Tag Archives: swimming


Swim coach at @ChiBlueDolphins said I’m getting better & efficient! #HopefulForNinetyMinuteIRONMANSwim #IRONMANtraining #TriTeamForGood


The best company to have during a long swim! @x1audio @TyrSport #swimming #IMBoulder #IRONMANtraining #TriTeamForGood

from Instagram: http://bit.ly/1kDu7Xb


We are officially over a week out from last week’s IRONMAN Wisconsin, which was to be my second, having completed the race in 2012.

Most know, but if you don’t, I did not know how to swim when I signed up for last year’s race way back in September of 2011. I had just watched the race the day before and was inspired and motivated to do it.

Back then, races didn’t sell out within hours, let alone MINUTES like they tend to do nowadays. So, once registration opened to the general public around noon on that Monday, I teetered on whether I should register. Most said I shouldn’t because I couldn’t swim and recommended I ease into it, doing a half IRONMAN at most.

During all that teetering, I secretly hoped it would sell out so my decision could be made for me. When that didn’t happen, I figured it WOULD happen while registering via my phone’s browser. It was like filling out an application instead of just registering–where you answer a bunch of questions about, what seems like, your entire life story and what got you into triathlon and/or wanting to do an IRONMAN.  It felt like it took forEVER!

Once I would hit submit, I assumed it would 1. have sold out during my inefficient use of a phone browser or 2. It would reject my cell phone browser and ALL my information would be erased AND I would not want to bother filling everying out again.

NOPE – that mobile browser was certainly compatible and it sucked up my $675 like a rebellious, bratty ATM machine!!!

So, then I was stuck and HAD to do it because all I could get back at that point if I changed my mind was $150.


Swim lesson number one resulted in me not being able to completely float, due to what I called at the time “dead leg syndrome,” where my legs were too heavy and just kept falling to the bottom of the pool. We found that if I tried to make progress and not try to just float in the pool, my legs would actually come up… So, we started to do that… Then, when I started to do “freestyle,” I started to go BACKWARDS.

Yup, I was off to a WONDERFUL start.

And, I could not tell you how many times I just wanted to QUIT because there was obviously NO way I would be able to cover 2.4 miles if I was having so much trouble in the pool. In fact, the time when this almost actually happened was in May of 2012, when I was going to do my first sprint triathlon. But, it was my first open water swim EVER. So, I actually freaked out, put my hand up, and got pulled out. Yup — I was done!


I had two weeks until an Olympic distance race I had signed up for. So, I ignored all of my prescribed swim workouts and just went to Lake Michigan as much as possible to try to get comfortable in the open water. And, as seasoned open water swimmers know, it’s getting use to not having a lane line or wall to grab in case of panic or to take a break. Oh, you can stand in a pool too (typically in at least half of the lane), so not being able to see the bottom and not having that option is a huge adjustment as well.

Goal for the Olympic distance: get through the swim and then figure out the rest. THAT, I DID! And, I remember my best friend staying true to his word – he promised me ice cream from DQ as a reward – and that kept me moving forward!!!

Four weeks later, I got through a half IRONMAN; a month later, a full 2.4 mile open water swim in the “host lake” of IRONMAN Wisconsin, Lake Monona; and, then the full IRONMAN three weeks after that. My half IRONMAN swim was just under an hour. And, the 2.4 mile swim was just under two hours and, supposedly, that distance was long by 0.3. IRONMAN Wisconsin actual swim time last year, though, was 2:05. The cutoff is 2:20, so I was perfectly fine with that.

Finish the race, get the medal, have the worst aching legs ever that night, wait in line for over an hour to drop over $100 on a finisher jacket, and get the tattoo a few weeks later.


But, I ended up being chosen to be a member of the inaugural IRONMAN Foundation – Newton Running Ambassador Triathlon Team (aka #TriTeamForGood), and one of the requirements was to be scheduled to do a 70.3 (half) and 140.6 (full) in 2013. So, I was back in.

BUT, the reason was to fundraise for the IRONMAN Foundation and bring awareness to how much they give back to the communities that host IRONMAN races. So, it was NOT about me — my training and participating in races were just vehicles to get the message out. My goals were COMPLETELY secondary and, frankly, I didn’t really have any goals except to have a better training season; a better time in any event would just be icing on the cake.

