Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve!

Workout:
Swam 1800 yards in 1hour, 20min.

     That's me in the green sweatpants, uggs and blue cap haha.

Today's practice was at 8:30 instead of 5:15am! And, since I didn't have work to rush off to, I was able to spend more time in the pool, completing 500 yards more (20 laps!!!) than my farthest swim to date (1300). I swam for a total of 1800 yards, without drills or a pool buoy! But, I didn't set out to swim that far. I didn't think I could swim that far.

I got into the pool without a formal workout. So, I told myself that I just needed to just swim 1,000 yards. I started counting 100s, so every 4 laps was one 100. Even on the first lap my arms felt sore. After 8 100s I decided to move the goal post. I could go for 1300. Once I completed the additional 12 laps, I pushed the goal post back a little further, aiming for 1400. When I was working on my 16th 100, Kieth (who was swimming today, along with his wife) asked how far I had gone. I said I was working on 1600 and both he and his wife seemed impressed. That motivated me to move the goal post one last time and I finished with 1800 yards.
"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right."
~ Henry Ford
We put so many limits on ourselves, in so many different ways and in so many different areas of our lives. Getting out of our comfort zone feels...well, uncomfortable! And we are afraid to fail, so often times we just don't even try. Isn't that easier? Or, we tell ourselves we are not even capable of __________ (fill in the blank). So, again, no need to even attempt.

You know what excuse I gave myself for never wanting to do triathlons? That swimming would ruin my hair. Also, I wrote off swimming as easy, not even fully understanding all that was involved.

When we remove those boundaries, when we tell ourselves that we can do more, when we push the goal post out a little farther, then we start working toward our best self; toward Self-Actualization. We don't get there by remaining stagnant and where we feel comfortable. The good stuff isn't easy, and it's not handed to us on a platter. We have to work for it, and the harder we work for it, the more we appreciate it.


    Steam rising off the pool on Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ethereal

Workout:
Ran 3 miles in 25:41
Swam 1,300 yards


Warm-up (200)
Main set (1,000):  
4 x 25  #1 (9-3-9); #2 (FTD); #3 (rotation kick); #4 (catch-up freestyle)
200 pull 
12 x 25 free @ :45 - breathing every 3 strokes 
400 free- with as few breaks as possible
Cool-down (100)


When our swimming coach told me two weeks ago that to her, swimming was ethereal, I nodded and smiled politely having no idea what she was talking about. To me, it was more hellish than heavenly. But today, I kinda got a glimpse of what she was talking about. About midway through my main set, I went somewhere else, just like I do on my long runs and lost track of time. I've progressed enough in just three week to no longer be constantly struggling and I was able to look around, under water and appreciate the reflections of light, insulation of sound and bubbles that floated in front of me each time I stroked. I felt weightless and efficient, gliding through the water. You might say that I even enjoyed it! 


That enjoyment was fleeting, because after I completed the 12 x 25 (or, 12 laps) I took a look at my workout sheet and felt like I'd been tricked. 400 free didn't look like much, but doing the math, I realized it was actually 16 laps. I bartered with myself, saying that if I completed 200 (8 laps) I could cheat and make the last 200 a pull (with buoy between my legs) instead of a swim. But, just like on my long runs, once I was 1/2 way through it, I decided to just finish it proper. It felt so good to be done, and to be noticing some improvement!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vacation!

I flew to Colorado on Saturday and on Sunday I managed to eek out 4 miles, though it was difficult due to the elevation and having a slight cold. Vacation can be used as an excuse to get out of my routine, but training has officially begun and I can't afford to miss a week, or even more than one day. Plus, it doesn't make sense to not work out when you're on vacation; you have so much extra free time!

On Monday morning, I went to the gym for my very first workout in the pool all by my lonesome. Swimming at 24 Hour Fitness is no different than being at the OCC pool except for one little detail: no one is watching. No one is there to notice if I cut it short, or don't do it at all. But I completed 1300 yards, using a workout from last week.

On Tuesday I did the best workout to date: an hour cycling class, followed by 1 mile on the treadmill (9:48 pace) and then 1000 yards in the pool. I'm going to need to start following some of my long bike rides with a run so that my body gets used to it. When I signed up for my first triathlon I scoffed at how short the distance was: 11 miles on the bike, followed by a wimpy 3.1 mile run. But the first mile of that run was brutal! I felt like I was running uphill, through quicksand.

