where i swim // saint paul edition

I grew up in northern Minnesota, 20 miles south of the Canadian border not too far from Winnipeg. My graduating class… just 39 people. Needless to say, my high school didn’t have a pool or a swim team.

But, three blocks from home, there was an outdoor city pool where I swam away my summers. Sunup to sundown, sunburned skin, a quick afternoon break for orange Shasta or a bike ride to the pharmacy for sweets. It was my second home even when I got older thanks to a lifeguarding, teaching swimming lessons and managing the pool. Case in point: I took a senior pic in the pool. #bestjobever #ilooksoyoung!

swiming

But, then swimming fell by the wayside, and other than the occasional ocean swim on vacation, I never got in the pool… until I started triathlon.

Since then, I’ve swam my way around Saint Paul’s pools. Check ‘em out…

LA Fitness // 1370 University Avenue

Pros
Convenience – it’s open all day.
Price – membership is a steal (I pay about $30 a month).
Locker room sauna – my go-to during the polar vortex to warm up as well before and after swims.
Giant windows let in lots of sunshine.
Free parking.

Cons
Water temp is hit or miss (there have been swim at your own risk too hot warning signs).
Super chlorinated – I smell even after taking a shower.
It can be busy – noodle swimmers are the norm.
Inconvenient aquafit class times (6p MWTh and 9a on Saturday).
Not the cleanest.
Only four lanes.

DCIM100GOPRO

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on being happier.

Grump ball.

Growing up, that’s what my dad called my sister and I when we were particularly crabby (he even made up a little jingle to go with it).

Well, lately, behind the blog scenes, that’s been me – a grump ball. Blame (some of) it on the horrible winter we’ve endured in MinneSNOWta (um, seven inches of snow yesterday, April 4… wahhhhhh!). Blame it on the lack of sleep. Blame it on the two-week sinus infection. Blame it on far too much commute time and too much screen time. Blame it… well, there’s really no excuse. I’ve been a cranky beeotch and probably pretty unpleasant to be around.

A few weeks ago, after I really realized just how grouchy I was, I knew something had to change.

Enter 100 happy days

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liebster award // spread the blog love

liebsterblogawardBlogging has brought a lot of goodness into my life. Not only has it been a great creative outlet, it’s also opened a lot of doors and introduced me to some pretty fantastic people. One of them being Katie, who recently nominated me for the Liebster Award (thanks, dear!), an internet blogging award that circulates among bloggers.

Here’s how it works. The nominator asks you 11 questions, you answer, and then you nominate 11 other bloggers to answer 11 questions, and the fun continues :)

With that, here are my answer’s to Katie’s questions!

How did you choose your blog name?
I can’t exactly remember! I was in the midst of working a full-time job in communications, a part-time fun job at lululemon and attending grad school full-time, and I thought I could somehow fit in blogging (after three posts, it fell by the wayside). So, the name… I love alliteration, and find sweating pretty sweet, and somehow the name fell together. So there you have what I can remember!

What’s your favorite thing to write about?
Triathlon, obviously :) but, I also love writing about random things that inspire me in hopes of inspiring others.

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on getting better.

Halfway through an ohmygod-I-can’t-breathe-and-my-arms-may-fall-off interval swim last Thursday morning, Nick said to me from the lane over: If you aren’t pushing it, you won’t get better. 

I had been complaining that 200s sucked, cursing coach for scheduling 10 of them on a wicked fast (for me) pace. I nailed the first three, but that little seed of self-doubt started creeping in around the 100 mark of number four. I can’t hold this pace for six more of these. That’s so fast. I’m not that fast! My lungs may explode! Remember the last time you did this workout?! It was awful, and you resorted to the pull buoy! And, then, coach’s workout comments in TrainingPeaks – HIT THESE (yes, in all caps) – on running commentary, in sync with my stroke.

During the subsequent intervals – which I hit, by the way – both Nick’s and coach’s comments swirled in my head. Sure, they were partial motivation to suffer swim 1:29 per 100 pace, but they apply even broader.

DCIM100GOPRO

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returning to running + the AlterG.

After a three-month hiatus to let my heel heal, returning to running has been a slow process… think five-minute intervals at 5.9 mph on the treadmill. Not fast and not far by any means, but it’s been pain-free, and that.is.awesome. Funny how you don’t realize just how much you miss something until it’s suddenly back in your life. So glad that runner’s high is returning.

Helping my return to running is an AlterG anti-gravity treadmill. Lucky me, there’s one where I do physical therapy, and running on it has been a great way to ease back into it without crazy load on my heel.

alterg

AlterG running feels how I imagine hanging out in baby bouncer would feel. After putting on a pair of knee-length neoprene shorts with a zipper circling the top waistband (they are hideous), you step on the treadmill, lift up and lock the collapsible air chamber into place, and zip the shorts into it. The chamber then fills with air, lifting your feet off the belt a bit. A quick calibration and body weight percentage adjustment later, you start walking or running. The lower the percentage of your body weight, the less impact and load on your feet. I started with 15 minutes at 70 percent of my body weight and built up to 30 minutes at 85 percent of my body weight. 

While it’s not cheap – I’m dreading this insurance bill – it’s been worth 1-2 sessions per week the past month. It’s allowed me to run continuously (vs. run-walk intervals) and helped me transition back up from zero. 

A couple AlterG running tips:

  • Wear shorts. The air chamber is HOT, and even after just 20 minutes, sweat is running down my calves. 
  • Run normally. It’s easy to just run on your toes given that you’re being held up by the AlterG. Try to keep your normal running gait.
  • Watch your speed. Again, since the AlterG is supporting you, it’s easy to run faster than normal. Keep it in check and run your comfortable pace, even slower if you’re coming back from an injury.

From the physical therapist…

A bit more about this fancy ‘mill from my PT, Ryan K. Smith PT, DPT, OCS, site coordinator of Courage Kenny Sports & Physical Therapy in Apple Valley.

The AlterG is an exciting rehabilitation tool that uses differential air pressure technology to allow an individual to stand, walk and run at reduced body weight. Body weight can be controlled in 1 percent increments from full body weight down to 20 percent. Within the machine lies a treadmill similar to what you would see in a health club or fitness facility.

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