They pressed their noses up against the fence, looking with awe and curiosity at the events on the track. Had there been any real breath left in me, I would have laughed or offered them a gentle but sincere “good morning” as I do when passing horses on my long bike rides. As it was, I could barely smile, even as our approach on the turn startled them away from the fence.
Five deer had begun their morning in the grassy fields around the high school track. They hung out, amused it seemed by the track workout Sue, Maureen and I were running. They watched us intently then after a few minutes lost interest and went about to grazing in the grass wet from the heavy rain and high humidity.
On the inside, I smiled. And how I needed that. Because the last two days of training hurt, physically and mentally. It started Monday morning with my swim workout. One of my go-to pools changed to a long course format – meaning one length of the pool is 50 meters. I’m used to swimming in a 25-yard pool, which means more turns. While I don’t do flip turns (water up my nose on one too many attempts, thank you very much), I do touch the wall then push off with a blast. Seems that I get quite a kick from those push-offs. More than my coach or I suspected. And so, my conversion to the long-course pool has been frustrating. My times are off. Way off. This despite giving the best effort I know how to give in the water.
But even as my times continued to get worse, I brought my thoughts back to the positive. What can I gain? I’m working hard, thinking about my stroke, concentrating on good form. The mantras pass the time quickly: I am strong. I am smooth. I am sleek. Each successive 200 meter repeat I gain a comfort level in the water, feeling a glide, a shift, a new peace of working hard with the water and not against it. Yet, I still had tears in my eyes upon completing my main set, disappointed and confused at my swim time regression.
Fortunately for me, it was at that precise moment that my friend Diane came on the pool deck. She recounted for her me struggles with the long course pool and congratulated me for finishing my workout.