Saturday, July 19, 2008

Poolwalkers in my lane

So I finally found a branch of my gym that has a lap pool. And what a delightful surprise the new location was. The gym where I had been working out was right in the middle of a strip mall -- it shared space with a nail salon, UPS store, a couple of restaurants, and there was never, ever any parking. The inside of the gym was just as cramped and smelled of rust and suffering. The other branch, on the other hand is its own building, with plenty of parking space. There are more rooms for more activities, a much larger (and cleaner) locker room, and many amenities I wasn't expecting -- like multiple saunas, and a 22-person capacity hot tub right by the pool, and a freakin' juice bar. It's a little out of the way, but so much more worth it.

That's not to say it's perfect. I have to share my lap lane every day, which I don't mind. If I'm sharing it with a swimmer. What I do mind is that most of of the people who use the pool are poolwalkers. If you don't know what I'm talking about, the name kind of explains it: People who walk slowly along the bottom of the pool, in shoes or sandals, wading and waddling from one end to another. And -- not to generalize -- they're all old, slow, mountainously fat, and in my way. The aquatic March of the Potato People.

Have you ever been to the hippo display at the zoo? And gone down to the under-the-water section, and watched the hippos bobbing lazily across the water? It's kind of like that, but with less hippo shit.

I didn't know poolwaking was popular. Or that it's a viable form of exercise. What I do know is there are more of them on any given day than there are swimmers. They lay claim to half the pool -- it's actually cordoned off for them -- but even so, they always intrude into the swimming lanes. Always. Lanes that say "lap swim only." So my options are to swim in the fast lane -- keeping an eye out for faster swimmers torpedoing at me from the opposite direction -- or swim in the poolwalker-infested intermediate lanes and risk smashing head-on into Stay Puft.

Like this, but under water.

All in all, though, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Though when I'm done with my swim -- 44 laps, what I'm told is a mile -- I do share the giant communal hot tub with them. Usually I'm the only swimmer in there... the rest are poolwalkers, fresh off their "workout." I climb out once the water smeels too much like canola oil and back hair.

On the non bitchy/whiny side, I got to help Matt DeMille move in yesterday... four doors down the hall! A big welcome to my fellow Northwesterner and, in a scant two-and-a-half years, alumn.

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