- Get up at the ass crack of dawn
- Get to the Y
- Get in the pool
- Have full contact fight with swim cap
- Thrash around for 90 minutes or so
- Resent all the other people in the pool who make this crap look so damn easy
- Reach a point of frustration that almost always leads to tears
- Go to work feeling depressed
Today was a little different, (and not just because of the extremely hot swim god in the lane next to me!) steps 1 - 4 were the same. (In fact I pride myself in the fact that I give the lifeguard some quality entertainment putting on my swim cap. I actually snapped myself in the eyeball with it today!) But then something changed, or I figured something out.
My problem is not that I can’t swim, I think I actually swim ok, it’s my breathing that kills me. I’ve been at this for two months and I still struggle to swim a single lap without stopping. (Sad, yes, I know) But the issue isn’t that my arms or legs are tired, it’s that I’m sucking wind like I’ve run up 18 flights of stairs! I openly admit that my cardio sucks (I openly admit most things) but I swear it’s not as bad as it would seem in the pool.
This next part might be hard for anyone besides me to understand, I apologize in advance. Good swimmers know how to do what’s called bilateral breathing, the ability to breathe on both the right and left sides. This is accomplished by taking a breath, swimming and odd number for strokes (for me it’s three) and then taking a breath on the other side. I can do this, but I’m far better breathing on the right side and almost always start on that side, in fact if I try to start on my left I end up totally out of sync and treading water within seconds.
Ok, everybody still with me? Take a breath on the right, swim three strokes, take a breath on the left, take three strokes, etc. The issue for me has been that by the time I get to the third stroke I’m totally out of air and starting to panic. So, for the past couple of weeks I’ve been solving that problem by breathing on every other stroke, which means only breathing on one side. Seems like a logical fix right? Yea, not so much, now I’m breathing too often and basically hyperventilating.
<Insert massive amounts of frustration here>
Today I hit the pool with the goal of trying to figure out why taking three strokes and bilateral breathing was giving me such a hard time. Mission accomplished, at least to some degree. My issue seems to be on m y exhale, which is of course under water. I exhale to fast so I feel completely out of air well before the end of the three stroke set. The fix, don’t start my exhale until the second stroke. I managed to not only survive a lap, but two laps! Again, I realize that this is pretty sad, but you know what, I’m gonna take my little 100yd swim and be happy with it. And because of this I feel the need ti upgrade myself for “cat in the washing
machine” status to a minnow, or maybe a guppy!
On another swimming related note, just yesterday I started referring to MK as “The Shark” because she crushed a 2000yd swim! She’s totally my hero!