I finally got in a swim - I was walking over to the gym thinking, most fervently: Hmmmm, can it not be that in the time-honored tradition of undergraduates everywhere they are mostly off spending Friday getting drunk at a party rather than cluttering up the lanes in the pool? And indeed it was relatively civilized.
I just wanted a short one, and I stayed in until one extra person got in and tipped the lane over to crowded-feeling. But it was very nice while it lasted - that cool smooth water is most soothing!
200 swim, 100 drill (right-arm, left-arm, catch-up, swim), 200 swim, 100 drill (thumbs-and-salute), 200 swim; 50 fly drill, 50 fly, 50 back, 50 free, 200 free
1200 yards total
I have been thwarted twice this week on swimming:
On Wednesday, I went to the locker room and changed into my bathing suit and then found myself standing at the edge of a pool that was so full of toiling and moiling swimmers that I swear the heat was actually rising in a kind of mist from the surface of the pool - it was like a painting by Hieronymus Bosch - my courage failed me, and I am ashamed to confess that I turned and fled...
In the meantime I discovered that one of the local masters swim teams I've been meaning to check out has actually booked the Columbia pool in three primely convenient time slots for workouts! So I nerved myself up to go yesterday to the Thursday evening workout - only the thing that was happening yesterday at Columbia was this. The campus was shut off to anyone without an ID, and as I passed by the guard station and flashed my card I thought: Hmmmm, the people from Team NY Aquatics are not really going to be able to get into the gym this evening...
By the time I got to the front desk, the penny had dropped, and I asked the security guy whether the swim workout was canceled - he said yes. My only consolation was that I had not actually gone downstairs and changed into my bathing suit and waited for someone to unlock the door leading into the pool area.
I have saved the good news for last. After a week of thorough mental insanity - the mental insanity that running helps with is exacerbated a hundredfold by not running, running is the only thing that would really counter the dreadful thought of not being able to run! - and no running whatsoever, I ran four easy miles this morning, and though my hamstring is still quite stiff and sore it is on the mend.
I took action after my post on Sunday - I made an appointment with Coach Mindy, who I had been meaning to consult about my marathon training (only it is easy to put these things off), and also got a recommendation from her of an excellent running doctor (who is himself a sub-3:00 marathoner).
I had a fantastic appointment with him yesterday - it included a whole range of interesting diagnostic tests and full consultation on all matters running-related - massage, acupuncture, examination of gait jogging on treadmill with and without shoes - and, most fabulously, ultrasound. I learned that I have a very high proportion of fast-twitch muscles...
Anyway the verdict is that it was a grade 1 tear of the hamstring, the least serious kind, and that though he could still see the damage on the ultrasound I was clearly on the mend. I am cleared by him and Mindy to run an easy 8 on Sunday morning, and I regret to say that I have made the sensible choice and decided not to run the half-marathon on Sunday - the little glimpse I had this week of the no-running regime reminded me that the most important thing is to stay injury-free and keep running. That means I will not be able to complete the half-marathon Grand Prix series, and in fact I will not now do the Staten Island one either - it eases up the schedule a bit, though I have the great consolation that I have added one other half-marathon to the 2008 event schedule. Strictly for fun - I will be half of a relay team called Crime and Punishment!
(Retail therapy postscript: The recommendations of Dr. Dan and Coach Mindy converged on me getting rid of the anti-evil-impending-bunion orthotics I've been wearing for the past year on a random podiatrist's recommendation and getting an exciting and much lighter-weight new shoe model! Which I am looking forward to trying out on Sunday. And tomorrow morning I am going to make another stab at Team NY Aquatics, so that is good too...)