I guess I’m supposed to do some cross-training – it has been suggested more than once. Actually I think I do a LOT of cross-training – the whole I’m-sort-of-a-triathlete thing – but what I mean is, I guess I should be doing more specific weight-training. I don’t mind the idea of it. I can see how it might be helpful to my performance and fitness. But as I commented to Waterblogged, I suffer from gymnesia when I walk into the gym alone. Even when I write circuits down, I manage to “forget” what I intended to do. Self-sabotage? Perhaps. Self-consciousness? Definitely. I go to gym classes at Harvard. There’s an Interval Challenge class I like: HIGH-intensity simple heart pumping cardio drills combined with muscle conditioning exercises to give you a total body workout. Be prepared to sweat! And I’ve been known to attend Total Body Conditioning: The focus of this class is to strengthen all muscle groups using hand weights, your own body weight, and much more! So it’s not like I don’t have a clue. Except when I walk into the gym. Alone. And I don’t have a clue.
In the spirit of trying new things – or old things that I haven’t done in a long time – and working on expanding my exercise boundaries, I’m going to make a concerted effort at… jumping rope. As a kid I used to spend afternoons jumping rope in my driveway. Imagine my surprise when I tried to jump rope the other day and could barely manage. Of course I blamed the jumprope. Well, it WAS a sucky rope: plastic, too light, too long. Did I mention I’m good at excuses? Stomping my feet, complaining, I cried to my husband. I wanted a REAL rope. He made me one. Shit. I mean OH BOY! It’s real rope. It’s just the right heft. I can adjust the length by wrapping the ends around my hands. It’s just like I remember from childhood!
First real attempt. After swimming 2500 yds, I went next door to one of the gyms that isn’t very busy (maybe 3 people there!) and did my best to hide in a corner. Got my supplies: my rope, some weights, a ball, a step. My idea was to just do a few rounds: alternating jumping rope with triceps, biceps, planks, core stuff. Takeaway – probably best to be a little more systematic about the whole thing and not just wing it! And doing all this after swimming? I was a little tired. I’m not sure I would have gone swimming afterward, though. What order do people do this stuff in? Swim first and then I’m tired, but probably still getting some benefit. Swim after and I’d be tired and probably end up with a lousy swim and leg cramps. A work in progress. I topped it off with a spin class after work. I’m trying for that full-body thrashing!
Ahh, the sound of water rushing past your ears, the whoosh of breath in and out. Maybe coaches’ or lifeguards’ whistles blowing in the distance, shouts, snatches of conversation, children screaming (joy or anguish, you never know). The usual auditory background to swimming… Sometimes that’s enough. Sometimes you want something else. Something different. Something that runners are used to having: music. Purists can stop reading right now. Actually I wasn’t sure I’d like to swim to music when I first heard about Finis’ SwiMP3, but came around pretty quickly. I don’t like it all the time, but sometimes it’s just the thing.
There are some options if you want to listen to music while swimming. I like the SwiMP3 because it doesn’t block my ears like other waterproof players. I can still hear everything that’s going on around me (depending on how loud I have the unit set). Rather than earbuds, the SwiMP3 has small, flat paddles that rest on your cheeks and conduct the sound through your bones. Check out the site for technical details.
The sounds is good – better under water than out of the water – but that’s the idea, right? In my experience it works better with music than with spoken word or lectures. It’s easy to miss words and then lose track of what’s being said, whereas I think we fill in any breaks in music, especially if we’re familiar with the song.
Problems: I’ve had to return quite a few of them over the years for various problems. The wires on the first one I had weren’t very strong – they seem to have fixed that, and the unit has been redesigned since then. Another time the unit wouldn’t hold a charge. And on occasion, there’s a software issue. It’s kind of a pain, but the customer service is so responsive and it IS a fairly new product, so I can’t really complain.