Saturday, March 5, 2011

Swimming laps

Norma Jean on her way to .6 mile swim
Well, this morning I swam a half mile in the Betmar Acres Olympic sized pool. After checking on line to see if I was truly going the distance, I discovered the following information:

A "Swimming Mile" is shorter than a "Real Mile." 
If you want to swim a "REAL" mile read below:
1 Mile = 5280 Feet
5280 Feet divided by 3 feet/yard = 1760 Yards
1760 Yards / 25 Yards / length of pool = 70.4 Lengths
70.4 laps / 2(Down+Back) = 35.2 laps
Since it would be odd to just swim .2 laps at the end I typically swim 36 Laps (down and back) to cover 1 mile = 72 Lengths of the pool to cover 5280 Feet

Read more:

I misspoke when I said I had swum 24 laps in my previous post. It was 24 lengths, 24 times up and down the pool. A lap is out and back. This morning I went 36 lengths up and down the pool, so I figure it was really and truly a "real" half mile. Norma Jean usually swims 42 lengths, or .6 of a mile.

It took me about a half hour to swim that far, and in answer to some commenters who think I am Superwoman because of my ability to swim that distance, I have to confess that our fellow pool users thought, when I first began swimming with Norma Jean, that they would have to call 911 before I collapsed. When I first started, I tried to swim too fast, and I was nervous about the feeling of not getting enough air.

Years ago, I swam laps for exercise, but it had been thirty years or more, and I had forgotten all the techniques I learned. Since a pool was rarely available, I moved from swimming to jogging, which only required me to have a good pair of running shoes, and I could do it anywhere, anytime. I had not been in a pool for exercise in decades.

When I started swimming two weeks ago, I could only make it up and down the pool 4 times (2 laps) before stopping to gasp for breath. I rested and tried again, swam another lap, gradually making it up to 10 lengths while NJ  swam her 42. When I got out of the pool, my legs felt like jello. My arms were sore. So much for being in good shape!

But I kept at it, since my usual exercise routine is out of reach. A few days ago, I reached a milestone when I was able to swim 24 lengths without stopping. The two things I learned in order to swim a good distance is (1) slow down, way down; and (2) relax about breathing. I like to breathe every other stroke, on my right side, but I remember when swimming long ago, I was able to take three strokes and breathe out slowly, using the opposite side every other breath. All my efforts to do that these days are for naught, since I tend to think I'm going to drown.

But, once I return home and try out the pool at my own local YMCA, I think I'll work on that. I notice that I swim differently on each side because of breathing only on the right. But today I am smiling because of the addition of yet another way to exercise, even though it's not weight bearing, it sure feels good!

We then put a leash on each the two dogs and took them for a short walk. Chester is a delight and I get a warm fuzzy feeling every time I think of him alive and vital and not exterminated as an unwanted creature. (It would have happened last week.) Babe is afraid of everything: she cringes when walking across a bridge because it makes noise, and she cowers at every small change in the environment. When the garbage truck came down the road, Norma Jean picked her up and held her as she trembled. She was also targeted for the doggie Auschwitz, but I knew someone else would have adopted her, since she's young (somewhere around two). Chester's senior status makes him VERY unwanted, but that's just so wrong. Chihuahuas live a long, long time, and I am glad to have been part of his rescue.


  1. Interesting about your swimming exercises. I'm glad you've found a new way to exercise - one which won't hurt your joints. Swimming is my favourite form of exercise. I usually do 27 lengths til I get fed up.
    My son, who exercises in his gym every day, tried swimming a few months ago and was surprised how tired he was afterwards. It is a very different way of exercising, isn't it!
    That perked me up because I hate anything gym! as you know.
    I love walking and swimming but I don't push myself to do more than I want. I'm not competitive like you are.
    Thank you for all those facts. There are very interesting.

  2. Looking at your side bar, I noticed you had a visitor from Waianae, Hawaii. Wow, I wonder who that can be. As you know, I am the visitor from Honolulu...

    Good for you that you are increasing your stamina for swimming. I know I couldn't do what you have been doing. You are a lot stronger than I am.

    Thought you were going to sky dive on Saturday. Has that been put on hold for another day?

  3. poor pups being so skitish...wonder if there is a reason...i still think you are super woman...

  4. I agree with Brian. I love the care you take with yourself. The addition of another form of exercise has to be good for you on a number of levels.

    As difficult as dog ownership can sometimes be, I do enjoy the fact that it forces me to get out and walk on a regular basis. I usually take the kids with me. Being outside with the dog and young children helps remind me to slow down a bit and appreciate the little things (you know, sticks, rocks, mailboxes...).

  5. You may as well relax and get used to the fact that most of us do regard you as Superwoman. It's great that you have rediscovered swimming, because it's so joint-friendly, so to speak.

