Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Top 10 Revisited

Today while I was swimming, it occurred to me that there's one more of my 2005 books that deserves recognition. I'll give it an award outside the Top 10. It is the book that had the Greatest Lasting Effect on me.

TOTAL IMMERSION by Terry Laughlin re-taught me how to swim.

Last summer I did my first open water swim and immediately knew I wanted to do it again and do it better. That's when I found TOTAL IMMERSION. I spent last fall re-learning to swim. I'm sure the other people at the pool thought I was nuts, because I followed Laughlin's plan to the letter, took my stroke apart and then put it back together again. But it has really paid off. I wanted to trim 5 minutes off my time from last summer, which would mean swimming a mile in less than 30 minutes. I'm almost there, and I'm doing it at a pace that feels like a "swim forever" pace. It's intoxicating. My swims are no longer grueling workouts, they are Zen experiences. I literally practice swimming. I swim mindfully. I count my strokes and keep them consistent. I think about my breathing. I keep myself long, like a well-designed boat. I try to swim with the strength of my core and not flail with my arms.

The power of reading is at work in the pool every time I swim.

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