I just finishing jogging.
I remember now why I was a distance swimmer.
I remember flinging my body from the starting block into the cool slick water, not wanting to surface. I always wished I could stay under water like a fish or a mermaid, breathing through gills, and propelling along with my flippers. Only I wasn’t a mermaid or a fish. I couldn’t even pretend to be Aquaman. I was just Corby.
My body never warmed up—by warmed up I mean cooperated—until well into the first two hundred yards. those superficial warm-ups Coach made us do before the meets never helped, particularly because my my first event was the butterfly, which was right before diving. Diving was a good forty-five minutes to an hour after our team warm-ups.
The middle hundred yards were spent talking myself into finishing the race. I ached. My shoulders were sore. I wanted to quit.
And the last two hundred yards was spent making up for the time I had lost in the first three hundred. I usually finished a respectable second or third. Once, I even made it to the sectional finals. I came in twelfth. Obviously, I was not Olympic material.
I have kept this same mentality into adulthood. Even though I try to warm up by walking the dogs before I jog, my body takes about the first third of the jog to decide it wants to get warm.
The second third is spent reminding myself why I am doing this: to resurrect my adolescent athlete. The young woman I once was wants to get out. Don’t be mistaken: I was never thin or muscular. I never looked like a jock. When I came in twelfth at sectional, I weighed 170 lbs. Most of my competitors weighed around 100 pounds. Wet. With clothes on.
Sometimes when compared with my teammates I felt a bit like this:Regardless, the athlete who is trapped inside me is slowly coming back out. Slowly. Like a sloth. But without claws.
The last third of my jogging workout is spent in relative ease, jogging along, not wanting it to stop. I think I need to find a psychological trick to get me into the last third mindset sometime during the first third.
I still like the endurance aspect of distance exercise. I like long, slow exercise.
Please, if you are a speedy guy—like one of my professors, who also happens to be a distance guy—I know the two can go together. I just happen to be slow. I happen to like the leisure that distance events give the participant.
For example, in high school I had 500 yards to plod through. Now I will have 13.1 miles to plod through.
And I do mean plod.
Like a horse.
Maybe like a Lipizanner Stallion.
Only I am not a stallion.
Like a Lipizzaner Mare.