No Guts, No Glory!

Someone once said that “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” Well, having had all three yesterday, I can tell you it is a true statement (though I prefer sweat and salt water).

Yesterday my NYC triathlon team and I took on Coney Island with a vengeance as we completed our first open water swim practice of the season.

7:30am, Coney Island, triathlete states of mind.

(Picture stolen from TNT teammate C. Oh)

I had a new wetsuit to test out – Orca 5S, this year’s version of the fabulous one I had last year – and was excited to see how it compared.


Just like last year, we got into the frigid water and acclimated ourselves to everything – the temperature, the waves, the murkiness, the flailing limbs around us – before we started actually swimming. And just like last year I had trouble putting my head into the water. WTF!? The amount of expletives going through my mind for the first 20ish mins was enough to make a sailor blush and I was at a total loss. I wasn’t panicking like last year, which was a plus, but I was frustrated, mad and confused as to why it was not as easy as I expected. So I swam with my head up.  Ugh.

Then it was time for a 30 minute continuous swim. Ok, I thought, do it like you know you can – like you’ve done it before – and get out of the water feeling good and confident, or continue being a scared little p**sy and this whole thing is for nothing and a waste of time. Up to you.

Good pep talk, right? But it worked and I tuned everything else out – the other people all around me (Boyfriend included because he was doing great and didn’t need me worrying about him), the waves, my foggy goggles, the sunburn that was inevitably going to be on half of my face because I am a left side only breather, all of it – and slowly but surly got my head in that ocean. And once I did, everything started working like it was supposed to. My body became horizontal which helped me to glide through the water better, my arms were calm, my legs didn’t kick in overdrive, my breath was rhythmic and natural, and I actually felt fantastic. (And that new wetsuit did an awesome job!) I remembered key swimming techniques that I had recently learned and just focused on those. By the end of the 30 minutes my hands were numb from the cold water but I felt good – which was a huge improvement from this time last year!

Little victories.  I’ll take them anywhere I can get them.

And speaking of swimming, last week Boyfriend and I spent two days at Hungry Ghost Guest House in New Paltz. Known as a vegan “active retreat”, Hungry Ghost is owned and operated by athletes/super awesome couple, Mike and Petra Trunkes, who encourage swimming, biking, running, and a variety of other outdoor activities (which happen to be a few of our favorite things!) We took about 5 hours of Total Immersion (TI) swimming lessons with Mike. Because the lessons are taught in a small pool with a wave machine that makes a current to essentially keep you in one spot, TI focuses on mindful practice so that changes and corrections in swimming can be made immediately. There were also mirrors on the inside of the pool and cameras so that we could watch our technique and immediately see what needed to be tweaked. Seriously – it was fantastic, Mike was a great teacher and the two were the best hosts!! (Not to mention Petra’s chocolate chip and banana pancakes with apple compote were out of this world!) I have a strong feeling we’ll be back in New Paltz very soon for an open water swim or tune-up before the triathlon. While we were there, we also took advantage of being so close to the mountains and ran around Lake Minnewaska. Here are some highlights:





Ok that’s it for now! Please keep me motivated by donating to my fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as I continue to train. Right now I am 59% of the way to my goal and need your help to keep the momentum going. Let’s do this together!


Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!

I guess you could say I’ve always been drawn to odd combinations. The poetically tragic, the beautifully damaged, the hopeful cynic, the compassionate criminal. As a kid I was a girly tomboy – I loved my easy bake oven and creepy crawler machine equally. I had just as much fun with my stuffed animal collection as I did with my remote control cars (and that one remote control John Deere tractor!).  I loved playing baseball in the street or speeding down hills on my bike or getting grass and mud stains all over my clothes as much as I loved the drama club or playing with paper dolls or cheerleading. And the right hip hop song can amp me up just as much as the right classical piece.

I guess it only follows suit that I have a love for ballet and boxing?

Today was a cardio day on my triathlon training calendar (well technically it was a running day, but I’m switching things up this week since I have my half marathon this weekend) and I took my Muay Thai class, which was amazing as usual. It is impossible to leave that place without a trail of sweat following you. (Which I also love!) I got to kick and punch guys and pretend I was in the octagon with them. (In my head I am the biggest baddest fighter in all the land. In reality, a squirrel could probably beat me. A really big squirrel.)

After Muay Thai, Katharine and I – drenched in sweat and ready to fight anyone – headed off to a ballet class. Not quite the place most people would go when they want to fight, but luckily we are not most people! The teacher for our Sunday ballet class had talked us into joining her pointe class (it really didn’t take much convincing – we jumped at the opportunity!) and today was the first day.  We didn’t do much, just started to get reacquainted with pointe shoes.

It’s quite a change to go from boxer to ballerina, grappling to graceful, but I think we can make it work!


Tomorrow will be less of a contradiction – I’m just swimming with the TNT team, and then tapering off until half marathon day on Sunday!  Swimming might be less of floating like a butterfly or stinging like a bee, and more of flailing like a whale (whales can flail, right?) but whatever it looks like, it will be a little better than it was last week! 🙂