Sep 06

Chlorine is my jam


8589583606_4b4ed6c03d_zFirst things first, that photo is not me. I like to think that I look like her when I am swimming, but the truth is, I have no idea. Because I’m swimming, so the only things I am sure of are these:

  1. There’s a big black line that runs the length of the pool.
  2. I am most comfortable when I breathe every four strokes to the right.
  3. Breathing is much louder when done underwater.
  4. Lots and lots of people who swim in the same pool as me forget to remove their band-aids before entering the water.


My foot is still broken. But it is healing. Slowly. Or maybe it is healing at a moderate rate, even quickly for a cracked bone–I don’t know–but it feels like it is happening in slow motion. I’m not the most patient of people when confronted by my own limitations. Or really limitations of any kind. I am grateful that many of my friends, family, and colleagues are more patient than I am. I’m not always the most cheerful person in the room right now. Especially if getting to that room requires stairs.

So I’ve been swimming (and aqua jogging, or pool running). For the quantitative types among us, I’ve spent a little over 24 hours in the pool in the last three weeks. That might strike some as excessive. It would probably strike me as excessive. Except for the fact that the time I spend in the pool is the only time that I can move through the world without pain. The pain of walking isn’t excruciating. But it is uncomfortable enough that I am avoiding it and avoiding things that require it. This includes walking my dog,  Parker, which  for the last 6 almost 7 years has been a daily source of joy for both of us. I miss it terribly. But swimming doesn’t hurt. When I swim, I can forget that my foot is broken (except for the flip turns, which I do only with my left foot). Aquajogging doesn’t hurt either. It’s about as exciting as watching paint dry, but it doesn’t hurt.

It occurred to me last week sometime that perhaps it is appropriate that my journey to Paris requires me to swim. Perhaps all transatlantic marathons should have such a prerequisite. Maybe not. Probably not. But it makes perfect sense to me that mine does. I think about Paris a lot when I’m in the pool.

I did break down and purchase a waterproof iPod this week. I’ve used it twice now, and it has really made a great difference, especially in the pool running. I’ve been listening to an an audiobook. Audiobooks, I have realized, are EXPENSIVE. And many of the ways to get them from libraries or the like require newer technology (the waterproof iPods are generally Shuffles, so the apps that many library interfaces require will not work). I’ve signed up for a trial membership with, which is pretty cool so far. The headphones aren’t very comfortable, but I’m pretty sure none of the waterproof options combined with a swim cap would be.

It also occurred to me that maybe there is a magical number of laps I need to swim or minutes I need to aqua jog for my foot to be healed. I don’t really believe that to be true, or at least the rational, non-magical thinking part of my brain doesn’t believe that to be true . . . but there’s nothing like an injury to trigger superstition. As I said to a friend, I am becoming the Queen of Magical Thinking of late.

I go back to the doctor on the 16th. Hopefully I will get good news.


[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user Simply Swim UK]

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