Where is My Mojo

Posts Tagged ‘swimming’

Just an Observation

In Swim, Triathlons on June 26, 2012 at 6:30 PM

For some reason it never occurred to me that my goggles could split in half. This morning during my 2,450 yard workout, these things were pending from a little thin piece of the rubber that makes them a whole. Luckily I had another pair of Barracuda HydroBat Racing Goggles in my swim bag. These are my favorite brand and model of goggles by far… not that I’ve used them ALL, but so far, these make me happy.

Anyway, some reason I never thought these little things would break, neither swim caps. Yes, swim caps break too, if you didn’t know. I’ve already broken one of my favorites… it was neon green and said “Got Chlorine?” The cap, too, split opened in half one day after a swim. That’s why I always carry two of everything that has to do with swimming, especially two pairs of goggles for races. However, I often wonder what can I possibly do when the swim starts and I have a goggle malfunction… it’s not like I can yell “Wait! Stop the race! I need to rush to transition for an extra pair of goggles!” I think at that point I’d be pretty much screwed and would have to suck it up.

So here’s to my mirrored Barracuda’s. Thanks for training and racing for me for the past…??? six months? Now it’s time to go to Trijungle and restock before my next swim.

My Barracuda Goggles

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Trying to get back…

In Bike, Run, Swim, Triathlons on January 20, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Back to writing… back to training… back to finding a purpose in life.

Last year was a very exciting one with many races to train for. All in all I completed 7 triathlons and the ING half marathon which was the first event in 2011 and the only one I did with The Dude. I signed up for an 8th race, but a last minute getaway trip to Paris with The Dude was more appealing than swimming, biking and running for a total of 2 hours and something on a Sunday morning. So, the year ended on a high note and now I prepare myself for new athletic challenges this year… but first, I will bore you with a detail list of my accomplishments highlighting my swimming performance just to show you that a little bit of training and a good attitude can help you float on water…

  • ING Half Marathon/13.1 Miles on 1/31/11 – On mile 8 I had to walk because my knee was hurting pretty bad. The Dude and I walked together to the finish line, but as I was approaching it I started running in a “bunny hop” style. It was frustrating not to be able to run because of the knee, but to walk through the finish line was not acceptable. I think The Dude hates me for leaving him behind and not crossing it hand-in-hand with him, but all romanticism aside, this was very personal for me and had to do it on my own. Sorry Dude. 😦
  • Spring Training Triathlon/Sprint Distance on 4/3/11 – My first ever drowning experience due to a panic attack. I made it to shore with a floating device. I got disqualified, yet I felt like a champ. My total swimming time was 19:29. Total race: Doesn’t even show up cause I got, yes, disqualified!!! 🙂
  • Egg Hunt Triathlon/Sprint Distance on 4/23 – I was so terrified about this one given my previous race performance. I made it through the swim backstroking all the way. Hey! But I didn’t get DQ!!! My total swimming time was 24:15 (slower than the previous race, but no floatie!). Total race: 1:44:57. 🙂
  • Trilogy #1/Sprint Distance on 6/19/11 – This series was FUN! A beginner-friendly course and so many other athletes giving me support! I freestyled the entire swim and, if I felt like a champ on my first tri-race, on this one I was the queen of the world!!! My total swimming time: 13:05. Total race: 1:27:07. 🙂
  • Trilogy #2/Sprint Distance on 7/17/11 – Total swimming time: 11:15. Total race: 1:24:14. 🙂
  • Trilogy #3/Sprint Distance on 8/14/11 – Total swimming time: 12:07. Total race: 1:24:39. 🙂
  • Escape to Miami/Sprint Distance on 9/25/11 – Total swimming time: 20:15. Total race: 1:52:54. In my age group of 11 women, I came in 5th. So, it looks like I’m average, and being this average makes me happy! Now, the swim was a challenge. The current was so hard I felt I was going nowhere. The good news was that everyone else had a hard time with the swim as well because of the current. So, it wasn’t just me. 🙂
  • Miami Man/International Distance on 11/13/11 – Total time: 26:33. Total race: 3:08:08. Please note the time on the swim… 26 minutes and 33 seconds. Yes, you might say I’m getting slower. But no! This was my first international distance, and I swam 1000 meters as opposed to the 400 meters I had been doing on Sprint distances. Not too bad. This race and the Escape to Miami race were the most exciting to me. Maybe because they just felt like “grown up” races. 🙂 🙂

This year I’m signed up for the ING Half Marathon, Nautica South Beach Triathlon and Swim Miami, a swimming event for which I will swim a mile. Who would’ve thought that I would come this far from not being able to watch Sponge Bob Square Pants just because he was underwater I would freak out of breath. Now I even enjoy swimming. It’s not like I just do it because I have to, but I do enjoy it. Now I only have to overcome my fear of sharks and jellyfish when swimming in open water…

Thanks for reading!

