Monday, November 30, 2009


Since my IT band keeps frustrating me, I've decided to switch gears for a while and try some other things to help it heal. I'm worried about losing cardiovascular fitness, gaining weight and losing my endurance since all I can seem to run is 2 miles before I have to stop. Not to mention this band needs to heal so I can start training again in January. Solution? I joined the local community center so I can swim. It's under construction right now, so there is a 25% discount. Plus you can do a pay-as-you-go monthly membership with no fee. So it is a really good deal for a place with a pool!

There are two pools in the facitily. The Leisure Pool has a lazy river, kid water things, a big tube slide, and oddly enough 3 lap lanes. The other pool is the Competition Pool, which is shared among the community center, high school and middle school. It's very nice, but I think it's going to be harder to get a lane there most days. Plus I learned after my first swim on Sunday that it's kept at 76º while the leisure pool is kept at a bath-water temperature of 88º. I'll take warm over cool, I'm not a competitive swimmer by any means.

I haven't attempted lap swimming since I had a membership at Lifetime Fitness. I have never had lessons or anything, so I'm not really sure I'm doing it right. I have looked up some pointers online for freestyle on triathlon sites and just try to keep those principles in mind while I'm swimming. Who knows. It feels OK. The hardest part is the breathing. It's hard for me to get the rhythm down. If any swimming readers have pointers, I'd love to hear them!!!

Sunday I went for the first time. The center opened at noon, so I went a little early to be sure I'd get a lane. A bunch of high school girls went to the competition pool side, so I went into the leisure pool side so I wouldn't have to compete for a lane. I don't mind sharing a lane, this was usually how I had to swim at Lifetime since it was always crowded. However, no one else was on the leisure side yet so it was just me and the lifeguards. I got a lane (the only one open because swim classes were about to start) and warmed up a little. Since I was the only one there, all 4 lifeguards had nothing to do but watch me, which was not what I wanted since I am self-conscious about looking like a flailing gorilla in the water. Soon the swim class started, so I began my freestyle crawl down and back, breathing every 3 strokes and trying not to look dumb.

Overall I think it went well. I ended up being able to go 50 yards before I had to take a breather. For 25 yards I could breath every 3 strokes. Coming back about midway down the lane I'd have to switch to breathing every other stroke. When I tried swimming before at Lifetime, I could barely make it down the 25 yards. But I also think I was going too fast. It's hard to swim slow, in my opinion.

I was in the water for about 50 minutes. I warmed up with the breast stroke and side stroke, or my interpretations of them anyway. I did a clunky freestyle for a while and then grabbed a kickboard and kicked for a few laps. Then I did more freestyle. I'm not sure how many total laps I did. Either 8 or 13 down and backs, which is 50 yards or meters each (not sure which the pool is yet). So I totaled somewhere around 400 - 650 yards or meters. I have no clue if that's good or bad. I figured to have my heart rate up for 50 minutes was a good start.

Back in the locker room after I was done, I snuck a picture of how goofy I look in a swim cap. My swimsuit is bright, construction barrel orange. No one will ever miss me coming.

After the pool I went to the dreadtreadmills and ran for 1.75 miles. I just had to see how my band would feel after the swimming. It felt fine. I began to feel the very early twinges, so I stopped when that happened.

So overall, I'm very excited to swim for a while! I wish I had someone who could give me some pointers in the water. Maybe I'll meet a friendly swimmer one day. I know there are classes offered too, so maybe I can check that out. Who knows, if I'm ever able to swim more than 50 yards at a time, maybe I can do a triathlon this coming year!

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