Sunday, 9 January 2011

Bill The Swimmer

Well, if ever i was meant to meet someone then it was 'Bill'. I only know his first name and I may never meet him again but my brief meeting with him will stick with me for the rest of my life.

I'd been having a week outside my comfort zone both in terms of physical and mental challenge when I met him in the swimming pool. I had just finished my course in London which meant I'd literally spent 7 months relearning my body and understanding how it works, so that I can fully help others get the best out of their body. I'm toddling up and down the lane considering various movements and how they change what I do and how i feel in the water. If I'm being honest I was having a day when I reckoned that I now knew too much information and it'd be nice to be able to switch the head off.....

So I'm stopped at the end of the lane wondering if I should just go and do something different when the man in the next lane starts telling me all about his protein drink. Now I have to admit I have a bit of a pet dislike for people using these when really they dont need to and I'm thinking to myself ' why on earth does he need that for just being in the pool for a wee while'. Never judge a book.....

'When I got the point that your legs were looking like a good meal then I decided it was time to stop and have my drink. I'm so hungry. That's me been in now since 9am'

Quick check of clock tells me it's 12:15pm. Come again.....? Actually I think I gave a great big scottish 'Eh...?'

'Have you been swimming since 9am?' Proud as punch Bill (although I didnt at that time know that was his name) grins and tells me he sure has. He's got another hour to go and he's probably left it later than he should have done before having his drink (hence the reason my leg was looking so appealing!). Bill then launches into a whole story about his holidays and how he swims from island to island in the mediterranean and how he'd like to swim the channel if it werent for the hassle of organising escort boats and stuff. He's already swum 20 miles before so the extra 2 wouldnt be a problem, although he might have to give up his mountaining biking at the weekend for a short while in order to up his swimming distance just a bit more. And he might have to curtail his snowboaring holiday to save a little cash. He swims 4 mornings a week for 3-4 hours at a time and he sings away to himself during that time. Really he loses track of time and it was only hunger that's stopped him just now, but he's feeling better already for the half bottle he's already drunk. My leg should be safe for the remainder of my session. Sometime during his stories of endurance and adventure he lets me know that his name is Bill, but really I never got a word in edgewise..... He tells me all about his wife who is sadly departed now but he never ever forgets her face and her voice and she's still there strong in his heart. He misses her dearly but she told him at the end to live his life as fully as possible, so that's what he's doing.

He's about to take off again down the lane and I know he'll not be stopping before i get out so I have to ask the question: ' if you dont mind me asking, how old are you Bill' He grins at me and gets ready to swim again.

'I'm 76, but age is just in the mind'

Was there ever a truer word said...... And need I say more......

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