  6. I knew you would embrace swimming as a form of will probably live to be 120...and the rest of us will be pushing up daisys:)
    Babe will come around, Norma Jean can tempt her with pieces of cooked chicken when Babe is feeling better..that way she will get some chicken when she starts to feel insecure or doubtful about new situations..some dogs are just not socialized very well as it takes patience.

    I think that Norma Jean should start a blog..we could all catch up with her and give her some support..and watch the pups adjust! :)

  7. Interesting facts about swimming. It is a great sport and good exercise. I like swimming, but I am not that good at it. I get too tired. My nephew is an Olympic swimmer and it is amazing to watch him do laps - makes it look so easy.

  8. I'm embarassed to tell you I don't know how to swim. That's why I made sure my kids became excellent, strong, competitive swimmers. I told them that if the plane went down, Dad would need to save me so they needed to be able to save themselves. :-)

  9. Kay and I keep discovering how parallel our lives are. Once again! I never learned how to swim either! So of course I am impressed with how fast you built up your stamina. Sounds like you'll be pleasantly surprised when you get back on those scales again at home.

  10. I always loved to swim as a child. Wish I had some place to go where I wouldn't be embarresed to try it again.

    To echo others you are Super Woman!!

    I think Norma Jean should start a blog too!

  11. I swam for exercise about fifteen years ago. I had a goal - to be able to swim a mile after a year of practice. I used every swimming stroke including the dog paddle! And I met my goal. I remember the day I got to nearly a mile. All of a sudden there was no struggle. I felt like I had endless energy. I had never felt this before, and I was scared. I thought I was having a stroke! As it turned out, that day was my first experience of having a second wind. What a cool thing, after being sedentary for years! Now I walk and exercise at the gym, but that swimming got me started.

  12. Interesting facts DJan.
    I used to be a swimmer, I was once my town's diving champion.
    I was always in the pool, I need to pick up those old habits, since knee and back injuries hurt to excercise any other way.
    You always impress me with your determination.

  13. Honestly, I don't think I could even float the distance of that pool.

  14. I'm impressed with your persistence and your growth as a swimmer. Wow! It's wonderful to read about your sister and you rescuing these sweet little dogs. Babe just steals my heart, and I hope she's going to be okay.

  15. DJan, you inspire me. Congrats on your laps/lengths!

  16. I've been missing this form of exercise for some time. I used to swim a mile a day until I found the tumor on my acoustic nerve. I haven't swam laps since then. Now I'm inspired.

  17. Oh got me all teary eyed thinking about Babe and Chester. Obviously, Babe is doing so much better. Thank God! Babe sounds very nervous, she has been through a lot. She may have been abused too. But I have no doubts she will gain more courage and calm being with Chester and NJ. Hopefully, NJ keeps would be good for all three of them.

    According to the Dog Whisperer (Ceasar Milan) dogs live in the technically, NJ should not pick her up and re-enforce the negative/fearful reachtion to the garbage trucks...because Chester is not afraid, and neither is NJ, so Babe will learn from them.

    About the swimming. I too am afraid of drowning. I almost drown as a child. I have never been able to put my face in the water and do the side breathing. I am too afraid of breathing in the water.

    I always swim with my head up with is exhausting and hard on a neck which cracks and pops like rice krispies when I move my head.

    I know swimming is an excellent excercise...but breast stroke and back stroke are my two methods and I cannot imagine doing 4 laps let alone 35! But I greatly appreciate you sharing you were gasping for breath and had weak legs...

    Generally, when I used to use our community pool, I used to walk it... Maybe I can find someone to help me learn how to do the side breathing...

    I used to watch my Dad and he made it look so simple and easy...he was a wonderful swimmer in the ocean or a pool.

    I still think you are not only super woman...but bionic.

  18. Reading your post makes me wish I could swim somewhere around here – I need to find a public pool. What type of swimming do you do? I used to swim “la brasse” - am not sure what it is in English – maybe the breast stroke? It is slow and I could go on for 45 minutes without stopping. But that was a long time ago and now I am not fit as you are. It is so nice that your sister will save these little dogs; they certainly will be good company for her.

  19. You are so inspiring, DJan. Much to aspire to when I read about your endeavors.

    I'm so glad the dogs are doing reasonably well.

  20. Hey! I'm going to start swimming again too! Signed up to the gym last week but was too busy with boxes... Tomorrow afternoon will try out their aquagym classes and Wed morning will start doing some serious laps again. Last Spring I was happy 'cause I finally made it up to doing a kilometer no problem. Will see what the first day back in the water brings.

    I think I've got quite a bit of reading to catch up with you. Sounds like you're away from home and have been for some time...

  21. Swimming is wonderful excerise and very relaxing.

    When I first opened your blog I saw your snowy header and then scrolled down just a bit to the warm looking pool, quite a difference.


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