Friday, March 15, 2013

Quick Swim Update

Since I'm not doing any exercises involving my legs for a week, I headed to the pool this morning to swim with a pool buoy between my legs (no kicking, just arms).  I opted to go to the CCRB because they open an hour earlier (6am vs NCRB's 7am) and because the street meters there don't start until 8am, while the NCRB permit parking is effective at 6am.

I definitely like the NCRB pool better.  It seems like it's less crowded, it's brighter, and the water is colder.  (Sucks when you get in, but feels less gross after you warm-up).  The only thing I don't like about the NCRB is that the jets make a really strong current pushing you to one side in the deep-end, at least in the slow lane.  It's probably not noticeable if you have a lot of forward momentum, but aqua jogging the other day it was a big problem!  It doesn't really matter which one I like, since the one I go to will be decided solely by hours of operation and by parking options at the particular time of day I'm going.  (PM=NCRB unless I need the 10p-11p hour.  Early AM=CCRB.  8am-5pm, both suck equally...I probably won't be going during those hours!)

There were a couple of big wins on today's swim.  For one, I did rotary breathing for the whole hour, sticking with every third stroke.  It went pretty well.  I didn't really feel like I was drowning, and I'm getting much better at it, but I was going at a pretty leisurely pace so it wasn't like I had to breathe hard or anything.  I did have some minor water leakage up my nose somewhat frequently, but nothing too bad.  I didn't have to embarrass myself by sputtering and coughing like I did at the NCRB two days ago.  It was more comparable to what sinus drainage feels like if it goes back into your throat.  The problem was that if I don't blow out my nose as I come up to breathe, the water seems to kind of fall in, so I have to blow out a little before I can breathe in.  It was tricky because if I spend too much time blowing out to prevent aspirating while I'm out of the water, I run out of time to get a good breath in!  My nose clip came, and I brought it with me, but left it in the locker room because I thought I wouldn't need it for some reason.  I forget what that reason was.  Maybe it was just that it looks horrible dorky and I haven't seen anybody else wearing one.  Regardless, I wish I would have brought it to the pool to give it a whirl, but I didn't want to go out to the locker room to get it and risk "losing my spot" in my lane, even though I was already sharing it at that point.

The other really impressive thing is that I left my goggles on for the whole hour.  My face hurt pretty bad when I finally got to take off the goggles at the end, but not as bad as before.  I had nice red lines around my eyes too.  I used a trick I read online and put soap in the goggles to keep them from fogging up.  All I had was shampoo, so I used that, but it did work better than nothing at all.  They still fogged up a little, but not as bad as before, which was basically to the point that I couldn't see at all.

I had a pretty good "swim" overall. ("Swim" because I wasn't kicking!)  I meant to count laps but I forgot.  I also meant to manually check my heart rate at some point, but I forgot that too.  Data fail.  I didn't stop at all except once for like 12 seconds to drink some water from my bottle, and once for maybe a minute when I changed lanes to wait for the lady swimming to get back so I could tell her I'd be joining her.

I did have some lane confusion again.   I knew I would be even slower than usual today since I wasn't kicking, and despite walking into the building as soon as it opened, by the time I showered and made it to the pool it was 6:05am and somebody was already in the slow lane.  Rats.  I decided to ask the lifeguard what I should do.  I asked her if I should split the slow lane or go for the slow/medium lane.  I had been interpreting "slow/medium" as "between slow and medium", but it maybe it is meant as "slow OR medium"?  I don't know.  The lifeguard told me I'd be fine in the slow/medium lane, and to go ahead and take it.  I felt better having permission.  :)  I'm such a stickler for the rules.  Seriously.  It's a problem at work.

I started swimming in the slow/medium lane, but 10 minutes or so into it a couple girls came in together and were standing between the slow and slow/medium lanes talking.  I imagine one of them was going to split slow/medium with me, and the other was going to split slow with the lady in there, so I stopped and offered to move to slow so they could share slow/medium.  It worked better for all of us that way.  I really wanted to be in slow!  This was the time when I took a minute or so break to wait for the slow lane lady to make it back to me so I could let her know I'd be splitting.  Turns out she only had two laps left!  Win!

