Near the end of our time in Jacksonville, Fla., where we lived for four years before moving to Silver Spring, Steve and I had established an awesome and comforting routine.
We’d always run together a couple days a week. But I’d gotten into open-water swimming while he was on his second deployment, and when he came home, our desire to not be apart, like, ever, led him to tag along on my swims. A few days a week, we had “swim dates” at a pool on a Navy base near us. Watching Steve, who’s the first to admit he’s not a swimmer, muscle through his requisite mile of breaststroke, is by far my biggest swimming motivation.
So when we moved to Silver Spring last November, finding a good pool was among the first tasks on our to-do list. When we found a beautiful pool at the National Naval Medical Center-Bethesda, maybe a 10-minute drive from our apartment, we felt like we’d truly made our new address home. Our swim dates there are now part of a lovely routine that includes a stop at our favorite farm stand, Norman’s Farm Market, which happens to be right on our way.
This is all a long preamble to sharing the horrifying news we got yesterday, when we went to our beloved pool for the first time in about a month: As of Oct. 19, the pool will be closed. Like, forever. The entire base is closing to merge with Walter Reed, and apparently, there will be a period of three years or so — roughly the period of time we’re slated to live here — when the whole place will be pool-less.
How the Base Realignment and Closure committee failed to consider my swimming schedule when mulling this change is beyond me, I joked with Steve on my car ride home.
But as we joked, we decided this really is a pretty crappy move. The closest military facility with a pool is all the way across town (not that I’ve ruled that option out), meaning all the people who crowd the pool at Bethesda on weeknights are simply going to have to pay for gym memberships. I’m willing to bet a lot of people will just stop, which makes me sad.
The news was even harder to take considering the fact that, even though I’d been out of the pool for a month (read my letter apologizing to swimming here), I had a wonderful workout, a nice 3,200-yarder that included 3 X 400 IMs and a lot of easy freestyle with a pull buoy. It was like I’d gotten all gussied up for a hot date with swimming, only to have swimming tell me on the cab ride home that he’s seeing someone else.
I’m committed to finding us a good, affordable pool to continue our swim dates. Because without my swimming buddy, it’s unclear how I’ll motivate myself to train for the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim next year.
But first, today and tomorrow, most of my procrastination time is going to be taken up by planning two very important pieces of my marathon training: My route and playlist for my 20-miler on Saturday. Orchestrating the details has made me realize that, even though the long run will likely take up a single morning, the net loss of time is much, much greater.
If you’ve got any last-minute playlist suggestions, make ’em here!