Today is the second day of Passover, the Jewish holiday where we commemorate the Jews' exodus from Egypt and recall how special it is to be free of persecution. We drink lots of wine (four glasses during the traditional Seder), sing songs, and offer prayers of gratitude. Not to mention eat a metric ton of food and desserts that camp out in our bowels for about a week. That may partially explain why the Seder mandates we recline more deeply during the service as a measure of our ability to enjoy ourselves to the fullest at that moment in time. We simply can't move after the meal! So we might as well get comfortable!
Passover coincides nicely with my quick return to Ironman training. Of course, this is ironic because I feel like I'm losing my freedom again just a bit, especially after my past week of decadence. My body is protesting ever so slightly too, as in refusing to wake up this morning in time for the Fortius team 6 a.m. swim. I looked at the clock at 5:20, quickly deciding "uh-uh" before turning my alarm off for another hour's rest. Going from eight to nine hours of sleep for a week back down to six just wasn't going to happen the morning after a massive food coma.
My extra snooze time paid off though, as I arrived to the pool around 7:45 a.m. to find Coach Gerardo along with swim instructor, neighbor and friend Megan training in a nearby lane. OK, I didn't really see them at first and trained on my own for about 30 minutes with drills while racking up a pretty pedestrian 1,000 yards.
But the next 30 minutes, I was lucky enough to receive intensive instruction from Gerardo and Megan on all the things wrong with my swim technique.
Folks, there's a lot. Too much to recite here. Probably too much for a 30 minute session. Let me put it to you this way, if I could start over and learn how to swim from scratch, I would. I think I pretty much suck at swimming at this point.
Fortunately, Gerardo and Megan are not Egyptian taskmasters when it comes to their coaching. They patiently showed me that once again, I'm not extending my arms fully before entering the water, and that I'm just not relaxed enough -- which translates to wasted energy.
It took several laps and frustration before I experienced any modicum of progress, but by the end of my workout Gerardo said I was getting the hang of it. I was keeping my elbow higher longer through the stroke, dragging my fingertips out of the water longer before entering at the last possible point in the stroke. And I was shifting my weight from side to side better, using my hips more effectively.
I thought, "Cool, if you say so."
I'll just keep practicing. Honestly, I've never felt more like a fish out of water in the water. Swimming is practically like one of Pharaoh's 10 plagues at this point, as in people feel sick after watching me swim!
During lunch, I participated in a yoga class at our work gym. One big thing I noticed during my practice was how tight I had become just with one week of inactivity. The body really does operate like a well-oiled machine, and when that machine isn't being used -- rust sets in. Probably faster the older one gets.
Joy. Not only am I a slave to a schedule, but I'm a slave to my own body.
Which makes me wonder: Am I my own worst taskmaster?
Wait, don't answer that.
238 days and counting.