I will swim forever

Friday, April 17, 2009

The plan was a relaxation swim that will loosen some of the remaining tightness from my quads, hamstrings and gluteal muscles as a result of a 21K training run two nights ago. I started very, very slow - at what I love to call as meditative pace. I missed that pace. That swim pace in college helped me unravel philosophical conundrums, digest history of economic thought, solve quadratic equations, and fathom the complexities of women and relationships. Till now, when I hit the occasional doldrums, I wallow in the water, loosen my baggage, clear the mind, and emerge a better person.

Tonight I simply wanted to feel the water. Enjoy the magic of how a heavy person like me manage to slice through water with minimal effort. Tonight I had no puzzle to solve. I simply wanted the waters to cool my skin and knead my aching muscles. I had no intention of beating certain times, but I timed my laps just the same using the my new Timex Ironman watch. I get a child's thrill pushing that lap button every lap completed. When I decided last year to try triathlon again, I got myself the most expensive Timex Ironman watch as some sort of an incentive. I specifically wanted the Ironman series for it reminded me of my rather lofty aspirations. Someday and a zillion hours of more training, I will... I lost the expensive and sentimental Ironman watch. I replaced it with Casio for a while, but the Casio did not seem to have the Ironman spirit in it. I ditched the Casio and acquired the cheapest Timex Ironman model this time. Cheap model actually has that big lap button that I like.

I was not only enjoying pressing the lap button each time. I was also enjoying the times I saw on its screen. They were VERY far from brag-worthy times, but with each lap I seemed to get faster given the same perceived level of effort. So encouraged was I that I thought maybe I could notch up this relaxation swim a bit. I remembered that recent Inquirer article on triathlete Fred Uytengsu entitled "How A CEO Becomes an Ironman". Idol Fred says he swims 3kms per session so maybe I can give that distance a shot (and be an ingot closer to becoming an Ironman). It was only last week when I first tried a continuous (rest-free and drink-free) 2km swim, and I was ok naman.

I was ok naman for the duration of my continuous 3km swim attempt. The magic was I didn't feel tired, run out of breath, get thirsty or hungry. I was OK, in the zone, and loving every moment of it! Yes, I was still relatively slow and well below race pace, but who cared? Certainly not me. What was running in my mind was that rush of a realization that if I just swim like that, I can swim forever! The realization came somewhere in the middle of my swim distance, and just like magic, I was surprisingly fast in my middle laps! Morale: think happy thoughts and you will dart away like a fish.

Towards my last two laps before hitting 3km, I toyed with the idea of shooting for 4km. I was in the zone anyway and still strong. But then I realized I have had enough swimmer's high for the night. Savor the moment and save the attempt for 4km for other nights.

On my finishing lap I sprinted like crazy - a mad, lung-busting, celebratory rush to touch the wall. Some meters from the wall I remembered: I can swim forever. True. But tonight, I celebrate. I touched the wall, pressed on the watch for the last time, and savored my bottle of sports drink till the last drop. Cheers to magical swim nights.

I will sing forever of Your love, O Lord
I will celebrate the wonder of Your Name
For the word that You speak is a song of forgiveness
And a song of gentle mercy and of peace

- I Will Sing Forever, Bukas Palad Choir


JavyO April 19, 2009 at 1:59 PM  

Nice one Buddy! I myself have not gone more than 2km :) Keep it up!

Rico Villanueva April 19, 2009 at 10:56 PM  

Thanks bro...at least sa swimming I have faster progress haha...see you on the races...good luck on your Subit :)

Deniel Hopkins April 23, 2009 at 2:38 PM  

that was very informative and interesting to read!! I hope you keep those interesting columns coming!

Rico Villanueva April 23, 2009 at 10:34 PM  

Hi Deniel. Thanks for dropping by and putting in your comments. Glad to know you find the stuff interesting. I enjoy writing them. :-)

Jaymie April 25, 2009 at 11:06 AM  

Wow 4k swim! Here I was proud of my measly 1.4km a few days ago! Congrats...how's your injury? I'm assuming completely gone as you've done a lot of long runs lately.

Rico Villanueva April 25, 2009 at 2:06 PM  

Hi Jaymie. 3K palang, next month siguro try ko 4K. Pero super bagal yon. ...My injury is gone, just like magic. I think it was the shoes. Like you, I am naturally flat footed so I got motion control shoes. Those shoes gave me pains when I started to run longer and faster. I use light stability shoes now. I hope to see you on the road/races more often.

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