Saturday, October 10, 2015

About swimming.

I wanted to post about swimming because it's been a total asset at keeping me mentally in the game with workouts and conditioning. One of my biggest fears is that I'll lose a lot of my cardio level while I can't run, and swimming is helping to curtail that. Although I know I've already lost some conditioning, the combo of swimming and cycling should help prevent too much loss.

When I started a few weeks ago it was a bit sad, actually. I hadn't really done any swimming about four years, so it took few sessions to get my mojo back, and I can honestly say there's been a huge improvement from when I started back a few weeks ago to where I am now.

When I started, it was a struggle to get to 10 laps (1/4 mile) because my arms got tired quickly. I'm now up to 20 laps, and my next swim will probably take me to 25. Before, I could stretch to 2 laps before I needed a break, and now I'm at about 5. I want to eventually get to the point where I'm doing all 20-25 laps, combination strokes, without stopping - and I certainly feel that's doable by the time I'm out of PT (~5 weeks).

On top of that, I decided I needed to buy a new swim suit (lucky me, end of the season sales!). My old one was definitely too lose - while swimming it was practically indecent (if anyone was under the water watching).

I scored this TYR one piece at Dick's Sporting Goods for like $45 (normally $70 or something) and got myself (and Cam) new goggles while I was at it. I love the new suit...very comfortable both in and out of the water, and it looks great too ;P

Hell yeah.

My only complaint about swimming is that it really kinda sucks that my gym only has a few lanes in their pool(s). The one Cam and I go to together has 4 lanes, the one on my way home only has three, and at times they're used for swim lessons, so I've ended up lane sharing a few times.

Oh, lane sharing. I have stories.

You see...if you're polite about it, you wait to catch someone's eye and then you ask them if they wouldn't mind sharing with you. I've never had someone say no, but I have had people furtively avoid looking, or start maximizing their presence in their lane. Example: A woman the other day who proceeded to do water-weight exercises with the little dumbell things across her lane, rather than up and down it, and started vigorously pumping her arms in wide circles to take up space. Whatever woman, I'm cool if you up the ante in your workout because you don't want to lane share. That's dedication.

Anyways. The first time I lane shared it snuck up on me, and I didn't even know I was lane sharing! When I got to the pool there were only three of us, so we each had a lane. Then around my 12th lap two men came in and both got in the first lane. I'm assuming they did this because I was doing laps and so was the woman next to me (we were lanes 2 and 3), and the woman in lane 1 was just sort of...floating. She legit wasn't doing anything but floating up and down the lane. So the two men get in the first lane and started doing some warm-up type things, not taking up a ton of space, and still none of the three were really utilizing the whole lane, so it seemed to work.

So I start on lap 13 or something and I'm doing side stroke, so I couldn't see lane 1 because it was behind me. And I'm about halfway down my lane when someone starts shouting, but I didn't realize she was shouting at me (I wear earplugs under my swim cap). This woman decided to just move in to the *middle* of my lane while I was swimming, and then proceeded to yell at me for running into her! That really peeved me, but I figured whatever, I'd just lane share (even though everyone knows you should check in with the person you want to lane share with so that they, you know, know).

I was able to finish my swim in lane 3, because the woman using it finished her laps and left, and nodded to me to take her lane when she did so. I only had 3 laps left, all front crawl which was fairly fast, so I got to the showers while she was still in there. We had a good laugh about what happened, she told me she tried to finish up quickly so I could have her lane, and I told her about how the woman was yelling at me when I ran into her. She couldn't believe it! We agreed it's just one of those things, but the solidarity felt good! :P

The second time I shared was just for a few laps, with a sweet old man named Bob. I really liked Bob, and would lane share again with him in a heart beat!

All the other times I've shared have been with Cam. He may kill me for telling you this, but I've turned into his swim coach. When we first started in the pool he didn't have goggles, and his form was awful because he kept his head above water to see (or so I thought). So I went out and bought him goggles...only to find out that apparently his swim lessons were not as extensive as mine.

When I was a kid I could have lived in the water, and every summer I couldn't wait for swim lessons. While there's always room for improvement, swimming is something I've always had some natural ability at. Cam said he just did "normal" swim lessons one summer - so definitely not the 7 or so years I had.

So last week I decided it was time for him to start really learning. I corrected his form and showed him how to do a proper front crawl and how to breathe during the stroke. In the last week he's made so much progress, and I'm really proud of him. That night he commented how the few laps he did totally wore him out, and the next day he was sore and stiff from the swimming. I explained that's because swimming, especially front crawl and breast stroke, force your body to move in ways it's not used to a to recruit support from muscles we don't use day to day. You also really have to be aware of your breathing patterns.

For these reasons, swimming has also really improved the range of motion in my left shoulder. I had surgery two years ago, but I've still struggled with some tightness in the joint, and swimming is helping to loosen that ligament up a bit more. It's also helping to stabilize the smaller muscles that support the joint, and I'm even feeling a difference in day-to-day activity. So I may have a bum ankle, but other things seem to be improving!

At this point, I've worked up to doing about 20 laps in a session (1,000 yards or 1/2 a mile), 4-5 laps at a time. On lift days I only do about 10 since I can only lift upper body at the moment, so my arms are generally already pretty tired by the time I get in the pool.

I just realized that was a lot of words! Congrats if you kept going this long, I promise I'm almost done!

In other news...I've been doing these things:

PT exercises which have been making me extra sore :(

Crafting more Making Strides stuff for work (at work)...

Getting ready for poster-making madness for the Chicago Marathon tomorrow!
And most importantly...
Finishing this awesome picture of Chas Arthur. Pardon his slight least his pants look awesome.
I will be back tomorrow (or maybe Monday...) with Tales of the Chicago Marathon! I'm SO EXCITED to go! Can't wait!!!!

Good luck to Katie, and to Uncle Jim, I'm sure you'll both be fantastic! I'll be watching for you!


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