Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Springing into health

I wrote the following before two things happened: 

 1. Covid, fortunately mild but with a cough and exercise intolerance that lasted weeks

 2.  Renting a house down south for the month of February, a new experience for this North of the Arctic Circle girl.  It was winter when we arrived, now it's a little spring-like, and nice at the beach.  For an hour or two.  With a sweatshirt and pants.  These southern people embrace it though, so there's that.  

In my retirement I have enjoyed belonging again to  an athletic club and have been doing lap swimming regularly, the only exercise that doesn't tax my knee.  I've also attended some water aerobic type classes but there is only one instructor that really seems to want you to have a good workout.  It's filled with old ladies who love to chat with each other.  I get that it's social, but I really just think it's rude to have conversations when the instructor is pouring her heart into a class and others are trying to get something out of it besides a social interaction and not getting your hair wet.  Change my mind. I'll fight you. I still have a lot of unresolved anger, but I'm working on that, I promise.

The good thing about my facility is that I have to reserve a lap lane in advance, which motivates me and creates some accountability.  I'm partial to lane 4 (of 5), in late morning, when the sun is nice and the staff have cut the overhead lights.  Because laps are boring, and I'm swimming about 50-55 minutes (up to 64 laps in a 25 meter pool, yay me), I purchased an inexpensive waterproof MP3 player with earbuds that also keep out water out of my ears.   After 15 or 18 laps, it gets easier.  I can block out the neighboring lap swimmers, enjoying a kind of sensory zen.  

Well.  Most of the time.

There is one swimmer I really hate to swim next to.  She is quite a bit younger, very fit and focused.

I call her the Water Buffalo, Water Buff for short.  

I don't know if it is a training method, but she literally SLAPS the water with each stoke,  She is trying to punish it.  She is an angry elf.  "I hate you water.  I will kill you"

As if this violence isn't distracting enough, sometimes she puts on a pair of slappy plastic hand paddle thingies, or some slappy plastic fins on her feet.  The worst is when she does this awkward kind of angry hybrid breast/butterfly stroke.  It doesn't move very far.  It is fairly intense.  All of her techniques have in common they are loud and create a lot of splash.

I mostly try to ignore her, but Water Buf displaces a lot of water splashy-splash in my direction, which I find VERY distracting.

Me, I like to try to slide through the water as easily and hydrodynamically as possible, concentrating on the elements of my swimming: breathing, rotation, stroke, pull, kick; a different focus every few laps.  I'm not strict or structured as I lack formal swim training.  I've just always enjoyed it, and music makes it enjoyable.  My playlist is only a few albums of favorites.  Mostly f rom the 1970's, don't judge.  If you've never exercised to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young or James Taylor, I can't even talk to you.

I think I will offer Water Buff the use of my MP3 player.  She seems like she could use a few laps of "So Far".  



L said...

My all time favorite album is The Band's brown album. I could listen to it on repeat, all day, every day, for eternity. I've never been into swimming as a workout (too much prep/post time and my hair really does not like chlorine) but I wonder if that album would make me zen enough to do it!

For now I'll stick to yoga and running until my knees inevitably give out one day.

EDNurseasauras said...

Thats great you have exercise that you love. I guess that is the key to commitment, right? I tried yoga a few times, I was way too self conscious. The first time was in a judgey hot yoga studio, where the instructor told us first timers, "your goal is to just stay in the room". I though he was kidding. At the end of 80 minutes (or a year....could have been a year, I don't know), I think I achieved 10th level-of-hell. AsI lay panting on the mat, not moving, begging for death, having sweated out nearly every drop of bodily fluid, the instructor looked down and said, "nice, you stayed in. Not everybody is able to do that. See you next class". A few classes in other studios proved to be far less taxing (and judgey), and I really enjoyed the meditation, warm lavender eye compresses, and quiet music. But I really couldn't see that as a reason to suffer through the actual yoga part of it. There are a few chair yoga classes that I might try at my facility just for a change. Hopefully it won't be filled with chatty old ladies.

Girlvet said...

Come back regularly! You are hilarious. I was ER nurse for 30 years. Used have blog: Madness: Tales of an emergency room nurse

EDNurseasauras said...

MADNESSSSSS!!!!! I followed your blog, miss your writing! Hope all is well with you.

Madness said...

Hi! I'm madness and I'm still alive. Har I followed you too! I'm also retired. I recently started another blog: madness:tales of a travelin' retired ER nurse. Don't know how to link on here. I'm traveling for the next twelve months. Come on over!

Aesop said...

Southern Cross.
And Sailing by Christopher Cross.
But a Waterproof MP3 and earbuds? What is this witchcraft?
I wants me one.
I'll be doing laps until I can tolerate bicyclces agin, but at least now I can go to the gym again, and burn off my COVIDiocy fatroll.

EDNurseasauras said...

It's a Syryn! Still love it.

Oldfoolrn said...

When I worked at Montrose Beach in Chicago as a lifeguard, we would get a group together and see how far away from shore we could swim before chickening out. Some of my colleagues could swim out so far they lost sight of land! Once when we were fairly far out a huge freighter carrying iron ore from upper Michigan dispatched a small launch to see if we needed rescued. When they found out what we were up to they just shook their heads and muttered something about crazy kids. It always amazes me how many nurses were certified lifeguards in their youth!

Madness said...

Come back to us!