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Tag Archives: swimming

Training Blocks

What is a training block? A training block is a period of focused training that hones in on a specific discipline. During these blocks, you back off on the volume and intensity of the other two disciplines to allow more time and energy to be spent on the third, which in this case is the bike. What are the benefits completing a training block? First, we need to talk briefly about the concept of progressive adaptation. In a nutshell, a stressor is applied in the form of a training session. This taxes the body systems which, in turn, respond by coming back a bit stronger than they were before (achieved with proper recovery!) so that they can better handle these stressors the next time around. Rinse and repeat. The tricky thing in multisport is that these stressors are spread across three sports and must be carefully balanced, and combined with appropriate bouts of rest and recovery, to avoid overtraining and injury. Throw life’s other demands into the mix and you’re left with a finite amount of stress you are able to apply within a given period. By scaling back the intensity and volume of two disciplines, you are subsequently able to scale up these factors in your third discipline. When executed in a strategic, smart manner, this can yield incredible fitness gains in a much shorter time than one would see utilizing their traditional approach. But won’t I lose fitness in other areas?! Nope! Your aerobic fitness will maintain, if not increase, throughout this training block. By strategically interspersing shorter, technique-based sessions of the other two disciplines each week, you will maintain neuromuscular sharpness in these areas without cutting into your primary focus area. So what now? As we wrap up race season and roll into the “off season”, this is the prime opportunity begin addressing our limiters in preparation for next year. Training blocks are an epic tool to doing so. So give it a shot! Switch things up, focus in and get ready to ROCK. We have developed a series of training blocks with various foci for the 2017-2018 off-season that are fully customizable to meet your training goals. The cycling block begins Monday, October 2. Sign up to get in on the fun!

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Soft Whispers – Voices at the Roundtable

This morning .... I didn't want to get up.  But the loudest voice in my head said ....

GET UP!  IT IS TIME TO HUNT

A bit about me.  I'm your classic HOT MESS train wreck.  I stub my toes daily.  Whack my  new apple watch on a wall corner, repeatedly (daily).  Break stuff because I don't read instructions and just roll through life a complete hot mess.   Smart but can't spell, caring but a little loud and straight forward.  I'm fine with who I am.  I say the F word.  A lot.  And I'm ok with that too.  I do try and ... not offend anyone, but crap ... sometimes it just rolls out my mouth like water in a mountain stream. I live by hope and faith. I LIVE OUT LOUD, DREAM BIG and always try and help those in front of me.  I have acknowledged and come to know the voices in my head.  I lovingly refer to them as the "voices at the roundtable".  I try and get to know each one, give them respect and acceptance.  They all seem to have something valuable to say at various times.  I usually end up getting myself into a place in life that I become exceedingly unhappy if I try and ignore or quiet one of the voices.  ( .... no, I don't have a personality disorder ... )  ( ... or maybe I do and I'm in denial.)

TODAY I experience .... ZEN.  HARMONY.  BLISS.

A huge moment of clarity.  God talking to me.

The Universe lovingly holding me in my space.

A miracle.

2016 and some was stupid hard.  I can not believe the amount of stupid mistakes that I made.  The places that I allowed myself to go.  I will love and cherish the day when I look back and say to myself .... "I wouldn't change a thing."  I am not at that place.  But I will get there.  Where ... I can look back and say ... ok, I learned that and that.  And by learning I mean ... I saw the lesson, I worked on it and I made a permanent change so I didn't repeat it.  I Evolved. At the beginning of 2017 I decided to make some serious changes.  Put my money where my mouth was and do the things that I coach people to do all the time.  Mostly to honor my values and dreams.  Change the things that are holding me back.  Be strong.  So .... I moved to a different city. Back to where my friends and tribe are.  I got a divorce to clean up some personal stuff.  And I decided that I wasn't going to play small anymore and try to stick with the things that I value instead of doing shit half-ass because .... of blah blah blah.  In all this work ... I needed to do some clean up.  Pay some prices and what not.  Well ... the other day I went in to see  my cardio doc.  And yep, what I had suspected, was true.  I had broken my heart.  Yes granted, it seems that I have a genetic disposition for getting these heart issues that are kind of a big ass deal.  Atrial rhythm issues suck, are in your face and F me, are kind of scary.  And lets just say it OUT LOUD.  It's your heart. The soul of you.  All the time I was living 1/2 ass and what not, I knew in the back of my head I was paying a big price, but was too chicken at the time to pony up and do what was needed.  Pause on the "don't be too hard on yourself" thoughts.  You don't know all the details, and sometimes we really do need to take responsibility for our part in stuff.  Learn the lesson.  Make the changes.  Move forward.  Evolve. Holy crap, BK, heavy stuff .... where's the BLISS moment .... So today ... instead of letting myself sleep in and rest, waiting for today's call from the heart doc telling me when he's going to fix my heart next week, I GET UP.  Because that STRONG voice, the WARRIOR at the roundtable, the DARK WOLF (who I love and adore), tells me to ...

