Becoming a FRUShark: Breathing Ain’t Easy


So, I’m a big FRU … it’s a fact!  In order to attempt to modify this fact I have attempted the following fitness activities:

  • Walking (the dog)/jogging/running – sometimes even with the assistance of a well developed C25K (couch to 5K) droid phone application.
  • Biking – no app required, just heavy metal music.
  • Sports – typically, this requires some social contact (ugh <rolls eyes>).
  • Fitness Equipment purchase – currently, a stopping place for half-empty, unpacked boxes and winter jackets that never made it to the annual winter, space bag consolidation phase.

All of the above options lead to one major problem: knee, ankle, and foot strain/pain.  You see, my right knee is a wreck.  I’m not talking about fender-bender style, either, here, people; more along the lines of say … Mack-truck-meets-smart-car.  However, I have found one activity that is low impact but gets my heart pumping and my big ass moving that does seem effective:

  • Swimming


Double-bonus:  there’s a really large wet-space that is fairly well maintained near where I live … tada … linkage >>> .  Looks like I have found my solution, right?  RIIIIIIIIGHT?!?!?!  WRONG!!!  It still seems that there are some obstacles to overcome:

  1. I am a big butch dyke.  This is another fact.  To strangers, I’m so rather androgynous, that I could probably pass for a male. 
  2. I DO NOT have the correct swimming technique.  I mean, I can swim (defined by: progressing through the water in a definitive fashion) but I have never been taught nor have I practiced correct swimming techniques. 
  3. I’m fat.

Now, #1 doesn’t cause too terribly many problems regarding the act of swimming (except for the whole “being big (aka fat)” part – this is discussed later, trust me).  But, let’s be honest with our gender-centric socialization by answering the following question:  If you look like a male, you are dressed as other male swimmers might be dressed, which dressing room/shower area would you be pointed to?  That’s right, ladies and gentlemen and everything in-between, the “Mens'” shower room.  To be sure, this is an issue that I deal with regularly.  I mean, can you imagine the double-takes my mere prescence causes on a daily basis in a corporate working environment’s womens’ bathroom?  What about at the grocery store, CVS, Wal-Mart, any resturaunt?  Ah … you get the picture; I digress.  Plus, it’s not like I truly believe that the guys in the mens’ shower room would actually care if I went walking through it to get to the pool area any more than a guy would care if I used the mens’ bathroom at the mall, CVS, Wal-Mart, etc.  What really grinds my gears (ha!) is when people double-take when I’m already in the womens’ restroom/shower area or when they misdirect me to the mens’ they assume two things:

  1. That they know how all men/women look and carry themselves; essentially, that this binary of male/female gender is the only one that exists, there is no “grey-area” of gender. 
  2. That I can’t read for myself.

The latter bugs the FUCK out of me!  Really?!?!?!  I mean, I get it, sometimes people of opposite genders walk into the bathroom by mistake.  But damn, what do you THINK is going to happen?  They enter a stall … and use it?!?!?! <gasp> Oh, NOOOOOOO! <runs, screaming>  The world is going to end because someone with a penis peed in a toilet that was labeled for use by women!  AHHHHHH!!! 

To this, I respond:  Get over yourself!  I mean, do you have “MENS” and “WOMENS” signs at home?  When you go to other peoples’ houses do you ask where is the mens’/womens’ restroom?  Should I start asking, “Hey, where’s the ‘BUTCH’ restroom?!?!?!”  Maybe I should … <scratches head, wondering if it would be any cleaner than the mens’ or womens’ bathrooms>

Anyway, on to #2 … Because I don’t know proper swimming technique, I have learned one thing: breathing is hard! 

I used to think that freestyle swimmers simply held their breath whilst their head was beneath the water and exhaled and inhaled as their head rotated from outside the water’s break.  Not true.  Apparently, swimmers are suppose to control release air into the water either through their nose or mouth as they go and then inhale as their head rotates from the water’s break. 

Brilliant!  From a sports science perspective, regular breathing will reduce the amount of C02 build-up in your body thus reducing the production of lactic acid.  The less lactic acid build-up, the less sore your body will be the next day.  The less sore you are the less fatigued you feel and therefore you can swim more, everyday even.  But it’s not easy!  Nope.  Not one bit! 



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