Tuesday, July 07, 2015

I Have Come to a Decision



I got in the pool today after several weeks of being out of it.  No, it wasn't that I wasn't swimming.  It's that I was swimming in lakes.

So, some thoughts.

Swimming in a pool is a LOT easier.  I mean a LOT easier.  Lane lines, clear water and not having to sight make a significant difference. Fear of sharks and orca and huge anaconda easier to make fun of.  (Hey, when you can't see the bottom...  I know there are none of those things in a New England lake, but I have an excellent imagination!)

It's also too confounded hot.  And honestly?  Not as much fun.

I mean, I get out of a <65F lake red in the face after a swim.  What do you think it looks like in a 78F pool?  I took a cold shower after my workout this morning because my normal warm shower was uncomfortable.  Even so, I was wishing I had a more extensive makeup kit than I'd bring to the pool to cover my way too rosy cheeks when getting ready for work.

I like swimming in the lakes better.  Part of it is just that I live in New England.  It's just so confounded pretty swimming in a lake.  Part of it is the nifty factor.  It feels more adventurous, even though as far as open water swimming goes in a lake, my worst dangers are not checking in about water quality or an idiot on a jetski.  Seriously, jetskiers?  If you see a kayaker and they're waving at you, give 'em a wide berth. They may be escorting a swimmer.

But, oh Slow Swimmer, I hear you ask, how is this a decision?  Surely you, who make her living with words, know the difference between a decision and an observation.

Indeed I do.

My decision?

I'm training for a six mile swim for next summer.

Is this crazy?  Well, yeah, it kinda is.  That last event I did?  I swam a bit under a mile an hour.  There's no way they're gonna sit around for six hours waiting for me to finish that swim.  I am going to have to speed up by a rather silly percentage and it's possible I physically can't.  I think that's unlikely.  I wasn't pushing myself hard in the Kingdom Swim.  I was swimming to finish, not to be fast.

I see no real down side to trying, mind. I know what kind of training I'll need to do.  And I will have to throw in some *shudder* dryland work.  Okay, that's not fair.  I like weight training, which is what I intend to do.  I've just been avoiding it in favor of swimming.  But I'm about as strong as I can reasonably get from being in the pool and need to do something else.  Besides, swimming might be great for the CV system, but it doesn't do much for maintaining bone density.  Fortunately, squats are my favorite lift.

I am going to be starting with shorter, much more intense workouts and then bumping up the volume as I can tolerate more intensity for longer distances.

But last year I was going from no real exercise for two years to training for a two mile swim. I have a year of working out to build on, so I think it will go okay.

The other thing I gotta do?

Get rid of the breast stroke.  It's far too slow.  Oh, it's strong and I get there, but there's a reason in the Freestyle event people use the front crawl. It's astronomically faster.  Shoot, even I am about 35sec/100yds faster doing crawl than breast stroke!   I do a lot of breast stroke in the open water because my sighting skills are poor(and I often disagree with my kayaker about what constitutes a straight line to an object), so yes, that needs work as well.  So, part of my swim training is going to be tapering off using it.  Dammit.  I like the stroke. Sorry Cap'n Webb...

So, I have a hard year of training in front of me. But I've discovered something else.  If I commit money to an event, I will train to ensure I can perform in that event.  This keeps me going and training much more effectively than the idea that I have to exercise to stay healthy.  So, big physical goals that require the financial commitment of the event work well to keep me going.  I do hope that at some point I'll be so committed to swimming I won't need that, but I'm not there yet.
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