Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Golden Fin Award Goes To...

Perpetual Child... that's me ;)  I am an Aquarius, after all - we are known for this quality... as well as personifying the 'fine line between genius and insanity' bit... (seriously... look it up)

I have loved this silly swim cap since I first saw it last year and vowed that one day I would wear one! 

When I saw it last night, in the display case at the community pool, I decided that I would 'reward' myself for swimming my greatest distance to date, by donning that swim cap for my 'victory lap'.

I was meant to swim 2300m (a lofty goal for me although I was not nervous - I actually believed I could do it, so long as I didn't waste any time - the swim session is 1:15 in length). 

I arrived 45 minutes early, and sat down to watch the junior swim team at their practice... I love watching these kids - they amaze me!  After watching flip turns on GO-Swim on my lunch hour, I was avidly watching these youngsters to see if they were doing what the woman on the the video was recommending... and trying to figure out if I could do that without getting water up my nose.

Somewhere between my spectator spot and the pool, I lost my earplugs (aargh!!!  I have a tube in one ear - I can't swim without a plug) and wasted precious minutes retracing steps to find them again...

I jumped in and, vowing not to panic about finishing and end up thrashing my way through, I systematically followed my swim plan.  This was the first time that 10 seconds actually felt like enough of a break after a drill... this was promising to be a good session ;)

The pool was quiet last night - only 4 of us at the busiest point in our double-wide lane - and it dwindled to 2 of us for the last 30 minutes.  The sun came in through the windows and it felt glorious to be swimming in clear, cool water with the sun on my face.

I saw my 'pool buddy' Angela and found out that she is training for her first Ironman - IM Arizona in November 2010!  Wow!!  I am so excited for her!  (This is the same girl that I vowed to beat in a 25m freestyle race SOMEDAY... I should mention that it's a friendly competition that exists only in MY mind) Oh darn - I wanted to talk to her about IM but... arrrgh - look at the time!!!  Sorry - gotta swim!!! 

Eric (hubby) was scheduled to come and meet me (I was certain I was going to swim 2300m and wanted to celebrate afterwards!) and he was there - waving from the upper deck as I just kept swimming...

Three bathroom breaks later... I knew that I was not going to reach that goal of 2300m... (Why does my bladder always seem to be roughly the size of an egg when I am in the pool???) there simply was not enough time left and the lifeguard was going to haul me out soon if I did not exit willingly... I could see the masters swim group gathering on deck for the next session.  I kept my head down so as not to make eye contact with anyone and I sped up my stroke and squeaked out an extra 100m, thereby reaching a new swim distance of 2100m - my longest swim to date.  Ha - I broke my 2000m record!

It was disappointing but since I did hit a new record distance, decided that 'half' a celebration was better than none, so I showered and changed and then donned the 'GOLDEN FIN AWARD' cap to meet Eric in the lobby before we went to dinner.  I explained that each time I swim a greater distance than ever before, I will proudly wear my 'reward' cap.  Sadly, I did not get to wear it in the pool...this time...

The staff at the leisure centre in Milton likely think I'm a nutjob and they are probably right... but life is short and meant to be ENJOYED!!

- just keep swimming
- glub

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Body in Motion...(Don't Stop! Don't STOP!!)

I have just experienced a week from Hell.  I spent 5 days flat on my back, alternating ice and heat, downing Advil or Excedrin, depending on the day, hoping and praying that the debilitating back spasms I was experiencing would STOP! so that I could get on with my BUILD CYCLE...

Imagine my surprise when, last Monday, 10 minutes before my athletes arrived for their yoga class, I bent down to about knee-level in order to put a bag of candy on a shelf and POW!  I could not straighten up again...

Tears rolling down my face, I greeted the 'stiff' athletes who look to me to help them get limber and flexible...and thought... how I wish I were inflexible like you!!

It's interesting to note that when one is a yoga teacher and very flexible, others think that this means no such experiences as noted above... Unfortunately, my experience is just the opposite.  I am what is known as a 'hypermobile' individual.  All those years of practicing gymnastics and yoga from childhood onwards... yes, I'm limber... and yes, it's true, I don't really have to stretch out much the way other runners and athletes are encouraged to do by coaches and instructors (including myself!!)... it doesn't benefit me anyway...I'm already loose and limber... perpetually... problem is, when your ligaments are loose, there is really nothing holding you together. 

I call it 'Broken Dolly Syndrome'.  You remember Dolly, don't you?  She was made of paper or cardboard, and her limbs and head were held to her torso by those grommet things that allowed you to move them around... and if they were too tight, she didn't move very well and if they were too loose, they spun around?  Well, that's how I function around my core area... my stabilizing muscles don't fire when and how they are supposed to and I end up falling apart. (Note:  this does not preclude me from doing deep yoga poses... or evoking envious glances from others who wish they could bend as easily as I... just don't ask me to try to run, bike or swim without screaming).

Last year I did not race and barely trained at all.  I spent all of last summer with my physiotherapist, who taught me techniques and exercises for stabilizing my mid-section so that I don't look like I'm doing the Hula every time I walk, run, swim, etc... I thought all of my troubles were gone for good... sigh... wishful thinking... I had forgotten my main trigger...

I seem to be fairly typical in that my experience is very similar to that of other hypermobile individuals (my heart goes out to them)... but the (typical) athletes that I encounter have a much different view, as do my co-workers at the office.  'You're doing too much!'.  'You need to rest!!'.  'Maybe you are overtraining...?' 'You need to take some time OFF'.  It all sounds sensible but the sad truth is that my biggest downfall and precursor to being immobilized by these flare ups is:  INactivity!  Yes, you heard me... what did I do to bring on this horrendous period of disability?  Simple... I spent extra time in bed, resting, for about 3-4 days, in order to cure a respiratory bug... how frustrating is that?!! 

The only way for me to stay mobile is... well... to keep MOVING.  No marathon movie sessions on the couch, or lounging around in bed with the papers or curled up with a good book... if I expect this body to function optimally, I have to keep it in forward motion... (I think I feel tired just thinking about that...)

Well, I do have an interest in endurance sports... and they do tend to keep you moving for an extended amount of time... (especially when you are slow like me...).  I guess should plan to be involved in endurance activities for a long time to come...  (as I begin to ponder all of the wonderful adventures upon which I can embark in my future...half-marathons, marathons, cycling trips, IM... wow... the options are many...). 

Here I am a week later and almost as good as new... ready to begin building upon my fitness again... my body seems happiest when running... I'd better give it what it wants...