Triswim, Skinslick, Trislide, Foggies…OH MY!!

OMG! If you haven’t tried SBR Sports products, you MUST try them! Their Triswim products remove the chlorine, the Skinslick prevents blisters and chafing, the Trislide helps you get out of your wetsuit easily and prevents chafing, and the Foggies keep your goggles crystal clear! What’s even better?! Use this code:¬†KEPL18 for 20% off your order!

I use the Triswim shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion after EVERY swim! My hair dresser is always amazed that my hair is in such good shape…especially since I swim 3-4 times a week and get my hair cut once every 4-6 months. I’m super happy to have skin that doesn’t itch and dry out after being submerged in chlorine for multiple hours a week!

Not only do I use the Skinslick to spray down my feet to prevent blisters when I run, but I also spray me feet down when we go snowshoeing. I used to get blisters Every. Time. I. Went. Snowshoeing. Not anymore! I can’t remember the last time I had a blister from snowshoeing. And the last time I had a blister running…well, that was last week because I forgot to take my Skinslick (and my running socks) with me to the gym to run on the treadmill.

I spray myself down with Trislide around my wrists, ankles, neck, and shoulders/armpits before donning my wetsuit or skin suit for races. When I get to T1, not only do I lack chafing (including the notorious wetsuit kiss), but I slide right out of my wetsuit with ease! Every second counts, so why add time to your transition by struggling with your wetsuit?!

Oh the Foggies!! I have had races where my goggles kept fogging up and I spent so much time on my back trying to clear them so I could see the next buoy. Since being introduced to Foggies, this is no longer a problem! I use them at the pool, open water swimming, and at races. HELLO clear vision! I can no longer say, “I couldn’t see the buoys” as an excuse for my slow swim times. LOL ūüėČ I know people who use the Foggies on their snow ski goggles, so you don’t have to swim to be a Foggies fan!

*Yes, I am an ambassador for SBR Sports, Inc. I do not use or recommend products I don’t believe in. These opinions are mine and I have used these products for years before becoming an ambassador.

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#batcapchallenge = exhilarating + exhausting

In October, I contacted Michelle about participating in the #batcapchallenge that she offers athletes. She decided that 30K yards of swimming in 7 days would be the perfect way to make my “eyes open wide.” I asked Coach Kelly if she thought this was an appropriate challenge for me (I wanted to remain injury free). I wanted her blessing + guidance on how to structure these 7 days before fully committing to it. Coach Kelly was on board, so I let Michelle know that we (the Iron Hippie decided to complete this challenge as well) would be completing this challenge on Tuesday, December 26 – Monday, January 1. What a way to close out 2017 and bring in the new year?!?!

To put this in perspective, I swam a total of 31,400 yards for the ENTIRE month of November. To say my eyes were open wide was an understatement. This challenge had me excited, nervous, eager, intimidated, anxious, and so much more!

Here is how Coach Kelly structured these 7 days:

Day 1: 5200 yards at the Bedell Family YMCA
I started the week off with a bang! This was a great swim for me since I felt fresh, charged, and ready to knock this swim challenge out of the park!

Day 2: 3200 yards at the Bedell Family YMCA
After yesterday’s long swim, I was expecting to feel a bit more fatigued than I actually felt, so I was very grateful for another strong swim day!

Day 3: 3300 yards at Ames Racquet and Fitness Center
I felt a bit more fatigued during this workout, but I was determined and focused. The fatigue was definitely something I could push through and finish strong.

Day 4: Double swim day! 2500 yards in the AM and 3500 yards in the PM at Ames Racquet and Fitness Center
This was my FIRST ever double swim day! The morning swim was short (in comparison to what I’ve been swimming lately) and full of recovery type of swimming. It was relatively easy, but my body was tired and I could tell.

The evening swim was to be more pace focused. I started out using my tempo trainer and tried so hard to stay with the beep, but my body just wouldn’t listen to my mind. That fatigue I was feeling earlier in the day was still lingering. After losing to my body’s fatigue (and not staying with the beep of the tempo trainer), I decided to put the tempo trainer on the pool deck and just swim to cover the yardage. Michelle did say that it is pretty common to feel the most fatigue on days 3 & 4. Yep…I was definitely feeling fatigue today!

Day 5: 5300 yards at the Ames Municipal Pool
After feeling really tired yesterday, I didn’t know what to expect of my body. Thankfully my body showed up to give some effort today! I managed to swim a 1:51/100 yard pace for a 500 yard effort. I was pretty happy with this since my body was so exhausted! My body is starting to “come through” the fatigue and feeling better and stronger. I can’t wait to see what it does for me in the next 2 swims and how this translates to future swimming!