Random thoughts that get me through

In Bike, Run, Swim, Triathlons on October 24, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Trying to do a 60 minute run yesterday, after an hour and forty minute/22 mile bike ride, put my mind to spin. What are you to do while you push your body to run under the inclement sun and the abnormally dry weather of a Miami Sunday morning? Think. That’s what you do. Think. Random thoughts that fly through your mind like that floating feather at the beginning and end of Forrest Gump. Only that sometimes it can become a whirlpool.

But I thought. I let my randomness take place in the infinite space called “mind”.

I thought of the previous day while being at Top Dog Cycle getting my bike fitted. There was a man who I could tell was a cyclist, not a triathlete, and who suggested I took off the plastic reflectors off my wheels so I would look more professional, and people on the road would not mess with me. I thought “whatever”.

The man nicely insisted to one of the shop guys to take them off. By the time I was leaving he again told another guy that “I” wanted them off. To what I responded, nicely, “No, it’s more like you want them off”. He: “I just want to avoid people making fun of you”. Me: “I almost drowned during my first triathlon. I made it to the shore with a floating device and was disqualified, and yet finished the race feeling like a champ. I don’t think I will be embarrassed of those plastic things.”

The sun was crispy and I was not into the run. Not exhausted from the long bike ride, but more like bored and wanted to get home quickly. But my mind then connected the dots to the time when I was around 5 years old and my teeth were falling off. I was so happy of them moving out and making way for the real ones to grow, that I had no problem smiling and showing my tongue through the imperfections of my dental infrastructure. There are no photos of that time that I do not come out smiling and showing my holes. I was small yet proud!

By the time I cut my run short, I realized my life has been one of taking pride, as much as I can, of those things that are hard for me to accomplish or those I had never ever imagine being capable of even trying to do. I simply realized that at the eye of adversity or a challenge, I continue to smile, now tall and proud like the little girl I was at age 5.

Swimming with the Sharks

In Swim, Triathlons on June 20, 2011 at 6:02 PM

I work in advertising, and normally when you present a case study you leave the results for the end. For this post, I’m not. I’m too damn excited to do so…

Results: I swam 400 meters in 13 minutes freestyling without stopping… nor panicking nor drowning. Yeay for me!

Yesterday was the Trilogy #1 Tri-race and I participated. This was my third tri-race ever. I was both excited and anxious to really see how far I had gone with my swimming. To me it was something like a mid-term exam. “Let’s see how you are performing so far, Ms. Chaurero”. Surprisingly, on Saturday I was not anxious. Only by night time I was just a bit. Butterflies were doing their usual thing. Now, Sunday, was different animal, but nothing comparable to my second race when I was hoping something insignificant would happen, but significant enough to avoid showing up at the race… e.g. my  car tire exploded; Socrates vomited; I woke up to a very bad hair day…

But this day was different. It was the day where the big girls were separated from the little ones. Boys with one hair on their chest no longer played with the hairless ones. It was THE turning point.

After the regular things I do before being able to leave home, I went to pick up Karla, a high school friend and tri-buddy. By 5:35, we were parking the car and heading to get ourselves marked and pickup our ankle chips so we could get into the transition area to set up our gear. Because of our race numbers being so close, she and I ended up on the same bike rack, so we set our stuff next to each other. Yeay! Upon completion and meeting our other team members, we headed to the beach area from where we would begin the race.

Once there, I got into the water for a quick warm up and I started feeling much more confident. I was thinking “You can do this. You can do this”. It was just a matter of waiting for our 40+ women group to be called into the water. We wore purple swimming caps, and there were many of us… 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. and then the sound of a bull horn, and off we were. I went out smoothly but firmly. Just like in meditation, where you listen to yourself breathing to be able to focus, I do with swimming. I focus on the water bubbles coming out of my mouth. I always let them go out at the same pace, almost creating a repetitive sound, a song if you may. Something that has a certain rhythm that keeps my mind on track… if possible.

