an aquaphobic swimmer – further adventures

April 18 will be the 3rd anniversary of my quadruple bypass.

I plan to celebrate this “other birthday” by swimming 2 miles.

I swim in a 1/2 Olympic length pool, which from what I can tell is the standard size for a gym pool.  So 2 miles is 144 lengths.

My normal swim is 1/2 mile, 36 lengths.  I have gone as much as 104 – it took me about 2-1/2 hours.  I was pretty dizzy toward the end of it.  I swan 1 mile (72 lengths) a few times last spring, with really no problem.

But over the summer I lost something.  As I touched on in my previous blog re my fear of drowning, I had to reset my baseline to lowered expectations.  Two possible factors – the ‘interruption’ of going back to bicycling in the warmer weather, and my taking a series of five training sessions.  The bicycling, good in that is was ‘cross-training’, took momentum out of my swimming progress.  The lessons made me more aware, more critical of my swimming with the burden of my natural clumsiness (in grade school they put me in weekly Corrective Gym for all 6 years), more demanding of myself to swim better, less accepting of my “downtimes” catching my breath clinging to the ends of the pool and floating on my back.  Ot maybe I think I had those times with reserves of stamina and I just clicked more often than they really happened – unrealistic expections.

But I want to do this 2 miles on April 18.  It is a Sunday, and the JCC pool is open for lap swim 2 hours that morning.  Saturdays for 2-1/2 hours, weekdays for 4 hours.  Maybe I’ll do it the next morning.  But I want to do it on April 18.  (Having weird thoughts, as usual – that I might die the evening of the 18th, thus leaving what ends up being my final determination in life unfulfilled).

So, not only work towards swimming 2 miles – swim 2 miles in 2 hours.

I usually end up a tad over 1 lap a minute – all told, including time stopped hanging on the side of the pool catching my breath and otherwise procrastinating.

Today I did something out of my usual routine, gearing toward 2 miles in 2 hours in three more months.  I swam mostly backstroke – for the most part eliminating my phobia about getting enough air, as well as conceding to my congestion from the cold I am still not entirely over.  Definitely felt it in my lower back as well as my love handles.  And, I swam nonstop.  For me that means hands never touching the sides, much less coming to a dead stop hanging onto the edge catching my breath.  Most kickoffs from rolling onto my back from coming to the side with a few freestyle strokes, the occasional underwater flipturn (the practical crux of my breathing fears).

I swam my entire swim like that, with my gloves – they lengthen my stroke, but don’t make them easier; they more importantly give me a better workout.  38 lengths nonstop in 30 minutes.  My body does feel tight and sore but great.

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One response to “an aquaphobic swimmer – further adventures

  1. Pingback: 100 laps « novaheart's blog

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