The Hawaiian word KOKUA represents the team and translates as “extending loving, sacrificial help to others for their benefit, not for personal gain…”

Yes, my training was not stellar, but it definitely was NOT horrible. IT WAS BETTER! I had great long distance rides and runs. Just the fact that I got 95% of the “long stuff” in was huge for me! I have my local training group, Chicago Endurance Sports, to thank for that! With the group, I also felt like my swimming got better. BROWNIE POINTS ALL AROUND!!!

So, the start to IRONMAN Wisconsin weekend was not as nerve wracking as I thought it would be, even though I had some anxiety issues about mid-week before. It was because I had done it before and I just had to execute and represent the #TriTeamForGood in our awesome #KOKUA kit!

Race morning started at 3:45am with the typical pre-race routine of breakfast, blessing the toilet, and then heading out to transition for body marking, final bag drop-offs, pumping up my bike tires, and putting my nutrition on my bike – all complete by about 6am. I then meandered down to the lower level of the Monona Terrace with my swim stuff, sat for a tiny bit, and then started to get (wet)suited and lubed (MAJORLY) up – chafing control for those of you that don’t understand.

I noticed that the water was not glass and had some “activity” going on. But, I thought to myself that it wouldn’t be a problem because I had conquered open water swims at IRONMAN Steelhead 70.3 about six weeks earlier in tough conditions and swam regularly in Lake Michigan where it can get REALLY bad based on the weather, or even just from the boats coming in and out of the area in which we train. Lake Monona could NEVER get as bad as those swims…

That’s what I thought at least…

It was a tough swim… very choppy… thrown around… sighting often difficult. I got to the halfway point in 1:05. Ok – that wasn’t great, but given the conditions it made sense and matched my 70.3 time at Steelhead. That halfway point was part of the LONGEST stretch of the course, which had a diagonal current coming at us from the right, coupled with the choppiness.  It often felt as if I wasn’t moving and that I was working VERY hard. I even had thoughts of throwing my hand up to get pulled out because I had several breaths in a row where I got smacked in the face with water and ended up unwillingly hydrating instead of breathing AND, as I said, I felt I wasn’t moving.

So, I told myself, “An IRONMAN isn’t suppose to be easy, Ken! This is the truest test of your strength. Don’t give up and fight through. You’ll make it before the cutoff. You sure as heck are NOT going to quit because this isn’t about you! You are doing this to bring awareness to the #TriTeamForGood. You raised over $3,000 and you will make your donors proud because they knew you fought hard!”

I didn’t look at my watch again after the halfway point because I knew I was working fairly hard already and thought that if I looked at it and saw something that I didn’t like, I would panic and become even MORE inefficient than I already was from the anxiety and tension that I would create.

Maybe, I still should have? This, among many other things, went through my head throughout the week that followed.

The only sense of time I had after that halfway point was a guy on a surfboard or SUP coming up right next to me and yelling, “YOU HAVE FOUR MINUTES! GO! FIGHT! THIS HAS TO BE YOUR HARDEST EFFORT EVER!!!”


I picked up my stroke by what felt like 100 times faster than what I was doing and that finish arch looked SO FAR AWAY! I breathe to the right naturally and did so every second stroke. I thought I was going to hyperventilate and drown. But, I figured I was safe with the guy in my sight the entire time yelling, yelling, and yelling…

O! M! G!

There was a point where he started to yell for me to stand up. And, I did!!!

I started to run and saw the clock showing 2:20 and about 10ish seconds. So, I thought immediately that maybe it’s like Boston cutoffs, so it MUST be 2:20:59!

I   RAN!

This girl in a wetsuit helped pull me forward and toward the finish arch and continued to stabilize me.

Then, this guy with an accent and in a black “walkie talkie vest” stopped me. I had no idea what he was saying. I was just repeatedly yelling, “It’s 2:20:59, right?!?”

Everything started to move in slow motion at that point.

He slowly looked toward the clock as time continued to pass. I noticed a blur of TONS of spectators watching, in addition to tons of blue volunteer shirts. The blasting music was simply deafening noise causing anxious pressure in my head at that point.

