Friday, November 14, 2008

Why I hate winter--almost getting squashed!

Two days ago I almost bit the dust.  I was running from work to the pool in the afternoon.  In the summer this is a manageable feat.  Regardless of when I finally accomplish all my tasks at work and leave I can run in the light and get to the pool.  Well, Wednesday my workday did not go smoothly (too much work, too little time and no desk...the saga of my office move on Sept 26th continues to this day!)

Well, I planned to leave the office at 4 p.m.  At 4 p.m. a minor crisis occurred which I thought I could address within 15 minutes.  Well, 45 minutes later I finally was able to leave with a clear conscience.  This was good because like I said in my first sentence I almost bit the dust.  

I was running down a major road on the sidewalk, obeying traffic signals and being extra cautious of cars.  Unfortunately by starting my jog at 4:45, I ended up running while it was getting dark fast and a slight mist/rain had started.  I get about 3/4 mile from my work and was passing by a bunch of strip malls with several exits.  As I approach each exit I check for cars.  As I start crossing one a car rounds the bend quickly.  This driver seems to  have no intention of stopping.  I step right while I am jogging to put a little distance between us.  Bad Move!!  I step on a grate.  And it is wet and seems to have a slight angle.  I start slipping into 355 (Rockville Pike).  Cars are approaching in the direction I am facing.  The car to my right is still not stopping.  Now luckily I do get off the grate, get back onto the access drive and miss getting hit by this drive by several inches.  

It scared me pretty badly.  I am not sure how long it will be before I try to jog to/from work again because I really do not want to die or get hit.  Luckily in this incident I did not fall, during my slip I did not twist or mangle my legs, ankles or knees but easily could have.   

Well, ultimately I get to the pool (first time since Sept :-(  I have tried 3 times but failed miserable all three times (once the pool would not open for 10 minutes and I decided to bail, once I realized I forgot towel and once it was too cold and windy...I can understand why people end up failing at running because I feel the same way about swimming, I leap excitedly on any excuse I can to not do it.

I get to the pool and because I ran in my triathlon gear, I was able to pretty quickly start swimming laps.  I am REALLY bad at swimming (okay I am really bad at pretty much every sport except perhaps hiking).  I get in the slowest lap lane.  There are two kids who are getting coached, a fairly competent gentleman and myself.  One of the two kids is pretty good but gets yelled at because he is not reaching far enough, tilting his head too far or some other problems.  The other kid is flailing about creating a splash zone of about 15 feet (seriously this kid was splashing in every direction with GUSTO!). Each time I pass these kids I try to move away in the lap lane or else swim under water (for some reason getting splashed really bothers me but fully immersed is perfectly okay).  

After a few minutes another child and parent come into the lap lane.  The mother clearly wants to stay relatively dry (at least hair, face and glasses).  This is futile.  After a few laps we form a lap bond and everytime our paths cross with splashy kid we kind of smile and shrug.  She's clearly in the slow lane because he son is new to swimming, I am in it because I am incompetent.  Guess the splashing is my penance for not trying harder to improve.  Well, another two kids an their coach come into my lane.  Again there is one who is competent and one who flails wildly.  Just a few moments later another kid comes into the lane.  This kid is like micheal phelps.  He starts by doing the butterfly, then a perfect crawl...and he is moving.  

If you are keeping count: in a lap lane that should fit about 4-5 people (because it is a larger lap lane), there are now 10 people.  Competent adult swimmer gives up in frustration.  The other 9 of us remaining continue swimming.  There is a bit of gridlock now and again.   What we do not know is that our psuedo-equalibrium is about to be completely wrecked by a kid who makes all the previous splashers look like novices and zig-zags across the lane as he swims laps.  I find this whole situation quite humorous.  I swim a few more laps zigzagging, trying to avoid getting to splashed and being intimidated by the child who is about 8 and looks like a future Olympian.  I think I need to take swimming lessons so I can graduate to the next lap lane!  

Then again, after my near squashing, I am just happy that I survived to run, swim, hike, bike, live another day.


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