There is nothing that sparks an instant thought as the smell of chlorine on my skin. Today at work I rested my chin in my hand and smelled the chlorine and immediately images of swimming and the pool flashed in my mind. I sent a text to my training partner to share the experience with her and she replied “I love when that happens.” After all of the swimming I did this past winter and early spring, taking off the past four days from swimming felt like an eternity. This morning my training partner and I met a half hour later than usual and swam an easy 1,000 meters.
The day after a big race it is good to do light exercise to get the lactic acid out of the muscles and an easy swim was perfect. My legs, especially my quads, are feeling the burn from my race yesterday. While it hurts, it is a good pain that reminds me I gave it my all yesterday. My ankle feels good, in fact I was able to flip turn and lightly push off the wall this morning in my workout. My calves have completely recovered so I think the cramping was due to the heat and lack of electrolyte supplements. My swim was easy enough that I didn’t stress myself yet I was still able to get my heart rate up enough to feel I got a good workout in. The best was having the extra time to soak in the hot tub after. A welcome treat for my sore quads.
I find it amazing how the slightest thing can spur a memory. The smell of chlorine and I am in the pool in my mind. The early morning crisp summer air and images of running outside flash by. Sometimes just the mention of blueberries and I am thinking of Roctane blueberry pomegranate energy gel. Now that is just sad, but a sad reality of an endurance athlete. There are also the special memories – I will never look at my name tag stapled to my bike mount in transition at the Rev3 half iron without laughing. Last year I got down on all fours to take a picture of it, only to find my training partner standing behind me taking a picture of me. We have traditions now too, restaurants we carbo load at the night before races, places we celebrate after. Sharing a ride to a race with a friend to help ignore pre-race nerves, as I did yesterday, makes the event more memorable. Having friends to share the experience of training and racing is so special and should not be taken for granted. It is these special memories, and special friends, we carry with us far longer than the actual training or racing experiences.