Day 6: 3500 yards at Ames Racquet and Fitness Center
This swim had some good kick sets in it, which obviously take longer than simply swimming, but it was nice to have this break. The little swimming I did have went well! I was able to stay on the beep of my tempo trainer and felt strong…fatigued, but strong! Feeling grateful my body has allowed me to push it on this journey, but this triathlete is ready to be less of a swimmer and a more well rounded triathlete again!

Day 7: 3300 yards at the Boone YMCA
The final swim of the #batcapchallenge was rewarding! I swam one of my 100s at a 1:32/100 yard pace, which is a new swim PR for me! With all of the hours and swim mileage I’ve put in over the last 7 days, I still managed to have some speed in my swim on the last day of the challenge! Boom!

Grand Totals:
30,000 yards (17.045 miles) in 7 days!
11 hours & 35 minutes of swimming
8 swims in 7 days!
4 pools visited

This week of swimming was FULL of #swimlove + #chlorinetherapy! It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time! It challenged me both mentally and physically. It pushed my limits. I surprised myself on so many levels with this challenge! It was all for the bat cap + some lessons learned:

  1. All the swimming helped me find my swim stroke and become stronger + more efficient + faster in the water.
  2. All the swimming is exhausting and allowed me sleep REALLY WELL (I even got a couple of naps in)!
  3. I can do anything I put my mind to…even swimming 17+ miles in 7 days.
  4. The final push is worth the sweet reward of success!
  5. Accomplishing new goals + PRs is exhilarating!
  6. Achievement is sweet when it is earned, not given!
  7. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is where all of the magic happens! #courageovercomfort is where it is at!
  8. I love triathlon! The balance of swimming, cycling, and running is so much better than simply swimming! ūüėČ Triathlon lights my fire!
  9. I can do hard things!
  10. I am grateful my body is healthy and allows me to do what I love + enjoy!

Thank you Michelle for creating the #batcapchallenge and setting a distance that pushed my limits, but was achievable! Thank you Coach Kelly for keeping me #trackcatstrong + believing in me + structuring my week in such a way that I was able to achieve what seemed a daunting feat at the start! Thank you to SBR Sports, Inc. for making amazing swim products to wash away the chlorine + keep me itch free all week! Thank you to Coeur Sports for the most comfortable + super cute swimsuits!

Okoboji 3.5 Mile Open Water Swim Event 2016

The Okoboji 3.5 mile open water swim event is the perfect lead up to Ironman Wisconsin. With only 5 weeks until race day, this is a good test of our swim fitness and mental strength since it is a point to point swim.

5 am alarm clock so we could get this swim party started! We immediately dropped a car off at Pikes Point State Park at 5:15 am, came home, ate breakfast, changed into our swim gear, and went to pick up Tom on our way to Gull Point State Park.

When we got to Gull Point State Park, Dad and Tom had to do some minor kayak repair so the vessel will stay afloat and hopefully not take on too much water.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR5937.
Duct tape fixes everything!

We then hauled the kayaks to the beach, picked up our race packets, and went back to the truck to leave any gear we wouldn’t need for the swim. Mom graciously drove the truck around the lake to Pikes Point State Park so we would be able to load the kayaks at the end of our event and not have to drive back over to Gull Point State Park to get the truck before loading the kayaks (this is what we did in 2014…while it worked, it took a lot longer).

Photo credit: Iowa Great Lakes Association
Photo credit: Iowa Great Lakes Association
Photo credit: Iowa Great Lakes Association
Photo credit: Iowa Great Lakes Association

We listened to the race announcements, put the kayaks into the water, did a little pre-race swimming, and waited for the “go” so we could swim to our kayak.

Thanks to Dad and Tom for being our kayak support for this event!
Thanks to Dad and Tom for being our kayak support for this event!
Photo Credit: Tom Gustafson
Photo Credit: Tom Gustafson
Photo Credit: Tom Gustafson
Photo Credit: Tom Gustafson

For the first half mile, I could easily see the bottom of the lake and was so grateful that I wasn’t swimming in the sludge in the lake in Rio. I had leaky goggles and had to occasionally flip over onto my back and adjust them. Dad and I would chat a bit before I would flip back over and continue swimming. I knew the half way point would be when we got to the 3rd buoy (there were 5 total) which was off the point by Manhattan Beach Resort.

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When we got to the 5th swim buoy, I did some breast stroke swimming so I could chat with Dad for a minute.

Me: “Dad, did you know that if you fart in your swimskin the bubbles get trapped and rotate from one hip to the other as you swim?”
Dad: “No, I didn’t know that,” as he chuckled.

From this point on, I pushed myself and kept telling myself “courage over comfort” is how you get the job done! Dad said I did pass a few swimmers in this stretch and he could tell my pace had picked up a bit because he had to paddle a bit more. Finishing strong is a great way to finish! Such a fun morning…3.5 miles is a LONG way to swim!

DCIM100GOPROGOPR5948.