Then, he slowly turned back to say something to me. For a second there, I thought he was messing with me and was going to let me through just before the clock hit a full on 2:21:00.

But, all I can remember is his lips saying something like, “…sorry…cutoff at exactly 2:20:00…”

I turned around and looked at “wetsuit girl” in disbelief. I vaguely recall her saying something about rough conditions and there still being people out there.

Then, I collapsed to the ground, sitting with my head cradled in my hands, and I immediately broke down in tears and cried.

I cried HARD. I was crying as if somebody close to me had died.

I was devastated. My friend Lore was oen of the volunteers there and immediately came over to console me as I cried so hard into her shoulder. I remember saying, “…this wasn’t even for me this year…it wasn’t about me…”

During this time, I noticed “walkie talkie vest guy” trying to take my chip off my ankle. And, I remember laughing way back in my head because he seemed annoyed that I safety pinned it to keep it secure and from coming off. He was the bad guy in this specific moment and him taking that off felt as if he was taking me off life support.

It sealed the deal. And, it hurt.

I felt like I was in one of the old IRONMAN videos, where they capture that heartbreaking moment when folks just miss the swim or bike cutoff. The camera is focused on their face, the tears, the sadness and disbelief. We as the viewers can’t help but cry as well and feel sorry for them because of the effort put forth on that day and the MONTHS spent training to get to that day…

…just to be stopped so abruptly.

I was the first one to be cutoff for the day — never did I think that would EVER be me.

Realizing that I had an audience of what felt like hundreds, I started to get embarrassed. Lore helped me up and I turned around to face all those people.

And, as I started to walk forward, they all gave me a huge round of applause, I believe at the urging of Mike Reilly, the “voice” of IRONMAN who told me, “KEN CHIN OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!” just a year earlier.

I was embarrassed because I was quite sure my crying face was not pretty, but I appreciated the support. I called this the “rubbernecking” in IRONMAN. They didn’t want to watch, but they did anyhow. They just had both hands available to clap for me and didn’t have to worry about driving off the road.

Lore continued to walk me forward and I thought I would be making the embarrassing walk alone up the helix. Then, I suddenly saw my CES teammates that I trained with this year, who were up to cheer for the day.

As I got closer, I noticed most of their faces being red… full of tears as well.

Yes, I started to cry again.

And, when Coach Craig gave me a hug, I again broke down hard into his shoulder. And, I remembered mumbling that I tried so hard. Then, I saw Coach Daphne was crying for me.

EVERYONE WAS CRYING FOR ME! And, I felt bad for putting them through that!

There were tons of hugs coming my way. Now, being further removed, I think about how those hugs were so AWESOME! And, the tears were my team further expressing my emotion and, in many ways, a sense of kinship and love for me. It was comforting. And, I am so lucky to call them my family.

They told me to be proud of my solid effort. They reminded me not to be sorry for making them cry. And, they told me to be mad and take all the time I needed to be mad.

I later learned that they had witnessed everything that was happening to me on a jumbotron, but they didn’t know it was me; they only knew I hadn’t come by yet. They saw a swimmer fighting to come in. They heard Mike Reilly telling the crowd to cheer me on as I fought to make it. Then, they heard him yell at the guy next to me to tell me to stand up and run in, and then they saw the interaction I had with “walkie talkie guy” and my collapse.

I remember being “handed off” to my best friend Matt and he walked me up the helix, supporting my one side. (Maybe, I appeared as if I was going to collapse?) He stayed with me until I settled down after I made a difficult, tearful phone call to my partner, telling him not to bother coming up from Chicago to cheer for me because my day was done. (He still did and it was great to have him there for support! Love you, Anthony!)

When I finally got all my transition bags and changed into dry clothes, I sat alone for a bit reflecting on everything. During that time, several folks – complete strangers – that watched what happened to me, came over to give me a pat on the back or shake my hand, and told me how I should be proud of my fight.

That felt good and helped me do my best to develop the strength to move on and support everyone else that was still conquering the day.

