Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Eyes Have It

It turns out, surprisingly enough, that I actually do have a maximum level of tolerance for my own indolence, and I reached it back in April. Taking advantage of a discounted monthly pass program offered through my workplace, I kitted myself out and began swimming at the city pool each morning before heading off to work.

Near-daily aquatics wasn't a decision I made easily; I love sleeping in, and am famously averse to exercise, due to an unfortunate combination of boring easily and being intrinsically lazy. But since leaving retail 6 years ago, I have managed to become even doughier than I was then, and finally got to a point even I couldn't stand.

The adjustment hasn't been onerous, but has required some adaptations on my part; I miss being around in the morning when the girls are getting ready for school, since I am out the door before they are out of bed. And I can't stay up much past ten o'clock during the week, although that probably isn't a bad thing. There is no more prepping of that day's lunch in the morning anymore either, since it needs to be ready to go first thing in the a.m..

At long last, I also have a use for the Warhammer duffle bag I got at the last GW Manager's Conference, since it is just the right size for my towel, toiletries, trunks, goggles, and a pair of socks. Buying a combination lock for the first time since university was a bit nostalgic as well, and it stays latched onto one of the handles so I don't misplace it. The bag is on the table when i go to bed, so in the morning I throw my lunch and a juice box into my work satchel and march out the door, sockless, with both bags.

It is about a 6-7 minute drive to Grand Trunk, 1 minute of which is navigating their craterous parking lot. Seriously, I know this is Edmonton, but if I didn't know better, I would think some crazed pilot came up short trying to drop a Durandal anti-runway bomb onto the City Centre Airport about 1 klick south.

I stroll in and scan the barcode on my pass card before heading off to the locker room. Crowds are small enough in the morning that they don't even bother issuing wristbands, which is nice. Sometimes I will have the locker room to myself, but usually there are 3-6 men coming or going to either the pool or the fitness centre. I am nowhere close to being either the oldest or the youngest, as there is a core group of older gents there almost every day, plus a couple fellows in their 20s and 30s, but so far, I am the only one there with a Darth Vader towel.


It's taken me a while to get my routine down in terms of what gets stowed where in the locker, so I don't have to rummage about too much when I return, but I think I have it figured out now, and can get into the pool without too much delay. My first time in was a devastating blow to my ego; I mean, I was fully aware that I was terribly out of shape, I'm not delusional, but there was a time in my life when I would rather swim some place than walk there. Seriously, before I discovered that the canals of Venice are pretty much a sewer, I thought living there would be keen, and you could swim everywhere you needed to go. I swam across Lake Windermere, I did a swim-a-thon, I even swam the 1500M freestyle with Keyano.

Mind you, that was three decades (and a bit) ago, so my first time in, I did 8 lengths of the 25m pool, stopping at each end to catch my breath, and berated myself for such a daft idea. Why did I buy the pass first? I could have bought a punch card for openers, to try it on for size!

Still, there might have been a method to my madness, as the pass committed me to going as often as I was able, since i am also somewhat parsimonious In fact, the original plan was a Mon-Wed-Fri sort of affair, but changes to routine make compliance difficult for me, so it became easier to go every day. Less to sort out, nothing to remember: if I am going to work, I am going to the pool.

A month later, it has gotten a bit easier, surprisingly. I am up to 12 lengths now, mixing up breast stroke and front crawl; still nothing to brag about, but I am doing them up to 4 at a time at least, and no longer feel quite so much like I have to size up the lifeguard to insure they are capable of lifting me out of the pool before starting my swim. The goggles have been instrumental in keeping the chlorine from making me even squintier than I already am, plus lizard eyes FTW.

Afterwards, I return to the locker for my towel and the bottle of combination body-wash and shampoo one of the Newfound-lads left here (damned convenient that stuff, and I even saw a bottle at the store that triples up as shaving cream!), rinse out my suit, shower off and get dressed. I drink my juice box on the way to work, which not only slakes my thirst, but I think improves my blood sugar enough to keep me from getting hangry on the drive. Once at work, I have enough time to sort out a 75 cent latte from the downstairs machine, and a couple of pieces of peanut butter toast at my desk, and the day is off to a fairly decent start.

I don't really have a goal in all this, it is simply enough for the present that I am doing something that prevents me from becoming completely sedentary. I hope to eventually increase my lap count, and who knows? If my endurance increases a bit, maybe it is time to start that dodgeball team that some of the Geekquinox crew were talking about...

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