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22 May 2015

Doing My Swimming Lessons

Teach your self how to... blubb blubb blubb
 
Calm sea helps

I can't really swim. I admit that much. OK, I won't just drown when you throw me into the water, and I'm ready enough to jump in. But anything more than a few tens of meters, and I'm pretty lost. Given calm seas, I can manage to go a short distance, by going slowly, taking lots of rest.

Now that I'm supposed to swim, I decided it's time to change that, at least for a bit. So I looked up what I'm actually supposed to do. Went through a couple of How-To guides, saw a couple of videos. I'm the kind of guy who is better able to learn this kind of thing by "understanding" it technically first, with my head. No intuitive learning for me there. Right now I'm concentrating on breaststroke, but later maybe I'll go for the freestyle too.

So far there seems to be a tiny bit of progress. At todays swim, I thought that I was a bit more relaxed. I have to be calm and remember what to do and then the movements seem to work out a bit better. Definitely makes it more enjoyable. Having a very calm see today helped too. Still in bicycle terms, I feel often like a kid going up a hill, all he can do is stand on the pedals and stomp as far as his lungs will take him. I'll have to learn to get a rhythm into my breathing, take it calmer, and go there in my good time.


Posted by betabug at 19:38 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
30 May 2015

New (Style) Swimming Glasses

Hey, somebody came up with something better
 
Great goggles on terribe photo model

Since picking up this swimming project (as physiotherapy and to teach myself to swim a bit better), I've bought myself a new pair of swimming goggles. Over the years I had a number of these things, but most of them were really quite bad. Reason 1: I bought cheap ones. Reason 2: When buying swimming glasses, you should actually try them on, but here in Greece I never had found a shop that let you do that. Well, that just changed, both of it.

In Naxos town, there is a shop near the "court square" (πλατεία προτοδηκείου) that has some diving equipment (and a lot of summer clothes, and swimsuits etc.), so I decided to try my luck there. The guy there showed me the display of swimming goggles. Piles of swimming goggles. Tons of them. I just looked at him and said: "OK, so what do I do now? I have no idea where to start or what to take." His reply was: "Try some of them on." Now that was a relief.

Then he started to show me some of them, and it turns out that there is now a new style of swimming goggles. They have a "skirt" around the glasses that goes further out around your eyes, almost like a dive mask. Putting them on your face, they get stuck like a suction cup. On dry land, the feeling is a bit uncomfortable, but in the water it's perfect. I tried 5 models or so, in the end choosing one mostly on the looks of them. They are from a company called "Cressi swim", and the model is called "Saturn", but I'd say that doesn't matter much, what I do recommend is this style of swimming goggles.

I've since used these glasses 6 times in 2 weeks, and I'm hooked. No water getting in. Which means no annoying stops to get the water out. No fogging (well, maybe on that account it's because they're still new). Very comfortable. Very good view both under water and above. Today the water was very clear, and it was a joy to see all the little fishes, still the goggles do not disturb me at all while exercising. Absolute bonus: While doing a bit of backstroke, I can look through the "skirt" of the goggles, to control my course, without having to raise my head very much out of the water.


Posted by betabug at 18:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
07 June 2015

The Space Alien Swimmer Keeps Track

Swimming with GPS
 
Presenting: The Space Alien Swimmer

For the last 5 weeks I've been on this new swimming adventure of mine. Recap for those who just now tuned in on their TV sets (or for those who were actually watching TV instead of reading on the Intarwebz): The doctor ordered me to swim, for the muscles on my previously broken leg to rebuild. Instead of just slapping around in the water now and then, I decided to actually learn to swim. I would keep track of how long I stayed in the water, and guess what distance I had been swimming. After checking with a tool to measure on a satellite image, I noticed that my guesses were way too low.

Not swimming straight lines

So I decided to use my (cycling) GPS to track one of my swims. There are devices that are actually meant for this job, GPS watches that are fully waterproof up to 50m. There are two downsides to these devices for me: 1) I don't own one, and 2) I swim breaststroke for now, and these GPS watches need you to have your hand outside the water at least partially (which works while crawling but not for breaststroke). What people do is to put the GPS under a swim cap. That's what I did too now.