GET UP!

IT IS TIME TO HUNT

And the white wolf, (the magic maker and create-er) whispers along side ... it's time to evolve BK.  Do it different. So I get up.  And I'm glad that I do.  I get into the pool.  I start swimming. I have this love/hate relationship with circle swimming.  Usually I'm the slower one, and always holding people up.  Well ... seems that I'm getting faster in the pool and that isn't the case anymore.  Which is awesome.  It was hard tho ... the new heart meds make you a different athlete, so ... it was like swimming in a stranger's body.  Sort of.  But ... I adjust and do the best that I can.  And log in the back of my head that maybe I need to do better warm ups before I get into the H2O. Everyone leaves.  I'm still swimming.   The busy-body voice that is yacking about getting stuff done says to hurry up and get done.  But ... something caught my awareness.  I'm not quite sure what it was.  I've NEVER experienced it in the pool last night.  Now thinking about it ... maybe it was the by-product of practicing the Ganesh mantra in my quiet-time bath last night.  Or the meditations that other luvies are sending my way.  It was so profound tho .... A bit of back story.  I almost drowned when I was little.  Ha.  It's funny that I've always said that I was raised by wolves, meaning that in a negative context but .... I very closely identify with wolves as ... who I am.  Ha. So I was raised by wolves.   And coincidently, I have been drawing them a lot lately. Uh.  Anyway, my story with swimming has been a complete train wreck sprinkled with many panic attacks, kayak rescues and such.  And I'll throw in that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the ocean and for most of my life I have been sooo afraid of the water.  Such a big fat lie I've been carrying around forever.  I WILL BE SURFING in 2020 after IM New Zealand with my peeps! So for me to be COMPLETELY CHILL in the water having this .... PROFOUND and GRACE FILLED moment is truly a miracle.  During a time that I'm getting ready to roll into heart surgery.  Letting someone put me under, control the fact that I'm alive or not and selectively burning my heart ... to fix it. THIS moment was filled with .... thoughts of complete safety.  And lets just say this out loud.  I have not felt safe. Completely safe.  EVER. Maybe a brief snack here and there.  Today tho .... thats the only thought that was really in my head.

YOU ARE COMPLETELY SAFE

While swimming.  hahahaha.  So ... I swam and swam.  And swam some more.  To soak it in.  I literally felt like I was bathing (and more) in ... maybe that is what a little person feels like in there mommas womb. It was that intense yet gentle and peaceful at the same time.

PEACE.  SAFETY

It was so cool.  And most definitely what I needed for my soul today.  I know that it's the Universe.  Has my back, as always.  Hope and Faith.  My PEOPLE praying and meditating for me.  My coach being there for me.  Who's sort of like my big brother.  My decision to be faithful and hopeful.  And who knows what else the Universe mixed in there for me.  I have faith that it's good and true tho.  The feedback was most honored, tells me the decisions made yesterday are on a true(er) path.  Thought I'd share.  I hope that if you need peace and safety, you find how to open yourself up and allow yourself to experience it.  ~namaste #nmf

