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Third Time’s a… Swim

January 23, 2012

So I had a minor melt-down yesterday about the neighborhood, and web-logging (ugh, I hate the word “blog”), and also about my love-love relationship with running. I had two spectacularly not-great runs in a row- one last week, and another yesterday morning. I didn’t write about the former, both because it was during exams week and I didn’t have time, and also because it was terrible. The combination of wind and drizzle, muddy slush, pigeon shit, loud traffic, run-down houses, and- to top it off- a dude who barked directly into my ear as I passed (what in the hell?) was almost too much. Only when a bus drove by me and sent a wave of cold, brown water across my body did it officially become too much.

I didn’t really want to go for a run yesterday, but I was a teensy bit unwell (read: The end of exams week? Whiskey and sausage and sauerkraut at Resi’s Bierstube? Sure thing!). I needed to move and feel healthy again. It wasn’t a bad run, but it was grey and flat and I felt very alone. The only people I saw were on their way to Hungarian and Polish churches on Irving Park- people in nice long coats tiptoeing around piles of snow and speaking unfamiliar languages. I felt alone, and I felt like I needed to run down the clock.

So I ran up and down different streets, hoping an hour would pass. I can’t remember the last time (if there ever was one) when I ran just to say I did, seeking no exciting destination and expecting no peaceful outcome. I hate admitting that, and I hated feeling that. So I came home and took off my running clothes and cried.

I often use running as an excuse to have an extra cookie or beer (or both!), but the truth is that I actually just really love it. I love that I feel something when I run- air on my face and sweat on my arms and achy feet- and I love that running permits me an almost secret understanding of a place. I know the sweet smell of my old neighborhood during an early evening rain; the way my ankles feel when I run up the trails at Devil’s Lake; how sometimes on summer mornings the Cascades are silhouetted like a construction paper cut-out. I don’t know any of those things here, and I can’t seem to find anything out. I’m going to keep running, of course, but I certainly don’t want to keep up web-logging (that’s a lot to write) if I’m just going to gripe all the time.

So for something light-hearted:

I decided to swim at the Y today. I’m not a very good swimmer, and I hate being in pools when there are lots of svelte, confident people training for triathlons. I’m so slow! And I’m terribly competitive, so I invariably end up coughing and breathless and feeling pathetic as everyone passes me for the fourth time. That definitely did not happen today at the Irving Park Y; there were only three of us (me and a much older woman and a young lifeguard) in the pool area. And good thing, too, because the elastic on the left leg-hole (there’s got to be a better word) of my swimming suit was shot and I didn’t realize it until it fluttered up like a little skirt during my first lap. My most hearty apologies to the lifeguard, for I definitely bare-assed him every time I swam to the deep end of the pool.



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  1. Speaking as a former lifeguard who had to guard many a boring lap swim, I can pretty much guarantee the guard enjoyed the entertainment! 😉 I thought about this and considered my many years as a swimmer and I don’t believe there is a better name for the stretchy leg area of a suit. The real fun comes when you go to turn and the entire midsection just splits right up the middle. Two boobs out, one not so flat anymore tummy, and your only option is to get out of the pool (yea right!) or take the two sides and tie them into a knot! 🙂 Rock on in the pool my lady – it is good for the soul (much like a good run)! xoxo

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