Training buddy John is a member of the Lauderdale Yacht Club. The club has a pool with swim lanes. Its not an Olympic sized pool, but it works for our evening swims. Last evening we had a swim/run brick planned. The pool is in the back of the yacht club which has a bar, food service area, and tables for outdoor seating. As I approach the pool area, I notice that the club is having one of its evening socials. Couples in casual outdoor evening attire are mingling around with drinks in hand, taking offered hors d'oeuvres from waitstaff, and listening to a steel drum reggae band. The crowd has that relaxed look of people that have a drink or two in them and are really enjoying a party. Not New Year's Eve fun, mind you, but a casual mixer type of fun.
I find a table out of the way near the kiddie pool so as not to have my towel, running shoes and car keys get in the way. John is running late as usual, so I get ready, dive in the pool and start my laps. Its a bit of a weird feeling doing your swim workout in the midst of a party. I feel somewhat on display and yet apart from what's going on around me. There is the usual guy who drifts off from the party to have a lengthy personal cell phone conversation. He distractedly walks around the perimeter of the pool as he ignores the party and focuses on his conversation. I can't figure out if he's been dragged to this event by his spouse and is using the call as a party avoidance technique, or if the conversation is actually important. I try to ignore this guy pacing around me and focus on my laps.
John shows up, apologizing for his late arrival. We agree to make the swim a 45 minute swim and to 4 miles afterward. I have a 15 minute lead on him in the pool. Thus, after my 45 minutes of swimming are up, I have a 15 minute wait for Johnny come lately. I shower, dry off and put on my running shoes. I am off to the side of the party, but have nothing better to do than people watch. The crowd is now deeper into their cups and are having a very nice social evening. Then it hits me: but for this ironman training, that would be me at a social gathering enjoying a glass or two of wine on a Wednesday evening.
John and I have discussed how knowing you have a long run or ride the next morning has kept us from accepting a lot of invitations to go out, have a drink or two, or three, and stay out late. No, training for an ironman causes you to think more and more about what you will put in your body, whether wine, a harder drink, or that ever tempting, but not helpful, desert. My weight is down in spite of my increases appetite and calorie consumption. It feels great coming out of the pool, chest a little pumped up from the swim. John & I are probably in the best shape of our lives.
From my vantage point, mid-workout, just outside the party, these party goers look soft. They most likely could not run a half marathon or swim a mile. But they do look like they are having a very good time. I am a bit disdainful and envious of these party goers at the same time. I guess I deserve having other people's good times thrown in my face for doing a swim workout at a yacht club. I vow to continue my Spartan existence until the AZIM. There will be no backsliding at this point. However, once I cross that finish line, I will be imbibing in a drink or two; that is, if I'm not imbibing IV fluids.