This week I was sore from our 30-hour summer camp at least through Wednesday, with maybe some isolated twinges extending into Thursday.
What amazes me is that the soreness almost certainly didn’t come from sports. My team only drew volleyball and kickball in our round robin (which we won) (which means I won) (at sports) (soak that in for a moment), and neither of those involves the kind of physical exertion I’d expect to leave me unable to take the stairs the next day. Or, you know, sit up straight or get out of bed.
No, the soreness was surely 75% swimming, 10% tennis court yoga, and maybe 10% lumpy plastic camp mattress and 5% sports. I don’t know, how much soreness comes from setting my all-time single day sportsball scoring record against people my own age?
I guess the answer is 5%. Now, back to the swimming.
There’s something entrancing about an outdoor pool on a hot day. I cannot resist diving in headfirst, depth allowing. There’s something about that moment of flight followed by my face breaking the plane of the water. Honestly, I lost count of how many dives and full 360 flips I did into the pool, but it had to be upwards of 50. Add to that a few half-laps, treading water, and pulling myself out, and it was hours of constant, full-body exercise.
And boy was I feeling it on Monday. And Tuesday. Et cetera.
(That, in turn made me think of conducting deep-end swim tests for the six-year-olds when I was a camp counselor. (I cannot believe I’ve never told this story on CK, I reference it constantly.)
Every year I managed to pull swim lessons for my bunk in the first or second spot of the morning, when it was still a wee bit too chilly to really love the pool – and, when you’re only standing up to your thighs in water next to a bunch of 1st graders you really notice that. Thus, I was all over any sort of deeper water swimming or coaching.
In this particular instance, each kid had to dive in and spend an entire minute treading water unassisted. Of course, that meant I had to spend about fifteen minutes treading water and also helping the kids if they didn’t pass with flying colors. Thatwas the only time I recall being sore purely from swimming as a teenager.
The moral of the story is: damn, was I in shape during camp when I couldn’t really manage being anorexic thanks to all the exercise and unlimited mac’n’cheese)
Even through my soreness this week, I was like, “Whoa, that was an awesome workout, how am I going to get that much exercise without waking up in the ass-crack of dawn to swim laps?” That’s the sort of pain-response you gain from being a suburban lump over 30 and also from yoga, which are relatively synonymous.
And then I remembered: we were invited to a pool party this weekend!
Granted, the pool party was primarily a backyard housewarming barbecue for our friends Jem & Jan’s gorgeous new house and probably wouldn’t involve any super-intense Big Splash Competitions, but more pool meant potential awesome full-body workout and potentially more subsequent soreness!
The complicating factor (or abetting, depending on how you look at it in light of my story above) was that I’d be in-pool with EV who – despite loving her swim lessons to death – isn’t exactly buoyant all on her own. Into the pool we went, and I merrily swam that toddler around in circles, helped her paddle through the deep end, and towed her on a float. We only had a single scare, when she lunged off of the float to grab a ball and I caught her by the ankle to prevent her going face-first into the drink. We took that as a clear sign that she was exhausted and not entirely thinking clearly, and so E retreated with EV to solid ground.
Meanwhile, I just kept diving in, swimming a lap, pulling myself out, and diving in again.
“Uh, Peter, you’re swimming pretty hard,” either Jack or Jake observed (if you get them both in the same place their sarcastic commentary can elide), probably with cocktail in hand.
Then I had to explain the whole summer camp last weekend thing, and then the whole summer camp back in the day thing, and then I kept swimming and diving.
I’m not quite so sore today as I was all this week, but I’m pretty satisfied with myself for putting in the effort. Jem made sure I got a “Swim Club Member” button before I left her house, but unless I just start showing up at their house every weekend to tread water for an hour between dives I think I might have to relent and get re-acquainted with ass-crack-hour swimming at the local Y to get my full-body soreness fix.
(Terrible alternate title of this post: “sore, sore good.”)