July 2, 2008

The Big Breakthrough

As I arrived at the pool this morning and locked up my bike, I noticed a rather interesting one locked beside it.

We can all relate to this sentiment and it made me feel pretty happy that instead of going to work, I was headed to the pool.

I had just 40 minutes and was determined to make it count. I did my usual slow warm-up and decided to try 450 yards again, which is .25 miles. I finally took the swim advice I've been getting and switched to breathing on every stroke. It took a couple laps to get used to this, but once I got into the rhythm, it made an incredible difference. I reached 450 and decided to see how much further I could go. As I approached 900 I realized I wasn't tired. So I kept swimming and right as the lap swim time ended, I did my 54th length, which totaled 1350 yards, or .75 miles. I wasn't breathless and my heart wasn't pounding out of my chest. This is the breakthrough I've been waiting seven weeks for. I know I will inevitably still have bad days swimming, but I feel like I've finally figured something out that is going to make it easier for me to improve.

When you're swimming lap after lap in the pool, your mind has a lot of time to wander. I made some observations today that I found a bit disturbing. First, there are always odds and ends floating around in the pool. Some are identifiable, some are not, and all make you thankful that you feel as though you're swimming in a vat of Clorox. I've noticed a trend of band aids floating around in the water. They are always suspended a foot or more below the surface, threatening to be accidentally inhaled or stuck on your face. I have two questions for the people who have contributed the band aids to the pool: (1) If you have an open wound that requires the extra large band aid, do you really want to be swimming? (2) If the wound is minor, would it kill you to spend 2 seconds ripping that nasty thing off before hopping in the pool?

The second thing I find a bit revolting is the use of the public swim caps. It's a rule that you can't swim without a cap so there is a pile of caps that are property of the college, laying in a small puddle of water above the kick boards and pull buoys. This area never seems to dry and since the caps come out of the pool and end up piled up, you can only imagine what is festering inside of them. A guy strolled in today who looked fairly serious about swimming and proceeded to pull a soggy cap out of the pile and put it on. Why, I ask? Of all the gear you need to buy, a swim cap is the smallest investment you'll ever make. I felt like giving the guy five bucks so he could go buy one of his own.

After a very leisurely day including a long lunch with an old friend, I spent the rest of the afternoon putting off the bike ride I swore I would do. It was hot and after my enormous lunch at the always delicious Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, which included a chocolate frozen custard shake that likely had about 2,000 calories, I found myself rather tired and sluggish. I finally felt like riding around 7:3o and it was too late for anything lengthy outside, so I had to get on the trainer yet again. I rode as hard as I could for an hour, hoping to burn off at least a smidgen of the burger, fries and shake I had at lunch. It was well worth it.

Distance - 1650 yards (.93 miles) with 1350 continuous
Time - 40:00

Biking (on trainer)
Distance - 14.13 miles
Time - 1:00:00

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the swim breakthrough. Try out other people's hints, but always do what feels right for you. Sounds like you found something. Good going.



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