Once in the pool, a swimmer asked to share my lane since all other were being used. Of course I let her, but felt a bit intimidated because she was clearly much more experienced than me. That's a safe assumption; at this point anyone within 10 feet of a swimming pool has a 90% chance of being better than me! Mostly I was worried about not staying in my own space, which was now decreased by half. I can swim straight sure, but I can be a little wayward when completing some of the drills. I paid close attention to where she was at all times and did my best to fake it and seem like I knew what I was doing. The last thing I wanted to do was run swim into her and have her bark at me to watch where I'm going. I played out several scenarios like that in my head. I'm used to having confidence with running, to knowing what I'm doing and being relatively god at it. It's hard to be so new to a sport. You feel like you're faking it, and that everyone can tell.

I chatted with her afterward, and found out that she has completed several 1/2 Ironman's and is training or her first full: Arizona in November. Yep, 11 months away and she's training. Here's her amazing blog: Banana Death. I'm excited to follow her training, and know that I'll learn a lot. But do I ever see myself completing a full Ironman? Maybe. If you had asked me last week, or even yesterday, I would have given you a resounding "No!" But it has been weighing heavily on my mind...I'm in awe of people who do...I have so much respect and adoration for them...and I want that. Someday. Maybe.

But, first things first: my 1/2 will consist of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile ride and then 13.1 mile run. Only after I signed up for it did I do the math and realize that it's going to take me about 8 hours to complete! At this point, I just can't fathom doubling that. But who knows. After my 1st marathon I did say "I'll never do that again!" and then went on to complete a dozen more.

Today I had planned to swim, but my arms and back are sore (already!? I've only had two swims!) and spending some time at Starbucks figuring out my new Kindle (gift from Jon - best present ever!) sounded way more appealing. It's snowing and about 25 degrees right now- I'm loving it! But tomorrow I'll be back at it, with another cycle/run/swim workout! The trifecta! =)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Raining & Swimming

Workout:
60 min. swim; 1250 yards


Imagine doing a lap around the track with only one functioning leg. Only one leg that powers you forward, while the other just drags lifelessly behind...holding you back more than helping you. That's what the last two laps of my interval training set felt like.

My main set was 600 yards broken down into:
6 x 50 @ 1:30
Translation: each lap is 25 yards. So 6 x 50 means I complete two laps in 1min., 30sec....and then do that FIVE more times. I was completing each 50 (or, 2 laps) in just over a minute...so, I would have almost 30 seconds to hang out on the wall and catch my breath before I had to go complete two more. But as I became more tired...I took longer, and as a result, had lest rest time before it was time to go again. Then...
12 x 25
     - 4 @ :45
     - 4 @ :40
     - 4 @ :35
* take extra rest between each set of 4 *
Translation: Four laps in a set, each lap in under 45 seconds. I finished the first one in a little over 30 seconds, and had a whopping 15 seconds to recover before I completed the second, also in 45 seconds, and again and again. Then, rest for 2 min. But guess what!? In what seems like a cruel joke, as I became more and more fatigued, I took longer and as a result had less rest time. But the next set of 4 had to be completed in even less time! Until by the final set left me with only a few seconds to catch my breath before leaving for another lap.
    Taken from my slow lane, 49:54 into the workout.

It was the last two of these; of the 4 laps in 35 seconds that I was really only using one arm to pull me through the water. Because instead of breathing every third stroke and rotating sides, I was breathing only on my right side every time, swinging my right arm up and over with force and then just dragging my left one along. I was aware of it, and it felt weird...but it was all I could do to finish. At the end of that set, I immediately took off my goggles, moved my swim cap up over my ears (I can't hear, and the glasses make me feel claustrophobic) and gasped for air on the wall, happy to be done. Right then I noticed it was starting to rain. After I caught my breath, I put my goggles back on and did a slow 2 laps as a cool-down. My ears and face felt cool in the water, as if I was too hot or maybe even sweating a little. It was difficult to make it through that interval and it felt so good to finish.