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Swim skills ladder

swim-ladder

Photo: Shutterfly

Learning to swim and swim efficiently can be a frustrating and difficult task. When swimming, you really can only focus and work on one or two things at a time.  This really isn't any different than anything else.  Like learning to read or write, you have to start with step 1, master that, then move to step 2.  Becoming impatient and skipping steps just doesn't work.  With the endurance swimming, this just results in less efficiency and more "work" you have to do, leaving less energy for the bike and run later.  And perhaps leaving you frustrated with the whole swimming thing and maybe not putting in the time that you need to. The below swim skills ladder will help you to understand the priority of the skills needed become an efficient endurance swimmer.  Start at the bottom of the list and make your up.  Ask yourself, yes or no. Stop at your first no.  This is wear you need help. An aside .... if you don't know the answer ... this is the time that you get your phone out and have someone video your swim.  Then send my way.  Having someone else look at your swim form can be very helpful.  I have seen great improvements from just a change or two. Go through the list of skills below, notice where you answer "no" or are unsure.  If you are trying to improve a skill become a skill that you haven't mastered, you will not be learning efficiently.    Working on the drills that go with the specific skills, really slowing down and paying attention, can greatly improve your swimming.  This means that you become more EFFICIENT and faster.  Don't go into the swim drills thinking you are just going to get them over with.  Study them.  Pay attention to how they feel and work to replicate that feeling in your swim stroke.  Doing this will change your stroke permanently and help you to proceed to the next skill. [box] START at the BEGINNING (bottom of the ladder)!!!! Pull: Do fingertips point down and elbow stays high? Catch: Does the wrist stay unbent?  Do you feel the water under your hand/wrist/forearm? Reach: Do hands extend forward above the shoulder and slightly down? Entry: Does the fingers enter slightly down? Recovery: Are you leading with the elbow on the recovery? Finish: Does your hand exit the water past your hip? Is your elbow dropping? Center line: Do you avoid crossing the center line with your hands? Rotation: Are your shoulders and hips together, rotating on each stroke? Bilateral breathing: Can you breathe to both sides? (Either every 3 or 2 strokes.) Head position: Do you look down at the lane line? Balance: Are your hips near the surface when you swim?  Can you feel your heels touch the surface of the water? Kicking: Can you kick / propel yourself down the lane with a kick board? Breathing: Are you exhaling under the water?  Are you gasping on the inhale? Floating & relaxing: Can you float forward and streamlined like Superman? START HERE!!!! [/box] If you are unsure if you are doing any of these skills, I offer swim analysis virtually.  Connect with me!  Check out this example!  

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Yoga for Athletes – Side Plank

side-plankSide Plank is an excellent way for athletes to build strength

This is an excellent visual on the goings-on of side plank. For those that are interested, the yoga name is Vasisthasana.

I’ve recorded a video for you on the in’s and out’s of this wonderful pose.

[embed width="100%" height="auto"]http://youtu.be/oh9OPSajKYA?list=UUkWjAz3CajW_TF1W2fwMDSQ[/embed] [divider style="normal" top="20" bottom="20"]

Athletes check out the plethora of benefits:

[tie_list type="starlist"]
  • Great for developing/maintaining shoulder strength for the athletes. Or rehabbing an athletes injured shoulder. When done with proper instruction, the athletes can learn to activate and stabilize the shoulder girdle in a very strong and positive way. Working to external rotate as well as internally rotating the forearm which is on the mat, helps to “co-activates” the infraspinatus and teres minor (external rotation) and the subscapularis (internal rotation) muscles of your rotator cuff.
  • Good place to work to develop core strength, and to learn how to put the entire kinetic chain together. Foot to trap. By pressing the edge of your lower foot/side of the foot into the mat, and then gently draw it upwards towards the shin to "evert" the foot activates a series of muscles-including the "lateral subsystem", which connects yours shoulders and legs to your core. When you press the side of your foot into the mat, you activate the peroneus muscles as well as the abductor muscles up at your hip (the TFL and gluteus medius). These muscles have a fascial connection to your abs, specifically the external oblique (which attaches to the rim of the pelvis). The external oblique connects to your shoulders via the serratus anterior muscle. The serratus anterior is a scapular stabilizer that works in concert with the rotator cuff. So the whole operation helps to integrate your feet, legs, pelvis and lumbar--all the way up to the shoulders.
  • Will slim down the athletes waist. :)
  • Can give the wrists a much needed rest if you are an athlete new to yoga.
  • Can help athletes to identify imbalances in the core/shoulders one side to the next. And also provides you with the pose to work on to even things out. This will benefit the athlete in a really big way in the pool especially, but in general as well.
[/tie_list] Thanks for the picture, Daily Bandha.

