Catching Up

Had one of those “ahah” moments a bit through my swim practice today.  I’ve been focusing on tempo trainer and counting strokes, and trying not to be discouraged by the outcome.  I feel like my times are slow, my stroke count is high.  Times like this are when I really wish for a fellow Total Immersion coach on deck or in the pool with me to give me a couple of pointers.

I left the house without the new practice I wrote and decided to do the practice that I wrote for Monday.  It was tough to get in the water to start — weather was cloudy, windy and only mid 60s.  The lifeguards were wearing wool hats and gloves.  The staff had told me the pool temperature was 78 — something I would normally love when swimming indoors or on a hot day.

I debated cutting it short, skipping it altogether, etc. but I do have a virtual swim team that I don’t want to let down.  Went thru the tune up and the tempo trainer ladder and started to feel a bit of “discomfort” which I knew was coming from something not right with my stroke but couldn’t pinpoint it.  Got through the 150s trying to decrease and increase stroke count by one per length but kept adding and subtracting 2 strokes.  I’m usually able to do this pretty successfully.  This was frustrating, but then I remembered I’m swimming in a 50 meter pool, something I hardly ever do!  So, my changes in my stroke would have equated to adding or subtracting one in a 25 yard or meter pool.  Yea, a small thing but it definitely made me feel a bit better.  Started on the 300s and could really feel my shoulder starting to ache so I decided that rather than focus on stroke count I would just relax and swim with focal points.  And that turned my whole swim around, so much so that my second 300 became a 500 because I just totally forgot to count.  Two 300s of head position (one of which became a 500), two 300s of arms and a final 300 that I had planned to focus on kick but instead just focused on engaging my core.  A 100 cool down brought me to a 3200 meter long course practice that I feel very good about.  It’s the longest I’ve swum in quite a while.    What did I learn?  Sometimes plans just need to be readjusted, and that is absolutely okay.

Just a beautiful sky!
Just a beautiful sky!

Over the last few days I’ve had a nice recovery ride on local roads, in spite of a lot more traffic than my first ride here.  I did come upon a beautiful sight at the end of one of the roads I ventured down.

I’ve had a long run and a short run on the jungle trail, even got to warm up with an easy one mile run / walk with my husband this morning.  All good as long as I have no pain and can keep picking up my pace as my runs progress.

Captain Forster Hammock Preserve
Captain Forster Hammock Preserve

The jungle trail is just a beautiful spot to run, I just wish it had some hills.  I’m really starting to feel in my running groove again, and I’m hoping for more bike time as the weather improves.  There was an abbreviated swim practice on Monday, I thought I had to get the car back so Bryan could golf but monsoon rains cut that short!

Good dinners at home, I’ve made a couple of my favorite dinners, and a couple of new ones.  One of the most delicious chicken soups I’ve ever had was based on this recipe.  I had no sweet potato so I doubled up on the butternut squash, used fresh spices and added some quinoa to make it a bit more substantial for dinner.

Bryan and Brody, two of the loves of my life!
Bryan and Brody, two of the loves of my life!

The real highlight of my trip so far happened this morning.  I looked outside and spotted my husband Bryan with his other best friend in the world (after me!)  This picture just makes me so happy and so grateful and so thankful, I can’t stop looking at it.

Training in Paradise

I noticed a road when I was riding the other day marked “Jungle Trail“.  I did some searching to find out what it was all about and decided it sounded like the perfect place to run today.  There was no place to park at the entrance from 85th Street so we drove down the path a bit to the Captain Forster’s Hammock Preserve, the first place we found to park — Bryan and Brody came with me.  I decided that I’d explore the path through the Preserve first, and was absolutely amazed at the path, another reminder of running in Costa Rica.

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There are quite a few interesting paths off the main trail that I will save to check out another day.  Running on the main jungle trail is great!  Friendly faces, like I remember from when I first started running — everyone smiles, says hello and wishes  you a good day!  The trail was paved with mansions and estates, but what I saw that was most appealing was this home:

Truly captivating, I believe it is a working farm.
Truly captivating, I believe it is a working farm.

