The Adventures of Spongebob Fatpants

Posted: November 15, 2010 in Swim

I like swimming.

There is nothing quite as euphoric as getting a good blaze on and then slipping into the pool to do some laps.  The feeling of my body gliding through the water while I’m high as a kite is about as godlike as anything I’m ever going to experience in this lifetime.  It sure beats my other workouts anyway like, say, running, which is about as much fun as having my liver ripped out by a pissed off eagle every morning at dawn.

But, from time to time, I also get bored of my weekly swim workouts; more specifically, from something my coach has termed as Black Line Fever, or having to continually stare at the lines on the bottom of the pool for hours on end.  It’s bad enough that I have to look at endless miles of black tarmac on all my runs and rides, but in the pool too?  No fun – let me tell you.

I don’t have the luxury of plugging into my iPod when I swim like I do when I run.  Swimming is very isolating and introspective in this regard.  I mean, there are waterproof iPod cases and ear buds specifically for swimmers but they’re not exactly in my current price bracket, and I’m not too keen on having any electronic devises strapped to my head when I dive in the pool just yet either.  Likewise, there is nothing to really enjoy when swimming like there is when I cycle.  There is no passing scenery or vast changing landscapes to enjoy, no pedestrians or traffic to watch out for, no breathtaking views or deep profound moments that immediately elicit themselves as one of those “Oh, cool!” moments.  Nope, there’s none of that at all.  There is nothing to motivate me beyond the regular sound of my own gasps for air and the swishing of my arms cutting the water.  The most I have to look forward to is occasionally watching the bouncing bottom halves of hearty seniors participating in the Aquafit classes a few lanes over.  And let me tell you, there are some things that you never – ever – want to see bouncing in slow motion.  It’s like watching a Richard Simmon’s ‘Sweating to the Oldies’ video on Xanax. There is a subtle benefit to this, however, in that with so many large bodied people all rhythmically dancing and bouncing around together there is a resulting swell in the water that results in something not unlike the waves I can expect deal with on any open water race course.  At times, the swell is so strong I have to actually have to change the side I breathe on to avoid swallowing water.

Also, I have grown tired of following the various muscular, endurance and speed drills listed in my swimmers Bible “Swim Workouts in a Binder”.  Just once, I would love to see a workout in the Bible like this:

  1. w/up:  Cannonball into the deep end, rest 2 min
  2. Eat one cupcake
  3. 3 x 15 sec of blowing bubbles and making motorboat noises, rest 2 min
  4. 5 x underwater handstands in the shallow end, rest 2 min w/ cupcake
  5. Doggy paddle 4 x 25m, rest 5 min
  6. Check out lifeguard and eat another cupcake
  7. c/d:  Float with foam noodle thingy for 15 min

This is very unlikely to happen though as, usually, the workouts my coach tends to throw at me read more like this:

  1. w/up:    1,000 x 25m drills
  2. Swim
  3. Swim more
  4. Repeat session x 10, 000
  5. c/d:  Swim 3k towing a mason brick

Needless to say I prefer open water swimming whenever the opportunity arises and I will go through great lengths to make sure that they do.  On most days, particularly in the spring and summer, I am more eager to slip into my wetsuit and dive headfirst into the Welland Canal than I am to labor through another boring pool workout.  There’s nothing quite like the multitudes of drifting plant life, the fresh chlorine-free air, as well as being able to spot all the rusty shopping carts and bicycles at the bottom on the canal.  Anything is more stimulating than doing laps.

But whether it’s indoors or outdoors, never skimp on your weekly swims.  After all, dealing with boredom sure beats dealing with the physical stresses of higher impact activity any day.  And just for good measure, feel free to launch that unexpected cannonball into the deep end of your lane every once and awhile.

You’ll be glad you did.

  1. The never ending battle – swimmers vs. water aerobics.

  2. Yes, the eternal struggle for power in the aquatic world.
    And so it goes…

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