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Where do you work through your crap?

Personal growth. Personal Space. (blah blah blah)

10 years ago I was super angry, with a HUGE CHINA sized wall around me. I sure couldn't share my personal space. I'd beat you out of it in a heart beat. Literally. Learning how to teach yoga, especially to men, was a HUGE HUGE (HUGE) challenge. It's really interesting how little life events intersect. To come together like a couple of chords to make a pleasant sound. Or musical instruments, to play together, to practice...leading to a fine piece of music. It's like...time stops and...AHHHHH. That's what happened to me in the swimming pool during 2012. Apparently, despite the fact that I almost drowned (seriously) when I was little, I am HOME in the water. HOME. What does that mean. We are all made up of...different constitutes. Type A. MB. Wood/fire. There are a ton of ways to characterize people. They all come down to the same thing. I'll lean towards the more holistic/yoga definitions. They are cool and interesting. Type A sounds so ANAL and negative. So...my strongest "elements" (Chinese nomenclature) is WATER and WOOD. Wood would be a lot of TYPE A. Water...more artistic. That part of me a lot of you haven't seen. You can check out my art here...ARTIST. What's the point. When I swim...I'm in the environment to really get in touch with myself. Check this out...whether I like to or not. It sort of...does whatever the F it wants. It can be very frustrating. But useful too. Especially if you know whats going on and can work with it. Speeds you along the healing/integration process. Why am I writing about it now. I'm dealing with something super duper (uber) deep. It's just about finished and I'm swimming in the pool more. So...the emotions come up to the surface. In the pool I'm working HARD to correct some of my weaknesses. (maybe that's why it's in the pool...I'm pretty comfortable everywhere else). Lets all chuckle for a moment. The point is...everyone has a different mix of these "constitute flavors". So everyone is going to be different...where they find that space. In the Catholic Church. In a forest. On a park bench. Mountain top. Playing music. With family. Meditating. Doing yoga. Running. Praying. Sex. For me, for right now...it's swimming. swimming-at-andover1All this STUFF got stored in my body, my mind, my spirit ( my _____ ).  Some of this stuff has been locked up for many longs years, now working its way to the surface and doggedly expressing the need for release. So I swim with my goggles filled with tears. Do my best to scale back and relax. Find rhythm. Honor the process, get my body in sync with the water and let the water do its thing. Here's the KEY: know when the moment has passed and move on. Leave it in the water. Get out of the pool a little bit different. With new space. I hope you find where your space it at. That space that rings true for you. Like a beautiful heart stopping chord.

