Running Log: Swimming

Date Location Time Distance
12/22 Oak Point Pool 45 min 2 km

Running log posts are not actually about running, and today's running log is about swimming. I've got one leg of the triathlon down (running), and started working on the other. However, I rarely swim, and even when I do, I do not enjoy it. I want to change that, so I decided to (voluntarily) hop in the pool for the first time in forever.

Usually while swimming I'm too busy focusing on how much I'm suffering to reflect on my thoughts, but since today was a voluntary expidition, I was able to gather my observations and focus on my surroundings more, like how I do when I run.

Swimming is inherently a brutal sport. Man isn't built for the water, and being in a pool is like being surrounded by a foreign substance on all sides. Looking around underwater in the deep end, you see a huge expanse of emptiness, with mannequin-like figures comically floating at the top. You are one of them, of course. When I run, sometimes I feel insignifant before a long stretch of nature, earth lining your path all the way to the sun. I can imagine cyclists having the same feeling, but I never thought I would feel that way in the middle of a tiny commercial pool.

There's a book I quite like called "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running", which I've somewhat written about before. Murakami often talks about a deep, dark, place, one where he retreats to to get his most serious writing done. In a sense, swimming through a pool feels like going through the tunnel: you're a tiny, insignificant figure surrounded by a foreign substance on all sides, trudging your way through to reach a goal. In the pool is silence, besides the ambient aquatic noises and the rhythmic 1-2-3 breathing pattern. The walls offer you an escape to reality, with awful Christmas songs and small chatter, like rungs on a ladder. But I didn't rest during my swim, so it was an immersive experience.

On a side note, I've been trying to do more physical activies without breaks, like Murakami. I think his reasoning is pretty solid: if you paid to get into a race, you paid to run, why walk? In the same vein, I showed up to the pool to swim, why should I keep hanging on the ledge?