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Travails of a Non-Swimmer

So Glad I Went Saturday

Nose!

I have been so, so bad this week. I was only able to go to the gym today and Wednesday, so that’s two out of five. Ugh! I won’t bore you with my multitude of excuses. But I swear, I’ll start with a clean slate this coming Monday and do my five days a week of gym/pool time.

Before heading to the gym tonight my mind was making up excuses not to go. But I managed to make myself go, and after two hours of exertion, boy, I felt so much better afterward. I keep on forgetting how good it feels to exercise and only remember how it’s such a tedious chore to just get my lazy butt to the gym.

Meet the Perfume Skunk

One thing I was really happy about was that I was able to do 4km on the treadmill without any walking break in between!

I think I have to thank Miss Perfume Skunk for that.

I felt bad about only doing a 2.7km on Wednesday night, so tonight I told myself to go for 4km. I started with 8km/h for about 10min, and was running along fine when this young woman in her early twenties hopped on the treadmill next to mine. I’ve seen her before, but never ran next to her.

She stank.

I mean, reeked, of very expensive, very heavy perfume. It wasn’t light or floral or sporty. It was the deep, rich, musk-based kind of perfume, the type that went well with a floor-length gown, the one you’d wear to an evening at the opera or a formal dinner engagement. Definitely not sporty cologne you’d spritz on yourself before hitting the gym.

The smell was so overwhelming it felt like my olfactory nerves were being attacked. It felt like this woman doused herself with heavy perfume from head to toe. I’m sure she didn’t, but amidst all that heat and sweat of bodies churning on the row of treadmills, you can just imagine how the overly strong perfume just reeked.

Lately I’ve started deep breathing during running. It really helped me run longer. Gah! Now how was I supposed to breathe with this terrible smell?

I decided to run faster. Yep, run faster. My usual pace is 7.5 to 8km/h. I raised it to 9km/h. I figured that my need to keep up the pace will somehow make me less aware of the overwhelming smell.

I think it worked.

The Perfume Skunk, thankfully, walked/ran for only about 10min. She left and poof! The air smelled so much better! When she stepped out I put my pace back down to 7.5km/h and thought, hey, since I’ve come this far running I might as well go on. I completed a 4km in less than 30min. Yey!

Looking back, I feel that God put the woman there on purpose: to make me run my 4km under 30min :)

Now that I found out I can run a 4km without stopping for a walking break in between, I hope to do it again next week. Without the perfume skunk, I hope!

Happy Swim

Pleased with my treadmill performance, I went to the pool a happy person. I warmed up with drills (Superman Glide, Switch with Interrupted Breathing, then Continuous Breathing) and swam a couple of laps at the 18m pool. I then went to 25m pool for my sets: 4 x 25m crawl, 3 x 50m backstroke. It felt great. I was still having problems with my lead arm pushing down into the water when breathing to my right, but I feel it was less pronounced than the last time. I have proof: my left upper arm wasn’t hurting as much after the set. I concentrated on the word “Hold” when breathing (hold the lead arm in place) and I think that helped.

Since there was still time left I decided to do some breaststroke drills. I did the kicking exercise for a lap, then the arm movement exercise for another lap, then the mix of both. Things were going well until I kicked so hard at one point that my left calf cramped up.

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! My calf turned hard like a piece of rock. I limped into the walking lane and waited for my husband, who was swimming behind me, to hit the end of the pool.

“I cramped again! Help!”

He kindly massaged my calf for a few minutes then helped me walk across the pool to the jacuzzi. After a soak in the hot water, my calf felt much better. When we reached home I put hot compress on the calf.

Must. Not. Kick. Like. That. Again.

My husband saw me run faster than my usual pace on the treadmill and he thinks that was the reasons for the cramp. I think it was the frustration with the lack of propulsion during breaststroke that made me do what I did.

Got a long way to go with this breaststroke thing.

But before that, I think I need to teach myself first how to do proper open turn (“quick turn” is the term they use here in Japan). I feel that while my crawl still needs breaks between lengths, I can backstroke for more than 200m. I feel that I can backstroke forever, but I won’t really be able to test that if I can’t turn properly. Right now I do this weird kind of turning, which really is more of a “pause at the wall” than a real turn.

Will do some turn research next!

Time with the Machines and Pool

  • Lat Pulldown 11.5kg, 20x
  • Low Row 16kg, 10x
  • Chest Press 4.5kg, 20x
  • Sit-up 20x
  • Leg Press 22.5 + 4.5kg, 20x
  • Torso Rotation 15kg, 40x
  • Triceps Press 4.5kg, 20x
  • Hip Flexer 10x
  • Abdominal 5 + 4.4kg, 40x
  • Back Extension 10x
  • Running 30min = 4km at 7.5-9km/h, slope 0.0%
  • Mechanical Horse medium strength @ 10min
  • Diet Trainer 5min @ 20
  • Pool 60min of drills (SG, Switch, two breaststroke drills) and whole stroke (4 x 25m crawl, 3 x 50m backstroke)
  • Recumbent Exercise Bike None today


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  • slf

    Congrats on the no-walk-break 4k! Yes, you can!
    Went to a self-defense for women session today. It was kinda disorganized but interesting just the same. It was sponsored by a tai chi club. I’m thinking I might take up tai chi once a week since the sessions are free anyway and I’ve pretty much stopped running again.

    • beverlyclaire

      Hooray for Tai Chi! Good for you, I hope you can attend the weekly sessions. I’ve heard that tai chi practice can improve sports performance. Hope you will find the time to run regularly again, even if just on the weekends.

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