Float Like a Butterfly

With this being day four of continuous rain, I was happy to have not lost power due to the strong winds last night. My gym also did not lose power, so I dodge a few down trees on my drive there and got in a swim. Lately one of my friends has been sharing swim workout with me, but usually after he has done it. This morning he was swimming at the same time, so I would follow his lead. Being a much faster swimmer than I, we would swim on the same send off interval, only I would swim 25 to 50 meters shorter. The first set I swam 2 x 200 on a 4:30 send off while he swam 250 meters. There was one set of back stroke and breast stroke, I wore my fins so I wouldn’t be so far behind on back stroke. It was going well and I felt I was working harder to keep up.

Then he tells me to swim 2 x 100 IM (individual medley – butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle). I said okay, I will do freestyle in place of butterfly. Well, that did not fly. He persisted that I do butterfly. Never having done the stroke before – ever – I wore my fins and he gave me a few tips. I know the fins made a huge difference, but not only did I swim 25 meters butterfly, I touched the wall only two seconds after my friend. Of course by the time I finished the set he was far ahead of me, but I was thrilled to have tried something the first time and faired well. Me – the struggling swimmer. Hoot Hoot! Several others usually swim at the same time and were not there this morning – you better believe I was texting them after my workout with my little story. In all I swam 3,000 meters. It may not actually be “floating” with such a technical stroke, but I sure was floating like a butterfly for the rest of the day knowing I was able to take on a new challenge.

This evening I was back on the treadmill for a 60 minute easy run. My goal again was to stay in zone two. I was able to run at an 11:35 pace and still have an average heart rate of 130. I started back in December working on improving my cardio aerobic zones and now it is almost November and I am seeing how the long, slow process is  paying off. I used to have to walk more than run to keep my heart rate averaging 130.

Sometimes improvements take a long time to see – in running for me it is a long process to train my body to be more efficient and run faster while maintaining a lower heart rate.  Then there is the butterfly stroke – something I have been very intimidated by for a long time. My form needs a lot of improvement and practice, but I was able to do it well enough to keep up – on my first try. Both long slow improvements and fast results have the same effect on me – I am surprised yet happy that I am able to do it. The long in coming improvements are very meaningful because I worked so hard for it. But a quick success like today gives me the confidence to swim in uncharted waters.

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