Monday, April 11, 2011

All I need is a book...

I'm a big believer in books.

As a consequence, I'm a big believer in libraries, because I could never afford to buy all the books on all the subjects about which I am so infernally curious.

I believe that, for most subjects, somebody has taken the time to share knowledge and expertise in a book.

I have learned to faux finish walls from a book.

I've made curtains from directions in a book.

OHHH - learned a cool tip for eliminating seam pucker when sewing zippers in dresses from a book I picked up when wandering through the library.

What else...let's see...

Tips on improving my running time, choosing an olive oil, cutting paper (into cool designs, not just in half), knitting, cooking , pruning my roses, eating better (versions 1, 2, 3, 4...77), pilates, managing a classroom...not to mention all the cool books on less practical subjects like religion, politics, biographies...sigh...LOVE books.

The Miami library system is large, and each local library has a limited selection. When I read a book review, or see something on Amazon I'd like, I put in a library hold request. Eventually, I move up the system queue and it is delivered to my local library.

Apparently, so far in the past I have NO recall at all about requesting it, I got in the queue for The Four Hour Body, by Tim Ferriss.

This book is huge and covers ways to improve your physical health including losing weight, increasing flexibility, building muscle, improving sex (it's interesting that the chapter I'm excited about was NOT that one - am I old or what?) and SWIMMING more efficiently.

I've been thinking - like all of you - that a triathlon was my next bucket list item. Growing up, my mom couldn't afford much, but for physical fitness (she was so cool - I think she thought in categories about what we needed, and then figured out a way to make it work on our negligible budget) we belonged to the YMCA and took swimming lessons - for years. On Saturdays, we'd drive over, and swim for an hour during lap swim time. I seem to remember needed 100 miles of swimming to get some special badge, but who knows. Mom might have made that up. She knew I liked badges (trophies, medals, plaques). Frankly, I'm clearly still motivated by pretty, shiny objects:

So, I have decent form in the four basic strokes. BUT when I go to the pool and swim laps, I am out of breath, huffing, puffing, heart thumping wildly after a couple of laps.

THEN I read in Ferriss' book about the Total Immersion swimming method.

So, I requested Total Immersion: The Revolutionary Way to Swim Better and Faster, by Laughlin and Delves.

Read the book. Drove to the club. Jumped in the water.

Re-learning to swim is NOT easy. I didn't feel comfortable bringing a library book into the pool area, so I was working from my notes. At the end, I felt I'd made some progress, but not much.

The book has a DVD available for purchase, but I didn't want to spend the money. THEN I thought, hey maybe there is something on Youtube! after video, including lectures by Terry Laughlin. (I suppose now I need to say "I'm a big believer in the internet. Someone has shared his expertise on nearly every subject." PFFT on you. I still like books more.)

Here's one of the swimming demonstrations of the method: Total Immersion swimming.

See how effortlessly he glides through the water?

I wasn't doing it ALL wrong, but definitely a LOT wrong.

Time two in the pool - massive improvement. Cut the number of strokes it takes from one end of the pool to the other in half. Could swim without any big physical toll for lap after lap, though I was doing a lot of the exercises and corrective techniques, so was not straight lap swimming.

Today I went in again, swam for 45 minutes, struggling to remember all of the motions and changes, but completed the laps with ease.

This is so cool!

I'm probably going to follow up with a lesson or two with a local Total Immersion coach, but for now, I'm thrilled. If you've wanted to swim more, but couldn't seem to make it work - give this a try. it is amazing!