Yesterday’s swim workout


Warm up

100 yard swim

50 yards pull

50 yards kick


4 x 75 yards (25 kick, 25 tap front then back drill, 25 swim)


4 x 150 yard swim with timed recovery


8 x 50 yards pull with paddles, set focus each time, timed recovery

Cool down

50 yard swim easy

Had a great swim with my swim coach yesterday. Progress is gradual and slow but exciting. I’ve gone from a 50 yard warm up to a 100 yard warm up, and my longer swim efforts with timed recovery have gone from 50 yards to 100 yards to 150 yards yesterday for the first time. It’s still tough finishing that 150 yard effort but that’s 3 times the distance I used to do comfortably without a break. My overall yardage per swim session continues to increase.

I’m feeling optimistic about my goal to swim the entire 1/3 mile swim of Tri for a Cure in July (about 600 yards) without needing to resort to backstroke. I’m fine catching my breath and checking my trajectory with a couple seconds of breast stroke, but I’d like to swim the whole thing going forwards and not zig-zag like crazy on my back because I’m panicked and feel like I can’t breathe and can’t bear to have my face in the water. As amazing an accomplishment as that was, I’m all set with that and feel no desire to repeat it.

I love that I started this journey in 2012 with Couch to 5k and then continued on to half marathons. It gives me a deep rooted belief in our ability to gradually transform ourselves.

When you’ve gone from running only 30 seconds before stopping to running several hours without stopping, you know you can achieve something that feels impossible when you start.

You can accomplish so much when you’re able to say to yourself this feels impossible, and it’s going to take a long time, but I’m going to get better and then just relax and tackle next step after next step, always accepting where you are.

I have until July. I’m going to get there.




Great Swim Today

Had a great swim today! Learned that my trainer has been purposefully increasing my yardage and that I swam 1200 yards this week during our session and 1250 last session.

That’s over twice the length of Tri For a Cure!

Obviously I can’t take breaks every 50 or 100 yards during the Tri, but knowing that I’m swimming twice the distance of my race when I go to the pool for an hour is a good feeling.

I also did two sets of 100 swim and four sets of 100 pull buoy without panicking or stopping in the water.

And I reduced my timed 100 yard swim time down 12 seconds to 1:58.

That’s a lot of progress!

Felt calm in the water, and so happy to see this quantifiable improvement.

I have until July to swim 1/3 of a mile without a break, in the open water, in a crowd. There are a lot of baby steps between me and then, but I’ve just taken a few more and that feels great.

So I’m not going to think about all the extra challenges associated with open water swimming. I’m just going to luxuriate in the knowledge that I did two 100 yard swims today when I used to struggle and panic swimming a 50.

I’ve done Couch to 5k and then moved on to half marathons. I know all about baby steps. I love them. They add up.

I can’t wait to see the swimmer I become.


A Little Swim Break Through


After some initially panicked breathing in the water during the warm up, I settled in today and ended with a 100 yard time trial where I didn’t stop once. That’s the first time I’ve accomplished that distance without a break. And at the end of an hour swim session, too. I’m proud of that.

I also did quite a few 50s today. It used to be that every 50 was me swimming reasonably well for the first 25, and then panicking and flailing my way back across the pool for the second 25. But I’ve improved… the second half of each fifty still isn’t as good as the first half, but they’re less terrible. 50 is becoming the new 25. I can feel it.

My swim instructor Brittany,, is amazing at picking apart my technique and making one little tweak at a time to improve my swimming. She’ll find something, have me work on it with guidance and feedback 25 yards at a time, and then make sure I do some additional laps to try to add that new tweak to muscle memory. Incrementally, things get better and better.

Today’s tweak was not rotating quite so much to the side, and I think it made a big difference with my endurance and ease of swimming. Watching the videos I could barely notice a difference, but swimming it felt much different. Easier. Better.

Here’s to guided practice! There’s nothing like knowing exactly what to work on to get better, and the confidence that you’re doing it right. I feel really lucky to be able to swim with a coach.

Tomorrow morning’s 2017 New Year New Class is Firestarter… wish me luck!


Swim, Blood Donation & Picking My First Class


Here’s a photo of me swimming yesterday.

I’m at the point where the quick technique fixes and rapid improvements are diminishing, and now the progress I see is much more gradual. I’m struggling with keeping my kick consistent and not scissor kicking when I take a breath, keeping my arm stretched forward while I take a breath and not letting it dip or bend, and keeping my temple down in the water when I breathe with the left arm forward.

My personal trainer (coach? swim instructor?) is going to start dividing our hour sessions into drills for the beginning and then working on increasing distance for the second part.

