Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The pool and the plugs

97°F today; my hottest day here so far. But I’m not sure I’m suffering quite as much as I did in June’s heat; maybe I am starting to adapt.

The pool has warmed up a lot: getting in for tonight’s swim was less “ooh, ah!”, more “aaahhh”. May’s swallows have moved on, but tonight there was a hummingbird in residence, perching in the cherry tree and swooping in to feed from the tubs of flowers around the pool. And y’know how much I love the hummingbirds

But I’m going to have to change my tactics. I was working up to the mile, but that’s 150 laps. That’s doable, if I plug away at it, but it gets awfully boring. I’m trying a new regime: 80 laps, in 8 repetitions of 5 easy laps, 5 flat-out laps. Shorter, but more aerobic.

Physicians’ Choice “Ear Putty” ear plugs. And these are the plugs. I had a nasty ear infection a few years back (worst pain ever: like stabbing hot knitting needles in your ear, hour after hour, day after day) which seems to have left me susceptible to recurrence. My GP, before I left Britain, told me in no uncertain terms: keep water out of your ears. And he was right: no more dunking my head in the bath or swimming underwater, no more problems.

So that leaves me a choice: wear the plugs, be free to swim any way I want, but swim in near-complete aural isolation from the surrounding world. Or forgo the plugs, experience the world, and limit myself to the head-held-high breast-stroke I always associated with the ladies who swam early-morning sessions at Windsor Leisure Centre. I’m not sure what’s better.

As for the plugs themselves: they work. But they don’t last very long; the silicone starts cracking, and they start getting, well, whiffy. Very whiffy. Earwax whiffy. I suspect the whiff is a good indicator: time for a new pair.