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Kansas 70.3 FINISHER

I knew the race would be difficult. I felt prepared. I was organized. Felt pretty calm. Leading up to the race I took exceeding good care of myself. Got good sleep. Didn't do anything crazy in yoga. Walked with CAUTION everywhere. Practiced the swim in my mind everyday. Visualized. Those that know my things about the water. When the officials said no wetsuits in the age group competition I got a little worked up. Mainly because there was a decision that I would have to make. I just wanted all the decisions to already be made. I'd never done an open water swim without my wetsuit. I could wear my wetsuit and go in the last heat but I might run out of time. After asking the coaches and my heart, I decided to wear the wetsuit and go last. My biggest goal of the race was to get the swim done without having an asthma attack. the-swimThe water was really ROUGH. 2 to 3 foot swells. IT WAS AWESOME. I started out, didn't panic, worked to keep calm, felt fine, just couldn't quite get the the rhythm of the freestyle. Without drinking a ton of water. I got pretty good at getting a nose full of water and snorting it out. So I did a lot of breast stroke. Found a rhythm. Found a way to ride the waves a bit. Stopped drinking so much water. In the back of my mind I was aware that I needed to get around the buoys faster. So I'd go back to the freestyle, where I managed to find this feeling of moving through the water better. Then I'd drink some more water. And move back to breast stroke. I was getting there, slowly. The chic I was keeping up with was pulling away. I was getting a little nervous. Then the guy in the kayak told me I had 12 minutes to get in. I had three more buoys left. I said "F$CK", measured the distance, concluded that I wouldn't make it. And said "F$CK" again. I start to sob a bit. WHAT??? CRYING IN THE LAKE??? It's hard to cry, breathe, swim, sight for the finish and not get drowned by the waves. finishing-my-swimAt the point, I had resigned to not getting in on time. And I wanted to finish this $250 dollar swim strong. If this was the last of my race, i wanted to do it well. So I pressed on. Hard. The guy in the kayak said "You got to do your very best." So I start swimming harder. More than what I thought I had. On my weak side. Faster. Breathing becomes more forced and here it comes, the wheezing. The asthma. I had this fleeting thought that one wrong wave and this sharp edge I was forcing myself on could really suck. But the kayak guy was right there with me. Shouting me on. Then I hear the announcer of the race yelling my name. And everyone else. That was pretty cool. I ran out of steam. Asthma attack. I had nothing left. I'm looking at the last 50 yards thinking "I JUST CAN'T DO IT". I can hardly get to the boat ramp, knowing my time is (has) running out and I just have NOTHING left. I'm pretty sure I didn't make it. Then I hear the announcer say I'm the last swimmer. My first thought "SWEET!!! That swim didn't cost me $250 just 5 bucks". Second thought, you got to breathe. I hardly see anyone, until I see Anna. A friendly face asking me if I'm alright. I say "I don't know". And just keep walking to my bike. Time in the water: 1:11. Side note: Chomps before the swim do me good. Getting on the bike was easy. Getting going was easy. I had my feet under me. I was thrilled. As I crossed the dam I left the swim behind me and started looking up for the next person to pass. It was DIFFICULT to see bikers coming in, but heck... I kept telling myself, "You're the cut off swimmer. You MADE it." At first I passed a few people. It wasn't as triumphant to pass the ones on the side of the rode with flats and what not. But I took what I could get. Side note: I can't pee in my wetsuit for some reason. So... after passing a legitimate racer (someone still moving forward), I stopped and did a QUICK pit stop. I did spy for bad plants. Didn't need that kind of drama. QUICK QUICK, I'd be @#)$( if that guy passed me back. Didn't find the bike ride THAT bad. Not after that brutal Atlanta 70 mile training ride. The tea pot song wasn't helping much. So I changed it..."just keep pedaling, whens this gonna stop, heck if I know..." I'd look up, damn hill wasn't done yet..."apparently not yet, just keep pedaling, whens this gonna stop, heck if I know..." Hahaha. I got to mile 25 with just 7 F-bombs. I was pretty proud. I was trying to keep it under 10. Though I counted the ones in my head, not just out loud. Maybe that was being to hard on myself. Every person I passed was AWESOME. I knew that at about mile 36 things were gonna get easier. And the killer wind was gonna be my ally. So when we turned, I hit it hard. AWESOME. I actually enjoyed the bike ride. Besides the left butt bone.  And the wasp. So flying down a BIG hill, 40 miles an hour (not letting up) something flies into my shirt and I get a sharp sting. The F-bombs just started flying. I look at my hands, at my speedometer, at my boobs and decide to just ride it out. I totally forgot that they can only sting you once. That would have helped. So I'm sort of freaking out that I have a bug in my bra that's gonna keep stinging me. I get my arse but the next hill. Come to this awesome streaking halt and flash the sheriff sitting there directing traffic to release my wasp. DUDE. bonnie-bike-inThat was the only time someone passed me. For about 30 seconds. Finishing that ride was AWESOME. I felt great. Perpetuum. That nasty drink at the aides stations sucked. I ate 2 salt capsules every hour. A lot of chomps with caffeine and the orange yummy beans. I almost took a dive into the "BIKE IN" blow up thing. hahaha. Didn't quite get both feet unclipped. Managed to save it and get on with the day. Bike Time: 4:01 bonnie-runningStarting the 13 miles was hard. My legs felt ok. It was just plain HOT. And the run was so incredibly boring. The highlights of the run: Running with Glen for a bit. Seeing Dan a bunch. Seeing Ashlea's rockstar @ss. Kelli on her last bit, getting myself an "another lap to go kiss". The honey badger sign at the aide station. She recited the video to me, so that was cool. "He's so NASTY...He doesn't give a SHIT. He just takes what he wants!" The water hoses. And the seasoned triathlete that said this was a really hard race. I walked at each station. One cup of water over the head, one down the back. The cup of ice down the cleavage. (Thinking back...I wonder if this helped the wasp bite not get angry.) Two cups of water into the stomach, refill my little hand water thingy and off I went. I only ate two Gu's, which surprised me. The one that I kept in my pants tore me up!!!! I kept up eating the salt capsules. I felt pretty good until I got to the pit of hot hell, down by T1 and the porta potties. NASTY. The water hoses had such a big impact. I would get TOTALLY drench and feel SUPER FABULOUS until dry. bonnie-running-endI passed a lot of runners. I tried not to walk. I walked more on loop one. Average pace was 12:20. Loop two got better. ALMOST DONE. Pace quickened to 11:00. Still feeling pretty good. Knees started hurting the last 1/2 mile. So I slowed down. That last bit SUCKED. I had it in the bag and my legs were saying "hey, missy, we are REALLY tired". Rounding that corner though, into the shoot was awesome. I saw someone walking and thought to myself "WHAT!!!! This is where YOU DO NOT WALK!" This is where you dig deep and pull yourself together. Icing on the cake. The announcer saying "Here's Bonnie Kissinger, boy I'm glad to see her finish!". That was TOTALLY AWESOME! Run time: 2:33.

