Sunday, January 17, 2010


Above is from a set of daily meditations my Mom put in my Christmas stocking last month...

For years I have been intending to properly learn how to swim. Sure, I took swimming lessons in the Peconic Bay as a kid, yet quit just before we got to the point of having to demonstrate our ability with the crawl. I never learned how to time my breath and have no memory of proper kicking, etc, etc.

Several years ago I purchased a swimsuit and tried to teach myself the strokes to ready for the High Country Triathlon: 5k run, 25k bike, 1k swim. I did the triathlon, yet wound up side stroking most of the water section in lily pad filled Wildcat Lake I finished feeling scared, exhausted and embarrassed. Until a few days ago, I had not been swimming since.

This past year, I decided I WOULD learn how to swim. I think if I did more cross training, especially during recovery period after tough events, I’ll be less susceptible to getting hurt. Last week, I dug though a box under my bed and found my suit and goggles. I purchased the cap and bought a 10-day pass to a pool in Boone, NC. It is a 40-minute drive, so realistically I’ll go only 2x a week. Meanwhile I set up one on one lessons with young ASU Education Major, Jordan who is a lifeguard in Boone and has taught all ages swim basics.

My first lesson was Friday. We worked on kicking, breathing (out through the nose, in through the mouth) and turns. I’ll go to the pool this afternoon to practice and wear more clothes. I was so cold in the water at the pool; I was told my skin turned blue.

I am excited and a little nervous about embarking on this ambitious journey of swimming. I wish for patience with myself when I awkwardly practicing in the lap lanes, trying really hard not to get in anyone’s way!

If anyone has suggestions for what to wear to stay warmer-I am open to it! (Most my polypro/capilene will be too loose-yet today I’ll pin it and hope for the best!)


Sophie Speidel said...


Good for you! Swimming has been a favorite cross training activity for me ever since I retired from triathlons and started running ultras. In particular, I love the way I feel afterward--stretched out, relaxed, bone tired in that good way when we work different muscle groups. I also love pool running. If the pool in Boone has running belts, borrow one for the last 10 minutes of your swim. It is a great exercise to do after a tough race and to stretch out your hip flexors.

As for staying warm, it helps if the pool is over 80 degrees but that is too hot for many pools and swimmers! Short of investing in a wet suit (not a bad idea if you plan to race tris in the future), you may need to just keep swimming to stay warm. Luckily, the pool where I swim likes to keep it warm but I know I would bail if it was less than 80. Ask about the pool temps and have fun!

Rick Gray said...

Annette, No advise from me. I swim like my legs are weighted down with lead weights. Now Tammy can swim like a fish. When we are in the pool together, she just laughs at me. Tammy has told me one of the key things is to get the head down so the legs come up on top of the water. I go two strokes and am sucking wind. Keep at it and maybe that dorsal fin will come out just a little bit!!!

runcharlotterun said...

You will be so glad you did this! Swimming makes you feel so good.

My daughter always used to freeze at the beginning of swim season for our community pool because they swam outdoors before school in May. We found an insulated swim cap online and it really helps. 30% of body heat is lost via your head. I use it under my ski helmet in the winter. Maybe that might help you.

annette bednosky said...

Right now swimming is cold and exhausting...water temp 76-80. I am considering a used wetsuit I saw on Craig's list for 25.00. I already wear a polypro hat under my swim cap-yet thanks for the thoughts!

Sophie-I will at least pool run for the last part of my pool time as at least that keeps me from freezing and I am competent!