    Kieth and his umbrella. Workout finished! Week two down!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Workout Interpretation

Workout:
60 min. swim; 1300 yards


On Monday, Kieth told me that if I was going to skip one workout this week, Wednesday would be the day to do it. It would be better to have a break in the middle of the week, rather than on Thursday or Friday. So when my alarm went off at 4:30 my first thought was "Kieth said I could miss today!" which of course is not entirely true. But, half asleep, it sounded logical. I tried to figure out how to re-set my alarm and sleep in an extra hour: should I just hit snooze a bunch of times, or should I actually change the time? Then I thought I should text him and let him know I wouldn't be there. Then, the thought of not being there made me feel guilty...and by that time I was awake, and had talked myself into getting up.

So, here was my workout for the day:



At first, I didn't know what the heck it meant either, other than the warm-up. Kieth had to explain each part to me as I went along. Here's an interpretation:

The warm-up (200): Each lap is 25 yards...so 200 is 8 laps. But, they are broken into 4 x 50 with a 30 second rest, so that means two laps, followed by a 30 second rest, four different times.

Main set (1,000): I actually love drills! They're easier than just swimming. 4 x 25 means one lap of each drill. Piece of cake! Drill #1 (9-3-9) is kicking with 1 arm leading 9 times, 3 strokes, then other arm leading. Drill #2 (FTD) is the finger tip drag, when I swim but drag my fingers along the water to practice keeping my elbows up. Drill #3 (rotation kick) is a drill in which I have my head in the water, arms at my side and kick. When I need air, I rotate on to my back and continue to kick with my arms still at my side. Drill #4 (catch-up freestyle) is the hardest of the three for me. I swim, keeping one arm in front of me at all times, alternating arms.

200 pull - This is also relatively easy/fun: I place a pool buoy between my legs which helps my lower body stay afloat without kicking. It's 1/2 as much work. Then, I pull myself with my arms, practicing on form. Kieth pointed out that my right hand/fingers are not hitting the water first. Possibly due to the fact that I am not rotating enough...imbalance left over from running?

12 x 25 free @ :45 - breathing every 3 strokes - Now this was difficult! Interval training, in the water!! Who knew there was such a thing???? It's 25 laps, 45 seconds each lap. I completed each lap in about 35 seconds, so I had 10-15 seconds to hang out on the wall and catch my breath. There's a huge clock visible to everyone that starts as soon as we get in the water, and I use that to time myself. I have been favoring my right side when I breath, and breathing every 3 strokes forces you to alternate. However, when I become tired, I start breathing every other stroke - always on the right, because I just don't seem to get enough air when I wait until every third.

400 free- with as few breaks as possible- this was the most difficult, especially because it is 16 laps, and I had just completed 12! When Kieth told me to complete it with as few breaks as possible, I told myself I would try not to take any. Just like with running, I tried to pace myself. Instead of trying to swim fast, I tried to slow myself down, as if I were starting out a run. After 6 laps, I had to rest for awhile, and I rested several other times before I was done...probably for about a minute total. I ended up completing 16 laps in 12min., which isn't too bad, or so he says. It averages out at 3min per 100, and I completed my first timed 100 in 2:11. But here, there were more of them.

I'm really glad that I did manage my butt out of bed, and didn't talk myself out of going in my sleep-induced stupor.  =)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

People Are Noticing

Workout:
60 min. swim; 1300 yards
3 mile run


It's taken a long time, but I've made the transition from a sedentary smoker (I didn't do anything for the entire 8 years following HS, except smoke over a pack a day) to a person who won't even miss a planned run, even when I'm changing in the bathroom @ lunch and realize I forgot my running bra. Before, I would have used that as an excuse. Now, I tighten the straps on my push-up bra and go for a run anyway. Not because I'm looking forward to the actual run (who does!?) but, for the feeling I get when I'm finished. 


I recently turned what used to be my lunchtime walks into lunchtime runs. People are noticing, and their reactions aren't always positive. 


Take the "I hate you" comment for example. Now, there is a lot to be said for tone and inflection, but no matter how peppy or jolly your tone, an "I hate you" is still an "I hate you." I was returning from a run when someone (another adult - I don't want to be too specific) looked at me and, actually said "I hate you." I smiled and laughed, genuinely caught off guard. 

I've also had someone ask me if I've lost weight. When I responded with an enthused "Yes, thanks for noticing!" it was met with a disgusted yet inquisitive "Why???" Even today, returning to work, someone else said "You're going to fitness yourself to death."