1/2 Ironman Kansas 70.3
bonnie-a-finisher jumping-picture-after-kansas-IM-2012 just-about-dead

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“Just Relax” – yeah yeah, tell me how…

Sometimes we know what to do.  Just not how to get it done. Couple of big sections of my life have intersected in this lesson mastered. Learning how to not freak out in the pool. It's a legitimate freak out. I almost drowned when I was little. I have always suffered from speech anxiety. Blah blah blah The intersection. During my adventures of "3 boy homeschooling" I've learned about the different learning types, how people experience life in vastly different ways. Number 1 is very visual, learns well from reading. Number two is insanely kinetic, learns by feel then by auditory input. And number 3 is a a sponge, learning equally well in all areas. As a yogi, a big lesson is to learn how to connect with the body, how to control the breath. How to know whats going on, and things to do about it. As a Gemini, Chinese Tiger. Female. Engineer. I might be more tightly wound than others. So..."just relax" is like a foreign language to me. Just hearing those words makes me more tense. This "just relax" command doesn't come naturally to me. And I think it's a bit challenging to work hard but remain relaxed. So when my awesome swim coach on day one gave me just one homework assignment, to sing "I'm a little teapot" when I'm swimming. To try and relax. I thought "yeah yeah...". I gave it a big try. Didn't work. Surprising because I'm into music in a big way. I even tried Little Bunny Foo Foo, more my style. Nope. Then an awesome friend of mine, another fishy swimming person, reminded me of a yoga practice..."you love the water, FEEL the water, FEEL your body in the water. Focus on that. Not on relaxing so much, just being one with the water." PRESTO! Yoga in the water.  Me, my body and the water were one for 12 minutes.

Strength at Ease

Knowing how one experiences the world, communicating to them as they communicate...things really start to jell. Gets pretty juicy. Super Fun.

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