I’ll start with the good news: I ran on Sunday for the first time in months. I did two loops of Clissold Park, running solely on grass, and walking over the odd stretch of pavement. It was something like 2 miles.
While the run wasn’t hugely difficult muscularly or cardiovascularly, I could definitely feel it in my joints, especially my knees. But fortunately not my ankle.
This was supposed to be a light jog to get me used to running again, so I was really surprised when I woke up (after a very broken sleep) with very sore legs on Monday morning. I usually like this kind of physical feedback, but instead I immediately thought “Ugh, I don’t want to go to my swim lesson tonight”. All day I had this on my mind, feeling dread at the thought of going, but guilt at the thought of skipping.
Eventually I decided that these mind games were stupid and I should just do what would make me and my body happiest. So I skipped my swimming lesson in favour of rest. That night, I slept 8 hours straight, and went for a swim at the London Fields Lido before work on Tuesday morning. It was only the second time I’ve been to the Lido this year, instead tending towards the closer and newer Clissold Leisure Centre. But the CLC doesn’t beat the Lido in length (50m) or ambience (outdoors, heated). And on Tuesday morning, the Lido was enshrouded in fog, so much fog that I couldn’t see the few brave swimmers around me (unless I looked under water). And after such a good sleep, the swim felt great. My legs were still sore but the swim loosened them up. For those 26 laps (1300m) and 35 minutes, I focussed my thoughts on swimming, breathing, kicking, the task at hand. At the end of it, I felt totally relaxed and wondered why I ever traded this pool for anything else.
This is what swimming is about for me: the relaxation, the quiet, the peace. It’s not fun when I’m swimming back in forth in a crowded pool, thinking more about not bumping into people than on the swim itself. These quiet spots are hard to find in London.
I started with good news, which usually means some bad news to follow. But now that I’m at the end of the story, I realise there is no bad news at all. If anything, it’s that the Lido will become more crowded as the days get longer and the weather gets warmer. Even so, the atmosphere is so completely other from the rest of London that it’s impossible to complain. And more people in the pool is a sign that winter is ending and summer is on it’s way. Good news triumphs again!
The best news of all is that I’m looking forward to swimming again. Tomorrow. In the morning. At the Lido.