Although difficult, my strength started with this social media post located here (https://www.facebook.com/kennethchin/posts/10201609976627975) but also pasted here for your convenience:

I’ve finally calmed down after being extremely distraught, having missed the swim cutoff by 20 seconds at #IMWI. The water was very choppy. But, I did the best I could. And, I fought hard and didn’t want to give up no matter how hard it felt because I wasn’t doing this for me this time–it was for the IRONMAN Foundation and the #TriTeamForGood. I reminded myself many times that an IRONMAN wasn’t suppose to be easy and this swim was the truest test of my strength and commitment to make it happen. 

Words cannot do justice of how thankful I am to you ALL for your support along my journey this year. Whether you donated, were one of my biggest cheerleaders, or both, YOU ROCK. Many of you were there to witness me at my weakest this morning and I thank you for doing your best to lift me up. A special shout out to my local training group teammates and coaches of Chicago Endurance Sports and my best friend Matt for being among them. THANK! YOU! XOXO

I won’t be that Debbie Downer and sulk all day – – because I already had an audience of hundreds when I broke down right when I got out of the water. So, everyone knows already!  

That chapter is finished… 

I am now headed back to the hotel to freshen up, so I can go cheer on the other athletes on their journey to become an IRONMAN! 

I did just that and it was great to keep my mind busy, cheering everyone on. It was even funny to see the reaction on the faces of folks I knew, wondering why I was showered and cheering for them on the course. Maybe, they thought I won? 😉

The remainder of the day was great, particularly because I wasn’t alone with my thoughts and was feeding off the energy of everyone conquering an IRONMAN. And, I got to help give them fuel with my loud screams of support! I was happy for all that finished, particularly those that came close to the 17:00:00 cutoff, and those that I didn’t even know didn’t finish because they were cutoff earlier. Honest effort was being put out there in one way or another and everyone should be proud!


The next morning was a little rough, as I woke up and found myself tearing up as I started to re-live the previous morning moment-by-moment, just as I did above. But, I probably got more emotional when I was reading all the supportive messages I got from everyone via comments, emails, private messages, text messages, tweets etc. They were all reminders of the awesome family I have in person and virtually. You know who you are and I THANK YOU! =)


What awesomely comes out of all this?

I came across a blog post by “wetsuit girl”, who I mentioned above, on Runner’s World Online. She talked about me and it was fascinating seeing this all from her perspective.


I stumbled upon Elisabeth’s write up on Runner’s World’s blog about volunteering at the Ironman Wisconsin swim this past Sunday. As I was reading, I didn’t expect to see that I actually made my way into her recap. Have a read and then scroll through the comments, where you will actually see that I reached out to her and we’ve since connected. It’s pretty great to turn what happened to me on Sunday into something AWESOME!


#TriTeamForGood #KOKUA


My Response to IRONMAN’s SwimStart Initiative Announcement

I think this is in response to the deaths that have occurred… I think it’s a wise choice to be proactive about educating folks on the anxiety of the swim start so they can be aware and try to plan for the experience. It won’t end up a complete surprise, even though you don’t really know until you’re in the thick of it.

I am actually a professionally trained classical musician… Throughout school, we would PUT ourselves into anxious situations, or run up and down a flight of stairs to get the heart rate going, and we would have to perform. What it did was teach us how to manage the stress and anxiety of the situation and perform so the audience had NO idea we were nervous… Because they were paying to see a performance, not us sh*t our pants!

So, this is why I am able, with my 2:05 ish IRONMAN swim (hopefully faster this year!), to be on the very start line of the swim start – HECK NO AM I SWIMMING AN EXTRA 50-100 YARDS! I just know to expect that I’ll have to hold my breath for 4+ strokes and that it’s going to be cray cray. And, I remind myself that it’ll all calm down… Especially as I begin going off course! 😉

Swim Breakthrough!