All in all a good training run, I can still target pace and finish strong but as I do every year  I wonder, how do I run an entire marathon, no less an Ironman marathon, at 9 minute pace?  Well, that’s all still to be seen.

Another good training day in Vero Beach, followed by an amazing dinner from my favorite blog, Paleomg.  Tomorrow starts our virtual swim so I will be in the pool in the morning, followed by either a run or a ride, need to check the weather.

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First Outdoor Ride in a While

Haven’t been on my bike in a while, so I took advantage of the best weather day to get out and explore the area on my bike.  I couldn’t find out any information on bike-friendly roads so I just took a shot on what looked to be a logical route to get over to A1A to ride.  When I checked the weather beforeI left I noticed the wind was out of the south and west, so I changed my plan to ride south instead of north once I got to A1A.
The ride to the bridge was uneventful, even though there was a bit more than a half mile without a shoulder.  All the cars that passed were gracious and steered  wide berth.  85th Street to the bridge was fine, and when I saw that bridge I was reminded of Ironman Florida and thought “here’s what passes for hills in Florida.”  A1A was a pleasure, even though I was riding into a strong headwind it was warm and sunny, with palm trees and beautiful scenery.

IMG_4795Knowing there was an impending storm predicted at home in New Jersey, I appreciated every moment of my ride.  Fortunately I’ve got a month ahead of me in Florida, I have a long way to go to get back in road riding shape! Riding over 20 miles an hour was fun, even if the wind was at my back but all in all I’m in shit bike shape, LOL!  Thoughts of Challenge Atlantic City loom large.  I did do a short ten minute run off the bike, and remembered that after almost 20 years of triathlons mean that running off the bike feels better than running as a single sport.  This was an easier run that I’ve had all week.

So, today I was a total workout slug.  I shopped for dinners for the next few days after dropping Bryan off for golf.  Got groceries, got a pedicure, stocked up on wine.  Tomorrow — Bryan told me about a local 5k but it starts at 7AM!  I think I’m going to swim and get in another run on my own.  Time to plan out tomorrow’s swim practice.

New Years Day 2014 Swim

We haven’t seen the sun since we stopped at South of the Border on Friday, but it’s warm here so I’m not complaining.

January 1, 2014 and the forecast is for rain pretty much all day.

Rainy start to 2014
Rainy start to 2014

I committed to swim as part of Mat Hudson’s TI Virtual Group Swim on New Year’s Day so off I went.  It would have been very easy to stay on the couch with some coffee this morning.  Thanks for getting me out the door, and it was wonderful to be swimming with someone half way around the world in Turkey!

The North County Aquatic Center was not crowded at all when I got there, just a couple of lap swimmers and two club swimmers in the lane next to me.

Mile swim at Punta Leona, Costa Rica in April 2012.
Mile swim at Punta Leona, Costa Rica in April 2012.
New Year's Day at the North County Aquatic Center, Sebastian FL
New Year’s Day at the North County Aquatic Center, Sebastian FL

Good memories when got a cap from my bag, I found the swim cap from an open water mile swim race in Costa Rica.  I didn’t really do my homework on picking a practice for today, after my tune up and the constant tempo set I realized that my planned practice wasn’t going to work out — can’t do 75s or 125s in a 50 meter pool.  I also realized that I was feeling some fatigue from Monday’s swim so I just eliminated that part of the practice and finished up with a 200 for a total of 2600 meters again today.  I used focal points during my tune up and cool down — head position, relaxed arms, breathing, kick.  I’m feeling particularly slow in the pool but I’m also assuming that with patience and practice a better pace will return.   About mid-way through today’s swim I realized that what my arms were doing in the water need some work — I cycled thru focusing on keeping my elbows up, keeping a patient lead arm and a good catch.  When I did this, and remembered to really open up my axilla I noticed a slight improvement in my pace.  I’m going to bring my video camera to swim on Friday and do some video of myself.

I’m hoping the rain stops and I can do some biking tomorrow.

