Saturday, September 13, 2008

Getting Into The Swim Of Things. (And Kada does a good deed)

Last Tuesday I'd planned to go swimming earlier in the afternoon, but by the time I arose, had breakfast and got dressed for swimming, I would have had to rush through my laps before the pool closed for the afternoon. Rushing wouldn't have been good when I was trying for an endurance swim. To fill in the time I went veggie shopping; yeah that's when I bought those beets and that cabbage! When I got home I made a shepherd's pie for dinner. Took me a little longer than I'd planned, so I ended up arriving at the pool later than I wanted.

Most of the lanes had walkers and very slow swimmers in them. There was only lane left with a single swimmer in it, she was super speedy. And when I jumped in, she threw me a dirty look on the first turnover. I kinda blew it off, got my goggles set and had a drink of water. Then on her next lap as she stopped to take a quick breather, when I went to ask her how we would share the lane I found out she wasn't just grumpy she was super rude. She made a disgusted noise at me and didn't answer my question. Hey, Rude Lady, just cause you're speedy doesn't mean you know pool etiquette. I mean c'mon! I can see you're swimming up and down one side of the lane all right, but I want to make SURE you're gonna stay there. I've had head-ons with speedy swimmers before and it HURTS.

Obviously I was s'posed to leave her the hell alone and watch for several laps to find out. Yeah, like I have time for that! Pissed off, I began my warm up laps of breaststroke making sure I took my time and didn't let her ruin my swim by making me going out too fast in anger. I stopped after 100m and had another drink. Now, time for the endurance swim. God, I hoped I'd do better than I did the other day. I'd even made sure to eat a little more than I wanted for lunch and afternoon snack. No running out of fuel this time! Plus, I had visions of my shepherd's pie waiting in the (turned off) oven for me.

Wanting to ensure I didn't fatigue my shoulders I alternated four laps breaststroke with four laps freestyle. Naturally, the first 500m went a little faster than the previous week's effort. The next 300 started to drag, even though I constantly reminded myself to kick strongly. (I have weak kicks in every stroke, it's the biggest flaw in my technique. I can't help it I'm all about the shoulder strength! lol) The penultimate hundred I was gasping for breath every second stroke during freestyle. However, I was determined to get to the 1km that Raina had managed the week before so I turned and went again without stopping for the drink I desperately wanted. (Is a bitch when you realise how often ya normally stop for a drink and a wee bit of rest, innit?) The last hundred seemed to take forever. I was down to breathing every second stroke...but breaststroke!

At long last I touched the final wall. I was too tired to give more than a half-hearted mental “I didz it too!” in the general direction of NZ. Funny how a bit of a stretch, a bit of a drink and then a few laps of gentle backward sculling got me in the mood to try and beat my adult swimmer total distance PB of 1500m.*

It was nice to have the lane all to myself so I could take my time, swim up and down the middle of the lane and get some freestyle fingertip drag drill work in while increasing my distance. When I was done with that I switched to a backstroke catch-up drill. Unfortunately, a few laps into it a kid started swimming in my lane...and I didn't realise. Yeah you guessed it. Him freestyle + me backstroke = head on collision. THEN I had to dodge kids swimming in and out of my lane playing chasey. After telling 'em twice to stay outta my half of the lane I told the lifeguard on 'em. (big ol' meany I am!)

Eventually the lane I was in became the swim lesson lane so I had to move over. By this point I was stuffed, but I still had two laps to go for my 1500m. After completing those two, I tried something that you do in weight training which is go to fatigue point. Ya know the one Scotty's always complaining about? "I've given her all she's got, Captain, and I can't give her no more.” You shoulda seen me. The last ten laps were some godawful bastardised version of dog paddle! With a stop at the end of each 25 yard lap.

I was SO glad I'd already made dinner when I wobbled my way home. Was very difficult to even lift it out of the oven. After a couple hours rest (aka Yakkin' on The Phone) I was able to peel the beets and roast them for my evening snack.

And to go with Alaskaboy's dinner:

This morning I dragged a little when I got outta bed. Probably because I was up late last night catching up on writing group stuff I'd neglected during my big therapy push. I almost decided to go swimming in the afternoon again, but I thought fuck it I wanna go now. Even with a strong cup of tea with breakfast it still took me an hour and a half to get outta the house. LOL

My swim today was a WHOLE lot faster, smoother and better overall than last week's. I'm putting it down to several key differences.

1) Fringe/bangs tied back out of face.
2) Instead of 4 laps per stroke breast/free alternation I used 4 laps per stroke breast/free/back rotation. (Backstroke is also my strongest stroke.)
3) Weight training earlier in the week = stronger muscles.
4) Feeling emotionally good and more confident.
5) Hadn't just finished menstruating.
6) Well-rested for the two previous nights plus swam earlier in the day.
7) Better fuel in stomach. (Am sure the caffeine didn't hurt either.)
8) Stretched BEFORE swimming.

By themselves all of those things don't mean much, but when you add them all together. Wow. Huge difference.

Last Week: Struggled to finish the 1000m non-stop.
This week: Swam 1645m non-stop but could have swum a little more. (Stopped because of sore elbow and wrist)

Total Distance last week: 1783m (95 mins) (78 laps)
Total Distance this week: 2057m (80 mins) (90 laps)

Yeah and I was down to doggy paddle again for the last ten laps. But I stopped every 50 yards instead. Woohoo!

Oh! And as a antidote to Rude Lady last week, I had Learning to Swim Nice Lady this week.

During my last two laps, I'd noticed a 50+ year old woman attempting to torpedo with a kickboard up and down the lane next to mine. But she'd stop and stand up to breathe each time. After I'd finished swimming and was taking time to really stretch everything out good, she approached me and made conversation about not being confident in the water. So gave her some tips on how to increase her confidence. Not only with floating, but breathing and swimming as well.

Simple little things like laying her head on the lane ropes when floating on her back. Hanging on to it when floating on her stomach or to practice breathing. Then trying to reach for the next lane rope over with her feet. (Distracts the brain from panic as the feet lift up.) Breathing facing forward instead of turning head side to side. (That can come later, it's like a Learner trying to drive and eat at the same time!) Even putting a noodle under her belly during kickboard torpedo for increased streamlining and buoyancy. Just little tricks to increase her confidence. As I told her, kids get water wings, adults should be allowed to have them too!

It felt SO cool watching her confidence increase over the 40 minutes I spent coaching her. She went from not being able to coordinate breathing and torpedoing to being able to get 3-6 breaths in a row before stopping and standing up in a moment of panic. I got out of the pool before her, but she ended up in the change room before I was finished. She was smiling from ear to ear. She'd been frustrated for weeks about not being able to advance further than she had. Stopped taking lessons because the teacher couldn't increase her confidence at all.

So yeah, am feeling pretty fab now after a great swim and watching Nice Lady realise how much fun swimming could be for herself (After years of sitting on the side of the pool watching others have fun. The reason she gave for finally learning to swim.)

Thanks for sticking through such a long post. Had a lot to fit in!

*(I have a vague recollection that our swim club training total distance averaged around 4km per 2 hr session. That did include drill work plus various strength training stuff like pull buoys / paddles / flippers / kickboard work as well.)

2 Nibbles:

Erin said...

I am so impressed with your swimming skills, I admit that is an area that I am sorely lacking. How lovely helping that nice lady, almost makes up for the rude cow that tried to bully you.
Please tell about roasting the beets unless I missed that somewhere, that's a veggie I'd like to add in myself but I've only ever had them pickled and never cared for them that way.

cmae said...

Nice! I love the contrast between the way Ms. Rudie McRuderson treated you and the way you treated the Nice Lady.