Skiing off into the sunset

Last evening I got out for a ski near my house. I had been down in St. Cloud for work; pulling an all-nighter watching a project that I have been working on since July come to life. As I drove back north towards Duluth I figured I had enough time to do a few hot laps before the sun went down. I don’t mind skiing at night, but having been cooped up for a couple of days had me longing for some sunshine. I got out just in time to watch a glorious sunset.

Winter in Duluth provides many awesome sunsets and rises, but this one was pretty dang good. It was full of gold and warmth and lit everything a lovely shade of orange. It was about 10 degrees above zero. A heatwave this time of year. I wished I’d brought my phone with to capture the scene, but I rarely ski with my phone (at least when I’m this close to home). I’ll bring it with at other times, but it often dies in the cold. I’m contemplating getting a “real” camera to bring along on my adventures for moments like those from yesterday. The iPhone just isn’t cutting some days. In any case, the skiing was surprisingly great considering the lack of snow in the area. There were a few icy patches that I hit at top speed coming down some of the hills. The sound of my skis trying to bite into that ice makes me feel alive and I realize that I’m holding my breath trying to keep myself together and on the trail.

After my ski, I headed off to the pool to do a few laps followed by some sauna time. This is the only time that I’ll head indoors to be active. I have a really hard time doing time on the treadmill. It feels like a prison sentence. If I’m layered up right, being outside is hands down the best way to go. If I’m not layered up right, it means I’m working harder to stay warm, which isn’t always a bad thing. I’ve never regretted time outside. But, I have regretted time inside.

That said, the swim went smoothly and an hour flew by before I knew it. My shoulders felt a little tired and stiff (maybe from skiing both Sunday and Tuesday), but they loosened up after a few yards. I’m having a hard time counting laps and I wish there was something that could keep track for me. When people ask what I think about while I swim, I tell them that I’m trying to count the entire time. It’s ridiculous, but it’s the truth. I think I topped out around 2,500 yards for the night and the sauna was smoking hot afterwards. Gotta get that chlorine out of the skin somehow; no better way than to sweat it out.

Swim Season

I’m dubbing this winter the swim season. With our lack of snow and frigid temps, I’ve been forced back into the pool. Maybe forced isn’t the right word, but it’s been a while since swimming has been a regular part of my routine. My last year of competitive swimming was in college back in 2002. Yikes! It’s been 13 years? I’ve swam periodically on and off, but nothing consistent since then. This has changed recently and I’m warming up to the idea of bigger things (that of which I cannot name at the moment). They need some time to simmer in the pot for a bit yet.

I’ve been ramping up my swimming, but at first it was a bit of a struggle. I’d get bored quickly and end up just swimming around underwater and jumping around like a fish. Playing is a huge part of swimming however, and I still find time to do this at the end of my workouts. I can’t get into a pool or body of water without goofing around; that would just be wrong. Being in the water just brings out the little kid (or mermaid) in me I guess.

I’m finding that I’m really enjoying being back in the pool. I think I just had to get over that “hump” of getting back into swim shape. My body is remembering what it feels like to be strong in the pool and that is such a good feeling. My stroke feels long, relaxed and strong, similar to the way it used to feel in college. It’s oddly exhilarating. I never thought this would happen to me. I had swam for so many years that I just stopped after college.

My workouts started small with only maybe 1,000 yards. They’ve since more than doubled and I’m continuing to build. I’ve even gone so far as to write up workouts for myself. It’s so weird! This is nowhere near what I used to swim, but it’s a step in the right direction. At the height of my swimming career, I was swimming 12,000-14,000 yards a day (that’s with two a day workouts) + dry land and weight training. I figure if I can get back into the 5,000-6,000 range I’ll be good to go (right now I’m just shy of 3,000 yards per workout). 

Now it’s just figuring out what I want to do with all this swimming business…there’s a lot of possibilities out there!

Ugh. This is totally me.

Ugh. This is totally me.