Finally started my morning swims again. Late last summer I decided to start swimming in the mornings but ended up only going maybe 5 times before my grand plan of getting my six pack was ended abruptly by the uncertain departure of my toenail (read: it wasn’t quite falling off see this if you want to review the gory pics). Then when I could swim again it was too cold.
So it’s on again this summer. By the way, my grand plan to get a six pack (of abs, not beer, I’ve got plenty of that) is still some ways off, but at least I’ve achieved my 2010 resolution of losing a few inches off my waist and shedding a few kilos, albeit 6 months late. Better late than never, as the saying goes.
Back to swimming. I find it a lot more interesting than running on a treadmill (or elliptical), so it’s my preferred mode of cardio exercise. For one thing, swimming is a full-body exercise whose movement efficiency changes with posture adjustments, so there’s something to keep my mind on that’s inherent to the exercise itself. The other reason swimming’s not boring is because I have to watch where I’m going, as I’m sharing the swimming pool with tens of other half-naked men (alas, there are practically no women). Sharing requires etiquette, and that’s not a strong suit of Taiwanese people. It therefore is required of me to navigate the swimming pool and avoid rubbing masculine skin.
Take, for example, The Man Who Swims In the Middle. The general consensus is that we always swim on the right side of the lane, however TMWSIM likes to swim in the dead center. It’s manageable if we’re all swimming freestyle, but when any one of us switches to breaststroke it becomes quite a problem, especially the “kick” part of the stroke. I slapped the guy a few times to make a point, so he eventually decided to wreak havoc in a different lane.
Then there’s the Speedo-Clad Middle-Aged. They come in a group of four or five, swim faster than me, and are each tanned, slim and semi-wrinkled. SCMA like to swim together, as in, in parallel. It’d be ok if I can keep up with them and either swim directly ahead or behind them, but I can’t. So when I see them coming head on, I’ve only got two options – to duck under, or navigate the tiny space between them, risking the chance of skin-to-skin contact. Yikes.
I’ll admit the challenge of navigating obstacles isn’t on my wishlist of things to do at 630 in the morning, but it’ll makes the swimming experience much more engrossing. For a mere 30NT, it’s a pretty good bang for the buck. The outdoor pool is 50m long, and isn’t as heavily chlorinated as some of the indoor pools here. For all that, I can ignore the shower curtains which only close to about 80% (hello, shiny asses!), the shower heads which only shoots out a semi-consolidated beam of water, i.e. not quite massage quality, but definitely doesn’t distribute water evenly (but there is warm water), and the number of organisms floating on the top of the pool. But hey, the nutritional value of swimming pools deserves its own blog post.