Adventures in Swimming

05 Aug

Is it lazy if I’m not writing because I’d rather get a workout in?  I know it’s been a while since my last post, so I’ll try to get the next few quicker.  At least I’ve been burning enough calories to keep me sane.

I admit it now – this no running thing is really starting to get to me.  It’s summer, and each time I see someone out running I get a little jealous, especially if they are running with earbuds.  I know there are some purists out there who feel that running while listening to music is cheating yourself out of the sounds of nature, but when you live in the city or the suburbs there isn’t that much nature to be heard.  Besides, I came into running about the same time the Walkman came out and immediately got hooked in trying to match my gait to the tunes.  For the past 30 years I’ve been recording “running” songs with a good beat and rhythm.  In the old days it was usually off the radio to a cassette tape, these days I “Shazam” them and load onto my Ipod.  There were few things I enjoyed more than getting out on a nice day when I’m feeling good and cruise along to some fast tunes.  Now I’m doing my best to speed walk to them, but even at about a 14 minute/mile pace, it’s just not the same.   Then I noticed some folks swimming with – low & behold – EARBUDS!  They make Ipods for swimming!

I’m lucky enough to have very generous in-laws, so with my birthday cash from them this year (takes me a while to spend it sometimes) I purchased a pretty little blue Shuffle and happily loaded it up with some of my favorite running tunes.  While it’s an adjustment for me to pull the swim cap over my ears in order to keep the buds in (I’m one of those “ears out” swimmers) I was still excited with my new toy, and couldn’t wait to try it out.

Into the water and the first thing I notice is I’m a REALLY LOUD SWIMMER.  Perhaps not so much that anyone else would notice but when the swim cap is pulled over my ears, all the sounds of my breathing are amplified and I sound like freight train.  So – the volume on the Shuffle gets jacked up high, problem #1 solved.

Problem #2 was my choice of music.  As I tried to move my arms in time to Lady Gaga it only took me one length of the pool to realize that arms pulling through water are not going to come close to the cadence of your legs through the air.  Perhaps for a 50 yard sprint, but not my 7000 yard endurance fix. Back to the drawing board on that one & time to laod up some Enya perhaps?


My next adventure in swimming is due to the fact that I’ve registered for an open water swim race in August, so I felt the need to get into the open water.  I registered for a swim in Lake Michigan with a nice coach & even rented a full sleeve wetsuit for the occasion, thinking I’d be mighty comfortable.  Getting to the beach on a 90 degree day had me believing it might even be too warm for the full sleeves and considered grabbing the sleeveless one instead.  Then I got into the water.   The 60 degree (or maybe high-50s) water.  Whoa!!!!  Ok, feet & hands a bit chilled, but my body felt ok and after a minute I felt good enough to try some dolphin dives & bobbing to get my face in the water.  SON OF A $%#*!!!  Suddenly I forget how to breathe!  The coach gives us a warm-up route so I head off.

The last time I swam in Lake Michigan was 2 years ago and I remember it taking about 10 minutes to get warmed up enough to swim with my head down, so I figured it would just take a bit of time.  Well – after about 30 minutes of sputtering about like I’m in a water polo game the coach asks if anyone is really too miserable to swim in the cold.  Out of 20 of us I was the only one raising my hand to bail.  Who cares – I was freezing with bright red hands & feet and felt no shame as I hiked up the beach to my car.  I felt better when I saw at least 3 other folks heading to the parking lot as I pulled out.  Even better when I made it to the pool in time to get  3000 meters in much warmer water.  Swim wimp!

Hope all your own adventures in or out of the water treat you well.

Keep moving!

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Posted by on August 5, 2012 in Uncategorized


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