I had the lane to myself for a while, and the time was moving pretty fast for some reason.  Faster than the other times I've gone.  Swimmer's high?  I enjoyed myself.  Then I saw another girl doing the backstroke in another lane and I was like, "I should do that!"  I had been freestyling with arms only for quite a while by that point.  So I flipped over and gave it a whirl.  Eeek!  I couldn't see where I was going and water went up my nose and my arms felt funny.  I only made it halfway down the lane before I went back to overhand (freestyle).  (PS I'm pretty sure when I learned to swim I was told this was the American crawl, not freestyle....what's the difference?)  (Nevermind, I googled it.  That makes sense.  I think I should call it the front crawl from now on.)  So, I went back to doing the front crawl for a while, but I really felt like I should mix it up, so I decided to try back stroke again.  It was still awkward, but I stuck it out for a full lane length, and was planning on keeping going, but a guy interrupted me to jump in to share the lane, so the backstroke was a no-go at that point because I was all over the place!  I would have crashed into him.  Bummer.  But, I'll watch some backstroke videos on YouTube before I go again and next time I'll be a pro.  Can I sidestroke with a buoy between my legs? Might as well look that up too.  Sharing the lane with this guy was awkward.  I didn't have an issue with the lady earlier, but that was because we were about the same speed so we didn't pass each other very much.  This guy was faster than me, so the intersections were more frequent.  I think I took up too much lane for the first bit.  Then I moved closer to the wall after I saw how close he was to the rope, and that involved a few elbow bangs into the wall on my part.  It just wasn't that fun anymore because I was so worried about taking too much space or veering into him.  But, the clock did tick over to 7:05 and I had reached my hour so I was free to go!  I'm not really sure if I got a good workout or not, but it has to be better than nothing.

After swimming, I had some "breakfast" and then headed back to Dunham's as planned, to get a pair of non-painful swim goggles (hopefully).  A friend recommended fairly low priced goggles that you could customize with corrective lenses (they come with plain lenses and then you buy individual corrective lenses to suit your prescription).  I almost bought them, but figured I should try @reidphotography's method of just wearing contacts under the goggles, since I have contacts already.  I did that today and it worked fine.  I decided to save some money and just buy plain goggles and stick with the contacts.  Plus, after all the pain I have with my current goggles, and after reading reviews where people with different face shapes and leaking issues with different types of goggles, I figured I should try them on before I buy.

The first ones I tried one were like a "face mask" style.  Though they look horrible, I thought they would be less painful on my eyes.  I think they were these:
Aqua Sphere Seal Swim Mask
They solved the pressure on my eyes problem (the top sat well onto my forehead, and the bottom lower on my cheekbones, vs kind of orbital pressure), but HOLY FRICKIN' SUCTION!  They would have given me a headache from the suction pressure on my eyeballs!  I tried to loosen up the suction by placing them differently, but any way that didn't have painful suction left me with areas of poor seal.  Plus they looked hideous!  Moving on.

The other ones that looked promising were these: Dolfin Ultra Sport Women's goggles.  Featuring:

• Oversized translucent one piece frame design
• Curved wide vision lens
• Quick-fit self locking strap
• UV protection
• Anti-fog
• Shatter resistant
• Tinted lens
• UV protection
• Silicone gasket and straps
• Fits all sizes

I tried them on and they were SO COMFORTABLE.  Initially they had a ton of suction too, but I can adjust the suction by not pushing them so hard onto my face, and they didn't lose seal when I did that.  I got them.  In blue.  Here are side-by-sides of my old goggles (TYR brand, $5-$10 at the CCRB equipment room, not sure exactly) and the new ones (Dolfin brand, $12.99 at Dunham's).

I really love how easy it is to adjust the headstrap on the new ones, with the ratchet type locking strap.  The only think I don't like is that there is no loop to tuck the ends in to on the strap.  I feel like there might have been in the purple ones I tried on in the store, so maybe these just got lost if somebody else opened them or something.  Not the end of the world.  I can make a loop of tape or something to hold them down if it bothers me.  Here is an on-my-face comparison:

Don't I look so much happier in the new ones?!?  I even added my nose clip for the photo!  Hawt.

So.  I ended up wearing my original black swimsuit to the pool this morning, not my new, girls' size 20 navy/green Speedo.  I put it on and I didn't like it any more.  It felt too short.  Apparently girls are shorter than adult women??  Who knew??

Since I was at Dunham's ANYWAY, I decided it would be foolish to not look at suits again while I was there.  I thought I was looking for something with thicker straps, a closed low back, and a moderate leg cut (not high and not conservative), size 40 or 14 (or maybe 40 is equivalent to a size 16?  It was unclear. 14 or 16.  Either way it sucks because I definitely wear size 12 jeans).  Turns out that combination didn't exist, so I just ended up trying on basically all the 40's and a couple of the 38's.  They had a pretty decent selection (especially compared to Dick's!) so that was easily like 15 suits.  Probably 11 on round one, and then 4 on round two.  Only two didn't look completely horrible, and they weren't that great either.  I am going to do the unthinkable and show you dressing room photos.  Of me in a bathing suit.  I never thought I'd see the day.  Ha.  

