Austin Hilton Pool in the morning
Austin Hilton Pool at 5:30AM

I have not been swimming for over a week because I injured my shoulder while trying to win a battle with the water. Although the stationary bike has been interesting and used muscles that were surprised by the sudden call to arms, I've missed my swimming.

When I checked into the Austin Hilton, I notice some sign saying "heated pool". I also noticed that it was open from 5:30AM. This morning, some remnant jet lag from some trip woke me up at 5AM. It looked chilly, dark and wet outside, but the idea of swimming in a heated pool in this weather appealed to me in an avantouinti sort of way. (Marko turned me on to avantouinti and now I'm a convert.)

As I sat in the whirlpool warming up and doing some stretching, Matt's voice and the Total Immersion images from the DVD that Seth sent me filled my mind. I rigged up my goggles with the Dolphin mp3 player that Pete suggested on my music in the water post. (I tried ordering the Kiefer SwiMP3, but wasn't able to get it. I just re-ordered it from someone on eBay after Austin told me on Twitter that he got one there.)

Anyway, it all came together for me today. While The Orb from Jeff's playlist set the tone with the sounds of pink fluffy clouds, I was able to make peace with the water. The flip turn that I had been struggling with seemed to come naturally - Matt's tips coming to mind as I made each turn. The "swim like a fish" images from Total Immersion helped me pace myself and swim without feeling out of breath. It felt very peaceful and it felt like I had made peace with the water.

I finished up with with a short session of my attempt at the Maha Mudra and Pranayama that Jay is teaching me. I had the steam room in the deserted locker-room all to myself.

Clearly, I have much to learn and my swimming stroke is still crap, but I felt like I had hit a milestone of sorts. As I sat down to write this post, I realized how much this journey is result of the amazing support of my friends starting with Shawn's advice to try a vegan diet. Thanks everyone.

10 Comments

Joi, love this post. I spent a lot of time in this pool last year when I was at SXSW. Perfect sanctuary. One morning the wind was really whipping and nearly blew my towel and flipflops over the edge of the roof, watch out!

Thanks for linking to my employer's blog, SpyderBlog. I need to swim, to help my twice broken back. My wife doesn't know how to swim. The ability to swim is very important as a survival skill.

I once jumped off 60 foot cliffs in Racine, Wisconsin, into a lake that was a rock quarry. When I hit the water, all the air in my lungs got knocked out. Then I sank so far, it was dark, and I had no idea which way was up. Yet I did it again, about 30 times, with my younger brother with me. Not the smartest thing I ever did. My parents probably should have punished me somehow for doing something so crazy, with my younger brother in tow.

you are a brave man, I can't tell you how many times I stood at the edge of a pool in colder summer weather trying to get psyched up to jump in... with coaches counting down prior to an ass-whoopin' for those not in the water. Joi, that picture made this whole post for me, I wish I HAD gone to Austin now, just to goof in that pool.

This was a great read, but with all the travel listed on this and the links, I am a little disappointed you didn't fly in for the party! ;-P

Man this scene has changed since last time I checked it out. Gone are the edgy posts about venture this and capital that... Instead we get vegan yoga peace with the water and music of pink clouds :) Pretty good improvement in my book, but a surprise nonetheless.

While you're swinging through this phase of your life, it seems appropriate to re-alert you to the moral wrongness (I don't have any other words for it, sorry for being so harsh) of burning fossil fuel like you do and increasing the world's CO2 load as exuberantly as you do.

I hope you know I'm not some nutcase (haha famous last words, I know) bent on changing the world one CO2 molecule at a time, but I seriously consider the amount of travel you do wrong. That having been said, I'd love to get together for another Ito dinner, sans booze and wine this time and all vegan and stuff, so I know I'm contradicting myself mightily here.

Yeah, the issue of aviation's impact on carbon is a big deal. I've been dealing with it short term by through carbon credits and trying to make as much of the optional stuff in my life as carbon neutral as possible. It's just impossible to make the impact I want to make without the travel that I do.

I'm open to suggestions on tactics, but at the moment, I don't think "not traveling" is an option for me.

Having said that, I hope to stop traveling soon. I think I'm in a period of my life where connecting people is my core responsibility and many times it requires face-to-face contact.

Thanks for the thoughtful response. As long as you're thinking about it, identifying the problem is often half the solution, as they say.

I have some things to say in private which I think would be right up your alley. Think of it as a positive investment in the future. A person in your position (and me too, I'm equally responsible for the problem) has a much larger responsibility than just trying to be "carbon neutral" in their personal life. We have the actual intelectual capacity and position to do something global about this problem.

For me personally, I am not traveling at all, mainly for that reason. Its bad enough burning a whole tank of gasoline commuting to and from work every week. Yep, thats 10 gallons a week. Sheesh!

Just out of interest, do you surf? I've tried swimming (in pools) on a number of occasions, but ended up giving up because it was pretty tedious. Since taking up surfing, and swimming in the sea, I've found that it does my skin a lot of good and I want to keep going. There are some great places not far from Tokyo: Chiba, Kanagawa & Izu, for example.

Many people don't realize that swimming can be harmful. I was a competitive swimmer when I was a child and now, at the age of 48, I suffer with chronic back pain. It turns out that bad posture in the water can cause lifelong problems. I found this wonderful video/DVD called "The Art of Swimming". Steven Shaw has integrated the Alexander Technique with swimming technique--http://www.artofswimming.com/. It's very helpful. Take care of yourself!

Are you receiving any treatment for your shoulder? 1st time here (you can thank Seth Godin), so not sure if you have already mentioned it.
I've worked with lots of swimmers who suffer from shoulder pain. Your local physical therapist (I don't even knoow where you live) should be able to help you get back in the pool in a few weeks unless you have a severely torn rotator cuff.

My shoulder still hurts unfortunately. I probably need a therapist, but I haven't found a good one...

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