Learning How to Breathe!

swimming1Tonight I started my very first swim class! Yep, Adult Beginning Swim class! Why am I doing this?

1. Its a new challenge. 2. Its a survival skill I should probably have. 3. Its exercise. 4. Its exercise that's not hard on the body. 5. Its exercise I can do while still recovering from my other injuries. 6. It gives me an excuse to get a Lululemon swimsuit. 7. I always wanted a swim cap. :) 8. Its a different way to recharge my body. 9. Strength and cardio combination. 10. Its one step closer to my 2010 BHAG - a triathalon.

So why not, right?!

I haven't taken any swim lessons since elementary school so I consider myself a Level 0, which was great because tonight we started at the absolute basics.

It was a really warm night and my class is very small - only three other people - perfect because we're able to get a lot of personal attention from our instructor, Marie. Marie is great; she set the tone for the class upfront explaining that for this first class we'll start off the same but everyone will move at their own pace which she encourages. She'll start each of us on assignments according to our individual levels, then rotate between us to coach us through our form and technique.

In my younger days, I would have been self-conscious about how I compare to others, but these days, it doesn't bother me at all. I'm there for myself and want to get as much out of it as I can. Heck I'm paying for the class and I'll make sure I get my money's worth! :) My goal for these next two weeks is just to learn how to breathe properly and kick. There's only so much you can learn in two weeks and I love having a teacher/trainer/coach, so I'm sure I'll sign up for the series a few more times.


For me, tonight's class concentrated entirely on breathing. I didn't bring goggles (no one told me to) so it was a little hard for me to progress beyond this, but that was okay because the breathing is important and I really need to learn how to do it right. Marie had us:

1. Put our faces in the water 2. Let all of the air out of our lungs 3. Come up for a breath, but only inhaling through our mouths.

Pretty simple right? Well its all about timing and if you time it wrong, you end up inhaling water through your nose which is brutal (I did it once or twice). But after a while, I got the timing down, though I wasn't sure I was completely exhaling all the air out of my lungs before coming up for breath.

Well the next exercise confirmed that I wasn't. Next we had to stretch our arms out, with one hand one top of the other, and glide, using our breathing. I sucked at this. I couldn't get the concept of "gliding" and had no idea what to do with my lower body. I'd push off from the wall, glide, then when I came up for a breath, I'd start to sink. When I asked Marie what I was doing wrong, she said I wasn't "trusting" the water yet and didn't have my face fully submerged.

To prove the point, she did an exercise with me that she uses on kids. She had me stretch out my arms, in a T. She placed her hands under mine, as if to hold me up, while I held my breath under water for at least 10 counts. I felt my body come up and begin to float which is what the "gliding" was supposed to do. Now I understood what she meant! (I flashbacked to swim lessons at Cooke Memorial Swimming Pool on Molokai.) It was still hard for me without the goggles but she worked with me on this for quite some time and before I knew it, my first class was done!


After class I went to Sport-Mart to get goggles and a swim cap (for which my Tamer, my hair guy, will very happy). I had no idea what kind of swim cap (latex or silicon?) or goggles (wide vs narrow vs competitive vs who knows what else!?) to get. I figured I'd stay with Speedo because they specialize in swimming. Beyond that, I was lost. The staff at Sport-Mart was no help at all. Luckily, I have friends who swim so I bought a variety of stuff and will have get their opinion on what to keep and what to return.

I'm very happy I'm starting this new adventure. I hope I can become a good enough swimmer to at least get a decent workout. Everything else would be gravy. It also gives me something to blog about! So keep coming back and I'll have a daily recap of my escapades. I may even have a clip funny enough to submit to America's Funniest Home Videos - LOL!