And cue the clutter in my brain

The pool yards were calling today. Swim Master Greg decided that I needed to work on my distance today and handed me a 3100 yard workout that had me exhausted just looking at it.

Right after a short 500-yard warmup came the mother load of the schedule — a nice, strong 800 yard interval.

OK. See some people wonder what I think about when I run. Actually the best runs I have are those where I don’t think — something regular readers of my endurance endeavors understand is an elusive art form for me.

But what’s much more frightening is what I think about on my distance swims.

Because linear thought often escapes me, my mind can simultaneously be an interesting and scary place. My mind wanders when I swim, which is dangerous because I need to count laps — something I don’t need to do when running distance.

So that 800 yard section of my workout meant I had to count 16 laps — and hopefully not lose count.

I’m usually fine through the first five or so. I keep track fairly well while thinking about my form — wide catch, pull in, thumb to my thigh and finish the stroke. I’m also thinking about keeping my head low and elbows high. (And probably something else Swim Master Greg will remind me of later this week.)

Once I start to hit No. 7, it’s important for me to reinforce my lap count.

And cue the clutter in my brain:

Seven: Seventh Heaven. Never watched the show. Seven. Seven. Thumb to thigh and finish the stroke.

Eight: Eight in French is “huit.” It’s pronounced kind of like “wheat.” Wheat Kings by the Tragically Hip is a good song. You can’t be fond of living in the past/if you are then there’s no way that you’re gonna last.

Nine: My favorite number. It was Roy Hobbs number in The Natural. Love the lines from the Natural. “I should have been a farmer. I love chickens and pigs and ducks. Kind of fond of nanny goats I am.”

10: Double-digits. Why do my communications students always write “ten” when I tell them not? And are they physically incapable of double-spacing a paper?

OK, back to form. Wide reach. Pull in. Push down, thumb to thigh and finish the stroke. Head low. Follow through. Glide.

13: The house number where I grew up. My brother’s coming to town for Easter weekend. I miss my brother. I love how our maturity level drops when we’re back in the same zip code. Then again, that assumes we had a maturity level to begin with.

15: Almost there. Thumb to thigh. Finish the stroke.

16: Last one. Last one! Thinking of the song “I am 16 going on 17” from the Sound of Music. I wonder if the hills during Sunday’s 15K in Mendon Ponds will make me want to sing “The Lonely Goatherd.” That’s a marketable skill.

Ah, after that 800 the 400s and 200s didn’t seem so long.

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