Our local Y opened Monday with limited service. It was great to get back into a swimming pool after a two-month hiatus. I was so excited that I almost went to bed wearing my goggles and flippers. Well, maybe not that excited, but I was definitely ready.
The Y staff was cheerfully welcoming guests when I arrived at 5:00 AM. Additional staff was on-hand to help sanitize regularly throughout the day. A few changes were made to accommodate social distancing and reduce the amount of unnecessary touch-points. After the inconveniences we all have experienced, these changes were not a problem at all. In fact, they seemed extremely sensible in light of the fact that the coronavirus is still active in our region.
The first morning all I wanted to do was swim. And that is exactly what I did. I warmed up with a familiar 1000 yard routine of swimming, pulling and kicking. Mondays were always IM day with my swim-friends, so I tried a 100 IM to see if I could still perform the different strokes. I followed that with a 100 free and then repeated the IM and free combination. Feeling successful and ready for more I repeated that sequence at the 200-yard distance. I finished my first day back in the pool with a 200 kick and a 200-yard cool down. 2600 yards with some variety and not much speed was a good return to swimming.
For day 2, I mixed things up a bit by running a little before swimming. This was common for me prior to everything shutting down. It’s roughly a mile from the Y to the High School. So, I ran to the school and then ran some laps around the track. While running the track I recalled reading about the benefits of runners changing things up. The writer had suggested running barefoot as a way to engage the feet and legs in new ways.
The football field has the best grass surface around which was enticing enough for me to shed my shoes and socks and run the field barefoot. During the first lap I focused on the feeling of the short burmuda blades touching my instep and the first section of my toes that rarely touch anything. I felt the turf yield to the weight of my heel and the ball of my foot with each step. The damp grass was cool and prickly, but not uncomfortable to my bare feet.
After that lap I decided to stride out the 120-yard length of the field and then back off the pace as I turned to run across the end zone. Repeating that for two laps, I ran one easy lap before switching to 40-yard sprints followed by 120-yard recoveries for two laps. Satisfied, and not wanting too much of a good thing, I put on my shoes to run the mile back to the Y.
I showered, paying extra attention to my feet before heading to the pool for 1500 yards of swimming. The facility is in great shape and the staff seems very glad to be fulfilling their mission of serving the community in a way that complies with our state’s first phase of re-opening. I am so grateful to have access to the facility. The second day back felt like a return to normalcy and the beginning of building a new routine.