The most interesting part of my Ironman training so far has been negotiating the pool. Up until a month or so ago, I swam at a pool that was always busy with individual lap swimmers as well as swim teams and lessons. This was frustrating because sometimes I would be ready to swim and the pool was unavailable. Other times it was so crowded that I worried about getting a lane. The pool has 8 lanes so most of the time it worked out fine, but it didn’t work out enough that it would make me nervous. I decided to switch gym locations and try the pool there. It only has 2 lanes but no classes or lessons and gets much less use. The first several times, no one else was in the pool and everything was fine. Word must have gotten out that the pool was empty, because the next two swim sessions almost ended in violence.
The first incident happened a couple of weeks ago when I was swimming merrily along in one lane and a woman who I’ll nicely refer to as a “non-swimmer” was in the other lane. A man walked out onto the pool deck and I invited him to swim in my lane. I figured the other woman would be hard to swim with and I don’t have any problem sharing a lane. He thanked me and jumped in. He started swimming down the middle of the lane. At first it was freestyle and we hit hands and exchanged a head nod. The next lap he was swimming breast stroke down the middle of the lane. We met up at the pool end and I asked him to scoot over a little. He looked confused. He continued to swim down the middle. I asked him again. Again he swam down the middle, and this time I told him that he was going to have to move over. He still didn’t get it. I asked the woman next to me if I could swim with her. She said no because her knee was hurt and she didn’t think she could share. I gave up and got out. The lane hog asked me if I was done and I told him no, but that it wasn’t working out and that if we met up again he would have to swim on his side.
The very next time I went to the pool, both lanes were occupied. I put my stuff at the end of the pool and both swimmers flipped turned and didn’t acknowledge me. I stood at the end of one of the lanes. He flipped and ignored me. I squatted down and tried to yell to him. No luck. I sat on the edge and dangled my feet in the water by his head. This time he flipped and it appeared to me that he moved to one side, so I took that as a signal that he wanted to swim on that side. Apparently not. As I swam toward him, he put his head up and yelled at me that I could have at least told him that I was getting in his lane. When I said that I had tried several times and even put my feet in by his head, he just growled in frustration. In retrospect, I should have gotten in all the way and stood at the end of the lane until he ran into me. That is what I would have done next had he not moved over, but I honestly thought he saw me. He got out and was very angry but at least I got to finish my workout.
So now I’ve made two enemies at the pool and the whole purpose of switching pools was to lessen my frustration about it. I think because the small pool is generally less crowded, the swimmers aren’t used to sharing a lane. There is a sign that clearly states that you have to share, with up to 3 people in a lane. Two is plenty and I’ll wait if there are already 2 or if it looks like someone is almost done. Other than that, many people swim an hour at the pool so I’m not waiting an hour to give someone their own personal lane. It’s a gym, not a private back yard pool. After the 2 incidents, I started swimming closer to noon time because it works better with my schedule and I’ve swam alone each time. I would have thought the pool would be crowded with lunch time swimmers, but so far that hasn’t been the case. I hope the new pool works out because it’s a little warmer than the old pool and I’m enjoying the quieter atmosphere. Going back to the crowded 8 lane pool doesn’t sound good to me right now but I’ll have to see. If I make any more enemies I may not be allowed in!
It’s week three of Ironman Florida training and my sciatic pain is gone. Yeah! It’s become clear, however, that my glute also suffered some damage. Boo! Although it’s going to take a some time until I’m 100%, I’ve been given the green light to ride the bike which makes me very happy. I can ride totally pain free and it is the discipline that I think needs the most attention at this point, so it is a relief to be able to ride. I rode on the trainer yesterday and today and I’m excited about heading outside tomorrow even though the weather won’t the best. I see the doctor again tomorrow and I’m hoping to get the green light to run. I’ve never gotten in an altercation while running, so maybe running will be a safer activity for me than swimming. Keeping my fingers crossed!