Thoughts from the deep end

April 17, 2015 -- On October 28, I mentioned running in the deep end of the pool.  That was my one-hour workout yesterday.  My workouts clarify my thoughts.  I can see why the experts are now saying that regular aerobic exercise is a way to help ward off dementia.

I solve problems in the deep end.  I gain a more serene outlook than I had before I entered the pool.  Unless . . . .

Yesterday, a couple was at the pool while I was there.  They are acquaintances whom I’ll call Dr. and Mrs. Z.  She is a pleasant, quiet person, but he loves to pontificate, loudly, in his extreme northern Midwestern accent.

Dr. Z was reading Mike Huckabee’s book yesterday.  He’d read a passage out loud to his wife, then he’d pontificate about it for a while.  She listened in silence, or responded in a whisper.

If it had been a day when I was swimming two kilometers of laps, I would hardly have noticed.  But yesterday was a day for running in the deep end, so my head was above water and I could hear every blessed word Dr. Z said.

I stayed calm and silent, running as fast as I could in the water, and pretended that I was a French person who did not understand English at all.  That sort of worked, but I did not have much serenity during yesterday’s workout. 

During Dr. Z’s most offensive remarks, I turned my thoughts to the lovely contemplation of having our own pool, which Tom and I will have starting in October, when we move to the very west end of Sanibel.

Meanwhile, I work out in one of two community pools owned by our subdivision, Gulf Pines.  If I swam laps every day, my hair would be a wreck.  By swimming laps every other day, and running in the deep end on the alternate days, I wreck my hair with pool chemicals only half as much as I would if I swam laps daily.

Running in the deep end is also very good for one’s joints.  USAtriathlon.org recommends it for cross training and for athletes who’ve been injured.  However, triathlete experts say that pool running can be harder than running on land, if it is done properly.  They recommend using a flotation belt to aid in buoyancy.  I don’t do that.  Instead, I work harder to say afloat.  But then, I'm a swimmer; that's what swimmers do best.

For triathletes, pool running can provide gains in cardiovascular fitness.  And it is a great way to help them recover from an injury.  I don’t have injuries, but I do have joint troubles.  The relief brought on by pool running is almost instantaneous. 

Flower greets me along the driveway after my workout
Of course, relief from pain adds mightily to the feeling of serenity.


Too much of the information to be found on the internet about pool running is written from a land runner’s perspective.  Land runners think of it as a no-impact workout they can do when recovering from an injury. 

While I was never a good runner, I did jog regularly until my doctor said “no more running” after he looked at x-rays of my knees.  That prohibition didn’t bother me much because I’m a swimmer.


The main complaint land runners seem to have about pool running is that it is “boring.”  Because I always have plenty to think about or plenty of need to meditate, I do not find it boring at all.  

It is all in your head, I say.

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