2013 Comes to a Close

I can’t possibly write enough to cover what has occurred over this last year.  Ups and downs, but definitely more ups.  Joys and sadness, but definitely more joy.  I feel that my life is more than I ever could have imagined, and more than I ever deserved — my family, my friends, my Club members, my training partners, my business partners — life is good.  I truly love the life I live, and I live the life I love.

Although not sunny in Florida today it’s still warm.  I enjoyed a steady paced 5 mile run and thought of other runs I’ve been on while traveling.  The abandoned orange groves remind me of my training trips to Clermont, Florida.  The cows and other wildlife remind me of runs in Costa Rica — especially the cows — which led me to think of my friends Mary Lynn and Bryan and the debate over skinny cows vs. healthy cows.

Quiet night tonight, I don’t expect we will be still awake to ring in 2014.  Tomorrow I plan to join in the TI Virtual Swim, still need to decide on a practice but I am looking forward to the beauty of the outdoor long course pool!

Skinny or healthy cows ;-)
Skinny or healthy cows 😉
He was definitely checking out what was going on!
He was definitely checking out what was going on!
White babies, how cute!
White babies, how cute!
Jack asses everywhere you go.
Jack asses everywhere you go.
A palm tree nursery.
A palm tree nursery.

My 2014 Season Starts Today

I am going to keep these posts short as I’d like to keep up with a blog on my training at least for the next two months while I am traveling.

I looked forward to swimming this morning at the North County Aquatic Center.

North County Aquatic Center, Sebastian, FL
North County Aquatic Center, Sebastian, FL

I will most likely be in the Vero Beach area for the next three weeks so it made sense to invest the $16 in a pass for the month instead of paying a whopping $3 per session (senior citizen discount LOL!)

There were long course lanes available so I took the opportunity since it is something I never get to do at home.  I’ve also decided to go back and start with the first tempo trainer practice I did in the pool a couple of weeks ago.

I realized I was very tense, maybe a result of three days driving.  So, I focused on relaxed head, relaxed arms, breathing thru my 400 tune up.  I’m slow, and seem to be taking more strokes than I remember in the past (40 +/- for each 50 meter length).  I’m hoping to see improvement over the next few weeks.

I took the easy way out and rather than write everything down I’ll rely on my Garmin 910XT file for feedback.  I did not “rush” to mark laps, I’m hoping to see myself get back closer to a 1:50 hundred with practice and focus on my form.

Healthy breakfast and off for some exploring of the area.  I hope to get in an easy run later today of about 4 miles.

UPDATE:

In spite of an afternoon of exploring and a margarita at lunch, I did come home and get that 4 mile run done.  Felt pretty good, found a hard packed dirt road through some abandoned orange groves and totally enjoyed an easy, steady build run.  

Came home and made dinner from my favorite site — 5 Ingredient Monday:  Seared Chicken Thighs over Cauliflower Puree!  

2nd Annual JGSSM Club Gala

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Can’t believe that another year has passed so quickly, but that is the way life goes.  I’ve turned into my mother and my grandmother for sure . . . . . . what do I want for Christmas?  More time — more time to do all the things that I love to do.  More time to spend with my family, to spend with my friends, to train, to coach, to blog, to travel, to laugh, to dance, to sit on the beach, I could go on forever!

I wish I could acknowledge all the amazing accomplishments that have occurred over the last year by our Club members.  So many that I know about, and I’m sure there are even more that I don’t know about.  For a group that started out as a 12 week training group to cross the finish line of a local sprint triathlon to a Club who sent over a dozen members to complete their first half Ironman.  Along the way how many of us learned to swim, ride a bike, run long distance, or just show up and do something we’ve never done before.  As a group we are an amazing force, we show others that they can do things that maybe they never thought were possible.  Take a risk, we may not always succeed but at least we tried.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

 It means so much to me to be able to celebrate the end of the season with you.  How nice to dress up and look beautiful . . . . perfume, and not sweat and chlorine.  Style our hair instead of helmet head, put on makeup and high heels . . . . . and no compression!  What I especially enjoy is seeing our spouses or partners.  Their love and support is what makes us what we are.

