Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Swim to Modernity
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the past 3 weeks I have gotten in the pool at 7AM for a 2000 yard swim. I will be doing this for the next 12 weeks as part of my preparation for Boston. it is a different mindset getting in the pool for a swim. i dont do a lot of counting when i run. but when i swim, i am counting laps roughly every 28 seconds, 25, 50, 75, etc. So, it is difficult to just zone out, which is what I sometimes do during my runs. If I lose track of my laps, there is no way to figure out exactly how far I've gone. As I push off, the number comes up again, "1225"," "1350," etc. And as I was doing this a few weeks ago, I realized that the numbers sound like dates, not just regular numbers. The more I thought about it, I am doing a swim through the AD timeline - almost to the present day. So, I have decided to rename my MWF swims, "The Swim to Modernity." It is actually good practice for me as I start to think about my PhD comps in the fall. I have to have a fairly good handle on the chronology, and refer to particular events that shaped the Middle Ages (and beyond). So, this is a way for me to review what has happened in 25 year incriments. It keeps my mind occupied and ensures that my counting is accurate. A few examples...
325 - Constantine calls for the Council of Nicea (where we get the Nicean Creed from)
800 - On Christmas Day, Pope Leo III crowns Charlemagne (already king of the Franks at that point) the Holy Roman Emperor
1300 - Pope Boniface VIII declares 1300 to be a Jubilee Year (first time)
1525 - German Peasant Revolt
Now, some events don't happen on "even" years, so I think about them just before I hit the wall
1099 - 1st Crusade
1324 - Witch Trial of Alice Kyteler (who I will do my dissertation on)
All in all, it is a good mental exercise. Plus, if I get to a 25 year segment that draws a blank, I know what I need to work on. Definitely nerdy, but fun too.
Aside from serving as an opportunity to review my history, I am realizing the many benefits of swimming. Yesterday, I did my first 10 miler in 8.5 weeks. I had to run negative splits, which I did, and it wasn't too bad - did not feel like a major stretch. It felt good to do a double digit run - there is something different about sweating it out for a while that really draws out the runner's high. And then afterwards, I went to the weightroom (which I hadn't been there in 2 weeks). Took to the weights (shoulder press, seated row, etc) and had them at the same numbers I usually do. But last night it felt easy. It seems as if swimming has naturally buffed up my arms! So, I am going to have to up the weights, as it seems I am now strong enough to do that.
Many lessons learned in the pool!