Maybe this negativity comes from the perception that I'm judging them? That's my only guess. If I weigh less than someone and I'm currently trying to loose weight, then maybe they assume that I think they should? But I don't. Fitness is all relative and there are millions of people more fit than me. Faster than me. Better swimmers than me. I'm just trying to be my own personal best.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Week Two!

Workout:
60min. swim; 1200 yards
3 mile run; 27:06

Pilate's reformer; 45min

I had my first very own custom workout today, thanks to Kieth:

(You didn't think I would forget to take my very 1st schedule as a souvenir, did you?)

It felt good to be in the pool again! My arms, back and chest were no longer sore, and I had some idea of what the heck I'm doing. I'm still practicing my breathing, and seem to be starting to show a preference for my right side.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rest Day!

Workout: nothing!

So happy to have a day to sleep in, and a day to rest! While I feel a little guilty doing so, it is important because recovery is the only time you can actually build muscle.


  • Adequate rest between workouts - It is very important  to incorporate   "rest days" into your weight training program so that you allow time for your muscles to recovery in between workouts.  Try to avoid weight training on consecutive days, even if you are targeting different muscle groups.
Don't forget that your body only builds muscle tissue when you  are not weight training.  Simply put, you build muscle while you are sleeping, not while you are at the gym!  If you weight train and don't get an enough sleep, or train too often it can become nearly impossible to build muscle. (From this site)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Running Is a Sport; Swimming Is an Art

Workout:
50min. swim, 1,000 yards



Today I managed 1,000 yards (40 laps) for the first time with the aid of a pool buoy for half of it. That distance equates to just over 1/2 mile. The buoy, which I place between my legs, helps the lower portion of my body float and allows me to focus on my strokes, being in the right position, breathing and swimming downhill (meaning that I press my shoulders into the water). I learned today that my elbows should be the highest point each time I reach/stroke and Kieth had me focus on this by completing a drill in which I drag my fingertips across the top of the water each time as I am reaching forward, forcing me to elevate my elbows.

I'm happy to report that my back, shoulders, chest and arms are sore!

Although I've made progress this week, I can honestly say that this has been the most frustrating week of working out in my entire life. But, for that same reason, it has also been the most rewarding! I'm both amazed and frustrated that I so easily loose my breath in the pool! I can go run for hours when training, so how can swimming TWO laps leave me clinging to the wall, gasping for air? It doesn't make sense. But luckily, I'm not alone. A simple 'runner to swimmer' google search turned up this article:

How to stop “thinking like a runner” while you’re in the pool
By Terry Laughlin
Learning to swim can be one of the most frustrating tasks for a runner. Thousands of them have undoubtedly had an experience like this: A runner who can breeze through a 10-miler without even breaking a sweat decides one day to try a pool workout. Two lengths leave him panting exhaustedly at poolside and thinking, "How will I ever get in a decent workout if I can’t even make 100 yards without dying?" Experiences like that leave a high percentage of runners viewing swimming as something that’s exceedingly difficult to master and suspecting that all the time and effort it will take to master the sport may not even be worth it.
What makes swimming so different from running? Simply put, running is a natural activity. Swimming is, too... if you’re a fish. For the rest of us, it’s a struggle. When we watch the world's best swimmers, whether dolphins or extraordinary human swimmers like Alex Popov, we observe a similar gift for moving through the water, at slow speeds as well as fast, with grace, economy of movement, and fluency. When we observe most other swimmers, particularly runners taking their first tentative strokes, we see exactly the opposite. Their swimming is awkward, clumsy, inefficient. When they try to swim faster, their inefficiency increases exponentially. But don’t lose sleep if this describes you, because, as my extensive teaching experience suggests, only about 1% of the population has the innate ability to swim with such fluency while the rest of us instinctively fight the water and ourselves. This is why I describe the slippery-swimming style we teach at Total Immersion workshops as fishlike because it is so different from the way humans instinctively swim.
But I’ve also learned that the less gifted among us can learn to swim like fish if we are patient. The key is to give yourself the time and space to master swimming as an art before tackling it as a sport. Before trying to swim fast or far or hard (or churn out repeats trying to steel yourself for a 1-kilometer triathlon swim ordeal), first learn to swim slowly with beauty and grace. Learn not to fight the water or yourself, then patiently develop your ability to swim fluently while moving at progressively faster speeds or for greater distances. And NEVER allow yourself to fall into the self-defeating habit of "practicing" struggle or inefficiency.
My goal for next week is to be out there all 5 days, decrease my rest time in between laps, practice form, and to complete 100 yards in anything less than 2:11.

