In the water

Awhile back I wrote about my new endeavor. Lap swimming. Since I wrote that post, I’ve learned a little bit. For instance, 33 laps is a mile. And those Olympic swimmers make it look oh so easy. But it most certainly is not.

When I go, my goal is to swim a mile. At first it took me quite a long time. Maybe an hour and 20 minutes at the first go around? But then again, I was kind of putzy and didn’t have a routine figured out. Today I did a mile in about an hour. When you think about 1 mile per hour it certainly doesn’t sound fast. I’ve done a mile six times so far. I had a brief hiatus while in Colorado. But my golfing muscles got a work-out there… It’s fun to see an improvement in my time and in how I feel. Today I was able to do the breaststroke for 15 of the 36 laps that I did. I’ve been trying to do as much breaststroke as possible. It burns more energy than side stroke or elementary backstroke. I can actually keep a decent pace and don’t have to hang on the wall to catch my breath. I was quite excited to do 12 laps of breaststroke in a row today.

You really have to concentrate when you swim. Paying attention to your form on each stroke helps you to go faster (or slower) and time your breathing right. You wouldn’t think it would be hard to count to 33, but it’s easy to lose track. So I make a point to do 2 laps of each stroke and count them in groups of five. Once I get to 10 laps, I start over. I can’t really zone out when I’m swimming, so it’s good to have to focus on what I’m doing in the moment. There isn’t really time to think about other things. It’s possible that as I get better this will change. But for now, I’m focussed on the swimming.

I’m not a morning exerciser. But I’m happy to say that yesterday I was in the pool at 6:55 am. I knew that if I was going to get my swimming in before they started lessons, I had to go early. And guess what? I can handle morning swimming. But when school starts, the pool doesn’t open early enough for me to do it. So it will have to be an after school gig for me. That’s fine. Because when I’m done with my 33 laps, I don’t necessarily feel like quitting. Swimming makes me feel good. It makes me feel strong and fit – even if I have a long ways to go to both of those adjectives.

Another thing I’ve learned is about sharing a lane. I’ve had to do that the last couple of days. Yesterday I shared with a woman who used to swim competitively. I found that out today when I talked to her. She was doing the flip turns, freestyle and even the butterfly! I was just the rookie trying to not get in her way. Today I shared a lane with an older lady. She pretty much used a kick board or did the doggie paddle up and down the pool. I looked like an Olympian next to her. I’ll admit it’s easier when you’re next to the inexperienced swimmer. But then again, when you’re next to a good one, it does push you to keep going and get better.

But when I do get out of the pool, I’m spent. Today I had to go and get a one-piece swimsuit. Why? I’m so tired when I’m done, I’m afraid that my tankini top will get stuck on my shoulders when I’m trying to get it off in the shower. Yes, you should laugh at that. My arms are tired and a wet suit is hard to maneuver. So at least I have some options now… Oh, and when I’m done, I’m famished. I am so hungry! And feel like I’ve gotten a great physical workout!

I’m rather bummed that I’ll have to take another break from the swimming. On Monday I have my semi-annual skin scan. Chances are I’ll have a few moles lopped off. So I’ll have to heal up before I can go back. But I am excited to see what it will be like to add swimming as a regular part of my routine.

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