No limits just epiphanies

In my most recent conversation with my father about swimming he asked me how I felt about doing laps in a salt water pool.

"Doesn't the salt burn your mouth?"

"Why would the salt burn my mouth?"

"Doesn’t it taste salty?"

"Why would it taste salty?”

“When you get water in your mouth, isn’t it salty?”

“I don’t get water in my mouth.”


“Do you get water in your mouth?”

Judging by my father’s smile and slight shrug I suspect he gets quite a bit of water in his mouth when he swims. 

“I once had a lifeguard tell me I had the worst form of any person he’d ever seen in that pool.”

My father’s been swimming laps for an hour several days a week for decades now.  And his form is fine.  He does look like he's not moving but the point is he is.

He told me his original intention to get exercise during his lunchtime at work when I was a kid was to join a colleague for a run, which he did but only a few times. 

They worked near the tip of Long Island at Brookhaven National Laboratory, which had kind of a campus atmosphere with a track and an Olympic size pool.  As soon as his knees started to feel wonky he decided to try the pool. 

The lifeguard told my father he couldn’t understand why he would go through all the trouble to get to the pool, change out of his suit and tie and into swim trunks, shower, and dress for work when he was only going to swim 1 length. 

“I think he had it out for me.”

“How long did it take you to get up to any distance at all?”

“A year.”

What made me think of this was my experience in the pool yesterday.  There were 2 of us sharing a lane when a woman I see often tapped me on the shoulder and asked if she could join us in the lane.

“I’m only doing 2 lengths,” she promised, holding up her 2 fingers and her kickboard and wearing a floral swim cap.

I slipped off my goggles, pulled out my Waterfi earphones, and said good morning and then told her sure, of course, she should take her time and do as many lengths as she wanted to.  But I also knew that doing 2 lengths was 1 more than she usually does.

She had told me in the locker room on another occasion that she comes all the way to the gym nearly every morning to get in the pool with a kickboard and swim a single length.

“It just makes me feel so good,” she said.


When I met with sports nutritionist Sue James last week in preparation for my long run on Sunday, I had planned to do 10 miles.  But then when her re-fueling/hydration plan was broken up into 4 mile blocks, I just thought it would be easier to do 12 miles than to have to figure out how to make it work for 10.  I’ve never been good with math.

Before I say much more, I would just like to note that Sunday’s run was probably my best ever.  I don't know if it was because I was more prepared than usual or if I just felt more supported than usual.  Also, my hydration and re-fueling plan is based on my body surface area, so what works for me might not work for you and since I'm a fairly tiny person, you probably need a lot more.

I ended up altering things because it was very humid and I was feeling depleted sooner than I expected.  I had 3 8-ounce water bottles with me and just kept filling them at the 4 water fountains I passed.  I had 2 bottles on my belt and 1 in my hand.

So here is what I did:

Mile 4: 8 oz water + 13 swedish fish
Mile 6: 4 oz water
Mile 8: 8 oz water + 13 swedish fish
Mile 9: 4 oz water
Mile 10: 8 oz water
Mile 11: 8 oz water + 13 Swedish fish
Mile 12: 8 oz water

I weighed myself before and after my run and gained 1 pound.  I resisted the temptation to gasp at this, remembering that I was measuring hydration and that’s all.

I had a small carton of low fat chocolate milk immediately after the run but didn't have lunch until about 1.5 hours later (later than I wanted but that's how it worked out).  I had kale salad with grilled chicken and a few pieces of bread.

Although I so wanted to have the experience of peeing “in a field,” to use Sue’s words, I never felt like I really needed to use the bathroom.   I did take 1 bathroom break at 6 miles at Fletcher’s Cove and started to hydrate more at that point.  I didn’t have any issues with water sloshing around in my belly.  I also really enjoyed the Swedish fish breaks and started to use them for goal setting.  Mentally I was only running 4 miles.  Just get to the fish.

My average pace was 11:31; I paused my running app when I was hydrating so I could get a truer picture of my pace, etc. The only times I stopped was at Fletcher’s Cove and to refill my water bottles, otherwise I drank while walking or jogging.

Upon reflection, I remember starting to feel depleted at 11-12. Sue suggested that for my next long run this Sunday I should fill one of the bottles with Gatorade and save it until I get to 9 or 10 and just refill the other bottles from the fountain.

Playlist highlights: I'm having fun rebuilding and revamping my playlists. Here's what I'm listening to during warm ups and cool downs and walks when I'm not listening to "Fresh Air."

Stay with Me - Sam Smith

Beautiful Day (feat. Sheryl Crow) - Joshua Radin

Be My Forever - Christina Perri

Hazy - (feat. William Fitzsimmons) - Rosi Golan

Involuntary - M. Ward

Lucky (feat. Collie Caillat) - Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat

Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiso'ole

Landslide - Dixie Chicks

Hello - Tristan Prettyman

Kathy's Song - Eva Cassidy

Who We Are - Tristan Prettyman

The First Time - Matt Kivel

Thinkin Bout You - Frank Ocean

Falling Slowly - Glen Hansard & Marketa Inglova

Give Up the Ghost - Rosi Golan

See you next time!