Brrr! 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cognitive Dissonance

Workout:
50min. swim
3 mile run



Cognitive Dissonance is the discomfort we feel when we know we should be doing something (or shouldn't be doing it!), but we don't do it (or do it!) anyway, even in spite of the knowledge that what we are doing is wrong, unhealthy or immoral. Cognitive dissonance is the inconsistancy between beliefs and behaviors and it causes an "an uncomfortable psychological tension" when we experience it. So, we will do just about anything to reduce or get rid of it! How do we do this?


Well, in order to reduce cognitive dissonance, we have two options: we either change our beliefs to fit our actual behavior, or change our actual behavior. Which one is easier???? You guessed it! Excuses! Rationalization!  Usually, we take the easy way out...coming up with new beliefs for why we can't or don't need to change!
I'll start (or, stop!) tomorrow. 
Reducing cognitive dissonance, and the lengths we go to to avoid it, helps explain why we continue to keep many of our irrational, destructive and unhealthy behaviors. Just about any you can think of! And, we all do it to some extent...in just about every area of our lives.


But this blog is supposed to be about my training. I have been doing marathons since 2002. In those 8 years, have I ever consistently got up early to run before work? No! Even though I knew it would be good...that it would help me get in more mileage, that it would help me avoid missing workouts because I was too tired, or had evening plans. Still, I never did it. Why? Because I'm not a morning person! I told myself that, I believed it and voilĂ ! In a flash, my cognitive dissonance was gone. I felt better, and I didn't have to set that 4:30AM alarm. It was true simply because I told myself it was true.


But, it was a bold-faced lie! I've been getting up early all week! To do something that I'm not good at and is really hard. And it has felt incredible! And I find myself asking: why didn't I figure this out sooner? In what other areas of my life am I hiding the truth? It can be easier to spot in other people, but turning the lens in on ourselves is hard. Because we see what we want to see, and we trust ourselves. But we shouldn't, because we're good liars. We have no shame. We will go to any lengths to reduce it, even going so far as to attack or put down others who are doing or have something we desire:


A classical example of cognitive dissonance is expressed in the fable The Fox and the Grapes by Aesop (ca. 620–564 BCE). In the story, a fox sees some high-hanging grapes and wishes to eat them. When the fox is unable to think of a way to reach them, he surmises that the grapes are probably not worth eating, as they must not be ripe or that they are sour. This example follows a pattern: one desires something, finds it unattainable, and reduces one's dissonance by criticizing it.
{I grabbed the above section from Wikipedia - read more about it here. }
We get in our own way. In terms of fitness and weightloss, people have a myriad of sayings that are so obviously an attempt at lessening that dissonance which in turn, prevents change! We rob ourselves of something we want, by believing our lies. I'm too busy. You can eat whatever you want (read: you have an innate immunity to calories; we probably eat the same - you just magically don't gain weight), exercise is boring, etc. And I've said them too! But I believe the key to change is examining that, and calling bullshit on ourselves when our behaviors aren't serving us. Because no one is going to do it for us. And even if they do, we will find an excuse to rationalize it and avoid change.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 3

Workout:
50min. swim
3 mile run

I went to bed at 9pm which was way too late because I almost overslept. I hit the snooze once, thought of hitting it a second time and then fell back asleep for about 10min. while it continued buzzing. Isis touched my face repeatedly with her paw, but then gave up and snuggled down, making it that much harder to get up.

I did not want to swim today. Driving there, I realized that I'm only 1/2 way through the week. How I am going to keep this up? For 20 weeks. Kieth said if I can come 5 days a week in the beginning, I will be able to get away with 4 days a week in a few months. But swimming is obviously my weakest area of the three, so I really do need to be there every day.

I practiced a few of the drills and swam a few laps when Kieth asked if I was ready for my very first time trial: swimming 100 yards, or 4 laps without stopping. This would give me a baseline and something to improve upon. I finished in 2:11 and was surprised to learn that many of the workouts for the class involve several 100's in under 2min. Of course many of the swimmers are much faster...but he said he was expecting me to finish in just under 3 min.

