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Posts tagged with: culver city

Birthday Swim

Monday was the last day of the long New Year holiday weekend, so yesterday, it was back to work I go on my birthday. Luckily, it wasn’t too busy at work, and everyone were slowly getting back into the grind. It was relaxing actually. During lunch, had lunch with coworkers at La Sirena Grille in El Segundo. Even one coworker thought I was 25. Sweet! I’ll take that. At night, I got to spend the rest of my birthday with my closest friends… in the pool. I really needed that dip in the pool, which turned out to be very refreshing. I was actually “feeling” some improvement in my technique, with Coach Catherine from the Tri team was instructing our lane. I really like how she explains the drills and why it’s helpful. She told me things I wasn’t aware of (or keep forgetting about), especially my left hand opening during my pull, and my early hand exit after the pool. It was great too because everyone in our lane was about the same exact pace. I really enjoyed the fingertip and catch up drills because it slowed my stroke down to really focus on my technique, because I tend to rush things and not use the glide to my advantage. Overall, it was a productive swim. I think we swam a little over a mile, and I’m feeling my swim fitness level slowly getting back to what it used to be ear the end of last season!

Post-swim activities included heading to City Tavern in Culver City where the beer taps were AT the booths. Dangerous! Their Brew Burger, which was on a pretzel bun, and beef & chorizo patty was delish! Got to know a few more teammates there, then we continued the night at Bigfoot West not too far away.

As far as feeling older. I actually feel better than I have ever before in my life! Mentally and physically. I think it’s because I’m surrounded by fabulous people who continue to inspire me day in and day out. We really have to live life to its fullest!

“Today is the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be again”

IronTEAM First Swim of the New Season

Here we go again… another season, more pool sessions. Exactly one year ago, I was the only one in the pool who didn’t know how to swim AT ALL. I couldn’t really survive in the deep end, so I was put into the super shallow lanes just learning the swim basics and drills with Coach Jason & Coach Brad giving pointers. This repeated for the remainder of 2010.

This time around was a whole different story. I no longer had to learn how to swim, but only to perfect the drills and technique I took a year to learn. I was just so happy that I was able to keep up with the rest of the team. The swim practices are now combined with the tri team, so the coaches had to split the sessions into two different hours, so that the coaches can give proper instruction on deck to the new teammates. The sessions are 7:30-8:30pm and 8:30-9:30pm. The first session the coaches went over drills at the pool deck on yoga mats and towels for half an hour, then in the pool for the rest. The second session was mainly for tri alumni or experienced swimmers, so we didn’t need any dry-water instruction, and it was off to the pool we went. Wow, it’s been a while since I did these drills, so yeah, they weren’t easy! Skate, or side balance, was still as tough as the first time I did them last year (well, slightly easier), and a lot of kicking drills to help proper body balance. It was all about technique and that’s what we all need at this point!

Return of the Snake

Last night was our second to last swim session of the season at the Culver City Plunge. We’ve done “the snake” (where we meet on one side of the pool, swim up the lane, go under the lane line, and go down the next lane until the other end) several times before, but this time the full set was the snake! We received the swim set a few hours before we met, and it simply said, “1 x 4000”.

Did a quick 100 warmup, then treaded in the water until the start. Towards the end of my set, I could feel my technique faltering, so I kept trying to focus on the stroke follow through and hand entering the water, that my coaches keep telling me to do. I guess after a while all I want to focus on is move forward and I tend to forget. Damn! Again, I remember seeing our team swimmer elites lapping me over, and over, and over again. I ended up doing 16.5 snake laps, which equates to 3300 yards in 1:25. 20 laps give the full 4000. It gave me a good gauge of what my Vineman swim time might be, but there are more factors involved, like no pool walls to slow you down, but the wetsuit will make me faster, but then again, I never swim in a straight line either. Overall, it was a great pool session, especially seeing some 70.3ers who came back a few days after their race (hardcore!).


I did it! I completed my longest swim of the season! 3850 yards! the scheduled swim set for the intermediate swimmers was 4450 yards, so I guess I need to pick up the speed a bit, but I’m just so happy I surpassed the 2 mile mark! It was 2.1875 miles to be exact. Whew! It was a pretty slow start since I was getting back into the hang of things from my training break from food poisoning. It was around the 3rd set of 5x100s that I got into the rhythm. Again, I have to work on my bilateral breathing, or keeping my head down for a few strokes to prevent muscle fatigue on one side, or veering off a different direction. It’s still unbelievable I’m doing these kind of workouts – I keep flashing back to that very first practice where I was frustrated to even get halfway.


I did it! 1000 yards straight! Huge milestone in my training tonight at the coached Culver City Plunge! So crazy, I’d never thought I could get this far in so little time (less than 3 months). We started off with a few warmup laps then more with a kickboard. Main set was 100, 200, then 400. After that, it was the big 1000! DONE!

Body Rolls in the Rain

No, not THAT kind of body roll (above), but body rolls & rotation in relation to swimming. Tonight was another coached practice at the Culver City Plunge. It was raining, but it didn’t matter because we were going to get wet in the pool anyway. As long as it wasn’t a lightning storm, we should be ok. Again, it was a huge challenge, but it was actually the best one yet. I was actually able to do a freestyle swim (although sloppy) across the pool! I still had issues breathing, but like I mentioned earlier, it was mainly due to my body position. That’s exactly what I need to focus on. I know it’s tough to manage 20 or so participants in the pool, let alone help a super beginner, so the coaches suggested I seek outside help to get me up to speed. Understandable, and yes, I really need it. Ultimate deadline to get swimming is at the end of January, where I think the first open water swim will occur. I’m determined, so I’ll start to look for options and do whatever it will take to get swimming!

Strokin’ It

See that pic above? That’s the opposite of where I’m at. Well, I’m getting there. Tonight was another Tuesday practice and I’m happy to say it’s probably my best one yet. I felt pretty strong with my kicks, but this time was my first trying to use my arms. After a few warm up drills, Coach Jason told me to just swim. What?!? Hmm… I didn’t really know how, but i tried. I actually incorporated some strokes and stopped only once to the other side of the pool. How I did it? Not really sure how. I came up for air a few times, but my rhythm was so bad, I was always out of breath.

Coach gave me a pull buoy that I can put in between my legs so I can focus on my arm and breathing movement. It was my first time using that too, so I was VERY sloppy and stumbled quite a bit trying to get used to it. Arms were swinging everywhere, I couldn’t get a comfortable breathe angle, but I eventually got some strokes in. Coach told me repeatedly I have to get my head down in the water. I guess my brain was telling me to go on survival mode and kept trying to peek up for air. He said I have to be underwater so that I can easily go on my side for air. One way to help with going on the side was to actually pull my shoulder back so that my chin follows the shoulder out of the water when I tilt back. Ahhh! It’s all coming together and making sense now. I also have to work on my fluidity of kick movement and arm movement. I was also told to try to make my arm movements like throwing a baseball and making sure my arm is stretched way out there. It was a good way for me to remember what to do.

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First IronTeam Swim

Ok, I could have EASILY said, “No, I’m not going to join the IronTeam because I don’t know how to swim yet.”

I didn’t.

Crazy as it may sound, I never really had a doubt in my mind that I’ll eventually learn how to swim during this whole adventure. I was just a matter of WHEN. I’ve never been so determined to do this, and it’s such a rush because of it! I’ve taken my marathon training mentality to the swim, and just told myself I have to be patient, and trust that my coaches will get me through the finish line because four years ago, the TNT coaches made me from a video gaming couch potato to an addicted marathon runner.

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