Friday, March 9, 2012

Square One

Recently I decided that it would be a good idea to expand my cross training world to include swimming. Lord knows why. I waste enough of my time exercising, really, without including time driving to an aquatic facility, flopping around in a pool for a while, then driving home. And then, probably catching a cold from going outside with wet hair.

Anyway, that “X-T World Expansion” began this past Monday evening at the Nashua YMCA. I signed up to participate in a Tri-Swim class (or in my case - Try Swim) to help me learn proper swimming technique. The class is taught by a burly guy named John, who clearly has no idea what he’s in for with regards to teaching me how to swim.

We began by jumping into the deep end of the pool and treading water for 10 minutes, which was tough enough. But, a couple minutes into it, John added a degree of difficulty by making us tread water with our hands over our heads. And, to ensure this would take place, he made us toss beach balls around to each other as we were doing it. Needless to say, after a few minutes of this, thought I was going to drown. Only later did I wish I had.

After this, he paired me up with people my own speed (ie. slow) and had the 4 of us practice our swim stroke by going back and forth across the pool – this is called doing laps, I learned. I also learned that I was, by far,the slowest of the slow. And, what transpired must have been downright amusing (if not pity inducing) to those sitting poolside. I “swam” with short choppy arm strokes, furious leg kicking & continuous labored breathing. In short, I swam like a runner.

I was the only “swimmer” in the pool who bobbed their head from side to side as they swam causing me to have a very stiff neck after about 20 laps, or so. Also, I was the only swimmer without swim goggles and therefore the only swimmer with increasingly bloodshot eyes from the overly chlorinated YMCA water. Ah, yes, suffering with an audience. Why am I doing this, again?

As time wore on, I found the swimming to be increasingly more difficult and could barely make it back to the shallow end of the pool after completing just one circuit (50 meters) of the pool. I was gassed. I slowly climbed the access stairs and slumped over on a nearby bench. While on the bench, I watched some of the more accomplished swimmers do their thing and marveled at how incredibly efficient they were. No wasted energy. Just a smooth, fluid stroke and kick as they glided from one end of the pool to the other. Wow, if only I could do that!

As I left the pool area, the instructor asked how I liked the class. I said it was OK, but that I had a LONG, LONG way to go to if I wanted to be as good as the rest of the people in the pool. He said, “Well, at least you’ve started!” And, he was right. Everyone (even Michael Phelps) has to start somewhere . And, right now, I’m at square one.

Update: I went back to the pool a few days later and after a couple difficult laps I realized that I was swimming with my mouth closed the whole time and trying to do all my breathing (both in and out) through my nose. No wonder I was getting so tired at the end of just 2 laps. I was suffocating! Once I started breathing through my mouth (when I turned my head) things became much easier. Duh.

Now, if I could only overcome about 53 other (40 year-old) swimming habits, I'd be good to go!

1 comment:

  1. secrets of Blora ==>