Sunday, 11 March 2012

Life, and Lemons

I have been trying to swim for the few months, diligently. I admit it, honestly, I suck at it. I have no rhythm. I have no style. I am not in the least bit comfortable. I don't 'feel' it at all. But I want to stick at it. I figure, over the course of time, I will improve. At least, I cannot regress. Thats for sure.

The child makes a lot of jokes about my swimming. "Your arms move like windmills" she says. "You are thrashing around" she smirks. "What happened to you? You were doing so well" she smiles. I tolerate it sometimes and ask her for some ideas on how to improve. At other times I ask her to zip it.

When I wake up and remember that the day's workout is a swim, I feel a knot. I always consider ditching it and going for a run. 'Cause thats my thing. I like it. Over the years, I have begun to LOVE it. Everyone said that training for a marathon - being super disciplined about that - will suck the joy out of it. It didn't for me. I enjoyed the process itself.

Yesterday I was running. I was happily on my long run. I was singing. I had my fuel belt with electrolyte and water (two bottles only, I rarely even drink those two, don't need four bottles!). I had my little ipod shuffle stuck somewhere. I was wearing my favourite purple tshirt and the black basketball shorts. I was trying to see if the shorts caused any chafing in a long run, for future purposes.

I was running on the pavement. Humidity is high so I was sweating buckets. I did a quick wipe of face with towel but managed to dislodge the ipod in the process. I bent to fix that and BOOM my ankle went flying out. It felt like something super dramatic but it was just un-even pavement, and I twisted my historically bad right ankle. It hurt to continue running so I walked.

"Walk it off kid" my husband said to me in a long ago time when we were not married. Probably not old enough to be married. My ankle turned in a basketball game. As it has so many times since then. I walked it off and bound it tighter and sub-bed back in after a few minutes. Remembering to hobble only after the whistle was blown.

I walked and walked it yesterday. Then I tried to run. It hurt. Sometimes the hurt goes away once you get the rhythm in the running motion, so I tried to continue. But it hurt more than usual. So I stopped running and walked. I was about 2 kms from home when it happened. Sensible thing would have been to turn back. I continued on, instead, getting into the IIT campus.

When I finally made that U-turn and returned home, walking all the while, trying to keep my stance neutral and not step badly to compensate for the pain (believe me, this I have done in my youth. I am done with all that). I had walked 6 kms in total after the twist. Sounds stupid? Well, I think it was fine. My body betrays me often but I resist its betrayal.

The story of my athletic career has really been this. Waiting for the next injury. There is always something. I am comfortable with ankle injuries though, because they are old hat in my life. I am not going to sit around and mope. I went through patches of self-pity yesterday. Hope that thats behind me.

This morning I woke up, undid the crepe bandage, and went and swam. I was at the pool anyway for the child. It was not comfortable. It was worse than usual. I thrashed around for an hour inexpertly before giving up. When life gives you lemons...etc.. so I guess I stay away from running, plyometrics and all that for a few days, and concentrate on swimming and biking and sitting down/lying down ab-workouts, not to mention upper body strength training (which I have avoided for a while now). Hell Yeah. Down, but not out! 


Andrew said...

My wife was a national competitive swimmer ... and suffice it to say I am not. So when we got married I took adult swim lessons and joined a masters swim club. I got better, and so will you. Good luck!

wordjunkie said...

Windmills... I'm guessing you're swimming freestyle. Try keeping your arms close to your body, rather than making complete arcs over your head. And are your hands entering the water on edge (thumb facing down). That really makes a big difference.

I've also found that avoiding a particular stroke for a while really helps. Maybe you could alternate with breast stroke and butterfly for a while?

A friend of mine insists she tunes out entirely when she's swimming.. focuses on all kinds of other things, which allows her muscles and lungs to just do their thing without interference from her grey cells. But this has never worked for me.. I find I swim best in 'I -am-shark' mode.

Hey, ran my first marathon yesterday! 10k in the DNA I Can Marathon... took an hour and 16 mts.

Preeti Aghalayam aka kbpm said...

Andrew - Thanks! I will keep at it! WJ- GIRL THATS SIMPLY ROCKING! I will try your tips fo' sure.

Jeevan Baretto said...

I was like you when I came to study here, couldn't swim at all. I had taken swim lessons 3 times (summer camps) earlier and never managed to learn how to swim! I met this girl who studies corals and one day she showed me her under water pictures. I fell in love with all the beautiful things that we never get to see on the land. I decided I had to explore that. I learned that I needed to get the scuba diving certification to explore underwater diving. But the catch was, I had to demonstrate my swimming abilities. 8 laps (25 yards/lap) in 18 mins, plus float/tread for 10 mins. I almost thought that it was impossible for me.

I decided to take the swim 101 for credit. Swam for 1 hour for 5 days a week and for 10 weeks. By the end of it, I knew how to swim but could swim only one lap at a time and take infinite break.

And this quarter, I decided to swim every single day and I successfully did. Each day there was an improvement. From one lap to two laps and three and today I can swim 8 laps. I am no where close to the 18 min mark but I think I can do it. I'll take the exam before summer and yes, I'll go scuba diving!! :)

Preeti Aghalayam aka kbpm said...

Jeevan coincidentally thats sort of my motivation too. Snorkeling and Scuba diving. Don't plan on certification and all but I do want to dive for sure this summer. And also, the corals we saw were all grey and dead (tsunami killed them) so I want to go to a new place as well (we were in andamans). I am going to stick to it and see how I fare! There is the other aspect of it - I need to spend that hour in the pool productively in terms of my exercise regimen. I feel fat otherwise. So I have to up the intensity and cut down the breaks!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Preeti, just found your blog through 'thirty-six and counting' and real like your down-to-earth style.

I love swimming and I have to say it is the most natural of all sports, so I'm sure you'll get here soon.

It's so interesting to hear that you run marathons. I have come back to running after a long break and haven't crossed the 10K mark, so will be back for inspiration.

Preeti Aghalayam aka kbpm said...

seekingsynergy! welcome welcome. i really love being in the water for the most part, so i hope its only a matter of some dedication. hope you get some running enthu soon! i used to think that even 10k was wayyy long now i salivate at the thought of a 30k long run!

Anonymous said...

i can swim to save my life :))))))))))