Recovery Swim

Ventured to my local 24 Hour Fitness pool this afternoon. It was clean and the water was clear. I was pleasantly surprised.

Did a bunch of laps, alternating between freestyle, backstroke, freestyle, breaststroke. Recovered without putting my feet down when I totally messed up my breathing.

I decided to swim today because my back was too sore for an upper body workout and my legs were too sore for biking. It turns out swimming is a great post-climbing, post-squat day exercise.

Cool, a new recovery exercise.

Ow My Hands

Apparently, not climbing for three weeks means your hands and wrists hate you after you start again, either for not working them for so long, or for working them all of a sudden. Not sure which. Maybe both. Probably both.

Also, I forgot how to climb. I went into the bouldering room with the tricky-but-solved V2 / V3 / V4 problems and couldn’t figure out how to do any of them. Not a clue.

Afterward, I remarked to Aaron how quickly I forget how to swim and climb. They’re still new to me, and not ingrained in muscle memory like skating. I’ve gotten away with weeks and months long hockey breaks without missing a step, but 15 years is a heck of a lot more than (not even) 15 weeks.

15 weeks? If I put it that way, I’ve made great progress. :)

Tumble

We tried to teach me to somersault flip today. Hilarity ensued.

I could not for the life of me rotate along a single plane. According to all who witnessed my attempts, my right side was wonky.

We had me start the flip with my hands on a couple kickboards behind me. That worked great.

I did that a bunch, then tried it without. Wonky.

Back to the kickboards. Great!

And without. Wonky.

After the class, I worked on other things. Then I hung out in the deep end, playing around with floating and bobbing and chilling and doing movements I see people do when treading water but do nothing for me.

In the middle of my chill, I decided to try a somersault. Nice and slow and controlled. I nailed it.

Still chill, I tried it again. Nailed it!

Then my right foot started to cramp. I’d been in the water well over an hour. Tumble again next week!

Chill

Continued to work on the backstroke tonight. Added more rotation and reach. Felt like I was backward runway model strutting in the water.

Because it would be really dumb to concuss myself learning how to swim, I asked how not to bump my head at the end of the pool. I was told I could time a flip onto my front side using the flags.

So then I practiced flipping: back to front, front to back. Not too bad.

After doing this for a while, I felt more comfortable and decided to play around with just being in the deep end. I still can’t tread well enough to keep my head out of the water, but I’m good with hanging out and catching the occasional breath. I’m able to do a few different things with my arms and feet to rise for air every once in a while.

Between breaths, I played around with my feet. I bicycled, I egg beatered, I froggy kicked. It sent me backward, and in circles. Definitely needs work.

Still, I’m comfortable enough now to chill. Progress!

Backstroke

After declaring I didn’t like the backstroke a few weeks ago, I decided I should learn it. Precisely because I didn’t like it.

This time around, it wasn’t so bad. I still splash myself in the face occasionally, but it bothers me a lot less now.

Worked also on freestyle. It seems my reaching has resulted in my hands entering the water heel first, so we worked on getting my hands to slice into the water again. That promptly messed up my reach and rotate. Glug glug glug.

Still, I feel like I made good progress today. I didn’t take many breaks, and called it after 45 minutes, instead of my usual hour.

Pull Not Pull

I’m jet lagged and loopy so I’ll keep this short. I totally forgot how to swim over the course of a week. I couldn’t time my breathing, and when I finally figured that out, I couldn’t get my form right to catch a proper breath. It took me a good 10 minutes to feel “normal” again.

The upside of that is I had a lightbulb moment when Javi the instructor explained pull and rotate to me with different words. For some reason, I had always interpreted “pull” as pulling the water back. Instead, I should be thinking of it as pulling my body forward, because that naturally gets me to extend and rotate as well.

Worked on that a bit, liked that it felt better. Focusing now on rotating my hips as well. I have a feeling this is the secret to becoming more comfortable with breathing on my left side.

Okay, sleep time!

Rotate

Just reaching wasn’t doing it for left side breathing, so tonight I worked on adding rotation as well. It’s getting better, bit by tiny bit.

Continued working on my breaststroke, but I think I want to do some research on how not to screw up my knee before doing a lot more of it.

My coworker came to swim as well and together we were brave enough to go to the outdoor lap pool. The water out there is So Much Nicer. It’s also way more chill. I’m going to be heading out there for my post-class practice from now on.

Flash

I noticed this weekend that they’d put up new problems in a large section of one of the bouldering rooms, so this morning I went to play on them.

Flashed a V0, V0, V1, and V2 on the warmup. Did a weird and fun V3 after piecing together a couple sections, then worked on its neighboring V4. I tried it a few times, getting stuck near the top, but closer each time. I then teamed up with the other guy in the room on it to figure out the finish. Victoly!!1!

I went to a different V4 after that. I tried that a few times too and kept getting stuck near the top. On my final attempt, I realized both my arms and body were too tired to work on it more.

Last Saturday I decided I needed more endurance, so I burned my way down. Flashed a V3, V2, V1, V0, V0, V0 with minimal rest, then called it a day.

I’ll be back for that V4.

Reach

Swim! Got some tips on my wacky attempts at breathing on my left side. Apparently I’m not reaching enough. I tried reaching more and it felt a little better. As I practiced later on, I could actually feel the difference in reach and rotation between my left and right sides. This is good; being able to feel the difference is new, and necessary for improvement.

I think next time I’ll freestyle without breathing to really feel left and right side differences, and try to even them out.

Also adjusted my breaststroke a bit, mostly my legs and feet. My legs were too wide during the knee bend, so we worked on fixing that. Then we worked on getting my feet to flex while bending my knees. After that, I focused on the full kick and touching my feet together at the end. Maybe not in that order. I don’t remember.

As I practiced this on my own, I remembered reading something about how it’s the bottoms of my feet that are supposed to push the water back. I got a lot more out of my kicks once I started focusing on that. Progress!