Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Swim Lesson #1

I had my first swimming lesson yesterday!  It was awesome!

I was worried that it might suck for a couple of reasons.  For one, the girl I contacted for private instruction is young, and a college student at U of M (read: busy).  Obviously a good swimmer, but being good at something doesn't necessarily mean you're good at teaching it.  It took her like 3 days to respond to any email I sent, and I would have liked to start last week, but by the time she responded it was too late, and she said she was busy with school anyway.  I was also concerned that by opting to go with 1 hour lessons that I wouldn't get to cover as many things as I would in two thirty-minute lessons, since she might have me spend more time demonstrating/practicing than actually being exposed to new things.  (It's more cost-effective for me to do 1-hr lessons because I have to pay $7 just to enter the building since I'm not a member there).  It also didn't help that when I got there she was giving lessons to like a 5 year old.  It didn't occur to me to ask if she did adult lessons usually!  But in my emails it was clear that it was for me, so she could have declined if she wanted to.  So anyway, my expectations weren't that high as far as these lessons went.

Turns out I was wrong!  She was awesome.  She really tailored the lesson to exactly where I was.  She just asked me to demo a few things and quickly established that I was solid in most of the basics and really just needed to work on form improvements for efficiency.  She gave me really helpful things to work on for front crawl, backstroke, and breast-stroke, and she started teaching me butterfly (so far just the legs), which I have never learned before.  Some of the "form improvements" were pretty major though, my arms on the front crawl and breast stroke really wrong, and I had no idea!  I'm really happy with it and excited to practice this week and learn new things next week.  Pretty soon I'll be a better swimmer than I am a runner.   Not that that takes much!  It's a pretty good deal too.  I paid $20 for the hour, plus the $7 day pass to the gym.  (Plus $0.50 in locker fees, which could have been just $0.25 if I had planned better).

Since I had to pay to get into the gym anyway, I figured I better make the most of it, so I got there an hour before my lesson to workout (I wasn't sure if the swim lesson would be much of a workout, or more standing around listening).  I decided to go for the elliptical first.  I did 20 minutes on there, and then decide to try to run a mile or two on the treadmill.  I only made it about 1 minute.  It hurt my knee.  It wasn't  a little niggle that I could ignore, it was really yucky, so I hopped off.  I guess I need a little more time for my knee to recover from Rock CF.  I tried the hand-cycle (never seen one of those before!) but that was harder than I anticipated and I didn't want to fry my arms before my swim lesson.  So I was a weirdo and spent literally 1 minute on the treadmill, then 1 minute on the hand-cycle, and then left the room.  Haha.  I bet the other people in the room were really impressed with my endurance after witnessing that workout.

 My knee was surprisingly good after the half Sunday.  Monday I thought it was fine at first , but anytime I walked more than 10 steps it started hurting really badly to the point where I didn't want to bend it anymore and would then walk straight-legged with my R side after those first 10 steps.  Then if I sat for a while it would be fine again when I first got up, but only lasted about 10 steps if I started walking.  I was thrilled though, that it wasn't hurting at all at rest.  Tuesday it was even better, and didn't even really hurt at all when walking!  Even at work I barely noticed it.  The elliptical and most kicking to swim were fine.  The only things I couldn't do were run, and do the breast-stroke kick.  Next time.

My next race was supposed to be the Martian half-marathon 4/13, but I think there's a good chance I won't do it.  I haven't registered yet, and I don't want to have a whole slew of bad half-marathon times and days of recovery because I'm underprepared and forcing through a knee injury.  It's only 2.5 weeks away now, which certainly isn't enough time to make any real fitness gains, and is probably not a good idea to ramp my mileage up that fast on my knee anyway.  We'll see.  I'm not going to force it.

There are two problems though.  That's one less race in my 13 x 13.1 in '13, so I'd have to make it up later.  I also love, love, LOVE the medals.  I must have one.  So I'll at least do the 10K.   A small martian is better than no martian.  :D

The next race planned after that was to be Borgess on 5/5, but I'm really not feeling that one either.  They're all just so 13 halfs are quickly disappearing from reach!  (I have some options that I could use as makeups, but that makes the back half of the year REALLY busy.)  I'm thinking Cleveland on May 19th may be my next realistic option.  The more I think about that one, the more excited I get about it!  I'll get to visit some old friends that I haven't seen in a while.  Cleveland was also my first ever full marathon, back in May 2006, so that's kinda "special".  

13 halfs or not, I'm probably going to need to get another medal rack.  I organized my bling yesterday, and am quickly running out of space!  The top row is available still, but it's going to start looking really ugly!  

Medal rack from Allied Medal Displays

And now, a gripe.  I was happy to have run into Jeff (as he passed me) around mile 10 of the half Sunday.  We never run races together, so we don't have photos of us both running together.   At this race though, it just so happened that we ran together for about 3 minutes, and during that time there was  a photographer!  It was just after the airport hanger, so we were in a good mood from that and didn't want to bite each other's heads off I guess.  Anyway, I took the opportunity to stage a corny couples race photo when we approached the photographer.   But alas, it was for naught, because the photographer is A MORON apparently: 

REALLY???  You couldn't see that this was supposed to be one photo??  As a matter of principle, I refuse to buy these. Actually the more I think about it it probably wasn't his fault.  He probably had the zoom/focus set to specific range of pavement, and we wouldn't both fit in that frame unless he took it when we were further back, which would probably require a refocus, and there really isn't time for that when there are runners coming at you 10 per second.  Maybe I will buy them and employ some photoshopping after all.  

Sleep now, then workout plan for tonight: I think a Pilates for Runners DVD and swimming.  I think my rule will be that if running is painful one day, I have to wait 48 hours to try again.  So tomorrow I'll give it another whirl.  I have a Groupon for 5 Vie Fitness classes that I have to use one of these days too, before it expires.  (5 of these days, actually...)  Stupid Groupon.  I'm such a sucker. 


  1. Damn him! No, I think you're right. I often saw a photographer, and I was thinking "hey, try to look like you are running fast" and I made my stride look efficient and fast, but they didn't snap a thing. I did get one wonderful shot of me checking my watch. Another one shows me with a terrible foot strike.

    "A small martian is better than no martian," said the hungry martian cannibal.

  2. The picture failure is hilarious. My wife does photography, so I can tell you that, no matter the circumstances, you can always blame the photographer. I'll be at the Martian for sure, running the half in my perennial "We Come In Peace" shirt.

  3. I LOVE the Martian medal. It is hilarious.

  4. Ooh I'm excited for all that you have learned/are learning!


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