Driving home I felt good. I've made some progress and it's only my third day. That's the thing about working out: you never regret it after the fact...no matter how much you dread it before or during! But if I didn't wake up, if I had hit that snooze, I would.

Squeezed in another lunchtime run, finishing 3 miles in 26:44.

Ordered THIS trainer for my bike. Will help me get in more workouts, even if it's dark.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Swimming, Day Two

Workout:
50min. swim
3 mile run

When you wake up so early feels like you're in on some great secret: what the world looks like before anyone else sees it. Driving to the OCC pool, it was so foggy I couldn't see 10 feet in front of me. But walking out to my car afterwards, still before sunrise, almost all of the fog had disappeared.

Kieth's wife was coaching today, and it was the first time I've met her. She was enthusiastic, sweet and encouraging. I practiced the same drills that I did yesterday, along with one new one: I kept both arms out in front of me as I kicked and then would take turns alternating to the left and right side, bringing my arm up and over as I did. She also had me practice kicking with one arm straight out in front of me with my body rotated in that direction. So, left arm out, rotated to left, with the right side of my hips facing up. I'm sure all of these drills have names, but I don't know what they are.

Throughout all of these drills, I kept getting water in my nose and mouth. And today I learned why! I am supposed to exhale under water and inhale as soon as my head is out of the water. When I exhale as I am turning my head, it prevents water from going up my nose & into my mouth! Brilliant! It also explains why I'm not able to get enough air in that amount of time - I have been trying to do both!

I don't want to wake-up and get out there tomorrow. But my fear of that date approaching and not being prepared is motivating me.

Monday, December 6, 2010

FIRST DAY IN THE POOL!

Workout:
50min. swim
3 mile run

I set my alarm for 4:30am and was at the OCC pool by 5:10am. Bundled up in sweats and Uggs, the last thing I wanted to do was strip down to my new less-than-attractive functional one-piece and get in. It was completely dark and steam was rising off the top of the outdoor pool. My counseling intern, Kieth, is the coach of this master's swim class. It helps to have someone I know there...but at the same time I didn't want anyone I knew to be there because they were about to bear witness to just how much I suck.

I honestly do not know how to swim. I can do it, but know zero about technique, breathing, strokes. In fact, I know so little that I don't even know how to adequately describe what it is that I don't know! But I was there this morning because I signed up for my first 1/2 Ironman and now I have no choice but to learn. It's 21 weeks away.

I got into the pool with the directive to swim 8 laps as a warm up. Kieth stopped me after 2 (or is that 4? Is 1 lap down and back, or just down?) and said, in the nicest way possible, that now he was really impressed that I was able to complete the swim portion of the LB Triathlon.

Back to basics! Kieth explained that your chest/arms are supposed to be pushed down into the water. He gave me a kick board to hold out in front of me and instructed me to practice that while kicking. All these swimmers in other lanes and there I was, in the last lane with a kick board. I held it out in front of me and practiced keeping my shoulders and head in the water. And keeping my hips/legs up more near the surface. Then he had me try kicking w/o it - with my head down. I felt like I was not going anywhere. I could not make it the length of the lane w/o getting out of breath and needing to rest on the wall. 

Next I tried swimming with one arm leading and rotating my body/head to the opposite side to try and get in a breath. I put my right arm out and just kept kicking. Each time you change arms you are supposed to also rotate your body...not just move your arms which makes sense but I had no clue. This is where core and oblique strength come into play. After a few laps of that, I was instructed to start with one arm out for about 9 kicks and then use three strokes of my arms, resulting 9 kicks with the opposite arm leading. It felt good to be using both arms, making more progress and moving through the water a little faster.

Throughout all of these drills I would get water in my ears, through my nose and into my mouth. Water in my goggles. I would try and hold my breath because I feel more efficient when I did...but then of course I would end up out of breath and need to keep my head above water longer to get more air, breaking my momentum. I'd have to stop and rest on the wall.

At the end of the hour, he told me to now try swimming a lap. I was much more efficient ... already some noticeable improvement. It felt like I was expending less energy. I am really surprised at HOW MUCH of a good workout swimming is! It is so much more cardio. and core strength than I ever realized! My learning curve is huge right now.

Before I left, I committed to being out there every day this week because I need the accountability, and if I say I'll be there I will.