Finish time: 2:07:13

Gear: Roka Sports Viper Elite Swim Skin, Roka Sports X1 Goggles, Tri Slide, Speedo swim suit

What is the farthest you’ve swam in open water? Have you ever done a point to point swim?

My Swim Essentials

After having just completed the Shoreline 2.4 mile swim in Madison last Saturday and gearing up for the Okoboji 3.5 Mile Open Water Swim tomorrow, I thought it would be fitting to share with you my swim essentials.

  1. Roka Sports X1¬†Goggles…these fit my face just perfectly, don’t leak and protect¬†my eyes as the sun rises over the water. The light vermilion color is perfect for sighting the orange and yellow buoys! ¬†¬†DCIM100GOPROG0015204.
  2. Roka Sports Wetsuit…this is my open water swim preference if the water temperature is below 76F. The sleeves are super comfortable and allow for a nice, fluid swim stroke. ¬†¬†DCIM100GOPROGOPR4690.
  3. Roka Sports Swimskin…if the water temperature is not wetsuit legal, I will opt for the swimskin so that I can wear my tri suit underneath it with minimal drag. The bright colors on the backside of the swimskin also make it super easy for others to see me when swimming! So much better than just the typical black color!IMG_5123
  4. Body Glide and Tri Slide…you can’t have enough antichaffing lube to keep you happy!
  5. New Wave Swim Buoy…this is awesome for open water swim practice! You not only improve your visibility with it, but you also can carry flip flops, car keys, cell phone, etc. in the dry bag compartment instead of leaving them on the shore.
  6. Swim Tools…Pull Buoy, Fins, Paddles, Kickboard, ankle band
  7. Swim Ear…I refer to this as ear dry and for me it is a MUST!¬† My ear canals are shaped just right wrong to prevent water from draining from them and instead allow the water to sit in my ears and cause ear infections if I don’t get the water out shortly after my swim.

What are your swim essentials?

“It is time to make you a swimmer”

Sunday, April 10 I had a swim analysis with¬†Coach Hansen. I learned that I had lost my “catch” and I wasn’t pushing water to the back wall, I was instead pushing it to the bottom of the pool. I was creating more resistance and making¬†it more challenging for myself to move forward, but was doing a great job of moving myself up toward the water’s surface…GRRR!!

Swim Analysis

After changing up some things and seeing some slight improvements in my time per 50 yards, I made the comment, “I’ve never been a fast swimmer; just consistent. No matter how hard I try, I almost always swim 1:50/100 yards.” BAD MISTAKE!!

Coach Hansen immediately responded with, “Well, then it is time to make you a swimmer.” What does that mean?! It means there are no more “easy” swim workouts. It means that every swim I do, I should be pushing my limits and trying to get faster and more efficient at the same time. It means that I’m dying at the end of my 25s, 50s, 100s, and 200s. It means that I’m working REALLY hard. It means that it is tough. It means it is uncomfortable.

It means I need to overcome a mental hurdle and start believing in myself in the pool. I CAN get faster in the water. I WILL get faster in the water. It will be uncomfortable and it may hurt, but it will be worth it! After all, I GET to go swim! I GET to do what I LOVE! I GET to race triathlon!

Fast forward to my swim on Wednesday, April 13th…

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1239.

After finishing the 8x50s on the minute, I was so hungry! I got out of the pool, grabbed my Barnanas and sat on the edge of the pool eating and crying in my goggles. After consuming some calories, I got back in the pool and finished my workout. It was TOUGH! It was CHALLENGING! I was working SO HARD! I was supposed to see faster times…I didn’t. I was supposed to feel like I wasn’t working as hard…I didn’t. I was supposed to be working on my form…I forgot about it.

My arms were SO tired on Thursday! I was so frustrated that I spent all of my free time (which wasn’t much) watching videos of Michael Phelps and hoping for osmosis to allow his swim form to seep into my body.

Friday morning I decided to give myself a break and not focus on times while swimming. It was the perfect decision! This swim still wasn’t easy (my arms were still tired from Wednesday), but I felt much more relaxed in the pool and actually enjoyed my swim!

Fast forward again to Tuesday, April 19th…

DCIM100GOPROG0011798.

I repeated the 2800 yard swim of 150s, 50s, and 25s at 5 am and talked¬†to myself. I said, “I am Michael Phelps” over and over and over again throughout this swim. I did see slightly faster times, and didn’t feel like I was working nearly as hard as I did last week on this swim, but I still am not seeing the times that I was hoping for, and I’m sure my form was not getting better. The good thing about this swim…I didn’t cry in my goggles this time ūüôā

My swimming continued to be on and off for the next week. Some days were better than others, but I always focused on #courageovercomfort because eventually this uncomfortableness in the water has to become comfortable and eventually I will #findfaster!