Time to thank our sponsors and supporters.  What makes our Club such a success is also having the support of the triathlon community, locally and nationally.  Our supporters are all products and services that I believe in, the best of the best.  And “there is no promotional consideration needed”.

Thanks to Cycles 54, hands down the best bike shop in the area.  Thank you to the Atlantic Club, and Frankie Browne  . . . . . where else can you get breakfast, yoga and three pools.  Total Immersion keeps us all inspired to improve our swim practice, and to exercise more than just our arms.  Infinit Nutrition is there to answer our questions, tweak our nutrition and make sure we are all fueled and ready to go — contact Ashley and don’t forget our discount code, “mhoran” for 10% off every order!  HUUB has not only given us access to a fleet of demo wetsuits to try but has the best wetsuit that I’ve ever worn.  Trouble with your run?  There is nothing to compare to your local running shop, and the personalized touch we get from Craig Segal and the rest of the crew at Runner’s High.  Dave Stretanski has given us his time and expertise to improve our running form through Chi Running skills.  It’s tough to be out all day training and come home to try to rest and recover if our home isn’t in order.  Thanks to Jessica Carroll and Club member Eileen Flaherty for their support with services by Organize by Design and Home Enhancements.

And what would we do without Bar Anticipation — we’d be huddled in our cars on the ocean in Belmar with no bathroom and no place to chat and have a beer after our runs!

We have developed an amazing relationship with race directors.  From Ironman to CGI to DelMo Sports to DQ . . . . . entries to Syracuse, Irongirl, all the CGI event, all the DelMo events, Vincentown Sprint, we make a statement with our presence and spirit and support at races.

Special thank you to the Manser’s and Paddle Out  . . . . how much fun did we have paddling?   Thank you Paddle Out for you generosity!

Thank you to so many of our members also, for supporting us through their own local businesses.  Thanks to Sandy Carlin, Michele Paul, Colleen Klein, Joanne Hedinger, Carolyn Zilberman, Marcie Jannetti, Susan McCabe, Jen Twomey, Amy McLaughlin (Amy McLaughlin Photography), Ginny Peppler, Devin Peppler Photography, Terry Quinlisk and Danielle Wooley.

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Let’s not forget that we also formed our own charitable foundation, the Jersey Girls StayStrong Foundation, to allow us to support local charities 100% with whatever support we are able to offer!

Don’t forget to support our supporters, and make sure to have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Ironman Florida, 2001 (My first Ironman)

Mary at IronmanI thought about this today during my ride, thought I’d repost it here.

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Here was my initial fundraising request for Ironman Florida 2001:

As many of you already know, on November 10th I will be participating in Ironman Florida in Panama City Beach, Florida.  I set this goal for myself last year, and have spent a good part of 2001 working toward accomplishing this goal. (For the few family members, friends and co­workers I have not bored with the details of this event, it consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112­mile bike and a 26.2 mile run — yes, all in one day.)

Since the events of September 11th, I’ve found it very difficult to train with the single­minded focus I had known previously. I have continued to train, but till now had not been able to find the same satisfaction in what I was preparing for.

After receiving an Ironman USA newsletter announcing the Janus Charity Challenge, I feel I have found a new sense of purpose for competing in Ironman Florida.Janus has offered to donate $500 to each charity that an athlete raises funds for.  (See  http://www.ironmanflorida.com/relieffund.html) I have decided to use this opportunity to raise funds for the Uniformed Firefighters Association Widows & Children’s Fund.  One hundred percent of the funds donated to this charity are given directly to the benefit of the widows and children of NYC Firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty.  It is where the NYC Fire Department has asked donations be sent.If you want to donate to the firefighters’ families, there is no other ‘recognized’ fund.  The UFA fund is set up by the firefighters, for the firefighters.  I have already contacted Janus and verified that the UFA Widows and Children’s Fund qualifies for their matching funds offer.

