Diary of an Injured Chili, Chapter 2: Aqua jogging and Violent Fantasies.

I recently listened to a podcast that discussed statistics of people who have violent fantasies. According to several studies, a whopping number of women and men interviewed admit to having at least one violent fantasy in their lives, if not many more.

But not to worry, we aren’t all a bunch of psychopaths. There is often a “well-intended” catalyst for such fantasies; for example, self-preservation, a reaction to injustice or protection of others. The podcast went on to explain how one can “direct” these impulses into more acceptable forms of behavior, a defense mechanism that Freud labeled sublimation.

In layperson speak, sublimation is the transformation of an unwelcome impulse into an unharmful or even a beneficial outcome. Freud called it “a mature type of defense mechanism”—he actually believed that sublimation was a sign of maturity!

And now for my point: competition is a marvelous means of sublimating for a runner with lots of explosive energy and a drive for crushing her opposition. In fact, competitive sports are a prime example of healthy sublimation. But when a runner is on a forced break from running, the competitive outlet, is eliminated.

So, then, what is one to do?

Enter the infamous aqua joggingOK, it’s not the most glorious means of working out, I mean how rad and sexy can one be while wearing a floater belt and flailing back and forth in a pool lane, ad tedium? To me, aqua jogging is about as exciting as the proverbial mouse on a wheel … moving right along and getting absolutely nowhere.

I don’t mean to give pool running a bad rap; it has it’s benefits. It is the exercise that best emulates running form, and it provides a fitness option for those who are restricted from weight bearing activities (i.e. stress fractures and some tendon injuries). It’s fine. But it’s just fine. Like any other form of exercise, it’s not the same as running!

My recent experience with aqua jogging actually gives me a reason to have violent fantasies. Sigh.

But I digress.

One day last week I found myself in the pool with two other aqua joggers. I was quite excited about this, given that I had previously been the only floaty-wearing gal in the pool among lanes full of mermaid-like lap swimmers. I was elated and felt a sororal camaraderie with my fellow belt-laden minnows, because I knew they were runners. How? A) They had wimpy upper bodies and B) WHO would do this if they didn’t HAVE to?

Before I knew it, I was blissfully jogging right along with my mates with a smile on my face. No longer alone in my misery, the world seemed as it should be.

But then it happened.

Before I knew it, I found myself picking up the pace, “violently” moving my arms and legs in a quick cadence and increasing my respiration rate. Yes, I was racing my fellow bi-peds. I couldn’t help myself! My “killer” instinct kicked in and I found myself at full throttle, marveling at the quick pace I was setting in seven feet of water.

I cheered myself on: “You can do this! Go, girl! You’ve got this!” I was making headway, sandbagging for a bit and then surging ahead. I felt as if I had wings. My legs burned, my breath heaved … I … was … WINNING

Then, all of a sudden, I noticed that both of my “competitors” were gone. Where did they go? Poof! Gone. Like, they didn’t finish the race. DNF.

I was deflated. Sad. Pathetic. Once again the solo aqua jogger.

I checked the clock and discovered I’d only been in the pool for 17-minutes. I still had 43 to go. Forty-three long, torturous minutes.

I checked my ego at the poolside wall, turned around and kept jogging.


Hello! This is Chili. I'm originally from Newfoundland and I currently reside in Eugene, Oregon (otherwise known as "TrackTown USA"). I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice with a specialty in Eating Disorders and Body Image issues. I like to write about the psychological components of racing, the joys of running with others, injury prevention, runners and body image, risk-taking in racing and the experience of being a Masters runner who is relatively new to the sport.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.