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swimsuit addict

Maybe I should move to the country and manage a petting zoo

Rating: 5 votes, 5.00 average.
Yesterday I drove up to Alabama for lunch with my mom and aunt. It’s a pretty drive, past lots of farms, without much traffic—between towns I saw maybe one other car every couple minutes or so. Two of the little towns I pass though on the way to visit my folks are Ebro, famous locally for its dog track, and Vernon, which was featured in the documentary “Vernon, Florida” by Errol Morris . Between towns, I saw lots of little goats and calves, and the farm that a decade ago had emus now seems to be heavily invested in miniature horses. I wanted to bring home some of all of the above, or at least stop and pet them.

Actually, there used to be a menagerie just a few miles down the road from where I’m staying. It was called Patrones, and had goats and peacocks and bunny rabbits and one truly ginormous hog. You couldn’t pet the animals—they were shy—but for 50 cents you could buy a bag of popcorn to feed them. Admission was free—you could just walk in and wander about. It seemed like something straight out of Flannery O’Connor. I did worry about the pig’s quality of life. As far as I could tell it spent its days lying on its side and being scaled by the goats, who loved standing atop it.

After my four hours of driving to Alabama and back and a lunch of fried chicken, fried okra, and fried cornbread, I felt like I was beginning to turn into that hog. I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t kidnap any little goats to bring home with me. In any case, I was super ready for a workout. I made it back in time for the masters group’s evening workout at 5:30. Here’s what I did::

600 scy warmup

8 x 50 (25 build, 25 easy) @ :55

8 x 100 kick w/ fins @ 1:45, desc. 1-4 and 5-8 [1:24, 1:20, 1:14, 1:11, 1:30, 1:20, 1:17, 1:12]

4 x 200 pull @ 3:00 [2:45, 2:45, 2:40, 2:42]

2 x 400, 1st FR, 2nd IM, build both 400s by 100s

2 x 50 sprint FR [?, 30.6]

200 warmdown

The air temp tonight was about 40 when we got in, and about 35 when we got out (steam rose off everyone’s body when they exited the pool), but the water temp was fine. It was fun swimming in the cold, and really great seeing the pool absolutely filled with swimmers on such a chilly evening. Between the kids team and masters and the visiting college team, all 20 lanes were filled.

When they first built this pool (about 4 years ago), I couldn’t believe they would really keep it open year round. This is an area without a deep competitive swimming tradition, and during the first winter I often found myself swimming all alone by or with just one other swimmer. Locals thought I was absolutely nuts for swimming outdoors in the winter, even when it was just in the 50s and sunny. So kudos to Panama City Beach for building this great facility and making it successful! All I could think when I saw the pool full of happy swimmers tonight was that Field of Dreams got it right—If you build it, they will come!

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  1. pwb's Avatar
    That looks like a gorgeous facility, indeed. Swimming outside in the cold is great once you're in the pool; I just hate the 30 seconds from the time I take off my sweats to run to the pool and the 60 second wet walk back to the locker room after swimming.
  2. swimsuit addict's Avatar
    I hear you on the cold entry and exit. My preferred strategy is:
    1. Get fully dressed--including cap and goggles--in the locker room, and cover up with swim parka, towel, and boots.
    2. Pull up a plastic pool chair to within 5 feet of my lane.
    3. Quickly disrobe, leave parka and towel in chair and boots alongside, and hop in pool immediately.
    4. Reverse upon exiting the pool.

    With practice I've reduced the time between getting out of the pool and getting re-parkaed and booted to about 15 seconds.
    I'm sure triathletes with their transition-area experience could do it even faster!
  3. tjrpatt's Avatar
    I wish that some town nearby would build a great pool. But, I don't think that it will happen in my county anytime. Sweet facility. are all the pools in that part of florida outdoors?
  4. swimsuit addict's Avatar
    are all the pools in that part of florida outdoors?
    Not at all. This is one of the few outdoor pools in the panhandle that is open year-round--it must have taken a real leap of faith to think that it would work out.
    Before this pool was built, the only place within a 50-mile or so radius to train in the winter (besides the chilly gulf) was a 6-lane, 25-yard indoor pool at Gulf Coast Community College. Even it was tough to get access to if you were just a short-term visitor.