My husband, Bryan, is a New York City firefighter.  Bryan arrived at the Trade Center that Tuesday shortly after the buildings collapsed.  He spent many hours and days in the following weeks dedicated to the rescue efforts,but was eventually able to come home to his family.  So many of his fellow firefighters did not.  343 NYC firefighters lost their lives trying to save others that day.

The following quote is from an article on xtri.com by Kara Douglass:

“. . . A close friend of mine, who is training for her first Ironman, helped me reconcile those feelings and renewed my focus.  Did someone on those planes or in those towers, or the Pentagon dream of completing an Ironman? she asked.  If they did, or if they had any dreams, I owe it to them to spend my time here on earth accomplishing mine.  They ran out of time.  If I waste and squander my time, if I don’t follow my dreams, I disrespect their memory.”

And here is my recap/thank you to everyone who helped me:

I have spoken with many of you individually and e-mailed those of you that I had e-mail addresses for, but I wanted to make sure that I thanked everyone who contributed financial and emotional support to my fund-raising efforts for the Uniformed Firefighters Association Widows & Children’s Fund.  In light of all the questions raised about other charities since I started this, I want to assure everyone that 100% of the funds donated to this charity are and always have been used directly to benefit the widows and children of New York City firefighters killed in the line of duty.

After sending the last batch of contributions that I received to the UFA, the total amount that I raised came to $13,540.  Janus Funds had allocated $100,000 toward this effort.  There were only 34 athletes who participated in the fundraising campaign.  They decided that they would disperse the entire $100,000 among the charities that these 34 athletes raised funds for, so their contribution would be more than the initial $500 they promised.  I found out on New Year’s Eve that they have sent a check in the amount of $5,734 to the UFA on my behalf!

I did take all your personal notes with me to Florida.  The night before the race, I sat and read through all of them and was reminded of the tremendous amount of friendship, support and generosity I received from each of you.  How did the girls from Jersey Elite, my daughter’s competition cheering squad, find the time to sell lollipops to benefit the firemen in addition to all the school and extracurricular activities they already participate in?  The $425 they gave to the UFA was only a small portion of what they raised.  I wonder if the preschool through 5th grade children from the Neptune Township Ridge Avenue School will ever know how touching and inspiring their donation of $90, raised by them five cents at a time, which they earned each time they were “caught” by a teacher being nice to one another really was?

I received a letter and a donation from someone that I have never met but her letter has stayed with me since I received it.  She told me about a friend of hers, Gerard Dewan from Ladder 3 in New York, who was lost on September 11th.To quote her letter:

“. . . Jerry loved to run.  I was touched when I read your e-mail.  Jerry had been running 12 miles a day 3 times a week in the last months of his life.  It breaks my heart when I think about how he will never do that again . . .”

When I had just about twelve miles left of the marathon I mentally stopped, looked up and asked Jerry to help me the rest of the way.I truly believe he must have heard me.I was able to run the second half of the marathon in 2 hours 16 minutes.Since this was only 4 minutes slower than my 2:12 first half, I figure he must have just decided to pick me up and carry me.

