Monday, June 17, 2013

Discovering I Really Like Swimming

I grew up by the water.  I loved to be in pool and go out in the boat as a kid.  My mom was actually on the swim team growing up and is a really good swimmer.  She taught my siblings and I how to swim.  Around fourth grade my parents signed me up to join a swim team.  Seeing how I loved the water so much it should have been a good fit, right?  Ehh... not so much.  I think I only went to two practices and then begged my parents to let me quit.  I don't remember exactly why I wanted to quit, maybe because it was hard (which is a lame reason to quit) or I didn't like it...  My mom still wishes she hadn't let me, and I kind of do too, but I guess it just wasn't meant to be then.  I continued to love the pool and swim for fun though.  

As I gained weight putting on swimsuit and going to the pool was not at the top of my list of fun things to do.  Since losing a lot weight and discovering a love for physical fitness I have slowly found myself wanting to get back in the water and swim.  Putting a swimsuit on is still not something I love, but they fit much better than they used too, so things are looking up!
Swim gear on and ready to swim!
I joined a local gym this winter and it has a great indoor pool.  I finally bought a swimsuit and hit the pool mid March and have really grown to love swimming.  I am not a fast swimmer and probably don't have the best form, but it's fun.  I remember why I liked being in the water so much as a kid.  I am trying to be better about cross training and swimming has fit perfectly into my schedule.  With my recent hip flexor strain swimming is one of the activities I can do with no pain so I have been at the pool more and more.  

It took a few times in the pool for me to find a good swimming groove.  I started by just going once a week and have been going about twice a week since my sprain.  As with anything new there is a learning curve so the first sessions I felt tired and slow and like was breathing too much.  In Denver I asked my mom for a few pointers to help me with my form while swimming which has actually helped a lot.  
The pool at my gym is kind of small with five lanes and 25 yards in length.  I just make up all my swim workouts when I get there.  There is a big clock at the end that I use to time my workout.  

I usually warm up with breaststroke and then use pull drills to focus on my form.  When I first started I was pausing after almost every length, but I have built my endurance up that I barely stop in between.  I have also been trying to increase the distance of my freestyle laps.   Like I said I'm by no means a pro, but swimming is fun and I look forward tog swimming laps at the pool.  

Another motivation for me to try swimming again is that I really want to do another triathlon.  (I did a mini tri at the local YMCA a couple years ago.)  I am still trying to figure out what triathlon I'm going to do that will fit into my schedule, but I'm determined to do at least one!  There has been lots of friendly peer pressure and support from my #runchi teammates which is fun.  
Fleet Feet Chicago has also been offering lots of great seminars to get people excited and ready for triathlon season.  It is a short one here in Chicago, but that doesn't make it any less exciting.  I went to the first one which was quite informative.  I plan on going to the open water swim clinic Thursday as well.  It will be my first open water swim -eek!  If you are local and interested in tri-ing (hehe, a pun) you should check them out!  

All this is to say I didn't think I would like swimming, but I really do now.  So if there is some new activity or workout the scares you or you aren't sure about, just give it a chance because you might discover you really like it!

What is your favorite way to cross train?  Are you a swimmer?  Ever done a triathlon before?  Any suggestions for swim workouts?