Thursday, March 1, 2012
Michael Phelps, I Still Am Not
But that's okay and thanks to the advice of some friends, I am getting better.
After my last post about my difficulties swimming, Mira and Jeff again came to the rescue with their comments! Both agreed that I should check out some instructional videos on YouTube and Mira advised slowing down a bit. So, I checked out a couple of videos and came across one that had shots from all different angles, and I came to realize that I had been kicking way too much. My legs were moving like I was in a 100yd dash and my arms were trying to run a marathon.
So with this new found wisdom I headed off to the pool Tuesday night. I was very concerned about my performance because since Monday I had lifted weights, ran two different times, and participated in a fast paced game of basketball. My body was pretty sore and I was very tired. I entered the water having no expectations, which was probably a good thing!
I started off very slowly. I took my time with my arm strokes and I focused on kicking less frequently. I was able to find a good rhythm within the first 100m, and as I became more tired I was able to focus on taking a good breath and maintaining good form. Everything was going swimmingly (pun very much intended).
My original goal was to swim 300m without stopping, which is the distance of the swim portion of a triathlon I would like to do next fall. I made that mark with little difficulty and decided to keep going. I just wanted to see how far I could go. By about 600m I was definitely starting to feel fatigued, but I got it in my head that I wanted to do 800m, or approximately a half mile, before stopping. At 750m another swimmer joined my lane and I got a little nervous about being overtaken, but I just kept moving. I finally finished the 800m and I thought I would go just a bit further to see what would happen. I finally decided to end the session at 900m! I looked up at the clock just to estimate how long that had taken me, about 20 minutes! It felt awesome!
I noticed that a few of the other swimmers had already started taking breaks, which made me feel good because usually I am the one leading the charge in break time. I watched the other swimmer in my lane and took note of a couple of techniques he was using. When I went back to swimming I attempted to replicate some of what I had seen. But suddenly it was like I couldn't swim again. I was doing only 50m at a time and each time ended up gasping for air. That was when I realized that I had completely lost focus of what had led to my earlier success. I was attempting to swim like someone else, and that didn't work for me. I realized that I needed to swim like me, just a little slower. So I refocused once more and went back out. Unfortunately, this time the extended effort and exhaustion caught up with me and my foot started to cramp. However, I did complete another 100m before I called it a day.
Overall, it was a great experience and I think I learned a lot about myself. I also got really geeked out about the possibility of not embarrassing myself in a triathlon! I don't get to swim very often, but I hope to keep throwing these opportunities in every once in awhile, and hopefully by the time of the triathlon in the fall I will be ready to have a good showing!