“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 🙂

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?

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Change Takes Courage

“Change is hardest at the beginning, messiest in the middle and best at the end.”  ~Robin S.Sharma

Change takes courage…when you move away from what is familiar into unknown territory, it takes courage.  When you don’t know what to expect, it takes courage.  When you don’t know what the outcome will be, it takes courage.  When you don’t know how the changes will impact your daily life, it takes courage. When you don’t know how the changes will impact your goals and dreams, it takes courage. It is time to tap into my inner courage and forge into the unknown.

I have been actively learning about living brave this semester in Brene Brown’s Living Brave Semester. Courage is not easy. Change is not easy. I am constantly having to remind myself to embrace courage over comfort in all aspects of my life and training.

I am actively working on changing some aspects of my daily life to master sabotaging patterns, to face the hard stuff, and to make me a more open, balanced, and a happier person.

I am also actively working on changing some aspects of my swim form, glute/hip strength, and recovery to make me a stronger and faster triathlete with fewer injuries.

Since this is the beginning, this is when change is hardest. I know it is going to get messy before the uncomfortable starts to become comfortable, but I am willing to work through the hard and messy to reap the benefits and rewards of all of the changes I am working on.

change

Have you took on huge, uncomfortable changes to make you a better person? athlete? If so, what advice do you have for me as I endure this process?