Monday, December 17, 2012

Swim Lessons

     Being an injured runner stinks - particularly when you are a few weeks out from a marathon! But I am determined to stay fit, be ready and come out stronger! So I am cross training like a mad woman! Thankfully, this also happens to be my Christmas break time from school (great to be a teacher sometimes!) so I am hitting it hard every day, getting lots of sleep and eating right without the restrictions of work. It's really nice!
     Everyone talks about how great swimming is for runners - especially when we are injured. So I decided to figure out how I can get some swimming in! My local university has a pool and I'm alumni so I get special rates. Plus they have the Masters Swim there - even better! Yay! BUT they're closed for the holidays - bummer! Next stop, our brand new L.A. Fitness clubs that have sprouted up around town! I signed up for a 3-day pass and used two of those days to swim! Perfect!
     My first day in the water - well, it felt like my FIRST day in the water! And I used to be a swimmer! What the heck! It's been a really long time!!! I have not been swimming for at least ten years, if not longer. And no, it is not like riding a bike! Not for me anyway! I felt like I was thrown into the water not knowing how to swim and told to figure it out myself! I mean, of course I know how to swim but... My heart rate skyrocketed the first 50 meters of freestyle. I forgot how to breathe. I was going too fast. I felt like I was flailing all over the place! I thought of my swim team buddies from high school and could just feel them laughing and rolling their eyes at this comedic display! No really, it was THAT bad!
I switched to backstroke - my favorite stroke anyway, and calmed down a little bit. I still was not breathing right and felt like I was sinking in the water. I had too much water on top of me! Maybe I need floaties... After about 100 meters total, I stopped and did some leg lifts and kicking on the side to try to catch my breath. In the end I did about 300 meters total in 30 minutes of pool time. I had to stop after each half lap to breathe. But I was still excited and happy to be back in a pool!
     Day two of swimming was this morning. I learned a lot from Saturday and was determined to do better and swim smarter today! I channeled my swim angels (TJ & Dani, I need you!) and started out slowly. I actually did a warm-up this time to try to prevent a racing heart. It worked! Big surprise! I walked the length of the pool and did some kicks, then I just stuck my face in the water to practice my breathing. It worked. I figured out how to breathe again! I also kept telling myself once I started to take it slow. Why I want to race I have no idea! I did 100 meters freestyle then 100 meters backstroke. I didn't have to stop as much to catch my breath! I did some leg lifts in between sets of 200 and all total got in 600 meters in 35 minutes! 300 freestyle and 300 backstroke! Yay me! I felt so good and SO happy! I could have stayed there all day! I really do love the pool! But I also don't want to overdo it!
     So now the challenge begins as to where can I swim next?? I will really miss not being able to swim now until January. I can't afford the gym, especially when all I want is the pool and the university will only cost me $16 a month! I guess I'll have to get to know the bike... No, I'm NOT going to become a triathlete! But I will keep up this swimming thing! Eventually. TJ & Dani, you'd be so proud... :-)

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