Wannabe Swimmer?
Suffer from “dense leg syndrome”?
I fall into the last two. I wannabe a swimmer but I suffer from “dense leg syndrome”. Yes, that is an official diagnosis…that I have made up.
After a swim a little over a week ago, I sent an email to the two coaches of the group I’m training with this season. During that swim, I had to throw the pull buoy between my legs for the last two-thirds of the workout.
That’s pretty much the ENTIRE workout!
Why did I have to do that? Well, after the warm-up and just starting into the main set, my legs started to fatigue so much where they felt like dead weight. They eventually started falling to the bottom of the pool. Each time my toes would touch the bottom while I was “swimming freestyle,” I would quickly bounce my legs back up. But, I could not do that the whole time, particularly for my own sanity!
This reminded me of last year when I could not swim at all and suffered from this curse! Putting that pull buoy between my legs was my only savior. It helped me build confidence and actually had me completing my workouts, but it was a crutch. Or, was it? I mean I would be swimming with a wetsuit during races, so it’s pretty much the same thing, right? Ohhhh…I LOVED the couple times I did workouts with my full wetsuit in the pool! Those workouts went quickly–so quick that the sun was still out when I left the gym!
Anyway, back to the pull buoy… yes, it IS a crutch when not part of drills, especially because I relied on it so heavily! To think that I thought I had graduated from needing that stupid thing beyond drills! 
Let’s complicate my neurotic thoughts of how bad a swimmer I was because I did not hear back from the coaches. I figured they had already given up, packed up, and left the stadium. But, that was not the case.
I got to the group workout on Tuesday. And, I was EARLY! Yes, I’m never early. I’m either late or just on time. But, I was glad I was early because Coach Craig spotted me while he was yelling rest intervals to folks in the pool and called me over.
He handed me two kickboards. Great, I have to do kicking drills as punishment for sending them that message! No, he actually wanted me to do some floating, with the kickboards holding me up at my waist and my arms and legs extended forming an “X”.
He told me to also think of my butt, calves, and back of my head just clearing the surface of the water. For my butt and calves, that really involved some adjustment-serious activation of my core, particularly by needing to flatten out the small of my back. But, to REALLY get my “dense parts” up, I had to really think about just the back of my head clearing the top of the water. What I was doing was almost looking forward, which was driving my bottom half down. So, I had to tuck my chin in a little closer to my chest. That tucking led to me feeling like I was tilting forward. But, I was in fact now level in the pool.
The only way I can describe this new feeling is how I have read or heard before. I was “swimming over” something like a barrel. THAT is what it REALLY feels like. And, it’s a weird feeling that takes some getting use to. However, it’s worth getting use to when you’re able to get from one end of the pool to the other with LESS effort and FASTER!
That was how the rest of the evening felt. And, I could not have been happier!!!
So, if you would like to be cured like I was, do just as I did and spend 5-10 minutes feeling the water just as I did. I guarantee you will thank me after you get the water out of your ears!

from DQ to 1/2 IM to getting to the peak of Ironman Wisconsin training…

I musta been kidding myself when I thought I was gonna keep a blog.

Nevertheless, here I am with an update after a couple months when,at that time, I was telling you all about my DQ and how I was pulled out of the water during my first triathlon.

Because that was my first triathlon (sprint) and first open water swim (EVER) , I went ahead and took the bull by the horns and began doing open water swims like crazy before my upcoming olympic distance.

I needed to build confidence in the open water. I needed to be okay without having the ground so close to save me. I needed to not have the wall there to rest on each length. I needed to be able to be okay with being blind in the water and begin sighting in order to make my aquatic journey.

I did it.

The hard work paid off when I got to the Olympic distance triathlon. I had done a few 1 mile dry runs at Chicago’s Ohio Street Beach in preparation… 59 mins, 68 mins, 54 mins.

Mentally, it’s good to know that I can cover the distance. Next, is doing it within the cut off times.

For cutoffs in swimming, I always think in relation to the 70 min half Ironman cutoff and 140 min full Ironman cutoff.

The Olympic distance I did was completed in about 43 minutes. Sh*t! I covered JUST shy of a mile in the water in under 45 minutes! WOOP WOOP!

That was just 2 weeks before my 1/2 ironman distance at Racine… So, all I had to do was a little over two tenths of a mile more… Piece of cake!

It wasn’t really a piece of cake but I did get it done! It took me about 54 minutes to complete that swim!!! The hardest parts?? Just two things…

It was point to point… So, seeing that line of buoys line the shore was a little intimidating. We had to walk pretty much the whole distance from transition to the start line.

