Monday, September 28, 2009

For your viewing pleasure...

Whenever I'm looking for workout ideas/inspiration, I turn to one of two places:  My brother/Strength & Conditioning coach and the internet.  My brother Dan is an awesome athlete - not to mention a terrific sports writer (check him out on!).  He played college lacrosse for Dayton, who had an incredible season in 2009 - CCLA champs and National runners-up.  He teaches me solid, fundamental exercises as well as important details like number of reps/sets, etc.  I also run new workout ideas by him and he gives me recommendations on modifications or alternative exercises that can help me focus on core strength, which is one of my main goals.  On the internet, there are a plethora of sites that have workouts and fitness tips.  One that I have found particularly helpful is  There you can find tons of videos - the dryland workouts are my favorite.  Here's a workout session with the guys at Auburn - it's pretty sick:

Or, if you prefer, the Mel Stewart workout (from

You have to hand it to Gold Medal Mel - he certainly gives the Superman-esque athletes at Auburn a run for their money...

Tomorrow it's off to the gym for cardio and weights!  Thanks for all of the positive feedback so far - I love it!!


Friday, September 25, 2009

Butterfly and Battle Wounds

Oh dear butterfly, why do you hate me so?  You have such an innocuous name to be so torturous.  Yep, added some laps of butterfly to my workout today.  I usually don't work butterfly into too many of my workouts because, well, let's just say horrendous can't even begin to describe how I feel that I am swimming it.  Just close your eyes and imagine a cat being thrown into a pool.  I'd say that is probably how I look when attempting fly.  I think it has to do with the hip thing - I'm not getting nearly enough of that crazy Michael Phelps-ian undulation thang going to give my arms a decent chance to get a stroke in.  Now here's the crazy thing - anyone who knows me (or who has attended an open-bar wedding reception with me) knows that I have the hip action of Beyonce on the dance floor.  No lie.  Why can't that translate in the pool?  I mean, come on, I always have music going when I'm swimming - and trust you me, it's all good booty-shaking music.  I'm going to keep trying - and I know that as I continue to build core strength with dryland, the swimming will improve to an extent.  Or maybe I just need to channel the Michael Phelps/Beyonce thing.  I'll keep you posted on how that works out.

Now to the battle wounds...  Well, I have to admit, I may be the clumsiest person this side of the Mississippi (I hear there are some real klutzes out in California.  I digress).  To defend myself on this, I must ask you to keep in mind a few points: firstly, the pool I use does not have lane lines, also the bottom and sides are painted the exact same color, and lastly there are no ladders on the side that I swim on.  Now you probably can't wait to hear this - it's really not that ridiculous, I swear.  So I'm doing a run-of-the-mill freestyle, only a few laps in, and apparently got a little too close to the side wall.  How close you ask?  Well, close enough that I have a really cute concrete burn from mid-hand to mid-forearm.  Oh yeah, sexy.  However, it is definitely not the most painful pool-induced mini-injury that I have incurred.  Let's just say backstroke + super hard concrete back wall - paying attention = you get the point.  Well, enough of this silliness for today.  I think tomorrow I will introduce you guys to my awesome strength & conditioning coach - stay tuned!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

One day in plus motivation...

Ok kids, first day of reporting.  Nothing particularly noteworthy in the workout column - did an hour on the elliptical and topped it off with 100 crunches.  I took it a little easier today, since I kicked my own butt yesterday with core work.  Tomorrow I'm planning on more core exercises and pool time.  My workouts in the pool are what I need the most guidance on.  I mostly focus on kicking and building endurance, but I know I need help with stroke technique and turns.  I've been in the pool working on this for a while now, so I think I'm to the point where I need a professional to evaluate and critique my skills (or lack thereof).  There are a number of swimming videos out there, and I have studied a few in order to learn some of the core elements to each stroke and I try to work on those points when I get in the pool.  If anyone out there has any tips/suggestions on improving sans-coach, I would be very interested in learning.  I do plan on getting a coach eventually - in fact, I was 'shopping around' right about the time that the company I was working for shut their doors.  No job = no dollas = no coach.  However, my current coach-less situation really isn't as terrible as it may seem.  I am putting most of my focus on dryland - getting in shape and working on my endurance is of top priority.  Being in top physical form is crucial for me.  Once I achieve some semblance of fitness, the hunt for a coach will become more important.

I also wanted to share with my readers (of which I hear there are a few of, so thank you very much!!) a really awesome blog that I came across recently.  It is authored by Garrett Weber-Gale, an Olympic gold medalist and a fantastic writer.  When I first came upon it, I had to read it twice, that's how much I connected with what he was saying.  The points that he makes can apply to so many facets of life - I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did:  Garrett Weber-Gale's blog "How to Turn Disappointment into Positive Outlook  


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Here we go...

At 27 years old, I suddenly found myself unemployed and bored to tears.  My days became awash with job-hunting, napping, and constant worry (not to mention job-rejection).  I realized that my job had become my life, and it was a terrifying reality to come to grips with.  I went from being a hard-working marketing manager with a comfortable salary and a dynamic workload to, well, nothing much at all.  I had to find something to do - something to wake up to, to give me motivation and a sense of achievement.  I have always had a passion for swimming.  I was a water baby.  I remember photos of myself as a baby and my dad at parent/child swim lessons.  My brothers and I took swim lessons for years at the local rec center.  When it was time to find my own place, I chose an apartment with an indoor pool (quite rare where I'm from...) so that I could swim whenever my heart desired.  Whether I was any good at the sport, who knows.  What I do know is that I love the water and nothing, absolutely nothing, beats the thrill of a great swim.  I decided I was done waiting.  I told myself that I could do it - I could train and work my butt off and maybe I could compete on a swim team.  This was it, the wake-up call to end all wake-up calls.  I now had infinite time on my hands and could spend 100% of my time on me.  If not now, never.  However,  I have always been incredibly afraid of failure, even as a child, which I know is part of the reason that I always left sports when it was clear that I would be entering a competitive level.  Now, so many years later, I had to confront perceived failure and somehow rise above it to survive.  This was baptism by fire - thrown into a situation that could turn out one of two ways: massive depression or creating my own new success story.  It's time for me to put my big-girl swimsuit on and not rest until I'm there - where my dream meets my reality.

Here's the idea: I'll blog as often as I can about my workouts, swims, and the journey to my goal.
Why, Lauren, why?  Well, partly selfish accountability reasons (you know, those tough days when the absolute LAST thing you want to do is put on the sneakers and get ready for a rousing game of 'how many crunches can I do until I throw up' - any additional accountability is beneficial), as well as maybe giving someone else out there the 'thumbs-up' to make your dreams happen (that's pretty lofty, I know - but I can dream big, that's the whole idea).

Buckle up, it's going to be a ridiculous ride.