Yesterday’s swim workout:

50 yards swimming

4 x 25 yards side kicking drill

100 yards pull buoy

4 x 25 yards armless swimming drill

6 x 50 yards swim

75 yards swim

That’s a total of 725 yards. Tri For a Cure’s swim course is a third of a mile: 587 yards. So if this is average for a session, I’m swimming longer than the course distance every Tuesday and Thursday. 🙂

(For experienced swimmers, I realize that’s not very many yards in an hour, but realize there’s a lot of instruction and procrastinating and heavy breathing mixed in there slowing me down between pool lengths.)

I feel discouraged by the way my form falls apart at the end of 50 yards. I feel encouraged that I’m doing 50 yards at a time instead of stopping every 25, because that’s progress. It’s slow, but it’s progress. And I can taste a breakthrough around the corner. I thought it would be salty but it tastes a little like bromine.

Donated Blood Today


Today is warmer than it has been in weeks and I have a strong urge to go running…. but I had scheduled a blood donation so I donated blood instead. I guess doing both isn’t advisable. Especially since I plan to replace that blood with beer later. It’s a retox ritual I like to do every so often to compensate for all the leafy greens I enjoy.

Here I am in my war paint in front of a Donor Parking sign. I joked on Instagram that I always wear extra blush to blood donation appointments because then they don’t tell me I look too pale and advise me to sit there longer in recovery. I am always pale. I have things to do. (Yes, I blended the blush before I went in.)

I’m not a fan of needles. I love remembering the time that I left my doctor’s office out the back door rather than stop at the lab as directed to get my blood drawn for a cholesterol check. Since I started donating blood I’ve had enough exposure to become desensitized to the fear and wouldn’t classify myself as afraid anymore. It took knowing I might save a life to take a deep breath and voluntarily donate, but now it’s seriously not a big deal.

So many things in life are like that. You can find out more and schedule your next donation at

I have picked my first new class to take at the Equinox!

(Read about my goal to try every class my gym offers here.)


Oh yeah. That’s right. It’s called FIRESTARTER.

Which is pretty much the exact opposite of how I would describe my fitness personality. I’m kind of a “smoldering and could possibly be out but can’t quite tell for sure” fitness type if we’re talking flames.

But get this – it’s a new class, and they’re promoting it by offering you a free Sweetgreen salad if you take the class in the next few weeks.

Um, yes. Please. I would like to start a fire and then eat some kale while I blog about it. (Guys, I think the fire might be in your muscles. I am a little afraid. But they have burned before.)


I’m taking it Friday morning. Wish me luck!

And let me know if you try a new group fitness class! Paul, we’re particularly interested in hearing how much you like Zumba.


Tri For a Cure 2017 and New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve registered for Tri For a Cure 2017! I raised enough money last year to be guaranteed entry and knew even as I was completing the event last July that I wanted to do it one more time.

Then I lost my grandfather to cancer in November.

Now it feels more important and personal than ever.

I have a photo of him on my fundraising page.  Your donations would be so appreciated. It’s going to be harder to host a CycleGiving party to raise money to fight cancer and be upbeat and cheerful and pass out beers after. It’s harder when I miss a goal during a workout and think of him and feeling like I’ve failed somehow.

I need to focus on the fact that he was a cancer survivor for over a decade, and that’s what I’m celebrating. That’s what I’m working towards. That’s why I am doing Tri For a Cure again to raise money. For the decade he was with us, and the cancer research and prevention that MCF funds to help other people have extra decades. That IS something to celebrate.

So I’m Going to Just Keep Swimming

And I am getting better. I still panic in the water. It’s still a stretch for me to do 50 yards without breathing. But I can tell it’s mental and not physical. So I’ll keep eating away at the panic. Improving form. Getting better at breathing without losing technique and sinking. It’ll click. Sometime between now and July, it’ll click.

New Year’s Resolutions

I said I was going to mull them over with champagne and pick some.  I’m still indecisive. I want to do them all.

I want to have meals planned and groceries purchased every Friday afternoon so we can have a more relaxed weekend as a family.

I want to try every class my gym offers at least once.

I’d like to have homemade granola bars or muffins in the freezer at all times for school snack options.

I’m thinking about taking up running. (I haven’t run since vacation in Dana Point that first week of December…. just keep swimming? And cycling? No?)

I want to get back into my meditation practice.

I want to be cleaned up from breakfast before lunch. Every day. EVERY day. WHY IS THIS SO HARD?!

These are all variations on things I already do… so maybe it’s not so crazy to attempt them all. After all, last year I learned to swim and clip into a road bike and completed my first two triathlons. THAT is crazy. Homemade granola bars are a snap compared to that.

Anyone come up with a resolution they’re really excited about? I’d love to hear about it.