Basically my GPS is waterproof up to 30 minutes for a depth of 1m. Not good enough, therefore I put it into a ziploc bag, and stuffed it under a swimcap. No, I didn't own a swim cap, I went and bought one. Putting on all that, plus my swimming goggles, I felt like a space alien. I probably looked like one too, so I did not turn around to look at the spectators on the beach when I went into the water, out of fear that they were rolling about in the sand, laughing.

I was glad that my GPS emits a funny little sound when you start the tracking, as I could not check the screen in this setup. I went into the water and swam what to me appeared to be reasonably straight lines. I swam a couple of times back and forth in the cove. No matter the GPS, I enjoyed the swim, since the rock formtions in the water have a magical look when viewed with the goggles.

Of course the GPS had a good laugh at my notion of "straight lines", I basically zig-zagged around for a bit. My guess that a part of that is the GPS signal jumping around too. In the end the distance was much further than I would have guessed. The swim in the picture clogged in at 350m, I did a 2nd one at 250m. Probably I should substract some amount for the GPS jumping around, but who cares. I will continue a few times to swim with the GPS, also on the other beach where I am more often, but I don't think I'll do this all the time.


Posted by betabug at 13:30 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
15 June 2015

[x] Swim 1 km

Achievement unlocked
 

On Sunday I swam 1km. Which is pretty crazy, considering that basically I've been saying "I can't really swim" 6 weeks ago. I've improved on the "GPS under Swimcap" trick, by turning on distance alerts every 100m on the GPS. I wasn't sure if I would be able to hear the beep, but in the end the sea was very calm, and I could hear it well. Each 100m I counted to myself how far I had come, and at 500m I stopped for a moment, then turned around. I went one long line along the Mikri Vigla beach, going towards some houses (probably in Kastraki) to stay my course.

After the 1km beep, I continued on a bit, rested for a moment in the shallow water on the rocks, then headed back to the beach. I wasn't really fast, 29m 10s for the 1km in breaststroke, but that's definitely good enough for me. Looking how fast other people swim, everybody is obviously faster than me, polar bears are 5x faster than me, which means I'll better not go to swim in the Arctic.


Posted by betabug at 19:12 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
25 June 2015

Back on the Bicycle after Five Months

It took some while
Getting back on the physiotherapy track and back to riding

Five months have passed since my accident. I've been through a transport to a hospital in Athens, surgery, a few days in the hospital, recovery in bed at home, almost 35 hours of physiotherapy, a lot of walking with crutches, 5 xray exams, almost 15 hours of indoor cycling on the trainer, almost 10 hours of swimming time and learning to actually swim in the process.

Last Monday I had another talk with the local orthopedist, the one who examined me right after the accident. He said that things are going very well with my leg, and that the little discomfort and occasional pain I have are due to the surgery and muscle rebuild, not due to the bone. He suggested lots of exercise. From talking to various doctors and physiotherapists, I got the impression that with most patients the problem is that they never do the exercises that they're told to do.

As you can see on the calendar, last Tuesday I went out on the bike again for the first time. (The indoor cycling symbol has little dots under the wheels, not very visible.) I just went a bit up the road and back, not even 2km and just 8 minutes. I wobbled around a lot, going slalom on the road. It felt a bit scary.

This morning I decided that it's time to make another go for it. To overcome my insecurity, I'll have to go out and ride. So out I went, this time further up the road, going as far as the next village. I felt much more secure, I was able to enjoy the ride.

I wasn't fast at all. First of all, I wasn't taking any risks. On the downhill parts, I wasn't constantly braking, but I did not let the speed build up either. Then, I'm very much down on my endurance. With the slightest incline of the road, my heartrate was going up and over the roof. Not much of a racing spirit. Instead I appreciated the landscape, and seeing it from a bicycle and not a car window again. So I clocked in 14km, in 39 minutes, climbing 189m.


Posted by betabug at 13:18 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
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