Channeling Michael Phelps

In an effort to stay on top of my goals for 2012, I’ve made a pledge to document and track the experience.  I’ll admit that I have not stayed on top of all of the goals–but today I will report on the first step to a success.

Goal Number 6:  Enroll in an intermediate swim class

Yesterday was my first free style swim class.  I’m taking an 8 week class at the Harvard University Malkin Center–AKA The MAC.  My goal (number 8 on the new year’s resolutions for those counting) is to participate in my first sprint triathlon in 2012 and swimming is my weakest sport.

Seriously.  I’m so bad at swimming that 5 years ago, when I participated in this “walk, swim, kayak” fundraiser to support the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition on Cape Cod, I came in dead last in the 1 mile swim.  I was only 30 years old at the time!  The worst part?  My wife and I were lapped by an 80 year old woman.  I swore–after that experience–that I would never let an old woman beat me in swimming.  And I’ve held to that goal–but that’s only because I’ve avoided swimming in public and groups since then!

So now I’m taking this “Swim for Fitness:  Focus on Free Style/Triathlon Swim” class.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I am the weakest swimmer in the class.  But I can only admit this because today I set a goal.  (I live by setting goals).  I know I will never be best in show here.  But I vow that by the last class I will be most improved.

More importantly, I will be able to participate in the swim portion with confidence.

Observations on today’s performance:

  1. Caloric intake before swim class:  455 versus estimated calories burned in a 90 minute swim:  762.  The lesson I learned from this is to consume, at minimum, 762 calories (maybe more) to prevent hitting a wall 3/4 through class.
  2. Less is more:  How very Zen!  I’m learning that I need to use less of my legs when I kick and to focus on calves and ankles.  Similarly, keep my head down and body in plank…these all limit traction and increase glide in the water.
  3. This is the best cardio ever!  Who KNEW that I could get so out of breath!  I feel like freestyle swimming might even burn more calories than running.  Since I can no longer focus on running due to my AS, this bumps swimming up to my new favorite sport!
  4. Breath work:  yes…this is great cardio.  However, working out in water has its drawbacks.  The drawback that I’m going to have to find a work around for, is finding a better way to draw a deeper and better breath in so I don’t have to stop mid-lap to gasp and wheeze.
  5. Charley horse:  Experienced a muscle knot twice–or the threat of one anyway–in my right calf.  I will need to research better technique and prep so I can avoid this in the future.
  6. My Wuggs is the best inspiration.  She was so sweet and kind to cheer me on along the way and constantly check in with me.  When I was my worst critic, she complimented me on the strong parts of my technique.
  7. Strength training:  I need to build up my shoulders, Chest, and arms most…but I also must amp up strength training in my abs and legs.
  8. I find that channeling Michel Phelps inspires me.  Though, I have to say that I believe that for this first swim class that I actually summoned Martin Short instead of Michael Phelps.

About themacdoodle

Communications Manager, Creative Strategist, Community Builder, & Possibility Agent
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One Response to Channeling Michael Phelps

  1. Melissa says:

    Good luck with your goal of completing a sprint tri this year. My husband and I compete in triathlons (we’re still working on that ironman) and are always glad to see new people come out and try to drag our friends out to go race with us.

    I’m a swim team brat, so for me running is the hard part, but I think no matter how much you do, there’s always someone older out there who’s faster than you. When we attempted (and failed) the ironman last year, this 64 year old man jammed past me on the run and the worst part was, he was already 8 miles ahead of me. For me it’s about racing my best race.

    As for the charley horse, wait till you get one in your foot… well I get them in my feet sometimes and they are the worse.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say good luck on improving your swim 🙂

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