Sunday, November 25, 2012

Why Swimming Should be More Like Running

Here's the deal. I don't really have permission to bike or run yet. I tested the "walking for exercise" waters on Thanksgiving and was depressed at the outcome. My usual 15:30/mile pace was up to 27:30/mile. Yes, I know I also had a dog who was excited about being walked around the prairie park and squawked at by pheasants, but seriously, it took me 50 minutes to walk less than two miles.

So, today, I finally stopped eating myself into a coma in self pity and took my lumpy bottom to the pool at the Y. I've been getting better swimming, and I haven't been over doing it.

What I've learned about swimming in the last couple of weeks is that swimmers like to get to the pool right when it opens and get their workout in early. They have the whole "stuff" down pat. They have their suits, their towels, their favorite shampoo and soap, hair products, make up, etc., all organized and ready to go. They scamper into the pool area, claim their favorite kickboards and pulleys and jump into a lane. Lap swimmers don't care about cold water. They just jump in and go. I'm okay with that. I can be hardcore.

But the etiquette of swim lanes at the Y is horribly disorganized. Now, usually when I swim it is during fitness classes, so they usually have 4-6 lanes open for lap swimmers on a weekday morning, which means most of the world is at work, except for stay at home parents, retirees, and folks who work different shifts (or are lucky enough to have some vacation/flex time at their jobs). I usually find someone who is swimming around my speed, sit down on the side of the lane opposite of the one they're using, make eye contact and either verbally ask (usually if they're doing the breast stroke) or point to the lane. The other person nods and I jump in and off I go.

But this morning on a weekend and after a fattening food-focused holiday, was ridiculous. The pool opens at noon, which I hate. Do you know how much more I would enjoy Sundays if rec centers and businesses were open at 9 a.m.?

Anyway, I got changed and limped my way into the pool to see the lifeguards moving swimmers out of lanes. They apparently didn't read the schedule that said that 4 lanes were for the swim team this morning and 4 lanes were for lap swim.

I sat down at the end of the lane and the woman in it swam near me. I asked if I could join her and her reply was, "My sister's coming. I'm sharing with her."

I explained that they were closing 4 lanes so we'd have to all buddy up, possibly have three to a lane and swim rotation. She looked -- unhappy.

So I decided not to push the issue and ended up at the end of the pool with a 12 year old thinking she was teaching a 5 year old to swim and a retiree doing the sidestroke.

And this is when I wish swimming was more like running. When I run at the track, there are posted directions on which way to go. There's a recommendation for where slow people should go versus fast people. At the armory they have two walking lanes, two jogging lanes and two running lanes. I'm usually in the outside jog lane, because I'm slow. When I swam at the ARC outside last summer, they had the same kind of idea. They had four lanes open for swimming 1 slow, two medium and one fast. I go to the slow lane. The Y totally needs to implement something like this. Because at the Y, I'd be in a medium lane.

What I like about running is that all it takes is a pair of tennis shoes, and if I'm feeling very spoiled about necessities -- my iphone with headphones. You give me those two things and I can go forever. I can go outside my house and just move my body and listen to the music. Sure, from time to time, I have to look out for cars, but the path near our house requires me to cross three streets. I can do that without losing too much momentum.

When I'm done running, I'm sweaty and spent. I'm also high as a kite. I get home, suck back some water and hit the shower.

When I'm done swimming, I'm wet and tired, but I'm also hungry. Starving. But I don't need to eat, otherwise what I burned off will have meant nothing. Because I don't burn as many calories swimming as I do running.

But when I swim, my foot doesn't hurt. The minute I stand on the concrete pool floor and walk up the steps using the bar assists, I know it's going to be a while before I run. It makes me sad. I like to swim. But I like to choose to swim. I hate being forced there. I hate the disorganization of swimming at the Y. I hate that although my heart feels like it could swim forever at my non-Olympic pace, I get bored. I hate that I often lose track in my head of what I'm swimming in my workout because I could care less. It's like I'm just doing my time until I get my feet back.

I'm a runner in water. And I wish I knew how to change things so that I loved it.

1 comment:

Olivia Heartelly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.