Thursday, July 14, 2011

My first swim!

Yup.  It finally happened. I got exercise from propelling myself in water.

Since I'm letting my leg heal up and searching for ways to stay sane and keep fitness not to mention build better overall strength,  I decided that now was the time.

About 10 days ago I took the first step and ordered myself a pair of swim goggles with -6 diopter plastic corrective lenses, not exactly my prescription (I have a teeny bit of astigmatism) but good enough for cost only $18. 

I did not order a Speedo. I have my old baggy bathing suit for now.

The goggles arrived yesterday.

Another reason I've been thinking of swimming is that I have access to two of these a short distance from where I work. (see pic)

It's basically a "water treadmill": you dial the current you want and then swim in place.

I have not swum a long distance freestyle, ever, so I wondered if it would all be a bit clumsy and daunting to start out here rather than in a big pool. I've also never worn goggles swimming before.

But big pools have their own problems....a pain to get to..lots of people, so I opted to give this a go.

Things that seemed to go well

I did not drown. 8-P

I swam for 15 minutes fairly continuously, except when i stopped to adjust the current or stop and  think about WTF I was doing.

I was able to swim at about 2.5 mph, which was much faster than I thought I could go. I think with practice I would be able to go 3 mph maybe?

My arms did not seem to get tired/sore. (We'll see tomorrow.)

I was able to do 'elbow over hand' pretty well. (Thank you youtube ;)

My kick worked. I know to kick from the hips not the knees from all the flippering I've done in my life. Whenever my legs dropped I tried focusing on the kick and keep the head down and that would bring 'em right back up.

My heart rate did get up a bit..actually got a teeny cardio workout. Probably hit my running recovery rate of 105 115 bpm.

Things that didn't go so well

Trying to focus on all the parts of the stroke was somewhat overwhelming. It's not automatic AT ALL yet and so it was sort of mental overload.  I think if there was  a movie of my stroke it would look pretty horrible.

Breathing on the left was almost a total fail. I did it a few times and took in water a bit. My flexibility to that side is terrible. (The same massive body asymmetry that is effecting my running no doubt). But I think with practice and more body roll I can get used to it. 

I was imagining swimming 1.2 miles (half ironman swim) and it seemed like a freakin' long distance, especially in open water. Suddenly the abstract challenge became a real one..once  I was wet and flailing around. It was a little scary to think about. i smell a new challenge?

Things to work on

Technique is everything in swimming. It's not a natural thing like running, and it's way more complex than biking. I need somebody to look at my stroke and give me some pointers.

I actually find (after my puny 15 min) that its an interesting contrast to running...color me 'intrigued' with it. Not drowning helped ;)

I probably need to do some drills and that will probably require an actual pool. Hmm. 

Mini goal: I would like to be able to swim for 1/2 hour without stopping!


Meanwhile, I'm weight/core training (getting stronger by the week) and biking. I also got into see my personal Dr and schedule an referral on Monday with a sports medicine dr to see if I can avoid these calf problems somehow. 

I seem to be keeping busy enough that not running isn't bugging me too much (yet).


Meanwhile you must  check out Sarah's blog and send her some congrats..she deserves a big round of virtual bloggy applause: she just passed the 100lb mark in her weight loss
and is on the way toward running her first half marathon soon!


  1. Awesome that you are swimming! You will probably run into some of the same issues that I ran into!

    That water treadmill does sound really cool! Honestly I'd almost rather swim in one of those as opposed to a regular pool, because I'm always concerned about running into people in a real pool since normally there 2-3 people in the lane of the pool that I swim.

    Swimming 2.5 mph seems great to me, especially when you are first starting out! I've been swimming for about 2 months now, and I seem to average about 1 minute for 50 meters - so about 2 mph it seems to work out to. I usually do about 1000 to 1500 meters each swim session. My technique is probably bad, haha

  2. @nelly: Yes it's nice to be by yourself. But you don't have a feeling of getting anywhere 8). On the other hand you don't have to worry about hitting the ends either. Overall I'm happy. I thought it would be a total suck and it's not 8)

  3. Big props to you for taking the plunge! SOunds like it went really well overall.

  4. Well, not drowning is always a positive!! :). Did you feel too closed in by that running treadmill thing?

    I look forward to hearing more about the swimming -- it is on my horizon (mostly because I have a friend who wants to do a sprint tri so obviously I must add swimming to workouts).

  5. Good job on the swimming. At some point I am going to attempt that!

  6. I haven't gone swimming in nearly a year and really want to explore tri's so I need to get on that. I have looked into the fitness centers on the base in Germany and it looks like there is a pool so I am hoping I can start there.

    I have heard of water running and follow a few blogs where people have done that who were injured. It seems like a good workout.

  7. Good thing for you, I was also a swimmer in high school and college. Look out swimming drills!!!

  8. Oh geeze, I somehow missed that you are injured. Now there's a tribe of us. Let's start our own non running club. I'm off to think of a name...

  9. Nice job on the swim. It's still the part that scares me for the triathlon. I can deal with open water but the distance will kill me.


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