I hurt my back three months ago. It is a stupid injury – I lifted a printer out of the back seat of my dad’s car and as I was straightening up I turned to the left and twisted my lower back. Three months later I’m finally feeling almost better. My marathon plan for 2010 is trashed; I’ve reset and am now looking toward an October marathon in Detroit.
There were two positive things that came out of this. First was my realization that I can no longer fake the core / non-running stuff. I’ve always been a little too heavy and I’ve done almost no upper body stuff. The result – monster legs and skinny jewish boy upper body with a flabby core. That’s got to change – I’m hoping P90X will kick me into a different gear. The other is that I’ve rediscovered my love of swimming.
I’ve always been a good swimmer. I learned young – probably at four or five years old – in Dallas. I have vague memories of splashing around in the pool at the North Dallas Racquet Club (where I also played serious tennis from the age of nine to about fourteen.) I’ve always been comfortable in a pool and like to swim, although I never built it into my routine.
Over the last six weeks I’ve been swimming a lot. I don’t have a completely rhythm down because I’ve been travelling and many of the hotels I’ve been in don’t have swimming pools. But I had a special experience last night.
After a long, two board meeting day (Gnip and Zynga) I got back to the Intercontinental in San Francisco on Howard Street. I’d skipped dinner – the Zynga board meeting ran late and we just nibbled on Zynga-snacks as we talked (physical ones, not virtual). I got back to the hotel around 8pm, called Amy to say good night, and then took the elevator down to the sixth floor and the indoor pool. It’s a beautiful pool – 20-ish yards – and while it had a few kids splashing around, was big enough for everyone. I settled into a lane and was in a great zone after ten lengths. I finished up about 35 minutes later and went back upstairs, took a shower, and went to bed. I then slept the sleep of the dead; I woke up completely refreshed at 6am and am now on my way to LA for an Oblong board meeting.
I can’t run late at night – it ramps me up way too much and it takes several hours for me to cool down to fall asleep. Swimming seems to have exactly the opposite effect. I imagine it’s because of my core temperature (I’m always hot and sweaty, even when I’m sitting in a 65 degree room); when I get out of the pool I feel totally chill. I’d never realized this before – partly because I hadn’t thought about it and partly because I avoided swimming at night because I was worried I’d have trouble sleeping.
I love it when I discover something totally new and unexpected. I see a lot more night swimming in my future.