Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cerebral Swimming

While swimming today I was reminded how cerebral this sport actually is. It is especially cerebral for those of us that took it up seriously later in life. When you swim beside that guy or gal that is lapping you like a greyhound at a tortoise race, it is probably because they are not thinking about all the stuff you are. As kids they swam hundreds of thousands of metres under the watchful eye of a coach who corrected the mistakes which lead to the muscle memory and cerebral tattooing that makes each stroke exactly like the last one.
On the other hand you have those of us that go through a mental checklist with each and every plunge into the water.
Am I looking at the bottom of the pool? Is my butt dragging? Did I switch hands correctly? Where did my hand enter the water? Was that a 5 degree angle I was supposed to have when I breathed? Did I breathe?? Am I sinking?? Why is everything going black???? (just kidding). However I wasn't kidding about the majority of the questions. That is essentially what it is like as you try to improve your stroke and imprint the muscles with that lasting memory. Running is so different in that it seems like you do a couple of system checks throughout the run, but you are never constantly going over the list like you do in swimming.
Today's workout was 2,000 metres
250 metre easy swim warm up
500 metre continous swim
4 x 250 metre alternate sets with pull buoy
250 metre cool down alternate strokes
Overall the swimming has come back relatively quickly as far as the endurance. I would also say that I have developed some of that muscle memory because I have felt right at home in the pool again.
Tonight I have an hour plus run planned on the treadmill. My left achilles has been causing me a bit of grief lately, so I am taking some naproxen for that and hope to relieve the inflamation. These last pair of Saucony shoes have not been treating me that well and I may have to admit defeat and try something eles.
Have a great day!

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