Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I got a feeling...

Last week, Liz and I declared during our morning train commute that November was going to be a good month. We agreed we were both getting back to our weekday swims. So far, we're 2 for 2. And, unlike October, November has been sunny! Supposedly, we had 22 days of rain in October, when our average is 12. No wonder I felt like crap.

This talk of swimming and sunshine -- it's about feeling good. I get into a cycle of feeling meh and not wanting to exercise, when exercise is clearly something that helps me to not feel so meh, so I'm not exercising and not feeling less meh but feel too meh to get myself to exercise.

But, it's November. I got a feeling that this month's gonna be a good month...

I hate to sweat. I really, really do. Swimming is good because it's low-impact and not sweaty. It's strange for me to think of enjoying anything active, even when there isn't sweat involved, but I really enjoy my swimming.

Especially the first lap.

There's NOTHING like the first dive down, smoothly moving through the water to a steady freestyle stroke. Breathing is so simple, the water is so clear, and the strokes are steady and even. This first lap is as good as it gets for me, and I'd love to have every lap feel this week, this satisfying.

The problem is my breathing. The first lap is great because I've used my inhaler preventatively but haven't yet got my heart pumping. My need for air feel so much simpler in that first lap. I take one--maybe two--breaths across the pool in the first lap, compared with the three I take in subsequent laps. I don't work hard in that first lap. It just feels natural. The rest of them will all be work, and when I get a good lap in there somewhere in the middle of the swim, I feel really good about it.

Besides the asthma, I never learned proper swimming breathing. As a child, I was deathly afraid of the water, and I hated swimming lessons. As an adult, I don't know how to plug my nose underwater without actually wearing nose plugs. I honestly think my breathing would be smoother if I could swim without the nose plugs. (If you can describe how that's done--plugging you nose from inside while you swim--do tell!)

I'll close with a recap of our Halloween festivities with my family, courtesy of Anne. Her costume was truly frightening, by which I mean AWESOME. And, for your reading amusement, here's her story about what happens when I'm not there in the morning to save her life.

1 comment:

Monika said...


I have a similar relationship with swimming... An asthmatic who loves the water thanks to it being low impact and still being able to breath. My trick is breathing every third stroke. I take a breath and then once my face is back in the water I slowly release the air through my nose until all the air is gone and then I bring my head up for the next breath. For me this ends up being about three strokes total. Releasing the air slowly through your nose help regulate your breathing and it has the same effect as nose plugs.

Let me know it that helps at all! Once I found that rhythm my swimming became significantly more pleasant.