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Life Time Love & The Virtual 3,000 (Pool #555)

Updated: Dec 25, 2023

12 November 2022

If there's a North American fitness chain that understands swimmers, it is Life Time. When they opened their first Arizona location in north Scottsdale in late 2006, my wife and I joined during construction and were there on opening day. While it's a fabulous workout mecca for lots and lots of things, what drew me to their Scottsdale location was their indoor, 5 lane, 25 meter pool kitted out with everything I needed:

  • Backstroke flags

  • Tight lane ropes

  • Digital pace clock

  • Purposefully kept cold (~79/80F) water (as they had a separate warmer-water indoor play pool)

I spent many, many meters training there. Even after I had built my own 25 meter lap pool (outdoors) in my backyard in 2010, I remained with Lifetime for a number of years, using their pool either in the winter (when it was too expensive to heat my own pool) or the summer (on days when I missed a morning swim at home and didn't want to bake in the AZ sun).

Given that my first attempt at my 3,000 yard virtual swim ended when I overheated and bonked at my local LA Fitness. I wanted to swim in a cool pool for my second and final attempt. Enter the Life Time Athletic Woodbridge location in Vaughan, on the edge of the GTA (now pool #555):

I've spied this location many times driving to & from Pearson airport, but it's almost an hour drive from my house, so way too far to become a member. In addition, I've always balked at the C$50 one day pass. As I had a business lunch in dowtown Toronto on Remembrance Day and would drive right by Lifetime to get there, and as I was pretty sure their dedicated lap pool would be cold, I rationalized paying it, likening it to a meet entry fee.

Now, here's the most perplexing thing about Lifetime, at least comparing Arizona to Ontario. In Scottsdale, I remember the staff and many swimmers being confused as to why they built a meters pool in a country still beholden to the Imperial system. In Ontario, just the opposite has happened: they built a 25 yard pool in a country dedicated to the metric system. Now, I wanted a yards pool for this virtual race, so this was perfect for me. When I asked the front desk person yesterday why it was so, they said, "Oh ... yeah. Great club and organization ... but ... you know the Americans and they don't understand metric."

As for the swim itself, it was everything I had hoped it would be, far better than I've gone on my build-up attempts, if still my slowest effort ever:

  • 2012 - 33:18.5

  • 2013 - 33:06.9

  • 2015 - 32:21.9

  • 2022 - 34:11.8

This hurt like hell and I almost puked when I finished, so I am happy with the swim, not dying anywhere nearly like I did a couple of weeks ago, with my 300 splits looking fairly solid (if maybe a little too much "Sammy Save-Up" at the end):

... and when comparing my 500 splits across the years, I can see that I still have marked room for improvement in my speed and endurance (e.g., the whole damn race!):

I did like training for this, though, and will plan to try another attempt in a few months, probably late February / early March, towards the end of my next volume & aerobic phase of training that will run late December to early March.

With this behind me now, it's time to turn to sprint IM training: six weeks until my December taper meet - the IM Fast event on December 18th at the gorgeous Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre pool, where we race 50s of each stroke and the 100 IM:


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