Running to the Y for a swim (and biking home)

The toughest part of running 7 miles to the YMCA, swimming 300 meters and then biking home was coming up with the idea.

Well. The run was tough, too, actually, with no shade at all the last 3 miles during the hottest part of the day. If I hadn’t been sipping water from Colleen’s imitation Camelbak the whole way I would’ve been toast. But I so loved the idea of this workout, once it finally hatched in my brain, that there was never any question about finishing it.

I was overdue for a longer run, having given my sore hamstring a few days of recuperation. But I also couldn’t get the idea of an upcoming local sprint triathlon out of my mind. I’m not in shape for it. But it’s practically on my home turf, in the local state park where my sister and do a lot of our running. (Before “Waterworld” came along this summer, anyway.)

Then I realized that if I turned my usual 7-mile run from an out-and-back into a one-way trip, I’d end up at the Y. And since Ben was planning to take his sisters there for an early afternoon workout anyway, all I’d have to do is stow my gear and bike in/on the car so it would be there waiting for me.

The plan seemed solid. Now all I had to do was do it.

The first half of the run was a breeze because I’ve done it so many times. And I’ve continued on into Murray and over to my brother’s house a few times, too. The toughest part was the 2 miles from Brent and Darcy’s road to the Y on the edge of Bluffton – partly because I’d never run that before but mostly because of the heat.

Still, there was never any question of stopping or walking because in one sense it did feel like a real (if solitary) triathlon in that I knew there would be people at the transition area waiting for me. I tried to avoid looking too ridiculously spent when I jogged into the parking lot, knowing the kids might be watching through the glass front of the workout room. And I took a couple of deep breaths before reaching down for the car key on my shoelaces. I got every bit as lightheaded as I feared, but I didn’t crumple into a heap – especially since I was holding onto the car with one hand.

Colleen greeted me in the lobby and offered to time my 300-meter swim. It’s a good thing I sprayed off twice, in the locker room as well as in the poolside shower, because I couldn’t stop sweating.

I took my time getting in the water because I was still so overheated I didn’t want to deliver a big shock to my system.  I wasn’t too concerned about the particulars of this swim — it was just checking off a box on this  workout – so I did it sidestroke. Funny thing was, even though I was beat from the run I was only 2 seconds slower than the previous time.

As I changed into fresh biking clothes I offered to drive the girls home, then bring the car and bike back, knowing Ben usually works out much longer than his sisters. But he was ready to go, so I stowed my gear in the car, hopped on my bike and waved as they drove off.

The ride home was uneventful, pretty much just a cooldown for my tired legs. But they started feeling better about halfway back, and when I turned east for the last mile or so, with the wind at my back, I was surprised to see the speedometer at 20 mph – a nice if undeserved finale.

I was tired when I got home but not exhausted. If it hadn’t been for the heat, this was definitely one of those workouts that sounds a lot more impressive than it really is. It’s certainly doable enough to make it part of my repertoire, especially since it’s something I can do without burning any extra fuel (except my own).

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