I did complete my first Ironman, much faster than I had dreamed was possible, in 12 hours, 15 minutes.  It is still overwhelming to me when I look back at the day.  I remember standing on the beach looking out at the Gulf of Mexico and at all 1,800 plus athletes lined up along the shore line and wondering how was I ever going to get in and swim 2.4 miles with all of us starting at the same time.  Somehow or other, I did.  I managed to find a comfortable rhythm, and had no serious difficulty until the end when another athlete managed to accidentally whack me in the eye.  No blood, no black eye so I just kept going.When I hit the beach and realized I was done with part one — in 1 hour, 14 minutes (way ahead of schedule) — I know I was shouting with excitement.  Running through the lines of volunteers and spectators all cheering was such a rush!Off to the transition area and more wonderful volunteers who basically did everything for me that I needed to get me out on the next leg of the day — the bike.  Again I remember going through the chute lined with spectators all cheering and I know I was cheering also. 112 miles — could I really do it?  The spectators, volunteers and other racers on the bike course were incredible.  The coordination involved in supporting this part of the day is unbelievable.  The lines of volunteers holding out water bottles, gatorade, gels, power bars and more — all watching the approaching cyclists and shouting out their offerings while also shouting encouragement was inspiring.  They covered all ages, shapes and sizes and truly seemed to want to make sure I got exactly what I needed at each aid station.  The spectators were unbelievable, holding up signs,looking each one of us in the face, shouting encouragement and support, suggesting I bike like Lance (I wish!), and telling me I looked great (unlikely at this point!)  Brief conversations with other participants in the race were inspiring, but the number of officials watching for drafting did not allow for much more than a quick word of support as I either passed or was passed throughout my ride.  No flats, no crashes and before I knew it — well, 6 hours 18 minutes later . . . I was done with leg two.  Once again, way ahead of schedule.  I did feel the start of some stomach distress, but into the tent again after an enthusiastic volunteer grabbed my bike and put it away for me.

A word for all those wonderful volunteers in the tent at this point: there is nothing attractive about a bunch of people who have been out in the sun pushing themselves to their limit for many hours who now want to get ready to run a marathon.  I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.  My volunteer just stood at my side with my bag of stuff opened and laid out, ready to hand me whatever I needed next.  Okay, off I go again — through that same chute lined with supporters.  When I saw my husband and daughter at this point I remember telling them yes — I’m okay and yes — I think I’m going to make it.

Trying to settle in for the run proved difficult at first.  I had to make a couple of pit stops which I thought would lead to the end of my day but within a couple of miles my stomach settled down.I began running with a very fit looking young guy — he told me he was 25 and hoped to be able to hold 10 minute pace.  I said that was a good pace for his second leg of the run and what I hoped to hold for my entire run.  He said he was just starting his first leg, also!  He and I ran most of the first half together, till he started walking and I left him behind.  What a boost to my ego that was!  I saw my coach and friend Brian Shea heading back on the end of his first loop — I should have told him I was ahead of schedule so he didn’t have to spend time trying to figure out if he was behind schedule.  Once again, incredible volunteer support.  Hundreds of children, teens and adults holding out all types of nutritional support and again, seeming to want to make sure that each one of us got exactly what it was we needed.  If they didn’t have it, they ran ahead to the table that did and grabbed it for me.  Spectators and signs of encouragement lined the out and back, two loop marathon course.At the end of the first loop I got to the point where the course forks.  There are two signs — one pointing me to the left to start my second leg and one pointing me to the right to the finish line.  How long before I’m back here?  I headed back out for leg two.  My husband and daughter were there, again asking how I was, I could see the incredible look of love and support in both of their eyes.  I really started to believe I was going to make it.  Now it’s getting dark and I can see people heading back in with light sticks.Wish we all had them since so many people ahead of me were walking and I, somehow, was still running.I was terribly afraid I was going to run into someone.  So many athletes are finishing, so many more are starting out on their first leg.  The support continues.  Music, costumed volunteers and more line the course.  I offered what support I could to those who looked like they were struggling, and I was encouraged by other athletes as I ran along.  It has gotten really dark, my watch has reset its timer to zero, I no longer have any idea how long I’ve been out.  But I’m still running and making forward progress.  The crowds of spectators are getting thicker and I’m approaching that same fork in the course, but this time I’m going to the right.  I get to the top of the finish chute and see the clock — 12 hours, 15 minutes and hear Mike Reilly, the voice from so many Ironman races on tv announcing “Moira Horan from Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey finishing her first Ironman!”  The tape is being pulled across the finish for me and I am running into it with my arms up in the air, crying and laughing all at once.

My husband and daughter are there, as is Brian and his wife, Andrea.  I have finished 23 minutes ahead of Brian’s bold prediction of a 12 hour 38 minute finish for me.  I thought he was very optimistic and totally unrealistic.  I find out that Brian has finished in 9 hours, 47 minutes, a personal best Ironman finish for him.

