Swimming With Music

For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a long swim session each week. For me, that means an hour in the pool of freestyle laps (I don’t know how to swim any other stroke), each time being 2200 meters. Thus far, I have really enjoyed the solitude during these workouts - quite unusual for someone that can’t even run one mile without music.

Most of the time I’m busy counting laps, which I do by going through the alphabet with each lap (a lap being 25 meters down and 25 meters back). These days, since my San Francisco Giants are the World Champions, I have been associating each letter with a player: A = Andres Torres, B = Buster Posey, C = Cody Ross…you get the idea.

Going from A-Z, or 1300 meters in silence, was never a problem for me. But once the workouts were extended beyond that; i.e., 2200 meters = A-Z + A-R, well, I decided I needed a little more motivation to keep me going.

I’ve wanted to get waterproof headphones for the past year and a half, ever since my friend Sam got these.

Swimp31
Swimp31

But the cost was more than I could justify for an activity that I only did a few times a month.

A few weeks ago, I checked their Web site and found that they were on sale for half the original cost! I’m guessing the reduced price was the result of the redesigned iPod shuffle.

I was so excited to see the sale price that I ordered one immediately! I had also bought the newest iPod shuffle and could now put the old one to use!

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Swimp32

To be honest, I never really figured out how to use this older model of the Shuffle (I need buttons!), and hardly ever used it. At least now I could get my money’s worth!

So yesterday morning, I had a little extra jump in my step as I headed to the pool, eager to give my new gadget a try. I had the iPod charged and loaded with my Burn playlist that I had used for Saturday’s half-marathon.

This was going to be an experiment…I had no idea if running music would also be appropriate swimming music. Would up-beat hip hop, rap and pop music translate well in the pool? Or should I have gone with mellow, slower songs?

Once in the pool, I made double sure that the iPod capsule was sealed tight, and then attached it to my goggles.

Swimp35
Swimp35

The cords were too long, so I had to wind them around the goggles to shorten them up. Everything fit well so I pressed play and started off.

I was so excited to be listening to music as I swam! The first song that came on was “Jump Around” by House of Pain (Brian Wilson’s song). The second song was “Uprising” by Muse. The rest of the songs were all about the same tempo. I think it was a little too fast for me. I definitely would like to stay within the same genre, but I think I need slightly slower tempo songs. It took me about 500 meters to fully warm-up and time my breathing right. This is longer than usual for me, and I think the song selections had something to do it.

It was also about this time that I had to abandon the mp3 player altogether. The ear buds kept slipping around out of my ears. Luckily, it came with a bunch of different sized ear buds, so I’ll have to experiment with them to see which size works best for me.

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Swimp36

While it’s nice to know that I can swim in silence, it’s also good to have the option of music. Swimming is growing to become my favorite cross-training activity. It leaves me feeling strong and lean, and I know I’m getting a full body workout. Some days, I love it more than running…not every day, but it does have its moments!

PS There's one thing I still can’t figure out…after I run, no matter the distance, I’m not immediately hungry when I'm done. I can wait a few hours before I have to eat anything (even though I know I shouldn't). But when it comes to swimming, I am famished after even just one hour. Yesterday, I had lunch at 10 am because I was so hungry, I couldn’t wait to eat! What gives…?!?

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