Thursday, December 29, 2011

With the kids off school and Jeff on vacation, I've been able to swim every morning this week for as long as possible. Most days, that's worked out to 90 minutes, except yesterday was only 70. On a good day, then, it's over two miles of swimming. It takes me about twenty minutes to warm up and, actually, 45 minutes to "feel good." After 30 minutes, I switch from three stroke breathing to five stroke. I swim five stroke breathing for 30 minutes, then back to three stroke breathing for the final 30 minutes. Today I tried something different: I swam five stroke breathing for 40 minutes without any problem. And the last two laps of that I tried seven stroke breathing. That didn't go too well. I was gasping and one time, I turned my head to breathe and couldn't open my mouth!

Why force this breathing pattern instead of just breathing naturally? Because I hate breathing. That is, I hate turning my head to breathe. I was actually a bit dizzy this morning for the first fifteen minutes or so from turning my head side-to-side. I'd much rather just swim, just pull with my arms and skip the breathing part. The solution is probably to get a snorkel, but I like the discipline of holding my breath and breathing deeply at regular intervals.

On Thanksgiving, I started jogging. I call it jogging because that's what it is, even though it feels like running to me. And I wish it was running. I run jog down the street and back. Nothing complicated. There aren't any significant hills or traffic. I've seen just about all my neighbors at one time or another, so that embarrassment factor is over and done. I had tendonitis in my right knee from running, similar to my shoulder pain from swimming. I used that Icy Hot stuff immediately after running and the pain went away for hours. And now I don't need the Icy Hot anymore. The pain has just gone away.

I wanted to add some time onto my running, so I leave my street at the end and run down the main road to Fairplay. Then I turn around and come back. There's a bit of an incline getting to Fairplay but I tell myself that it's downhill on the way back! Yesterday there was a strong, cold wind blowing. Again, I told myself as I ran into it, that it'd be blowing me home on the return trip! I actually ran the loop two minutes faster yesterday than the day before. I credit the nippy December wind.

I prefer running in cold weather. I've never been one to run in the summer. Off-season training for cross country always took the form of cross training: swimming, biking and weight lifting. But I'm finding out that my college coach spoke the truth long ago when he said that running is the best preparation for good running. Not swimming or biking. No, two miles in the pool or five on the elliptical does not fully prepare one for road running. My breathing is strong but my legs were not quite strong enough to support me for the whole time.

However, now that I am running, my legs are stronger on the elliptical and on the leg weight machines. I'm increasing the total weight I'm lifting with my legs very rapidly since I started running.

And getting good nights' sleep is also very crucial. So, g'nite!

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