the lane line the rest of the time. In this other lane I had to swim against the lane line on both sides. Apparently I'm not very good at that because when I got out of the pool, I had another bruise developing on my right elbow from hitting the lane line. What is my problem? At this point it's getting to be a little embarassing that I can't swim properly.

Speaking of swimming properly, I really concentrated today on keeping my knees straight and kicking from the hips more than I have been. It still feels really weird (and slow) to me, but I do believe that it probably makes me more streamlined and therefore faster in the water in the long run. In total today, I swam 2300 yards (1.3 Miles). I had guessed that I was in the water for about 50 minutes, but Laura told me later that it was actually 53, so I wasn't too far off. I still think it's fair to say that I probably wasn't swimming all 53 minutes, although I didn't rest too much, so my 50 minute guess was probably just about right on.

Getting out of the pool and heading back into the locker room, we get to our lockers and there is an entire cosmetics counter laid out on one of the stools and that stool is in conjunction with the locker right in between the lockers that Laura and I selected. I mean, really? There were 6 lockers on either side of us that were empty and had no locks on them. Not to mention the rows upon rows of other lockers. Why would you need to use the one right in between us? I made up for it by using some of the lotion that was so nicely placed on the stool for me. For the record, normally I'm not really like that, I just couldn't find my lotion and it seemed like a fair payback.

1 comment:

  1. I'm finally getting caught up with your blog! Ironman Switzerland? Wow! I can't wait to see what you decide. I think I'm going to go for the half-Ironman next September, but I'm not quite ready to commit to 140.6 yet.