Since my injury, I decided I need to do more cross-training. Though I said it passively, I actually mean it. Whenever you are injured, you take a long look at what you have been doing and, more specifically, what you’ve been doing wrong.
Dan goes to the pool every week or two (more often lately). And I’m a little jealous. I am a bit of natural swimmer. I learned how to swim before I learned to talk. No exaggeration! My parents had a swim instructor come to our house since we had a pool, and by the time I was 2, I could successfully tread water and knew the basics.
Growing up, I was a gymnast, but in the summer “off” season, I did swim team as well. I laugh at calling it the “off” season, because I’d spend 8am-12pm on gymnastics (sometimes more, if the coaches would put up with me, until 1pm). Then went home, ate lunch, and went to swim practice from 3pm-6pm, followed by extra swimming/diving/playing on the swingset/etc.
Though I was a decent swimmer, I lacked the serious effort to get faster. I just improved my technique to the point that I could successfully swim a straight line, which in elementary school/ middle school, meant you could place relatively easily. I always had issues with breathing, so the back stroke was my baby.
So, now that you have the picture of my fish roots [That’s just silly; fish don’t have roots! :)], onto my desire to get back into swimming.
Ladies, I think we can all admit- swimmers are hot. They have nice, sculpted shoulders/back/arms… Who doesn‘t want that?
This weekend, I was committed. I went to Omega Sports, and about 20 suits later, found one I really liked. I am not kidding- I tried on about 20 suits. Last time I was in a suit, I was a 26-28. The sizing charts suggested I’d be a 28-32, depending on the brand. Speedos were cut horrible for me (high cut in the neck, but too “skinny”, leaving more side boob action then I’d like…), and Nike’s lacked structure. I found a favorite with the TYR Durafast style. Size 34? Shit! I’ve forgotten already. [Whatever. It worked]
As soon as I got home, I tried it on and stared in the mirror, moving and flexing to make sure everything stayed in place as it should… I tried to imagine how it would move in the water, and it was official- I had to test it out!
Dan texted, saying he was headed to the pool; and I basically begged him to allow me to piggy-back. I was embarrassed to think it had been ~10 years since swimming laps. He also has an extra pair of goggles and some swim caps.
(Yes, I used a swim cap; chlorine is really bad for your hair, especially if it’s dry, long, or fine)
As we were parking, I got so nervous. I really was thinking OMG, what if I forget how to swim? Or I am going to push off the wall, and just when I pop up, inhale water instead of exhaling! Basically, I knew I’d look stupid.
Dan picked our lane (it was a little busy, so we shared a lane). Dan jumped straight in, put on his goggles, and dropped under the water to get wet. Meanwhile, I sat down, and then slid into the water; tried to put on my goggles while treading water (next to impossible… how did I do that as a kid?!), and decided I was annoyed that we were right in front of the lifeguards… They’d probably kick me out for being too slow.
Finally, I kicked off for my first “lap” (25m lanes). In my head, I thought I’d count laps, and then see if I got any faster next time. My goal was 30 minutes. Dan eased through the water, letting his big arms and strong shoulders do all the work. I, on the other hand, rely on good form, and fast flutter kicking to slice me through the water.
My nerves only got worse as I realized HOW THE HELL DO I BREATHE?! I gasped for breathe, forgetting if I prefer left side over right, or if I was able to alternate (breathing every third stroke). Do I breathe in when I’m in the water, or (mouth full of water) nope, that’s not right. Definitely makes more sense to breathe IN when your mouth is in the air, and out through your nose UNDERwater… Okay, now with that figured out, have I been doing this on the right side or left? Okay, left…
And wall. Yep, that was all my thoughts on the first 25 meters. It’s lucky I didn’t drown. I treaded water at the wall, waiting for Dan to come back, and thought I’d keep up 1/2 of what he swims. And I was off again… Trying to get into a rhythm of breathing.
With each 25 meters, it felt easier. But I still had to stop in every 25 or 50 meters. When I was swimming, I was keeping a good strong pace. And I felt better when I looked through the water as Dan was crossing, and noticed he doesn’t really use his legs (Or as he puts it, Yeah, I look like Joe from the Family Guy. Joe is the neighbor in a wheelchair, who is totally jacked but is paralyzed from the waist down, in case you didn’t know that. It’s funny, because that is exactly how it looks. Above the water, just fine). Anyway, don’t let that sound like he can’t swim. He went close to a mile (my guess 1500m) in about 30 minutes– that’s pretty decently fast. And I couldn’t even remember when to breathe; so he wins easily.
So I went 30 minutes, and my best estimate is about 750m.
After about 15-20 minutes, my left arm started to get a little sore. Yep, hadn’t even gone that far; or that fast, or for that long, and my arms were getting sore. That’s how weak my upper body is.
The pool in my neighborhood has a hot tub, so Dan and I are going there this weekend (hot tub after a good swim is the best!). I may try to go a different day this week as well.
I am just excited, because I’ve been steadily increasing my mileage again; running as much as 2-3 miles straight at a decent pace (as fast as 8:22/mile, as slow as 10:00), and feel stronger everyday. Still, swimming is calming, and I love trying new sports! Trying out swimming again is like returning to my childhood with a youthful spirit.
I ran 200s last night, outside. Every time I lace up my shoes to go outside, I get scared. I definitely am suffering from some post-traumatic-injury-stress. It keeps me from going too hard/ too far. I am hoping by the end of August, I’ll be able to run 6 miles on my “long” days, plus swimming, and yoga. This girl is cross-training! It’s much needed, and helps keep things new and interesting 🙂