It felt like forever… I started getting bored and tired and just wanted it to be over.

I got it done though!!! And, once I hit dry land, I can survive the rest (knock on wood!).

So, another mental boost… I just gotta swim double in about 2 months (now exactly 4 weeks away) from then.

Then, we get to last weekend where I was out with CES for a training weekend in Mad Town. It started on Saturday morning with a swim in Lake Monona (race site).

It was really early (by my standards) and at 6:15 I already saw several people swimming about in the lake. WHOA! COOL!

I get there… I start getting into my full wetsuit… Folks coming out say to me, “you’re going to regret that. It’s hot!”

I tell them, “I’ll suffer through with it because I’d otherwise just drown. Amd, in my head I was thinking I’d be just fine!

We started with a little clinic where we had to tread water while listening to the coach… Umm… KEN DOESN’T TREAD H2O!!!

Well, Ken had to keep calm and make it seem like he could. And, he did for about 10-15 minutes. Go Ken!

Ok, time to swim… We were going to do 45 minutes.

HOLY HECK THAT SWIM SUCKED!!!!! I was hotter than the cake that I was craving in the oven at the local bakery!!! I could not believe how HOT that water was! And, my wetsuit just made it worse!

When I checked the water temp, it said 85 degrees! Whoa! Now, I know why 83(?) is the cutoff for wetsuits for safety reasons!

83, degree water temperature plus body temperature plus insulation properties of a wetsuit just equaled disaster!

Needless to say, I didn’t get very far… I only got from the jetski ramp (race start line) to the end of the terrace parking entrance and back while most everyone else was way off in the distance.

How did I survive?

Well, I tried not to panic too much. And, I went to my back a few times to just relax, float and breathe. Oh, and I kept sighting for the most direct route back to the boat ramp so i could get out as soon as possible!

When I got out, I was relieved. But, I was also really worn out from that short little swim because of the heat. Even when I was just out of my wetsuit and only in my jammers after drying myself off, I started to sweat like crazy!!!! I was POOPED!!!

That hot swim haunted me mentally during my first of two loops on the bike course.

Some of the many thoughts:

What if the race isn’t wetsuit legal? What if it doesn’t cool off? If it’s hot but wetsuit legal, will I go for it? Or, will I just spectate? How the heck am I going to do this without a wetsuit? Swim buoy to buoy and hang out to take breaks? I wasn’t able to complete the prescribed swim by my coach because it was so damn hot- am I in trouble?

Fast forward to today…

During the week, I found the USGS site that reports water temperature. And, the charts, showed the downward tend of the temperature. In fact, the temperature read just 72 degrees yesterday!

So, I was put at ease. I went to the pool (in lieu of choppy, gas filled, stinky Ohio Street Beach) to swim my 2 miles for the day. And, I did it in about 1:50.

Here, I admit that I use a pull buoy without gripping it hard just so I can get a little help with the buoyancy. Don’t worry, I’m still kicking from the hips and have the chafing from the pull buoy to prove it!

So, that’s a huge accomplishment for the day. And, next week I get to cover a full 2.4 miles in Lake Monona as part of a race. Just don’t get bored, right?!?

When did I ever think I would be BORED while swimming?!? I NEVER thought I was ever be in this place now! Just a tiny bit over a year ago I signed up for Wisconsin without knowing how to swim. Now, I’m getting bored?!?

I’m ever so thankful to those that have gotten me this far today! My coaches that continue to teach me, my friends, my co-workers and my ever so awesome partner, Anthony!

I’ve become a ball of emotions in the past couple weeks because of all the rigors of training, the mental battles from missing workouts, and just every day life. Apparently, this is not uncommon  as I near the peak of Ironman training.

Since I became active in 2007, I have continued to prove to myself that I’ve got more in me to give physically and mentally. The road isn’t always paved like fresh blacktop, but the feeling of accomplishment, especially as i reflect back on the past 11 months of training, is huge!

