Thursday, June 22, 2006

Eyes Wide Shut

The pool was empty, this morning. Here it was, 5:15 on a Thursday morning, and the lifeguard was sitting in the "bleachers" by the pool, looking bored out of his head. Cool for me. My choice of lanes.

The lifeguard dutifully manned the closest chair, and I completed a couple hundred yards of warmup. Following a few suggestions I received, this morning's drills were all focused on open water swims. As it is difficult to simulate the motion of the lake, I attempted to simulate the limited vision of open water.

In other words, I swam with my eyes shut.

I'm fairly certain the lifeguard is convinced I'm retarded.

The lack of bilateral breathing and an apparent power differential between arms results in a fairly severe curve to the right. A great many laps included me either smacking into the wall or getting tangled in the lane rope. Usually right in front of the lifeguard chair. And since my goggles have smoke colored lenses, it's doubtful he knew my eyes were shut. So, what he saw was this guy swimming laps, constantly running into things. He did a good job and at least didn't laugh out loud.

On some of the laps, I would open my eyes during breaths in an attempt to simulate my head clearing murky lake water allowing me to see. I've determined that swimming is complex enough without adding the "rub head, pat tummy, circular motion" tricks we used to do as kids. I've yet to meet anyone who suggests drowning as a hobby.

The submerged version of Bling Man's Bluff was helpful, though. While far from comfortable swimming without being able to see, swimming blind in the controlled environment of the pool is easier. I'll be adding that to every swim, and work on bilateral breathing. That will probably take me back to some of the early TI drills to improve my balance while on the right side.

And now, it's time to head out. The Pol-R Express needs some air, and work and training clothes need to be laid out. It's yet another early morning wakeup call for a bike ride. If I don't get back here, have a great weekend and enjoy any races you have.


Deb said...
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Deb said...

Swim sounds great! I think you'll be O.K. as long as they don't ask you to wear a helmet in the pool! ;) Have a great weekend!

Veeg said...

Hee! No one ever said that effective training was glamorous!

Sherri said...

i love it, iron pol! i'm gonna try the same tactic this weekend (and the local lifeguard here has already dubbed me a total misfit)!

Kewl Nitrox said...

Heh heh heh... At least now I know I ain't the only one that did that. I dutifully closed my eyes and only opened them for sighting above the water every 6-8 strokes - great exercise as I find it more tiring to swim and sight than just to follow the blue line. Sounds like you need to sight more - swimming in a straight line is probably the most important aspect of open water swimming.

Iron Pol said...

Too funny, Deb. That's a hilarious picture. "Umm, sir, our insurance carrier requested we have you wear this special helmet in the pool."

And you're so right Kewl. I have to either learn to swim straighter, or sight better.