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Alex's swim journal

It's a journey: musings on art, literature, life... and occasional notes on training.

  1. Winter doldrums

    by , December 15th, 2011 at 10:21 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Last night's swim at the Y was uninspired; I was happy to have been there at all. But I felt like I was just slogging through the 2000 yards... not enough energy to work in intervals. This month I've already missed 5 days; In November, despite traveling for 8-9 days, I only missed five days all month. Looks like my string of 40-mile+ months will come to an end this December.

    It's been a good year, though. Met my GTD goal midway through November. More than 300 miles for 2011! Next year I'll go for the average 2000-yards/day: a 416-mile goal. I tend to forget though, when things are going really well, that I need to build different phases into my schedule. I probably should be in a rest phase right now anyway, so missing a few swims between the holidays and cutting back on my yardage is not a bad thing. Just feels strange right now.

    I'm reminded of Dante ascending Mount Purgatory; as night falls he must stop his ascent... no matter how much he wants to keep going. Virgil, his guide, asks the poet Sordello (who has just mentioned this principle to them):

    "What do you mean? ... If a soul / started to climb at night, would he be stopped, / or would he simply find he could not move?"

    Sordello responds:

    "There's nothing that prevents our going up / except the darkness of the shadows: this, / alone, afflicts the will with impotence."

    (Trans. Mark Musa, _The Portable Dante_ [London: Penguin, 1995], p. 231).

    Nothing... except the darkness of the shadows! This time of year, with so little daylight in Wisconsin it's sometimes hard to find the motivation. I long for those seemingly endless summer days on the lakes, reinvigorated by fresh water and sun. I think now "How did I ever get in so much yardage or mileage in a day?" Dante reminds me of the cyclical nature of our ascent... two steps up, one step back; at night we rest.

    There will be a dawn.
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