Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Karen writes: Swimming pool blues

I loathe the swimming pool.  With my severely cut down swim training I've been putting my effort into a few slow wetsuit swims in the sea, gently putting my dodgy shoulder under pressure to see how it copes with greater time in the water, not worrying about harder work just aiming to achieve the distance with a minimum of stress.  This week I just couldn't see how I could swim in the sea, the tide is way out in the mornings and evenings all week and it wont be possible to swim on the weekend.

So I had to go to the Otara pool before work today.  Older daughter is off to school camp, tenting, so it was a bit muddly getting last minute items packed for her, is there enough sunscreen because its shaping up to be hot outside and what's the plan for the expected torrential rain?  Yep, good old Auckland smorgasbord weather, just pack everything.  Anyway, finally she was ready to go and I was too.  I had my togs under my clothes, wearing jandals, bag with undies/ towel/ toiletries/ shoes/ flippers/ goggles/ water/ snacks, it was almost as complicated getting me to the pool as the girl to camp but I arrived at the recreation centre and claimed a lane to myself which was bliss.  The first bit of a swim always takes so long, one length...two lengths...call it water trudging.  Then you get up to about 20 lengths and things suddenly start feeling like they are going a bit faster, get to 40 lengths and there is almost no point in stopping.  I made 60 lengths, is my shoulder hurting I asked myself and the answer was yes, not too much, but it was probably sensible to call a halt and do the stretching thing and go to work.

The only good thing about going to the pool is the shower, it is lovely to stand in that hot shower, muscles tingling a little from being well-used, remembering to reach back regularly to push the button to make sure the water doesn't stop, yes. Even that shower though wasn't enough to give me more than a transient feeling of satisfaction, but as I walked out of the changing room I looked at the people in the pool, and then looked again.  Two women were walking up and down one of the lanes, chattering way, enjoying themselves, getting their exercise.  They were wearing t'shirts branded with 'Lets Beat Diabetes' which was a 5 year long project run by the local District Health Board a few years ago, big project, lots of excellent ideas, an effort on the part of a DHB to work in partnership with the community to help stem the rising diabetes problem in South Auckland.  It was a brave attempt and achieved some important things in it's  term, but like many such projects, changes, new directions, different priorities and a few years later who remembers Lets Beat Diabetes and the massively hard work put into it by all sorts of people?

Except today, years after the project finished, I saw these two women in the Otara pool, enthusiastically walking their way to good health wearing their t'shirts.  I smiled then, this was really what Lets Beat Diabetes was all about.