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Fitness Fear #1: Faced

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Friday, August 10, 2012

So, I decided I had better learn how to swim. If I expect to get any cardio in while I'm in the boot, I've just got to bite the bullet and do it. I've honestly been deathly afraid to swim in front of people (at a public pool or at the YMCA)...especially in a designated swim lane. It makes me feel very self-conscious...like everyone is watching or something.

Also, I had no clue HOW to swim correctly and I haven't actually swam freestyle since high school. That was a long time ago. And about 100 lbs ago too.

A little voice in the back of my mind was saying, "Leah, you should learn this...because someday you might want to do triathlons." Oh wait...that wasn't in the back of my mind...that was on the phone...it was my trainer. Haha. Either way...that voice is nuts! But...then I read that book and got all interested in triathlons. Oh Lord...there seems to be a recurring theme presenting itself in my life now. Grrrr.

So, here is what I did, friends:

I went to the computer and Googled "How to Swim". I kid you not. I watched like 3 videos. I also Googled "How to Water Jog". Upon seeing how completely DORKY people look when they water jog, I decided the LEAST DORKY option in a public place would be swimming.

Last night, I dreamed I was swimming with a relay team. It was my first race and the team was shocked that I was actually good! In my dream, I was going over and over the technique from the Google videos in my head. I woke up and thought, "Maybe I should try this."

So I headed over to the Y for Adult Open Swim this afternoon. Picked up my very own pair of goggles at Kmart on the way there and hopped in that pool.

It was nerve wracking (sp?) sharing a lane with an older guy who obviously KNEW what he was doing and didn't have to take a break to breathe every two lengths. But, I DID find that the techniques I learned on YouTube made things easier than they would have been if I would have just gone out flailing.

The toughest part for me was negotiating the breathing. They say every three strokes and blow the air out when you are looking down underwater. But...I just could not get enough air. Hence, the break I took every two lengths.

In the end, though, I swam 20 lengths of the pool in about 30 minutes time. I thought about going another 15 minutes, but decided that half an hour was good for my first time out.

And I'm SO glad I stopped then!!! See, the thing is...I didn't actually FEEL the workout until AFTER I got out of that pool! Talk about exhaustion! That was definitely the fastest 670 calories I've ever burned!

But I feel great. And I didn't drown and I didn't die and no one made fun of me or even looked twice. So...maybe I'll do it again. And again and again.

Stay tuned as I face my next big fear: riding a bicycle.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Way to go!
    2067 days ago
  • DRAK416
    2074 days ago
    Swimming is a great workout and it good because it doesn't put the strain on your joints weight bearing exercises do. I was blessed to learn early and swam on a team until high school. Breathing is all about timing. You can breath whenever it works for you...every other, every 3rd, every 5th. I would encourage you to get used to breathing on both sides. One technique they give you to practice breathing is to stand at the side of the pool arms length from the wall. Bend and put your face in the water, arms out resting on the edge. "stroke" with your arms and practice breathing while standing. Does this make sense? The top of your body is "swimming" but you aren't moving. Keep up the swimming!

    Oh, I have also done a number of tri's. It is great because you vary your training which helps keep from repetition injuries and during the race one something gets tiring you soon start the next section which uses different muscles. Consider Team in Training with the Leukemia Society. They have couches and training sessions to get you prepared and it is for a good cause.
    2096 days ago
    I am going through the same exact thing at this very moment...funny, when I woke up the other day I had the idea to google it..lol great minds! two months ago I switched gyms in order to have a pool..lol..still havent been able to force myself even into the pool area..omg...I am going to google it now and go tomorrow...thanks for inspiring me, and at the exact right moment no less!!!! get back in that pool!
    2097 days ago
  • SWEETPB731
    Wow! That's awesome!

    Congratulations for having the courage to try something new.

    Keep up the good work :)
    2099 days ago
  • CICELY360
    Good blog
    2103 days ago
    YES, you are going back there!
    2104 days ago
  • DOTTY7267
    beautiful pool! Nice place to start.
    2104 days ago
  • AWOOD1973
    emoticon Good for you, facing your fear and getting into that pool! :)
    2104 days ago
  • -MOPPET-
    This is my fitness fear too! I never really learned how to swim properly and I am so scared to go to the pool and make an ass of myself! Very encouraging. Thank you!
    2104 days ago
    Great post! I have been thinking about picking up swimming again and your idea about looking at YouTube is a great one.
    2105 days ago
  • LUV2RUN72
    OH thanks for sharing! I am learning how to swim for a mini tri in October and you are way ahead of me if you can swim 2 lengths before stopping. Way to face your fear and just do it. emoticon
    2105 days ago
  • KWING517
    Thaks for sharing this!! Great timing too! I just had my very first ever in my whole life swim lesson last night - at 35 years old. It went about how you would expect, and i didnt swim very far without taking small breathing breaks - had a tough time figuring out how to breathe too. My instructor didnt seem concerned and says he'll have me swimming for a full hour without a break by the end of the 7 week session - we'll see about that :)

    I've always wanted to learn how to swim, and here I am, at the very beginning. I feel alot like I did that first day I ran - like I'm never going to get it and I might as well give up now. Boy, am I glad I didn't give up on running, and I WON'T give up on swimming either!!

