I really wanted to make this milestone - 25% of the way towards the goal - a special, if not iconic pool. I got some really good suggestions for pools from my last post and have added them to my 'pool bucket list,' but my travels are not likely to take me to Missouri or Wenatchee in the near term, I had already swum in the UIC pool, and I didn't think I could wait for the new UBC Aquatic Center to open up.
I had almost resolved myself to fill in this important milestone with just the next pool when a unique opportunity opened up:
An evening work event kept me in the LA area this past Thursday too late to catch a flight home that night, but I had no in-person work requirements to stick around LA during Friday, so I had a morning flight scheduled back to Phoenix.
I usually fly out of the best airport in California - Bob Hope in Burbank - and so looked for a hotel near there for Thursday night and figured I'd swim at the very good Verdugo Pool, but the nearest reasonably priced hotel was in Pasadena.
Once the hotel was booked, I consulted my two trusty training sources - SwimmersGuide and the USMS 'Places to Swim' - and realized that I was a little more than a mile from the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center, an exceptional facility with one of the better-known, bigger and faster US Masters Swimming teams in the country.
Even more exciting than just getting the opportunity to swim here, when I reached out to Coach Chad Durieux, he let me know that they were celebrating Labor Day a few days early with a 10,000 meter workout. While I knew I would not have the time or endurance to make the whole workout, the fact they were doing something special made this a 'must-do' event for me.
I truly loved everything about this experience and it delivered more than I could have imagined:
As I've experienced with every Masters team I've had the pleasure of swimming with, I was warmly welcomed. Moreover, because their 'BHAG' 10K goal inspired me, I ended up completing 5,600 meters, making this the longest single workout I've done in the last 5 years.
In the midst of the workout, I looked across the lane and saw a guy that used to live in Scottsdale, someone who was a great training partner for me back in the middle part of the last decade. I knew he had moved to California and figured there was a possibility I'd run into him in the future, so it was cool to catch a few words between sets.
Even cooler - and hitting the 'way back swimming time machine' - was when one of the other swimmers introduced himself to me: a guy I had raced against growing up in Virginia back in the late 70's and early 80's. We skipped most of a kicking set to catch-up on our lives. Seeing him and talking to him brought back great memories and names of people I haven't seen for decades.
This definitely goes down in my books as one of the best 'drop-in' workouts in my long history of visiting teams around the country and the world. Thanks Rose Bowl Masters! I'll definitely be back.
P.S. On 'blog-technology,' I have switched the comments section (hint! hint!) from Facebook-only to the more 'platform-neutral' Disqus. I'd appreciate any thoughts / reactions / suggestions you have, both on the content of the site and if there's anything I can do to make this more engaging.