What Doesn’t Kill Us…

They say what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. They also say God never gives you more than you can handle. I tend to believe the former rather than the latter.

Once I settled (however painfully) into the idea that my relationship with my husband was over, my pain began to be relieved. Very slightly, that is, and in fits and spurts, but as of today (and right at this moment) I am having some relief from the pain. Yay.

I woke up today excited about swimming since I had yesterday off for Christmas. I spent quite a bit of time leaning about Total Immersion swimming and thought it might help me with my issue of doing more freestyle laps in a row.

I’m sure it’s the sort of technique that you pick up much more of when you have someone in the flesh teaching it to you, but I applied what I did understand and to my amazement, I saw improvement immediately.

The gist, in my view, is not to worry so much about perfect form, i.e., placement of your hands, arms, etc, but to relax into the stroke. Your face is more submerged, your arms work less, you alternative sides that you take a breath from and viola, I was immediately able to do several laps in a row with barely a stop.

The front crawl or freestyle stroke is about 90% upper body. Because I’m more interested in distance and time in the water swimming (and not racing), I can settle into a stroke which saves the arms. It felt good right away. The only area I need lots of work on is how to breathe properly from my left since I am a habitual right side breather.

I know all that will take is practice so in the meanwhile, I’ll keep perfecting the Total Immersion techniques and in time I will naturally get faster anyway.

I also found out in my reading yesterday that the freestyle simply doesn’t use your legs that much. I was really concerned with making them work and it was causing me to a.) wear out, and b.) not swim efficiently. With the new stroke I allow my legs to do what they want to do naturally behind me, which is a gentle kick which keeps me balanced in the water.

I just concentrate more on giving my legs a workout when I’m doing my deep water exercises. I am discovering new ways to work my abs as well, which is fun. If the movement feels graceful and I begin to get that slight burn in my stomach muscles, I simply keep doing it.

The highlight of my time at the pool today was meeting another swimmer and having a long talk with her. She’s a big woman, but extremely active and could swim at least double the amount of laps I can swim. She told me she also does yoga, walking, and bike riding. I was really excited to hear how she mixes up her activity and I think we hit it off. I hope to see her again.

I’ve read in the swimming blog on The Guardian website that swimming people are friendly and I’m glad to finally interact with one. I’ve chatted with a couple of older women in my aerobics class but it’s been about generalities and their grandkids. I’d prefer to talk about fitness and what works for other people.

I just found another method of swimming called The Shaw method and it looks really intriguing too. I love the water so much and I love hearing from other people who love it as much as I do.



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