I swam on Friday. I had another breakthrough. I realized I am dipping my head too low into the water when I'm swimming. Because it's so low in the water, it has to travel farther to break the surface of the water. That means I'm expending more energy than necessary to rotate my torso to place my mouth above the water.
Yay! I figgered it out! But Boo! this isn't an easy fix. As a long-term cyclist, I am very aware of how weak my upper back is. Years of trying to hold a helmet-clad noggin up have demonstrated how weak I am.
I did my first strength training workout the night before (Thursday). I'm using Holistic Strength Training for Triathlon. I cannot recommend this book enough. Reading it finally got me to be more consistent about stretching after a ride. As with Total Immersion Swimming, the workouts are not long; they are very focused. I think the author assumes his readers will be more fit than I am: there are some exercises I cannot do. One of them, it was all I could to to hold my position on the physio ball, let alone roll it out in front of me. And I can't do a regular pushup, let alone one on a med ball. But they give me a place to start. And it pleases my geeky side to be wandering through the fitness center carrying a book and a chart. It's like science!
I went to the Group Cycle class Saturday. Different instructor. I liked his workout better. He had us do one-legged drills. That's something I remind myself to do while riding, but I usually only manage about a minute per leg before I quit because, well, it sucks. And this time, I let my heart rate stay higher, although it appears my average and maximum heart rates were the same as they were last time. My legs aren't sore today, but that may also be because I did my own post-ride stretching routine.
Back to the swim: in an effort to regulate my breathing, I didn't breathe in and out at will while backstroking. I may continue to do this during my swim workouts while I work on strengthening my trapezius muscles. I'm hoping it will convince my brain that I will not die if I can't breathe every single second.
I'm kind of anxious to get back to open swims, though. I'm doing a good job of not taking off my goggles throughout the workout, but I'm stopping at each end of the pool. I can't do a kick turn, so I have to stop and turn around. And trying to take off without pushing off results in my heart rate going up because I'm treading water. I suppose that'll take care of itself in time, though.
I did manage one length of the pool only drawing in one breath each time my head was above the water. That was progress. And given my current cold, I think may have been pushing my luck by swimming, anyway.
The cold has probably derailed me for the week. I woke this morning with a bad sore throat. As in it felt like a swollen tonsil.
(I'm one of the minority of my generation that survived childhood with my tonsils intact. That's even more surprising, because in my late teens, I was getting tonsillitis every six months. I never got strep throat at the same time, so the tonsils got to stay. But it left me with a keen impression of what tonsillitis feels like.) So I'm spending today on the futon, watching football, drinking tea. I feel better than I did a few hours ago, but I'm not giving in to the fleeting temptation to go for a run or go to the gym.
And here's my contribution to everyone else's self-esteem: yesterday, I was stretching out my back using a foam roller. I ran over my ponytail. *sigh*