First of all, let me clarify that I AM wearing underwear.  I just tucked any edges sticking out into the suit for the purposes of photography!  The one on the left is a size 40, "The Finals" brand, $29.99 at Dunham's.  The one on the right is a size 38, "TYR" brand, $39.99 at Dunham's.  I liked the design on the blue one better, and material seemed much better and longer lasting, but it was SO TIGHT.  It was hurting my shoulders just standing there.  I was afraid I would chafe really badly if I actually swam in it.  I actually came *this* close to buying both of them, with the thought that I would lose a few more pounds and then the blue one would fit perfectly, but I decided against it.  I can do that if I actually do lose weight and the purple one ends up too big.  Actually the purple one was bordering on too big anyway, at least in the chest.  I would have liked it tighter up there.  I wish I could have found the Finals brand one in a 38 and the TYR brand one in a 40, because with the different stretchiness of the materials I think that size combo would have been better.   I think the blue one is TYR Diamondback with moderate leg cut.  I can get it online if I really want to.  Maybe I can even find a pattern I like better.  I liked the back of the blue one SO MUCH better than the purple one too.  The purple one didn't do me any favors. I wish I could move the edges of that cut-out in an inch or two on both sides.  But really, the blue one was even worse on the back if the cross-bar part moved up at all, which it tended to do because it was so tight.  I just photographed it in the perfect position.  I just don't get why all the suits have the back cut out at all.  Just leave it in there!

So now I have the Purple/pink criss-cross one from the pictures above that is super comfortable that I will wear.  I have the black one that I've been wearing that isn't terrible.  I have a periwinkle blue dolfin one that I haven't worn because it's pretty bad, but could in a pinch.  I have the Speedo girls one that I just bought and already don't like.  And there's a decent chance that I'll end up buying the TYR one from the photos above in the next size up online.  I'm going to try not to though.   At least not until at least one of the aforementioned suits wears out!

Oh, I forgot to mention, I have been in contact with somebody about swim lessons, I waiting to hear back from her again after I gave her my availability.  So I'm not going to be relying entirely on YouTube swimming instruction forever hopefully.  I am getting pretty into this swimming thing, in case you can't tell!  I think I'm going to stick with it, even after my knee gets back to being usable.

Don't you love how this was supposed to be a "Quick Swim Update"??  HAHAHA.  I am definitely noticing that I'm doing a lot more blogging now that I'm not running...for better or worse.  This is less than 12 hrs since my last one, and I have another one almost ready for this evening that is just waiting for some data before I publish it.  Sorry for the Ty Overload.


  1. You lost me at "Quick"....

    blah, blah, blah,..... I like the pink\purple one better. Hope that helps....

  2. You should do a post where you show us the YouTube swim instruction videos you like. I'm still slowly inching my way toward maybe thinking about trying to possibly swim. Probably all I need to motivate me is some YouTube videos. ;)

    Also - cool, you can do that tongue thing, too! Best genetics lesson ever.

  3. haha yes "quick", love it!

    1. I adore that this update is about swimming.
    2. Water temp is a definite factor! Too hot feels like you're swimming in a hot tub :( Main reason I don't like the pool closest to my house.
    3. I think the lanes should be renamed. Instead of "slow" all the way up to "fast" it should be "inanimate floating object" to "Michael Phelps". Might take some of the guess work out of it.
    4. I always ask the lifeguards questions, too.
    5. I love backstroke! Similar motion, but different motions and muscles. Keep at it, you seem to pick things up quickly.
    6. I always forget about sidestroke! Thanks for reminding me, tis fun.
    7. Your old pair of goggles are terrible. I wore some when I was little and they always felt squishy in a "letting water in" way. And don't get me started on that nosepiece. I prefer Swedish Goggles, but if I didn't I would definitely get the kind you bought.
    8. I like the blue one better, too. Some brands run big/small, just depends.
    9. Swim lessons will be great! I was going to warn you not to try a flip turn on your own! It is a couple of motions all at once, but I am glad you are getting the breathing out through your nose thing down (did I read that in a different post?) because you definitely want to do that on a flip turn so you don't get water up your nose.

    Can't wait to hear more! PS I ran last week, so I stepped into your world for a teeny little bit!


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