Fast forward to Sunday, May 1…

We had another swim analysis with Coach Hansen. This time, he took underwater video of our swim form, analyzed it and gave us specific things to focus on for the next week or two before we meet again. Things for me to focus on include:

  • Push my nose to the floor of the pool to bring my butt up/bring my chin toward my chest
  • Fingertips down and elbow bent throughout the catch and pull (do not let elbow drop and fingertips point to the ceiling…grrr)
  • Push water to the back wall, not my hip
IMG_0722
I have no catch, my hand is higher than my elbow, and my chin needs to be closer to my chest.

Fast forward to Wednesday, May 4…

I found a trick to get my fingertips pointing down toward the bottom of the pool, but I still have to get my elbow high, reach forward, and get my chin tucked back toward my chest. I looped a hair tie around my wrist and middle finger on each hand to pull my fingertips toward my wrists. It seemed to work based on the videos and pictures we took. As for the reach, I feel like when I reach my arm forward this is when my elbow drops and my fingertips point up (as shown above). This may not be the case, but that is how it feels. I also found a way to get my chin closer to my chest, but didn’t seem to be doing it here:

REACH!! LOOK DOWN!!!
REACH!!! LOOK DOWN/BACK!!! ELBOW UP!!!

Changing up my swim stroke is hard. It is tough. It is uncomfortable. It is difficult to know if the changes that I feel I am making are actually changing anything at all. I guess I’ll have to wait until we meet with Coach Hansen again next week! Until then, it is time to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and focus on #courageovercomfort in the water to #findfaster!

What tips do you have for me to remember to keep my nose to the floor, keep my arm in the “catch” position (elbow high/fingertips down), and push the water to the back wall?

Really?!?!?!?! That just happened…

Tuesday morning I was very fortunate to have Dad and a family friend (Tom) kayak next to me while I swam in the lake where I grew up. It was so awesome!! As soon as I started swimming, I felt free and at peace. I LOVE open water swimming!! I was able to see the bottom of the lake for the majority of the swim…fish, seaweed, mossy covered rocks, blocks with chains attached to buoys…Bob Ross could have created¬†many amazing masterpieces from the bottom of Lake Okoboji!! 2.6 miles later, I felt amazing and so thankful that I am able to have these awesome #swimlove experiences…

Lake Okoboji...my playground!!
Lake Okoboji…my playground!!
Dad (blue) and Tom (gray) figuring out how to get into their kayaks.
Dad (blue) and Tom (gray) figuring out how to get into their kayaks.
Tom is in his kayak ready for me to swim.
Tom is in his kayak ready for me to swim.
Dad is getting in his kayak
Dad is getting in his kayak
Feeling so great after 2.6 miles of open water swimming at an average pace of 1:52/100 yards.
Feeling so great after 2.6 miles of open water swimming at an average pace of 1:52/100 yards.
All done swimming...how do we get out of these things?!?!?!
All done swimming…how do we get out of these things?!?!?!

Wednesday morning, I was supposed to complete the following swim workout in the pool…

Warm-up: 200 swim, 4 x 50 (25 drill, 25 swim)
Main Set: 200 moderate to fast
60 sec rest
800 as 4 x 200
(200’s on 4:00- so swim faster than 4:00/200yards to get rest, leave on the 4 min interval- this should be HARD!)
60 sec rest
800 as 4 x 200 again (repeat like above)
200 easy
Cool-down: 200 easy with drills

I have successfully completed this workout many times before, but before I start, I psych myself out. EVERY. TIME. How can I swim 2.6 miles in open water remaining calm, relaxed and having fun, but I get intimidated by 200s in the pool?!?!?!?! Grrr

This was an intimidating place...
This was an intimidating place…

Do you have workouts that intimidate you? How do you overcome these feelings and get yourself mentally back on track so you can successfully complete your workout?

ROKA F2 Googles Review

Roka Sports¬†recently came out with goggles…I have been looking for the perfect goggles for a few years now. I decided to try the F2 goggles since they are advertised as having “enhanced comfort, expanded view and a low drag profile.”

IMG_2903
A little bug eyed looking, but super comfortable!

 

My first swim in these goggles, I wasn’t entirely sure if they would work for me…mostly because I had the strap around my head too tight. Once I got my strap adjusted properly, I was in love!! This is the only pair of goggles that I’ve ever used that leave a VERY faint goggle mark…most of the other goggles I’ve tried leave indentations as large as craters around my eyes.

Look...only faint goggle marks
Look…only faint goggle marks after 60 minutes in the water

I am planning to give the X1 goggles a try. I know they are bigger and will probably make me look like I have even bigger bug eyes, but with the advertised “maximum field of view and unmatched comfort,” I want to experience just how comfortable they are. I’ve also heard that they don’t leave any goggle marks…I guess it is time to put that to the test ūüôā