I always thought Ironman athletes were crazy! Well, I’m going to soon become one of those crazy ones!

not an excuse…an explanation…


so…i felt great about being pro-active with getting my swim in a day early because of my schedule on wednesday. i thought i was on a great track. then, wednesday night, it was a later than preferred night at the office so i didn’t get my run in. instead, i did it yesterday morning… 

i had the intention of getting my ride in last night but, again, later night than preferred. i suppose it finally caught up with me because this morning i was wiped out mentally and physically and couldn’t even get out of bed. yes, THAT is definitely an excuse.

nevertheless, i need your recommendation on what to get done (running or swimming) this afternoon/evening because i can get out at a decent hour. should i just do the prescribed 50 minute run?

i’ll be on track this weekend just fine with the 1:20 run & 1500 swim tomorrow…and 2/2:30hr ride on sunday.

i know that your initial reaction/response will probably be “don’t miss your workout” and i appreciate that and know. so, if we can maybe go to what you would say after that, that’d be awesome. i already feel tremendous guilt for missing the ride!

Ummmm…I’m numb “down there”…

This is the first time I’ve gone numb…”down there”…

It was the oddest of feelings… it’s like when your foot falls asleep…

Do you get the point?!?

Maybe, this is my cue to add to my to do list “look for another bike seat to address numbness.”

Other than that and my contact folding up on me, it was a great ride at Vision Quest!

And, I ran into my coach (Dan Litwora) on his way out and my way in. I sum up his plan for me in the pool…”You will run in the pool what you aren’t swimming!”

Awesome conclusion to an otherwise stressful day!




after quite a few random drills that were probably laughable, I decided to say, “FUGGIT! JUST GO!”

so, that I did.

1×25 no stopping and only breathing to the left.


1×25 no stopping bilateral breathing…WAS OK WITH OCCASIONAL WATER SWALLOW!





“Look how far you’ve come in a week!” …a trained musician’s perspective…

…that’s comforting to hear especially because I almost cancelled this morning’s swim lesson because I wasn’t confident and my left shoulder hurts!

The lack of confidence comes from my frustration at the work I put in at the pool this week.

However, after I got the ‘kudos’ from Marcia this morning, it reminded me of the frustration that I had when I was training as a professional musician.

A lot of the time, you think you’re not making progress. However, the time (EFFICIENT AND FOCUSED TIME) you’re putting in provides several baby steps toward the goal in mind.

The baby steps only make your thinking more in tune with the task at hand and you begin to pick everything apart…often to the point of driving yourself crazy… So, as you think that you’re not making progress, you probably have! It’s just that you’ve become hyper aware and are continually fine tuning.

The analogy I often heard in conservatory was this… peeling the onion piece by piece, it is practically never-ending because there is a lot of surface area to address in each of those layers. There is always room for improvement and there is practically NO such thing as perfect!


That goal was this morning’s lesson!

Nevermind the anxiety I had from being late because I timed my morning ride poorly.

Honestly, I thought that the fatigue on my legs from the ride (which involved 25 sets of strength and endurance intervals), the total 1.5 hours in the saddle, the sore shoulder, AND the 30 minute tardiness all were a recipe for disaster. Yet, I had that “throw your hands in the air” feeling that said to me, “What else can go wrong?!?”

This is often the point where we think less…or do less over-thinking…and we surprise ourselves. We hope/trust in the work we did and can only control so much.

So, there it was… a quick and efficient lesson where I seemed to surprise Marcia by the numerous 25 meter laps I accomplished with okay breathing.

We re-introduced catch up drills with the kick board to work on my bilateral breathing (aka WSB); the “bug” motion with my stroke so I didn’t reach too far down into the pool; and a wing type motion when my arms are coming out of the water and re-approaching their entrance.

I’m hoping the “wing thing” will solve this soreness I’ve been having in my anterior shoulder. Otherwise, I’ll beg for a break from the pool and/or recommended strengthening to address it.

I actually notice the soreness more so when lifting my arm up, particularly laterally, or when pushing myself up from laying down with that left arm… SO, not so much, if at all, during swimming!

Yeah…this randomness of a blog will now end because my train stop arrives. But, don’t blame a guy for being efficient and logging all this geeky data out of his head…

Yes, I’m sending this to Coaches Dan Litwora and Marcia Cleveland for further analysis!

Thanks for reading and supporting me on my journey!!!

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