My first impressions were incredibly enlightening to me, but probably foolish to you, because I couldn’t believe I was swimming next to soooo many people. I would touch some of their feet. Some of them would touch mine. I could see feet and hands and arms and legs. I could see entire bodies swimming next to me. I was not alone as I had been in my two previous races. This was it. I was swimming with the sharks. Finally! And still I kept it calm. I continued to follow my breathing pattern and have happy thoughts of getting to the shore. I didn’t want to go faster in fear of getting tired. The objective was clear from the beginning: do the entire swim in freestyle and without stopping. As we turned the first buoy I realized many people stop there to rest, without noticing that they become obstacles for the rest of the swimmers. At this point I pushed myself so I could avoid getting stuck with them. Passing the second buoy was most exciting because you start pointing your body towards the direction of the finish line. At this stage I was getting excited, to a point where I was starting to get tired, but I really think it was more mental than physical. So I started thinking about the Dude and how proud he would be of me; of my Coach who has helped me getting where I was and who for sure would be happy to see me come out of the water; and my training buddies who have always been supportive and helping me either by giving me tips or just kind words.

I swam until I couldn’t any longer because my body was touching the sand in the water. I got up, and as I started to run out I had to look back. I had to make sure I was not the last one out of the water. And surely I wasn’t. There were plenty of sharks with different colored caps trying to make their way to the shore. As I was running I saw my Coach with a big smile. I have no clue what I told him, if I indeed said something. We hi fived, and I went straight to transition.

Once on the bike, and heading out to the course I was still in awe, overly excited and almost teary eyed. The race could’ve ended for me right there and then, and I would’ve been a winner in my little own world!

An expensive sport? Let’s do it cheaper!

In Swim, Triathlons on May 6, 2011 at 6:30 PM

It really depends on how much are you willing to spend. Of course, the dollars add up, but you can control how much “up” you want them to add.

As you know, a triathlon is about three distinct sports: Swimming, Biking & Running, therefore you need to gear up for each discipline. For some you don’t need much, but for others you do, and those “do’s” can cost money, and yes it’s the biking one that can push your budget up!

So I thought I would just list out the so needed gear by discipline and comment on each one of them, and even recommending places where to shop. I’m in Miami so I do a lot of in-store shopping, but some of these stores have online purchasing capabilities, in case you are interested in checking them out. Just so you know, these are the things I have, I’m sure there are plenty more and sophisticated stuff out there that can help you in your training/performance. Remember, I’m not an expert… I just want to be a triathlete.

Because I don’t want to bore you with a LONG post, today I will focus on Swimming, and then tomorrow perhaps on biking and then Sunday (if I survive all the training) will talk about running.

Swim:

