As part of my fitness regimen, I’ve been swimming once each week. On Tuesday or Thursday — whichever day happens to follow my upper-body weight-lifting session — I drive an extra fifteen minutes to go the gym in Oregon City. It has a pool. (The gym in Milwaukie has a pool, too, but it’s worthless. It’s more like a backyard frolic pool than a lap pool.)
I had some trouble at first getting the hang of the swimming thing again. Breathing was a real issue. I felt like I was drowning. One of my readers at Get Fit Slowly recommended nose plugs, and much to my surprise, they did the trick. I still sometimes feel short of breath at the end of a lap, but mostly I do okay. (I stop for about ten or twenty seconds after a lap to catch my breath. The guy swimming next to me this morning was doing the same thing.)
So, I’m slowly but surely getting accustomed to the pool. Today I did 1000 meters of mixed freestyle and backstroke in 28:14. Well, it’s not really a backstroke. I don’t know what to call it. I put my arms out wide, like wings, and then pull them to my sides.
Anyhow, all is well and good except for the thugs in the shallow end of the pool. Most of the time when I swim (but not today), there’s a group of surly men and women hogging the shallow end. They’re splashing around, running back and forth across the width of the pool, interfering with my lane.
“Don’t they move when you come through?” Kris asked me when I told her about them.
“Yes,” I said. “But it still bugs me. They’re not very quick.” That’s because these thugs are old thugs. Their average age is probably 70. Usually when I come into the pool, they’re milling around the shallow end as if they own it. I feel like I get resentful stares when I take my lane.
Today the thugs weren’t in the shallow end. Today the thugs were in the jacuzzi nearby. They were complaining about health, about Barack Obama, about local politics. The thugs are a bitter bunch.
Still, I kind of like the thugs. It’s good that they’re at the gym early in the morning exercising. I only hope that when I’m 70, I’ll be down at the gym, in the pool, annoying some young punk by hogging the shallow end.