Today I swam 2500 meters in the morning and ran 4 miles in the evening. Both were good workouts – Mondays I swim with my friend and training partner, it is always fun to have someone to train with. She is faster than I am – for now. I like to see my improvement by how my times get a little closer to hers. Swimming truly is an individual sport, but the pleasure and accomplishment can easily be shared with someone sharing the same lane – which is what we had to do today. The pool was very crowded and we were ready to jump in at 6:30 AM. New Year’s Resolutioners, as I refer to them, were there early today.
By 5:00 PM as I headed out for my run, I was very ready to run the stress and tension away. As I prepared for my run, I put on my ear buds and realized that both my swim and my run take me away from the stress of the world and it begins with putting something in my ears. I swim with ear plugs and run as often as possible with music playing in my ear buds. Both offer a way to block out the white noise of the world and bring an internal focus. In the pool, it is my breathing I hear more than anything. Occasionally I hear the thump thump thump of my training partner’s fins when she does a kick set, but mostly the outside noise is gone and my breathing is all I hear. It is peaceful in the midst of the aerobic push. On the run, my music inspires me. Lyrics are poetry to me and the melody pushes the rhythm of my feet. I always keep the volume low enough to hear cars and as a result I also hear my feet hitting the pavement. The combination of the music and my foot strike are motivating. No matter what happened in my day, a run takes the fears/concerns/anxieties away – at least for the duration of the miles.
Both swimming and running allow me to escape the issues of the world, and yes when I hit the stop button on my watch those issues are still there and will have to be addressed. Eventually. But for that time – it may be 40 minutes or it may be two hours – it is just me, my breathing, and the exhilaration of the endorphins running through my body. I wish it could last forever.