  1. Swimming cap – you can buy them at any sports store for less than $20. My first cap was given to me by one of my friends and team mates. She bought it especially for me because it was for long hair. Now my hair is shorter, but I still use it. However, because it’s gray, when I go swimming in open water I use more colorful and catchy caps to alert other people and boaters that I’m there. I guess they will see from afar something like a match head floating in the water. I found some really cool and fun ones in SwimOutlet.com. I got one that says “Got Chlorine?”, another one with a smily face, one with assorted colored cubes and one that’s kinda psychedelic a-la-Austin-Powers (yeah, baby! Yeah! – sorry, I had too). As you will see, they are not expensive. This is one piece of gear you will need for a race, however these are provided to you by the race coordinators. Each wave/group of swimmers have a determined color, as you compete by categories.
  2. Goggles – same here. You can get them at any store and they are not expensive. You can find these for less than $20. I bought mine with The Dude. He selected them for me and those are the only ones I have so far. I’m planning on buying a pair with a darker shade for the sun. Sometimes when you are swimming and stick your head out to take some air, you find yourself partially blind because of the sun. Not good. Now these too you need for a race, and they are not provided to you, so you need to bring your own.
  3. Kicking board – Well, I had no idea how much this one cost until I saw Trijungle’s site, and yes, you can find these too at less than 20 bucks! I use The Dude’s board. He lent it to me and then he got a new one. So, I guess, technically, it’s mine now (?). This is something you will need for training purposes only. When team or individual training, we have to do several drills with it, especially for warm ups.
  4. Pull bouy – this little thing is a tricky fellow. This goes between your legs while your swim putting pressure on them. The idea is to provide buoyancy to the legs to keep them from sinking while you keep your legs immobile, while you focus on training your arms. This will also in keeping your kicking under control. I learned that kicking doesn’t really make you move forward, it’s your stroke that does it all. When I first tried this I was going crazy, tilting from one side to the other. I’m still working on it. Again, very inexpensive, and only needed for training purposes, so don’t put it in your transition bag cause it ain’t doing a thing for you!
  5. Hand paddles – These plastic devices are worn on your hands to enhance muscle build-up or speed during your swimming practice. I haven’t used these much, but will be as I’m taking swimming classes with my coach. I borrowed mine from guess who? Yes, The Dude.
  6. Fins – another swimming prop help develop leg strength as well as improve your body position in the water. The idea, according to me, is to do your drills with these on, and when you swim in the “real world” a.k.a. race, you will be faster. I have the these and actually got them cheaper at Sports Authority if I’m not mistaken.
  7. Swim suit for training – well, normally everybody has one, so it’s not like you cannot begin training because you don’t have one. Now, I got one because I didn’t have a full body one, so I got your typical training/racing one, and with this what I mean is I didn’t get a South Beach glam type of suit. This one is a non-form beneficial type. Yes, you don’t look HOT in it. Because I’m practical I bought one that is reversible. One side is green, like REALLY striking green, and on the other is black. Something like this. Additionally, I have a pair swim shorts, which are for men but who cares, they fit (actually nicer than the swim suit), and that way I don’t need to be showing extra skin when training with my teammates. Swim suits/shorts vary in price. Just look for materials that will endure many uses especially in a chlorine environment. Now, for racing the best thing to have is a tri suit, either a two piece or one piece. I have both, but for the two races I’ve done, I’ve used the one piece. I bought Zoot because it’s a good tri apparel brand and also, quite frankly, they were on sale (great sale) at one of my new favorite stores Mack Cycle. Tri suites take you throughout the entire race without having to take anything off or put anything on when it comes to clothing. It’s like being naked and only having to change shoes, helmet to running cap, etc. It’s one less thing to worry about.

Additionally, I have a wetsuit which I’ve only worn once, and a neoprene shirt which I do wear a lot, especially when I go to swim in the LA Fitness pool, which is supposed to be heated, but to my standards, it’s NOT! I admit not tolerating cold very well, unless I’m properly covered, and in water there’s not a lot you can do. By the way, that wetsuit I would wear with high heels and go party!!! The body that thing gives you is incredible!

Now, if you have the time and the interest, do a little price search for these items and see how much hypothetically you would be spending just in the swimming department. Again you can get great price-accessible stuff, or you can go out there to get top of the line brands. Because I’m in an entry level phase, I try to be humble in terms of what I get and the price I pay. Of course I look for good brands, but I try to find the opportunities to save some cash!

Thanks for reading me and if you have any suggestions, comments, etc for me, leave me a note!

Exhausted

In Bike, Run, Swim, Triathlons on May 5, 2011 at 4:42 PM

And so the Egg Hunt Triathlon came and went. On its way out, it left behind, and impregnated on me, the familiar post-event blues which I’ve always dreaded. Christmas, my birthday, trips, and any event that I await for with tremendous anticipation, leave me with a complete sense of loss and no purpose to continue moving at the same pace. I guess that’s why I immediately try to jump into something else, something new, or lately, another triathlon.

However, this time I think I’m exhausted. May 15th is Tri-Miami and I haven’t registered yet. I guess I want to take my time to train better in the open waters… and be able to swim freestyle all the way to the shore. Also, this week I haven’t been too diligent with my training. Saturday & Sunday I trained, but this week I haven’t done a thing. Today I’m swimming with my coach, and although I would prefer to go home and hide from the world, I will step up to my obligations.

Yes, I think I will be passing on this race and I’ll probably hate myself for it at the beginning, but my body is somehow asking for some rest. It’s amazing how a couple of days after the race I felt no pain, no aches, no nothing. Four days later, I felt the world had fallen on my back. It must’ve been that the adrenaline rush was coming to its expiration date leaving me in a complete state of soreness. Oh, but how I liked that soreness. It’s the sensation of personal triumph… you know, the I-feel-like-crap-but-look-at-all-I-accomplished sensation. Again, you feel like the champion of the world, of your own little world, which is completely Ok with me, because remember… success is relative!

Now, I need to stop because my writing juices are not flowing as they should. I hope tomorrow I’m in better shape and can write some more.

P.S.: I’m leaving you with some pictures from the Egg Hunt from the ride and run portion.