Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hot Tub Time Machine

My Y's pool is closed today through next Saturday. I wanted to swim today to help me recover from the 200k trainer ride I did yesterday, so I started hunting for alternate pools last night. I had thought I'd go to Naperville Y, but it turns out they are closed, too. This morning I tried contacting Elmhurst Y, and theirs is closed, too! So I decided to bite the bullet and go to Good Samaritan Wellness Center, which is about 2.5 miles from home, and is a very nice pool and facility and pay the $15.

I got there at about 8:20, and recognized the girl at the front desk, Jamie. In the past, she has let me swim there free (off the books) when my Y was closed.I bought her a bottle of wine a few years ago as a thank you for the favors. I filled out the waiver form and was more than happy to pay for just one day (there's another pool close by that is only $10 a pop that I will visit the rest of the week). Another woman came to the desk, a member of the facility, and she'd forgotten her card. I turned to her and asked if they gave guest passes, so maybe I could be hers. They only do it on odd days, so I hugged this complete stranger and said, "I'm your sister!" And Jamie let me in for free.

I got to the pool deck, grabbed a kick board and pull buoy and grabbed my very own lane! I got in, and the water was nice and cool, as compared to my Y which is usually too hot for me. I did my warmup and was predictably slow, but I didn't care. Immediately, I began wistfully looking over at the giant hot tub, knowing I'd be in there when I was finished to stretch and relax. I have a caffeine hangover from drinking the caffeine-laden Infinit yesterday. But the swimming felt great.

In looking around the pool area (there's a lap pool, a hot therapeutic pool, hot tub and sauna), I recalled racing here many times in the past, as part of the Midwest Indoor Triathlon Club Series during the first part of several years. I remember how much fun I've always had at those races (format is 10 minute swim, 20 minute stationary bike and 15 minute track run. Scoring is based on total distance covered, so it favors strong cyclists, like ME!), and where I would go at this particular pool to get body marked. Some of the volunteers would show up year after year, and several remembered me from having won in the past, and also that I always raced in a 2-piece bikini, as I was comfortable in it, and then I only had to put on bike shorts for the rest of the race.

I remembered that I'd won my AG many times at those races, and thought I should look it up when I got home. I swam an easy 2700 yards and then hit the hot tub, which was luxurious! I stayed in there about 25 minutes, and savored the strong jets massaging my quadratus lumborum, triceps, glutes and forearms. I got out, took a nice long, hot shower (it's rather cool here today but nice), got dressed, thanked Jamie with a smile and a wink, and came home.

I looked up all those races. Holy crap I won a lot of those things, and I tossed all the medals because I had so many a few years ago. Here's the tally:

  • 2003: Raced and won 3 out of 4 races.
  • 2004: Raced and won all 4 races and the series.
  • 2005: Raced and won 2 races.
  • 2007: Raced and won all 4 races and the series.
  • 2009: Raced and won all 4 races and the series.
  • 2010: Raced and won all 3 (starting in 2010 there were only 3 races--Good Samaritan dropped out) races and the series.
  • 2015: After a hiatus from these things, raced and won one of the races.
Now, these things are very local, but over the years, they became quite competitive with serious triathletes showing up, so I was always proud and honored to keep winning them. They gave me a serious dose of speedwork in the middle of winter, which was good training and also great motivation. There are several friends I still have to this day that I met at these things!  I first met a now pro triathlete, Thomas Gerlach, at one of these things. He would win overall, and was smiling broadly back then and he continues to do so today.

It became known that I was a beast on the bike, and many times I would have the overall best female bike split, unless a pro triathlete showed up. Several friends and I even tested out what would be the best way to maximize distance on the bike, which depended on how they were calibrated. We were fiercely competitive at these things! And yet I know some people who might consider it beneath them to race one of these. Too short, too small, indoors, blah blah blah. To me, a race is a race--whether it's on my own, inside, outside and whatever distance. It's all to the training good!

When I got home from swimming today. a friend met me at my house. He gave me a nice grocery bag full of home grown tomatoes! So I guess I'll be making some kind of sauce soon! I gave him some of the Muffuletta I made a few weeks ago.

In a few hours I'm going to have a cocktail with another friend who is here from out of town, and then I'm waltzing down the street to a neighbor's who is also a friend and we'll share a few beers and conversation.

What an awesome day I am having! It's nice to reflect on the past to see where it's brought me today, it's great to encounter and know such kind and generous people, and it's great to have friends to share the bounties of our lives with.

Life is really good!

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