Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Running Is a Sport; Swimming Is an Art

Workout:
50min. swim, 1,000 yards



Today I managed 1,000 yards (40 laps) for the first time with the aid of a pool buoy for half of it. That distance equates to just over 1/2 mile. The buoy, which I place between my legs, helps the lower portion of my body float and allows me to focus on my strokes, being in the right position, breathing and swimming downhill (meaning that I press my shoulders into the water). I learned today that my elbows should be the highest point each time I reach/stroke and Kieth had me focus on this by completing a drill in which I drag my fingertips across the top of the water each time as I am reaching forward, forcing me to elevate my elbows.

I'm happy to report that my back, shoulders, chest and arms are sore!

Although I've made progress this week, I can honestly say that this has been the most frustrating week of working out in my entire life. But, for that same reason, it has also been the most rewarding! I'm both amazed and frustrated that I so easily loose my breath in the pool! I can go run for hours when training, so how can swimming TWO laps leave me clinging to the wall, gasping for air? It doesn't make sense. But luckily, I'm not alone. A simple 'runner to swimmer' google search turned up this article:

How to stop “thinking like a runner” while you’re in the pool
By Terry Laughlin
Learning to swim can be one of the most frustrating tasks for a runner. Thousands of them have undoubtedly had an experience like this: A runner who can breeze through a 10-miler without even breaking a sweat decides one day to try a pool workout. Two lengths leave him panting exhaustedly at poolside and thinking, "How will I ever get in a decent workout if I can’t even make 100 yards without dying?" Experiences like that leave a high percentage of runners viewing swimming as something that’s exceedingly difficult to master and suspecting that all the time and effort it will take to master the sport may not even be worth it.
What makes swimming so different from running? Simply put, running is a natural activity. Swimming is, too... if you’re a fish. For the rest of us, it’s a struggle. When we watch the world's best swimmers, whether dolphins or extraordinary human swimmers like Alex Popov, we observe a similar gift for moving through the water, at slow speeds as well as fast, with grace, economy of movement, and fluency. When we observe most other swimmers, particularly runners taking their first tentative strokes, we see exactly the opposite. Their swimming is awkward, clumsy, inefficient. When they try to swim faster, their inefficiency increases exponentially. But don’t lose sleep if this describes you, because, as my extensive teaching experience suggests, only about 1% of the population has the innate ability to swim with such fluency while the rest of us instinctively fight the water and ourselves. This is why I describe the slippery-swimming style we teach at Total Immersion workshops as fishlike because it is so different from the way humans instinctively swim.
But I’ve also learned that the less gifted among us can learn to swim like fish if we are patient. The key is to give yourself the time and space to master swimming as an art before tackling it as a sport. Before trying to swim fast or far or hard (or churn out repeats trying to steel yourself for a 1-kilometer triathlon swim ordeal), first learn to swim slowly with beauty and grace. Learn not to fight the water or yourself, then patiently develop your ability to swim fluently while moving at progressively faster speeds or for greater distances. And NEVER allow yourself to fall into the self-defeating habit of "practicing" struggle or inefficiency.
My goal for next week is to be out there all 5 days, decrease my rest time in between laps, practice form, and to complete 100 yards in anything less than 2:11.

Brrr! 

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