January 03, 2006

The Cannonball

Morning Workout
RUN (treadmill)
Test: 30 minutes at Lactate Threshold (Zone 2) pace (6.7 mph, in case you care), record heart-rate average (142, if you are curious)

Random Comments: I wore my new running shoes for the workout this morning. They're a half size bigger than my old running shoes. Don't ask me why - I'd be forced to come up with a reason to justify it. I felt like Bozo the Clown on the treadmill. Without the big red nose. Which reminds me of the guy in the cow suit that passed me halfway through the Chicago Marathon. There are few things more humiliating than a cow running faster than you in a marathon.

Evening Workout
Main Set: 4 x 300m at Aerobic pace

Random Comments: The swim seemed so easy tonight. I love easy swims. I wish every swim were this easy. Maybe I should quit while I'm ahead.


This really obnoxious late-40 year old, fairly overweight fella did a cannonball into the slow lane at the pool tonight. I don't know why he did a cannonball, I don't know what prompted it. All I know is that there is no diving allowed in the pool, much less cannonballing. There's even a sign that says it. "No Diving," it says. You can't get much more straight-forward than that. One would assume this sign also covers cannonballing; that cannonballing is a form of dive in the same way, say, a zebra is a form of horse. One would assume that you don't need an extra "No Cannonballing" sign. If there is no diving, of course there can't possibly be any cannonballing. It seems so obvious. Yet there I was just standing at the edge of the pool, right next to the slow lane, when I watched this guy walk up to the pool's edge with a smile wrapped about his porky little face and, without a moment's hesitation, do a cannonball right there into the slow lane.

Being the overweight gent I described, the splash had some real force to it. It took me by surprise. Even when you expect the cannonball - when you watch it glide through the air and thwack onto the surface of the water - you still are never really prepared for the splash. It always seems to make you cringe. Being one lane away from the cannonball, I was about as close to the epicenter as you can get. Needless to say, I was drenched by the water shrapnel as it bounded upon its journey across three lanes.

After having landed the cannonball, and perhaps causing a bit too much displacement for the lifeguards well-being, the cannonballer stood up and planted himself right there in the middle of the slow lane, directly blocking the person doing laps. One can only assume that the cannonballer knew the lap person. The smile on the cannonballer's face even implied some type of genial connection. In fact, that kinship could explain the very reasoning behind the cannonball itself. However, when the lap swimmer swam right into the cannonballer, practically bouncing off his belly, I thought something was afoot. And then when the lapper stood up in the water, looked at the cannonballer and said "What the fuck?!" well, that's when I realized they didn't know each other. Something was definitely afoot in the slow lane of the YMCA pool.

The cannonball guy stood there in front of the lap swimmer, that clueless smile still draped across his face, and said "Happy New Year!" That's it. That's all he said. Just "Happy New Year!" Then, just as suddenly, he moved to the side of the lane, got out of the pool and walked into the men's locker room. And - with a whoosh and a waddle - he was gone.

The lapper was in disbelief. He looked at me with a "What the hell was that about" look in his eye. I looked back at him with a "beats the hell out of me, I thought you knew him" look. I then glanced over at the lifeguard who was looking at the both of us with a "did that fat guy really do a cannonball into the slow lane" stare. And for a moment, the three of us circled around in our band of bewilderment. And then the lapper started doing his laps again. The lifeguard started guarding lives again. And I stepped softly and quietly into the pool and continued on with my regularly scheduled training activities..