Thursday, January 27, 2011

How to Keep Sane During a Northeast Winter - Part 1 - Swimming

I recently went to my first Philly chapter meeting for my profession, called the QRCA (Qualitative Research Consultant Association), which was basically a bunch of people that talk and listen for a living while using psychology to understand what you REALLY mean. As with any meeting, there are always introductions. The person running the meeting always needs to get creative and try to think of witty ways to make everyone comfortable and laugh such as:
  1. "Everyone go around the room and tell me three things about you, two of which are true and one that is not. Then we each have to guess which isn't true..." (this is a personal favorite - I love to see corporate people squirm when I give them my three: run marathons false, play field hockey true and going to local metal-core shows true)
  2. "Introduce yourself and tell us all what you do in your free time...." (yawn)
  3. "Go around the room and introduce yourself and tell everyone your educational background and achievements" (a pissing contest among everyone as they all try to one up each other).
So as I awaited in anticipation for how I was going to prepare my witty response to these sometimes ridiculous questions that I find embarrassingly fun - the woman said...wait for it...

"Everyone introduce yourself, tell us your company, where you are located AND what three things keep you sane over this winter we have had so far." (AHHHH a little different, I liked it...)
As I listened I learned how healthy my profession actually is: snow shoeing, long brisk walks, cooking soups and stews, biking indoors on a trainer (yes, I found cycling friends), drinking wine and port....

It was getting to me and oh, I had so many (including smart ass comments) so I narrowed it down:
  • Swimming in the pool (somehow makes me think of summer even though I don't do it a lot and I couldn't say running on the treadmill since it DOES NOT keep me sane nor does sitting on my bike in my living room while watching TiVo - just being honest)
  • Cooking clean and healthy recipes
So since that meeting, I decided to break this post into three parts: Swimming, Cooking Clean and yes, I know you are waiting for it MissFancyPants' Winter Beer List so you can either one or read them all - I think I have some varying target audiences as us marketers like to say.

I really need to work on better swimming technique. This will obviously make me move at a better pace (I can't say faster since I was never fast to begin with). There are so many things to think about already like "high elbows," "reach," "strong pull," "rotate your body - don't fish tail."

I was at the gym the other day and Germaine, the best swimming instructor that I know, was coaching some kids in the lane next to me. I thought he was going to say

"Hey Heather, watch and learn from this 8 year old"

BUT instead he told me that my hand was not entering the water deep enough and that by doing that I would move forward. I tried that and it did work, I shave a couple seconds off of my already slow 100's. About 1,000 yd later I hear him trying to get my attention again. This time he was saying that I was not moving smooth in my rotation and pull, that I was putting all this emphasis on the rotation but I was almost stopping before my pull which was slowing me down. So as I neared the end of my workout, I concentrated on that on my cool down.

Two days later, I went back to the gym during the "next" snow to work on what he told me. This time instead of doing some workout incorporating drills and all my accessories, i.e. kick boards, pull buoys, paddles, I decided to just swim, no timing, just swim for 2000 yd. I broke it up into 300's and 200's and 100's but all in all I wanted to focus on those two points, moving forward and my rotation. I felt faster and more fluid. I know I have a lot to work on and definitely need some more lessons, but I felt happier and more confident than I have in a while. And then I stumbled upon Sonja Wieck's swim post where she embedded a video of Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen of Aquatic Edge, a master swimmer. I watched it the other night was so inspired. She glided through the water and I loved how you can see the "how to." I can't wait to hit the pool. I think "seeing" someone move like she does pulls together all of your learning. I thought I would share this as well.

Lastly, I decided to re-open the book Total Immersion that I started to read last year and well, I have to say those Sookie Stackhouse books and the Girl with the Dragon Tatoo series took precedence for a while...

Since I just reopened it, I don't have much to say but it seems very instructional regarding rotation and being more efficient. It also has some drills. I will let you know as I go...

Until then stay tuned for part 2 of keeping sane during winter - with my Cooking Clean post!!

1 comment:

  1. i've heard the total immersion is pretty good.... looking forward to clean cooking :) and drinking lots of beer in t minus 2 weeks!!!!


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