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Wrestled with Myself

Friday, April 05, 2013

My training plan called for a recovery swim today, so I packed up and headed to the Y after feeding Gwen and dropping Natalie off at kindergarten. Got Gwen settled into the nursery and changed into my Speedo purple bathing suit with my new swim cap and goggles. As far as sticking to the running training plan, any stroke is okay. But I'm really wanting to improve and strengthen my crawl stroke.

The water felt pretty good and I swam the first 25 yards. I don't know why swimming the crawl seems to get my heart rate going faster than any other activity I do. Perhaps anxiety. I swim backstroke at probably the same level of exertion and don't feel that heart racing. Even though SparkPeople shows the calorie burning rate to be almost equal, I feel like I'm barely exerting when I swim breaststoke, but that I'm working like crazy to swim the crawl. I rested on the wall and then swam crawl back; rested a bit (30 seconds maybe?) and swam 2 laps, 50 yards crawl, without stopping.

There for just a moment I wanted out of the pool. I wanted to run away and never come back. I gave myself a good pep talk, thinking about ONEKIDSMOM and SparkGuy and a few other SparkFriends who have modeled effective pep talks. I looked at how safe it is. There was a very attentive lifeguard on duty and few people he was responsible for. If I'm feeling overwhelmed with the crawl, I can roll to my back or switch to breaststroke and be totally comfortable in seconds. Absolutely this is an irrational fear. If I give into it, it will become worse. So I regained my sanity and swam 24 more laps, most of them crawl.

And I got out of the pool knowing that I had wrestled with myself and I had won!
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  • MAGGIE101857
    I'm not a swimmer, so I can't offer advice! So proud of you for rising to the challenge! You continually amaze me!
    1901 days ago
    Wow!! Good for you!! With respect to panic swimming, and if it is a breathing issue, here's a couple of things that have helped me (former swim instructor and lifeguard):

    Drop your head so that your neck is relaxed when your face is in the water and you're just turning to the side rather than "lifting" to the front -- which often happens if you don't have enough time to breathe in.

    Blow out when your face is in the water, making bubbles, so that your lungs are really empty when you turn your head to breathe.

    (You can practice these with no arms, just holding a flutter board.)

    Breathe in only every second stroke rather than every stroke.

    One or more of these may help a bit . . . but there's absolutely nothing like those "pep talks"!!
    1903 days ago
  • KANOE10
    Great job of talking yourself into continuing. I have had that thought also when exercising. I want to stop and just walk put.

    You are showing great strength and determination. emoticon
    1903 days ago
    Wow! That really took guts and determination, Marsha! My hat is off to you! Way to go! emoticon
    1903 days ago
    Great job! I find swimming to be much more difficult than other things for a number of reasons, and like some other posters think maybe it's a breathing issue. And strangely enough, you made me want to go get in a pool and swim a bit! This creaky body needs a break sometimes.


    1904 days ago

    Have a great weekend my friend emoticon
    1904 days ago
    Those old pep talks are a life saver for me! Glad it worked for you.
    1904 days ago
    1904 days ago
    1904 days ago
    What a breakthrough. You've done it, so you should not have to fight those same fears soon again. Well done.
    1904 days ago
    Way to tell yourself! Glad you stuck with it.

    1904 days ago
    Marsha, You've gotten help from trainers on your other athletic quests; that could help here too. I suspect it's a breathing issue; sounds similiar to one I experienced years ago. When I turned my head I inhaled so much air that I couldn't expell it all in time--then couldn't take in enough for the next stroke! I had to let go of "thinking to inhale" and do a forced exhale when my face was down, just stopped exhaling when my face turned to the side again and the inhale came automatically--not over doing it. Worked for me. You will get this. I know you won't quit until you do! When that happens, with the shape you are in there will be no limit to the distance you can swim!
    1904 days ago
    Way to get past the hurdle! Well done.
    1904 days ago
  • -AMANDA79-
    Way to conquer your fears!
    1904 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1904 days ago
    Way to go!
    1904 days ago
  • GABY1948
    You did emoticon Fear is our worst enemy and I know you are stronger for having conquered it this time!
    1905 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1905 days ago
    Well done overcoming your anxiety!

    I don't have fear when swimming, but I do feel that I'm working much harder at crawl than anything else! I think it's because you have to moderate your breathing more with your face in the water (you can't breathe "whenever you want" as much) but that's my totally unsubstantiated guess. Haha.

    I am really wary of the calorie burned counts that the SP tracker gives... I think it estimates WAY too high for all of the strokes, especially since there's no way to account for different levels of intensity.

    I apologize, I don't have the link anymore, but I saw a cool website a while ago that gave calorie burned estimates for all kinds of activities, once you plugged in your age, gender, and weight. The estimates it gave for me for swimming were at least 400 fewer calories per hour than SP estimates. So I always track a portion of my swimming minutes as "swimming - general" because the calorie burn is lower - how big a portion depending on whether I worked hard the whole time or lollygagged.

    Good luck with your swimming!
    1905 days ago
    WOW! Very inspiring! Great JOB!
    1905 days ago
  • _LINDA
    That is awesome Marsha! Way to conquer your fear! But perhaps a suggestion. You have a trainer helping you develop your running skills to an even higher level. Perhaps you need some sessions with a swimming coach just to focus on this very difficult swimming style to perhaps help you with form and ways to improve your stroke and not make it seem such a struggle. Exercise should be enjoyable, nothing that you fear and could potentially cause you harm. Please be careful. Even with a lifeguard on duty there have been instances of people drowning :( Happened in a pool I used to go to.
    1905 days ago
    Congratulations on sticking it out. I have the same experience swimming. I feel I can continue breaststroke indefinitely, but that freestyle is another story. I'm surprised that the trackers lists both as equal in calories burned. It sure doesn't feel like it.
    1905 days ago
    I have the exact same experience with the crawl. I think it's the breathing. Great job on sticking it out!
    1905 days ago

    1905 days ago
    You toughed it out and next time it will be easier. It sounds like you got it under control and there were people there, just in case. WTG!
    1905 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1905 days ago
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