To my relief, my swim instructor did not even hint at the butterfly last Monday. Instead, we dove right into the breast stroke, a popular stroke among swimmers at the lido. It’s slow and frog-like, but easy… or so I thought…
With the breast stroke, the synchronisation of feet and arms is key to speed. The legs and arms should never be outstretched at the same time (news to me). So here’s how it goes:
- Start by kicking off from the wall and stretching out in a straight line.
- Move your arms around in a circle, lifting your face out to breath.
- Put your head back in the water and finish the circle by stretching your arms out in front of you.
- At the same time as step 3., kick your legs like a frog.
- Repeat from step 2.
Steps 3. and 4. are the tricky ones, because your arms move before your legs, not at the same time. This seemed counterintuitive at first, but after a while I got used to it, and was pleased to see I was swimming faster as a result.
It was a good class, but not great. In general, swimming hasn’t held the same joy for me that it did before Christmas. Maybe it’s because I’ve been swimming at the new Clissold Leisure Centre, which is closer than the London Lido, but busier, indoors, and shorter in length (25m instead of 50m). Even so, I’ve been feeling very low energy, which inevitably makes swimming less enjoyable.
Where has all my energy gone? I partly blame a lingering cold that won’t seem to die. The bigger problem is poor quality sleep. Either I don’t sleep long enough, or I wake up during the night. Why is this? Noisy neighbors. Alcohol. Food. Lack of a schedule. Lack of light.
So this weekend I’m having a quiet one, resting up and trying to regain some regularity to my sleep schedule. I won’t swim until Monday’s class, but will test my ankle with some light jogging on a soft surface. I have a workmate who’s been encouraging me to do a triathlon. The only thing stopping me is the running (it used to be swimming, my how things have changed!). I’ve made an appointment with my GP who will hopefully refer me to a specialist that can prescribe me some insoles or something (if the fix is that simple, I will be thrilled). In the meantime, I am going to do a couple of turns around Clissold Park tomorrow morning, alternating between running and walking. The weather is suddenly glorious in London: cool, but blue skies and sunshine, at least during the few hours of daylight. And I love the park early in the morning, with its frost and happy dogs and notable lack of small children. Bliss.
Link to the basic breaststroke at the BBC
Crossposted to spacekadet.org