I’ve recovered without any injuries, and been goofing off and eating since I finished.  Fortunately, my scale is broken.  It’s nice to not have a 5 or 6 hour day of training scheduled, but I have signed up again for Ironman Florida in 2002.  I hope to participate in the Janus Charity Challenge again, also.

I cannot thank you all enough for your friendship, support and generosity.  I hope you have had a Merry Christmas, and I wish you and your loved ones a Happy and Peaceful New Year.

All the best,

Moira

A Day at the Beach

Went for my run this afternoon on the boardwalk in Spring Lake.  I made sure to charge my phone and my iPod so I could decide between running with my phone so that I could listen to music and take pictures, or with just my iPod so I could listen to music.  When I got to the beach it was such a beautiful sight that I decided I would just go with nothing other than myself and my thoughts.  If there was anything that I wanted a picture of it would have to be a picture that only I would see.

I did have one of my better runs — focused on relaxed form, a good workout and the beauty of my surroundings.  I ran an easy 10 minute mile to warm up then stopped and did some gentle stretching. Ran the next mile at 9:25, the next at 9 and the next at 8 followed by a cool-down mile at 9:30 pace.

My thoughts still wandered — I took in the beauty of the boardwalk and ocean in Spring Lake, the people paddling, walking, running or sitting on the beach.

At the end of my 4th mile I found one of my biggest pet peaves — a partially deflated balloon blowing around on the beach with a ribbon and a piece of plastic still attached.  Definitely headed towards the water.   The summer people may be gone but their trash isn’t.

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Where is District 36 you ask?  This is what I found:
District 36 – (Bergen and Passaic)  Carlstadt, Cliffside Park, East Rutherford, Little Ferry, Lyndhurst, Moonachie, North Arlington, Passaic, Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park, Rutherford, South Hackensack, Teterboro, Wallington, Wood-Ridge

Thank you Brian Fitzhenry, Rosina Romano, Foster Lowe and District 36.  You certainly wouldn’t be getting my vote if I did live in District 36.   Next time clean up your own trash!

You Make Swimming Look So Easy

For years other swimmers and triathletes have said that to me.  I usually just smile, but sometimes when I feel like they may really be interested in how I got there I tell them it takes an awful lot of practice.  The next logical question of course is . . . . practice what?  

Much of what I learned during my Total Immersion instruction has been very easy for me to implement since the methods and rationale seem to me to be so based in common sense.  

What has really allowed me to make a difference in my own swimming and for so many of my students’ and club members’ swimming all starts with just one basic principal — head position.  My own “ah ha” moment of how to achieve it and the “aha” moment of grasping a concept that I could share with my swimmers?  Feel as if the water is a pillow cushioning my head in the water, just let my head go to exactly where my head wants to be and trust that when I do release my head it will end up in just the right place.  

I’ve been part of several TI courses over the last year, both as a student and as an instructor.  Each time I’ve heard Terry Laughlin (the founder and head of Total Immersion) talk about head position I am struck with what a simple concept it is, but one that eludes so many.  When I practice it I feel the difference instantly, when I take the time to channel my focus.  I knew I was on the right track in passing it along when I was teaching some very new adult swimmers recently.  We were talking about head position and I said that if your head position isn’t right then everything else you do is just an attempt to compensate for that — I saw that same light bulb go on for a couple of them!  Since that morning I’ve seen their own personal swim practice change dramatically for the better.   

Simple concept, yes.  Simple to implement — maybe.  It takes discipline and focus to spend time in a pool or open water just focusing on head position.  Try it and see if it make a difference in your swimming.  I have a feeling that practicing good head position will do more to shave seconds off your 100 time and minutes off your mile time than endless “workouts” designed to improve your endurance and speed.  

Happy swimming!
* I am a USAT-Certified Triathlon Coach, a Total Immersion Level Two Swim Instructor and Coach and the founder of the Jersey Girls StayStrong Multisport Club.  If you are interested in working on your swim skills, please get in touch with me at moira@staystrongmultisport.com