2 Steps Forward, 1 Large Step Backwards
After my practice this week, I commented to my husband, “I TOTALLY understand why people swim for exercise.” Lately, I’ve been really into my bike trainer and enjoying swimming more than running. This is unusual for me, and it is partly because we’re so busy getting the kids to and from ski training that I’ve been working out at odd hours.
I had just finished bragging to a friend who is a self declared “not so great swimmer” that if I could learn to swim from Shane anyone could. I mentioned that he could probably teach a rock to swim if he could teach me. Famous last words.
We began with dry land work and Shane commented that I was still struggling with pulling backwards on my recovery. Most of the time my head is a scary place to be, so read on with caution. That one simple comment threw me for a complete loop. As with many things, I thought I had it! Suddenly I didn’t even understand what he meant by recovery. I was doing it wrong. Everyone else was doing it right. My brain was overloaded as I tried to figure out how to do it properly. Soon we were in the pool and my entire stroke fell apart.
I struggled in all of our first lengths, and I won’t even share my video from this week. It was definitely a 2 steps back kind of week for me.
The Side of Opportunity
Halfway through our practice, Shane brought over some fins and lined them up by the side of the pool. We were going to work on our kick, and he suggested that we place a fin on our weaker leg IF we had one leg that tended to dominate our kick. I quickly reached for a fin for my left foot. He asked us to swim, focusing on the kick using the fin to help the “side of opportunity” with the kick.
This drill was AMAZING! I could actually feel the kick. It sounds silly, but I really wasn’t sure that there had been any rhyme or reason to my kicking up until now. I had some idea of what was happening, but it wasn’t repeatable, or even planned. Instead it just kind of happened as needed.
Shane sent us everyone’s videos to look at and learn from this week. They arrived shortly after class and I viewed them the following morning. However, before I viewed them, I read an email that one of my classmates sent after watching the videos. She says,
I just looked at all the videos Shane sent and I’m struck by how much everyone has improved and how “patient” everyone looks. I think your form looks beautiful, and even from my limited vantage point, I can sense how much more comfortable you feel in the water compared with early in Level 1. I am amazed at how much more comfortable I feel swimming as well…before I would get winded swimming a 50.
I realized after watching the videos a few times that she is RIGHT! We are getting better and I think I can speak for our whole class that none of us get winded swimming a 50 anymore. We ARE moving forward and it was SO nice to have a classmate point that out.
The Fin of Opportunity … swim, bike, run
In my practice this week I got out the fin for my “side of opportunity” and I worked on that side with running and biking too. Funny thing. Usually my first reaction to finding out that I’m doing something very wrong is to cry, want to stop, think it is hopeless etc. Luckily, my 2nd reaction is to attack the problem AGGRESSIVELY.
I wore the fin for practice this week and worked on that side. I focused on imprinting that kick. Shane told us that we should spend some time on the kick each week, but not to stress about it too much. We should spend some time just swimming and working on our front end. I like that. It takes the pressure off, BUT once I became aware of the kick, I realized that I couldn’t actually make the kick leave my mind. I’m not sure where that will land me this week, but for practice anyway, I wasn’t able to use the tempo trainer effectively this week. Between the front end and the kick, my mind had enough to focus on and the tempo trainer was just added noise. I’m looking forward to class to start to sort that out. Here is a teaching video showing the 2 beat kick.
And, I am pretty sure I know the next thing coming; I think that I am reversing the arm and leg that should be moving together. I’m not sure but it feels like my rhythm is wrong. Shane is a dancer, and he talks about the need to just feel vs think. I know I’m in thinking mode still.
Now to the biking and running. After beginning to think about my weak side as an opportunity, I realized it was also an opportunity on the bike and while running. I worked on my left side on the bike trainer and while running all week. It felt like a little project and I feel how all 3 activities are complementing each other well!