Friday, September 21, 2012

Swimming When You're Not Young and Skinny

I went to the gym for the first time last night.  I don't have my goggles or my cap yet but I did get my swimsuit and I gotta say, I love this swimsuit.  It was only $30!  With free shipping!  I can't remember the last time I had a swimsuit that didn't have an underwire so that was weird but I never had clevage issues because the neck comes up pretty high, so that's good.  They have different colors so I think I'm going to get at least one more swimsuit.

The last time I remember swimming laps I was in college and I was thin.  I can't remember how old I was or what weight exactly but if I had to guess I'd say I was about 24 years old and 150 pounds.  And I could swim laps, like real laps, freestyle and everything, for as long as my little heart desired.  I guess I thought you never lose that.  I was wrong.

I'm not even halfway down the pool and I'm thinking to myself, holy cow, I can't get enough oxygen when I go to take a breath to last to the next breath.  What's the deal with this?  The second thing I think is OH MY GOD THE LIFEGUARD IS GOING TO THINK I'M DROWNING!  And the very very last thing I want is the lifeguard to look at me, I just want to be invisible in the pool.  It's the only thing that someone watches you.  No one watches the treadmill walkers or the basketball players.  I hate this about swimming at the gym.  There were no lifeguards I can remember in college.  I almost didn't want to join because of it. 

I switched to breast stroke.  And I felt like a failure.  But I breast stroked in that pool for 45 minutes and I wanted to give up after 10.  I kept trying to swim freestyle but I could only go a couple of times, not even half a lane.  I'm going to keep working on this and working on not freaking out just because there's a lifeguard.

In hindsight however, I'm kind of glad I had trouble with freestyle because my eyes are burning today from the small bits that I did try to do.  Googles are a must in the pool.

Other musts:
I need a freaking coverup.  The towels are very small and I don't like walking from the locker room around the first pool to the big pool trying to hid my waist with a tiny hand towel.

I need shower shoes.  I don't think I have to go into details but the showers stay wet all the time and it doesn't feel right to just stand in that stuff.

I need a change of clothes that aren't yoga pants. It's very hard to put on clothes when you are slightly wet and standing on a wet floor especially when you are dealing with 8% spandex..

I need a better gym bag than one those fold up totes you use for shopping.  And I need a lock so I can put my stuff in a locker.

I need shampoo and A COMB.  Duh.

I think once I get past my insecurities I'll like swimming more.  It was my first time and I was already nervous and then I felt really let down by my body.  I felt very strong after swimming, I feel like I hold in my stomach when I swim naturally so my stomach felt stronger.  I also realized they have floaty things so you can use them to practice kicking or leg things to practice arm strokes.  I frog kick when I breast stroke and I got very sore, it would have been great to use the floaty thing to do regular kicks across the pool to change it up.  I also think I'll really like water aerobics.  When we get back from vacation I'm going to figure out the schedule so I can try that out. 

Also when you are swimming you are really alone with your thoughts.  When I work out I always have music or television, sometimes both, I used to read sometimes too, and when you swim you don't get any of that.  If I'd stop counting my strokes I could really use that time to think about things, besides, you know, not looking like I'm drowning.

8 comments:

  1. Hi Lori, glad to hear you are back in the pool. Next time will be so much easier. I'm around 220lbs and I try and swim 2 or 3 times a week at my local pool (love the low impact exercise at this weight!), and it is such a useful time to clear your mind and have a good think. Having said that, I'm contemplating getting an underwater MP3 player or waterproof shuffle, as a fast music beat really helps spur you on. Looking forward to hearing how you get on.

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  2. Do you swim freestyle? I feel like I'm doing it wrong but I had lessons in college so that can't be it, still I've been consulting google and you tube for some pointers. Aunt Flo has caught me so I'm a bit behind now. It might be after our vacation until I'm back in the pool.

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  3. It sounds like you did wonderfully to last 45 minutes! And it's something you will be able to see actual improvement with satisfaction--unlike the elliptical or treadmill where the only way you know you're doing better is because the heart rate or rpm rate goes up. You're right about a decent gym bag and lock--it's so much easier to have stuff that just belongs to the bag so you don't have to repack it all the time. :-) And just think how gorgeous your arms will be by spring when the sleeves come off!

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    1. Thanks Nancy. I am excited to see improvement and I agree, I think it will be more noticeable than the treadmill.

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  4. Not freestyle - I've never got the breathing right so I don't feel comfortable doing lengths of freestyle (nor am I fit enough!).I do breaststroke, three lengths at a time followed by a length of back crawl (where I may or may not use my arms) as this gives my back and neck a rest from breaststroke.
    No women in my pool (non under 30 years old) swim freestyle really, partly because it is kind of antisocial in a small pool, partly because it is taxing I think. What about your pool?

    Enjoy your vacation!

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    1. That's fascinating. When I was there it was mostly guys. One lady, older, who looked like she was swimming freestyle. I feel like when we toured the pool it was all older women and they were all freestyle. I'm going to pay extra attention next time. I felt like the fat outcast unable to freestyle. My usual self conscious inner speak. I need to go to your pool!

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  5. Following up on this, I saw the most amazing snorkel today at the pool, used by a guy in his 50s, and it was like a front snorkel, clipped to his goggles between his eyes. Looked kind of odd, but he could do freestyle without having to come up for breaths, no neck strain etc. I did some digging and they are listed on Amazon here
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Finis-Adult-Swimmers-Snorkel-Yellow/dp/B004O6ECL4/ref=sr_1_1?s=sports&ie=UTF8&qid=1349287974&sr=1-1

    I think some pools ban snorkels (at least in the UK) but mine doesn't and I think I'm going to give this a go - clearly I will have to wait for a pool with no one in it to give it a go at first!

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    1. Oh geez, I look silly enough without giving that a whirl. Let me know how it turns out. ;-) Boys, they can try anything without feeling stupid.

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