Friday, March 18, 2011

Discoveries at the gym

This morning I felt exactly like slug-Calvin, in one of my favorite Calvin & Hobbes strips:

(by the brilliant Bill Watterson, of course)

Helen (the teacher who led class while Richard was in New York yesterday) kicked our butts. We did a full 60 minutes of pretty heavy-duty aerobics, followed by about three times the toning that we usually do (though a bit less floor work.)  I woke up with really sore arms, already feeling like it should be bedtime.

But we're pretty damn committed to our workouts, so I oozed my slime trail all the way to our local Y, not expecting much aside from an epic nap after the gym.

I learned two things while there.  Things that I am surprised I didn't already know, and which I am very happy to have learned.

1) You know that burn you feel, the day after you tone the hell out of your arms?  That burn that hits when you're reaching up and lifting a bowl out of the cupboard?  The one that says "ha ha, weakling, you can't even lift this BOWL"?  You can combat it.  Do smooth, low-impact movements (like, say, the breast stroke) and suddenly you'll find that the burn is gone.  How did I not know this? Why didn't you people tell me this!?

2) Snorkels are amazing. AMAZING.

That's me, fresh from the pool, modeling the new snorkel.

 I purchased one yesterday at Target (with part of a birthday gift card - thanks, Jean!) They only had one for adults - the Speedo set, which for some reason isn't listed online.  It comes with a handy carrying case, but without directions for attaching the snorkel to the mask.  Thanks to the power of Google, I found out it's a widespread confusion, and got instructions to connect them, and we were off to the pool.

Figuring it might be too awkward to start out in the lap pool, I went to the training pool to test it out.  Within the first minute, I was doing laps.  I cannot believe how many ways this improves my swimming...

  • Even breathing!  With breast stroke, I wasn't breathing evenly.  With freestyle, I would hyperventilate after one lap.  It's not for lack of practice. I swim four days a week, and have been doing so solidly for almost ten weeks.  And before that, over the last eight years or so, I swam on a semi-regular basis.  But the snorkel means that I can breathe as needed, and not worry about my timing. 
  • Faster laps!  I don't break for breaths, so I just keep moving.  I don't even break at the end of a lap - I just turn around, still submerged.  
  • No neck pain! I'm terrible at proper form.  Due to the not-so-smooth breathing, I tend to bend my neck and back to get a faster breath.  Since I was underwater the whole time, I never had to wrench my neck, and I finished my set with fully pain-free neck.
  • No clock-watching!  I was so in the groove with my laps that I didn't bother to come out of the water to look at the clock until I started to feel just a touch tired.  It turns out I'd swam almost an hour without realizing it.  
Yay, snorkel.  I'm telling you, fellow breathing-troubled swimmers (Dad and Brian, I'm looking at you.)  You have to try it.  The only down-side I seemed to have was water in the ear.  A new pair of swim earplugs will do the trick, and I'll be as happy I've ever been while swimming.

Tonight we head out to visit some friends.  I'll be wearing one of the new shirts, and I'll be sure to snag a picture.  Tomorrow we're skipping Slimmons because Ann, the substitute teacher for the day, does much higher impact exercises.  I didn't enjoy her workout as much the last time we took her class. (She's much higher-impact, and I'm trying to make sure my knees don't suffer while there's still this much weight on them.)  We'll probably hit the Y again in the morning - and I can't wait to do laps in the lap pool with the snorkel.  Woo-hoo!

1 comment:

  1. So glad that has worked out for you!! I've got to get signed up so I can swim. You inspire!!!