Swimming is Hard

Posted: September 26, 2016 in My workouts, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

I had no idea until I started swimming. I hear about open water swims that are 1-2 miles and I always thought “oh, short swim”. 1 mile is short walking or running. I had no idea how long a 1 mile swim is.

I was shocked to discover when I started swimming that to swim 1 mile I had to swim 33 laps at my gym pool. 33. Wow. I now have swam 1 mile in one go 3 times now. A mile has never seemed so far in my life until trying to swim it. And I swim in a pool, where I can kick off the wall ever 25 meters, and I do half of it backstroke which is far easier (and slower) than front crawl (freestyle). I can only do a few laps freestyle before I need a rest. Whole new respect for people who do long open water swims!

Of course breathing when swimming is the biggest struggle for me. Walking or running, it’s easy- you gasp desperately for air. The hardest part is if I start coughing from my asthma. But swimming? My body wants to pant for air but much of the time (freestyle swimming) my face is in the water and that would result in me drowning. This is the biggest reason I do half the swimming backstroke- it keeps my face out of the water and I can breathe easily.

Luckily my gym has a lifeguard if I ever should fail at the “don’t breathe in the water” step of swimming. Though less comforting when the lifeguard spends long periods talking to someone facing away from the pool I’m in or hours with their nose in their phone, so hopefully I don’t ever need saving.

On the topic of swimming, I’ve been reading The First 20 Minutes by Gretchen Reynolds and she mentions a study where they made rats swim in barrels for 3 hours. THREE HOURS! Those poor rats is all I can think 😦 If we want to understand the impact of swimming on bodies, can’t we use willing human volunteers?

My last mile swim was 1hr 20min 30sec with rests. And those poor rats had to swim 3 hours with no rests. I love swimming but ouch. Poor rats.

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