Sometimes, sh*t happens…
I had a swim scheduled today for my Half Ironman training.
I was very, very much looking forward to it, because since I made the decision to challenge myself with this distance event, swimming has been the hardest thing to fit in.
I mean, I live in New England.
It’s been a brutal winter.
I obviously cannot swim outdoors unless I want to die, so I must rely on my local YMCAs and their schedules.
Pool time is limited with all the Age Group Swimming, USS Swim Teams, High School Swimming and the like — all happening at the beginning of my training.
Let me make it clear here, as in the words of Lawrence (Martin Short) in the Synchronized Swimming skit on SNL – “I don’t swim.”
Oh, I swim. But I swim slowly and methodically and harmonious to me.
The Half Ironman begins with a 1.2 mile open water swim, so I’d better be ready for that challenge.
I’ve been swimming at my local YMCA and it’s been wonderful. I try to get there between 11:30 and 2:30 on weekdays because it’s primarily down time for the Y. There are 4 open lap lanes and I generally share one with 1 or 2 people… and occasionally get one all to myself.
Today was one of those luxuriant all-to-myself days. A day when I don’t worry about going too slowly. Or hugging lane lines so I don’t bump into anyone. Or getting in a lane with someone who hates sharing lanes.
Today was idyllic swimming.
Windows bright with sunshine. The tops of birch trees swaying in the cold breeze. Sounds of other swimmers pushing water and creating waves that mimic a little of what I’ll be dealing with during my race swim.
I could hear little kids in the far side of the pool. Playing. Splashing. Having fun.
I decided not to count my laps today. I knew if I swam for 50-60 minutes, I’d get in a good portion of a mile or so. A great workout, I was thinking.
I was 20 minutes into this paradise when I saw a blurry figure standing over the pool at the shallow end. I thought, “Oh. Another swimmer. OK.”
But the figure was waving his arms.
It was a lifeguard.
I didn’t think I looked alarming, but I stopped… thinking he was going to give me a hint or two about my swimming technique.
He was saying to all of us lap swimmers, “We have to evacuate the pool immediately.”
The guy next to me, who had been flying up and down his lane with incredible speed and precision asked, “Why?”
The lifeguard answered, “A kid went to the bathroom in the pool. We have to clean clean it and make sure the pool is safe.”
My thoughts were all, “Oh, crap… I was having such a great swim and I’m not nearly done.”
But the guy next to me was saying, “SHIT. SHIT!”
He turned to me and apologized, “I’m so sorry for my outburst,” he said. “I’m just very disappointed about my workout.”
I assured him that there were no apologies needed and that I might just have similar words floating around in my head, too.
I got out of the pool, took a L-O-N-G shower, and then checked the pool to see what progress was being made.
I have enough experience with my kids’ swimming and now my grandkids’ swimming to know that when sh*t happens in a pool, there are lots of health issues that must be addressed and cleansing procedures to put into place.
As I was leaving the Y, I bumped into a friend and former swim coach of Audrey and Jane… coming to coach his Y team.
He smiled and said to me, “Didn’t you have enough swimming this weekend?” (4 grandkids’ swim meets!)
I said, “I guess not. But there’s a problem with the pool here. They’ve closed it because a kid pooped in the pool.”
He said, “You’re shittin’ me.”
You kind of know there’d be lots of challenges in training for various things, like a Half Ironman. Lots of things.
Sh*t happens all the time.
But when sh*t happens in a pool, everything comes to a screeching halt.
Kind of like being up that creek – you know the one – sh*t creek.
Without the paddle.
Sometimes you take sh*t from out of the blue of a nice, happy swim.