Don’t look!

The running is coming along quite well.  On Sunday, new Garmin strapped to my wrist, I ran 16.02 (don’t argue with GPS technology) miles around lovely Palo Alto, to the cheers of passing bicyclists.  Everyone loves a barefoot runner.  Anyhow, I’ve been told that for the marathoner to remain injury-free, cross-training is in order.  Sometimes I bike – today was sunny, so I took myself to Burgess Pool.

In the movies, I realize that Californian beach people all look like Brad Pitt/Bo Derek and swim like Johnny Weissmuller/Janet Evans.  But as it turns out, … Menlo Park isn’t in Southern California, and this isn’t the beach.  I show up, expecting to be enthralled by muscles rippling under the scantest (is that a word?) patches of lycra, glistening bodies plowing through the blue water, leaving a tall plume behind them.  It’s not quite like that.  It’s more like:  lots of grandparents who can no longer fit into their wedding clothes, somehow flailing their way from end to end with bodies at practically 45 degrees to the surface.  Some of them barely seem to be moving at all – it’s a wonder that they’re sometimes spotted at one end of the pool, and sometimes at the other.

Stop!  I want to say.  Take a lesson!  Don’t lift your head to breathe!  All that kicking isn’t doing you any good – the legs are for support – power from your shoulders – I read it in a book!  But I’ve learnt that good Americans don’t give advice, so I find the empty lane and hop in, new Speedos, racing goggles and all.

You guessed it.  I’m slower than them all. All of them.   Slower than the guy with no arms, slower than grandma, grandpa, guy with no goggles and board shorts, little Indian girl … if a rubber ducky had been tossed into the pool by one of the passing tots, it probably would have zipped by me too.

I’m sure Robert Burns was a smart guy, but I’ve got to disagree with The Bard on this one … I’m so very glad I can’t see myself swim.


2 Responses to “Don’t look!”

  1. Nimrod Says:

    Not to bust apart your make-believe world, but not everyone who lives in Southern California looks like Bo Derek or Brad Pitt. Have you ever been to Southern California? I think you’d hate it, more than Burgess Park.

    Did you feel as though you ultimately fit in at the Menlo pool, speedos and all? I used to love going to Burgess with my team mates in high school, we felt like mermaids and all had muscular buttocks. Nowadays, I just go with my grandmother, and make sure she doesn’t flail at 45 degrees.

  2. Nephew Says:

    Glad you’re back. xo.

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