Good Karma in the Pool

After a discussion and swim lesson with Dave Williams, I’ve committed myself to getting in two good swims a week. While I don’t have the time it would take to really improve on the swim (where I am merely adequate), I can’t get by in Pinehurst on the haphazard, inchoate 1500 yards a week I’ve been doing all spring.

Last Wednesday I pounded out the first longer workout. During the warmup, I noticed a small, shiny object on the bottom of the pool: a wedding band. When I took it to the aquatics director, Matt, he smiled and ripped a Post-It off his monitor—”I know just who wants that! Betsy . . . here’s her number . . .”—and he called her while I returned to the water. She was happily reunited with the band, which turned out to be her twenty-fifth-wedding-anniversary recommittment ring, blessed by her preacher and very special to her.

Yesterday I showed up to teach Spinning and found a nice gift basket (soaps, lotions) and thank-you note Betsy had left me. Today I got to meet her; we were both in the pool at the same time, and Matt introduced us. “Matt told me you’re a triathlete, so I figured you must go through a bottle of lotion a week,” she explained. Very clever! I told her she should instead have been thanking the eye doctor who performed my LASIK five years ago. (Modest he wasn’t: he checked his work postop and crowed, “Perfection! Perfection!”)

Incidentally, the pool is a good place to practice pranayama (yoga breath exercises). My client Melanie (I’m coaching her in exchange for massage; has there ever been a better trade?) was having problems getting the breathing down in the water. I suggested she add to her yoga practice a 1:3 ratio breath exercise. Breathe in fully in a count of one, then breathe out fully for three beats. You learn to empty your lungs fully so the quicker in-breath can be complete.