    Thanks for sharing your story! We CAN do this!!
    2105 days ago
    Now the hard part is over! Congrads!
    2105 days ago
    Wow, coming across many awesome blogs this morning. :) I've had the same fears about swimming. I don't know how to swim either. I should try this.....! THANK YOU FOR THE BLOG! :)
    2105 days ago
    Wow! I'm impressed. Your overall fitness must be the bomb.
    2105 days ago
    I always fear of swimming, not because of drowning but because of what if I can't float! One time, when I went for camping with my friends, my friend tried to teach me how to swim by learning how to float. I only able to when I knew she had her hands hovering underwater but when she pull out her hands, I just flop like a fish out of water LOL

    Funny thing is I live in a state where we have biggest number of rivers compare to other states and our country's water athletes usually came from my state, haha.

    I hope I can conquer swimming like you did :D
    2105 days ago
    Awesome and inspiring!
    I can only dog paddle but in the two months since I started aquafit, I've seriously been considering taking lessons because I feel so happy in the pool and if I could lane swim, I could stay another hour ....honestly, if anyone would have told me four months ago that I would be working out an hour a day and loving it, I would have tried to have them committed
    2105 days ago
    Awesome! Nice job! emoticon emoticon
    2106 days ago
    You did great! It took me a few weeks to get up to 30 minutes of solid swimming without alternating walking/jogging, I'm jealous!

    Great job!
    2106 days ago
    I can only doggy paddle, so this is really awesome! Way to go!
    2106 days ago
  • ESME25
    emoticon emoticon
    2106 days ago
    Awesome! You go!!!
    2106 days ago
    WOO HOO!!! That is amazing! 30 minutes on your first time! Give yourself the "swimming badge", because you have earned it!
    2106 days ago
    I have found that I love working out in the water. LOVE it! Walking is okay, running is not an option for me at this time. Water jogging, swimming with a kick board - fantastic! When my shoulder heals, I plan to relearn how to swim as well. Years ago, I had a frightening (and deliberately caused by another) near drowning experience. When I faced my fear of the deep water, wow! How empowering. Now to face my next fear, riding a bike on the road, not just in the living room.
    2106 days ago
    I've always dreamed about doing a triathlon, but been afraid of the training. The fact that you are breaking training down and facing your fears is such an inspiration! Keep up the great work!
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    2106 days ago
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    2106 days ago
  • IN102WIN
    I really admire you. You are doing things that I haven't even tried as yet because I think I need to lose weight first. I've always wanted to learn how to swim. Maybe when I'm lighter. Same thing for bicycle riding!! Thanks for posting!!
    2106 days ago
  • HEATHER3477
    2106 days ago
    I am going to watch those videos, too. I do water aerobics, but I am thinking about taking private swim lessons. The calorie burn is a knockout, you can not beat it. Keep up the swimming!!
    2106 days ago
    Way to go
    2106 days ago
    Great; you really knows how to knock out fears. You are doing a great job.
    emoticon emoticon
    2106 days ago
  • AJB121299
    great job
    2106 days ago
    2106 days ago
    Yeah know what you mean. I do 50 lenghts 20 x backstroke and 10 x each of breaststroke, kicking with board, and side swimming. Have given up on freestyle because of the breathing. and am trying to learn to breathe each 3 strokes.. Its hard....
    2106 days ago
    That's great! I totally understand the insecurity about swimming, although mine comes from the fact that I truly can't swim/float to save my life. It's a great workout, and you just gave yourself another option you can use anytime. Congrats!
    2106 days ago
    Congrats on going into the pool. I wasn't afraid of swimming for fear of people, but I was afraid because I was afraid of drowning. A word of advice, get some swimming lessons from an instructor. Swimming is not like any other sport, human beings aren't designed to swim and you're not going to know instinctively what to do. The Y should have adult swimming lessons. I recommend taking them!
    2106 days ago
    Excellent job! Kudos to you for facing your fear! That's awesome!!!
    2106 days ago
    Good for you!
    Conquering a fear is a big deal! That's awesome!!
    2106 days ago
  • KATD13
    Great job!
    You will get better & better, the more you swim. It is a wonderful, no impact, all over workout.

    I do love water & swimming, but I am not great. I've been trying to learn how to flip turn. I am embarrassed & only try it if no one is in the pool. Obviously, I'm not getting much practice in. Maybe 2 or 3 attempts, each time I swim.


    2106 days ago
    Yeah to you for facing your fear and defeating it. On to the bike !!
    2106 days ago
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    2106 days ago
    Good for you!! I am impressed! I don't know how to swim nor ride a bike, so you've definitely inspired me. emoticon
    2106 days ago
    Thanks for letting me know that NOT everyone is looking- we deserve to do what we need to do to get healthy! I'm proud of your accomplishment!
    2106 days ago
  • CMERUN29
    Wow, very inspiring! I'd love to learn to swim. Maybe I'll have to start by googling How To Swim as well. Keep up the good work and I hope to be reading about your upcoming triathlon soon.
    2106 days ago
  • CAROL494
    emoticon emoticon
    2107 days ago
    Good for you. Your blog shows positive thinking and strength. Proud of you.

    2107 days ago
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    2107 days ago
    If you can inspire me to swim then the least I can do is to encourage you to get on a bike! I would start with the stationary bike in a Y, then maybe even a spin class, THEN the gears and all the stuff that's on even the "basic" bikes. When I learned how to ride my road bike, I hadn't ever had more than 3 gears! (You can do it though - it just took me a little longer since I'm not mechanical lol).

    I think you will have so much fun on a bike. And if I can help in any way, I will be glad to! I'm planning on the Senior Olympics next year since I'm now over 50...and I'm now thinking of a tri too thanks to you overcoming your fear of swimming!

    Have a great week and thanks for the post! Becky
    2107 days ago
    Way to go on conquering your fear with swimming. Seems like you got right into it.
    What a wonderful goal to think about-- triathlons! Keep swimming!
    emoticon emoticon
    2107 days ago
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