Up until about 5 weeks ago it had been 10 years or so since I had entered a swimming pool for the purpose of swimming laps. I had gotten into it one summer in grad school, and had faithfully gone several days a week to swim a mile. I don't know what it is about that distance, but whenever I get into a pool, I feel compelled to swim a mile, no more, no less. So, with the encouragement of a work friend, I made my way to the pool one day after work to make another attempt at lap swimming. I re-geared myself, and was prepared for this torture fest. Of course, the day we happened to pick, was the one day the pool was closed. We arrived to locked gates, so I went to get a manicure instead.... but I went back the next day to a pool in my neighborhood, jumped in, and swam a mile. It was challenging, but once I got past the first 5 laps or so, it felt really good. Running kind of squashes you down with all that constant pounding, whereas swimming really stretches you out. I went back the next Monday and have been going Mondays and Wednesdays since, for a total of about 10 miles now.
The sad news is is that the DC outdoor pools close on Labor Day. DC has a number of outdoor pools, and they are all free to DC residents. There are a few indoor pools, as well, but the number of people that want to swim far outweighs the number of indoor pool lanes, and the indoor pools tend to be crowded. One thing I love about my pool is that, perhaps bc of its location, it does not attract many lap swimmers. Last night I was the only one in the pool for a while, before a couple of families and another lone lap swimmer showed up. It means I never have to deal with anyone in my lane. The indoor pools are another story, with only a few dedicated hours of lap swimming a day, and lanes filled with more people than I care to share a lane with. So, my lovely Monday and Wednesday night swims might soon come to an end. And be replaced with getting over my fear of swimming in crowds.