Friday, August 29, 2008
Immersing myself in books
I have found the perfect place to read in peace. The swimming pool. When my H20 Audio headset arrives I'll be able to listen to audio books, right now it will be short stories, but as my aerobic capacity increases I'll work towards The Brothers Karamazov or War & Peace, I suppose music is an option too. What would the best music for laps be?
As part of my new exercise regime I am spending my allowance on all sorts of paraphernalia to make the experience more palatable. Anti chafe shorts, lightweight running shoes - resisting the urge to become obsessive compulsive as I was back in the 80's when I got hooked into triathlons.
It was in the very early days of the sport. I worked for an ad agency called MacKay King (famous for Terry King's cunning reverse takeover of Saatchi & Saatchi). The General Manager was Tony Thomas (now the business manager of the New Zealand America's Cup Team). Tony was also in charge of the Schweppes account and they were sponsoring the first short-course triathlon series. "You're young and fit" he said - "…sign up for this." "OK" Said I, signing as I spoke, "…what's a triathlon?" "Swim, Run, Cycle…" he giggled, disappearing down the hall in a blaze of Prince of Wales check and French cuffs.
The problem was that I couldn't swim.
I had six half hour lessons with Kiwi swimming Legend Lincoln Hurring. My classmates were middle aged housewives. For every half hour I spend about 15 practicing the techniques. Who'd have thought you'd have to relearn how to breathe?
In the end I got hooked. Oddly enough, swimming is the only part of the exercise I came to love. So much so that I swam until my arms nearly dropped off. Mr Hurring paid me a compliment I will never forget. He said I should compete. The true compliment was to his clear, simple instruction and emphasis on precision over power in the water - understanding hydrodynamics and buoyancy (quite important) - very Zen.
I was only a mediocre Triathlete - I over trained for swimming, which affected everything else…balance grasshopper…my shoulders became inflamed from endless laps of the Parnell Baths (long, outdoor and saltwater…my favourite place…especially on a mild summer's morning as the sun rises over Rangitoto).
So - now I am back…awaiting the arrival of my sound system.
What fun we shall have. Is there an audio version of Thus Spake Zarathustra
? Or better still Chronicles by Bob Dylan?