Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ironwoman Wednesday: Swim

Today I am starting something new on the blog! Gabi from Lean Green Island Girl reached out to me about starting an "Ironwoman Wednesday" linkup on our blogs. It will be a weekly linkup on a variety of triathlon-related topics (that will be announced the week before). It is similar to Tri Talk Tuesday that a few other bloggers started, but the more people talking about triathlon the better!

Gabi and her husband are also training for Ironman Louisville, so it will be really exciting sharing this journey with her! We'll have to make sure we meet up before we jump into the Ohio River!

This week's topic is: Swim.

I've mentioned on the blog before that I am not new to swimming. I started swimming competitively when I was 8 years old. Was I good? Not really in the beginning. In fact, when my brother and I (along with a handful of other swimmers) made the switch from one swim team to another after their pool's roof collapsed and they started practicing at our YMCA, our first coach laughed and said that we would never become anything as swimmers.

 Oh, look at me.

Luckily, I didn't listen.

I worked extremely hard to become a better swimmer. In fourth grade my mom told me that I could start going to morning swim practices if I wanted to, and I did. I remember the first time that I swam the 50 yard freestyle under 30 seconds, I was on top of the world. My coach even gave me a dollar, and signed it, I think I still have that somewhere.

 In Florida at YMCA Nationals

I continued to get better and to swim more and more. Our swim team would take a yearly trip to Florida, and later the Virgin Islands, and in order to go you had to swim 8 practices a week. There were no exceptions. That meant I had to swim five nights a week, two morning weekday practices and a Saturday practice (or meet).

Leading a cheer

After the 100 backstroke at States

When I was in high school, I continued to swim for my YMCA team but I also swam on my high school swim team.  As all the other sports I did started to fall by the wayside (cross country only one year, softball two years), swimming was always there. My proudest moment as a swimmer was when I became State Champion in the 100 backstroke my senior year of high school.

 Before a relay in college

I continued to swim in college, that's how Mike and I met my second year, but I had lost some of my passion for the sport. I only swam on my college's swim team for two years and then I focused on my academics. Unfortunately, I still ate like I was a swimmer and gained some weight.

Mike and I tried to get back into shape by joining a local Masters swim team, and it was fun for awhile. Even though I love swimming, something was missing and we didn't continue swimming on the Masters swim team.

 At a Masters swim meet in Middlebury, Vermont

Every once in awhile we would still swim laps at the pool, but again it wasn't the same.

Luckily, in April 2011 I convinced Mike to try Couch-to-5K and our lives changed forever. I got the idea in my head that I was going to do an Ironman and here we are three years later training for Ironman Louisville.

I am so thankful for my background as a swimmer, but swimming in a triathlon is completely different than swimming competitively on a swim team.

Maine Love

Which leads me to next week's topic: Open Water Swimming!


  1. How do you get past swimming in a lake? It grosses me out with the fish, weeds etc.. Plus you always swallow water while swimming. This is the one thing that stops me from doing a tri. I was a swimmer too and pool is so much better then a lake! Yikes!!!

    1. I can talk about that next week, but probably growing up in Maine helped :)

    2. I swim in Lake Michigan (well, when it's warm enough to!) You practice in nicer places first, and with groups of people, and then you graduate to swimming more on your own. Although I admit that the first "alone" OWS (there were people watching on the beach) I was convinced I'd see a dead body while swimming along! Just keep moving!

  2. I've learned not to say "never" about anything, but I'm not sure I'll ever do a triathlon. God willing I can heal from this hip….thing, I've planned to do a duathlon and the marathon someday. But I panic in the water. I mean, I get freaked out. I'm not sure I can get over that anxiety in order to get in a pool/lake/any body of water.
    HRH, on the other hand, just did a "try-athlon" at her swim school a few weeks ago and is already hoping that they offer another one soon.

    1. I think you can do a triathlon!! Just start small :)

  3. Love hearing swimming stories! You seem to have had a pretty impressive career :)

  4. Wow 8 practices a week, that's a lot of swimming! I love that Maine Love picture. The water looks so inviting! I visited Maine a few years ago and loved it, but didn't do any OWS while there. We will definitely meet up before jumping into the Ohio river!

  5. Awesome! I wish I had started swimming earlier... I didn't swim laps until after college and still don't really know what I"m doing!

  6. Love this link-up--great idea! Wow, eight practice a week sounds intense. We used to have "optional, but highly encouraged attending" open gyms for basketball, but since it was through the school, we couldn't play more than five days in a row (or something like that).

  7. Great post and I love this Wednesday idea. I can't swim at all really (I mean I wouldn't drown, but I doubt I could swim a full lap), and that's likely why I will never do a tri (that and the crazy time commitment!)

  8. I hate and love that the coach said you wouldn't amount to much as a swimmer. Such an awful thing to say yet it probably fueled you to become who you are today.

  9. I cannot believe that Coach said that to you! How frigging lame was he?

    I am a lover of the water and have been swimming casually my entire life, but training in a pool and in open water is a completely different monster.

    This year I am a baseline, training for an Olympic distance triathlon later this summer. I am, however, doing the Ironman 70.3 in Florida next April. EEK! I'm terrified and excited. I love the swim (actually about to go to the pool now) and can do the distance, but I am just quite slow. Trying to get stronger, faster, better. Thinking of joining a masters team or maybe just an open water training team.