Well, week two of January came in at just a tad under 24K of swimming. It was a big week, but lots of fun too. The definite highlight of the week was a slumber party at PIC Michelles house. Her hubby was out of town running Phoenix Rock and Roll half marathon, and my hubby was out of town doing this:

Yes, while he may have to deal with my dad and his crazy antics, you gotta admit, he's a pretty darn lucky son in law that my dad treats him to LOTS of snowcat skiing. Check the two of them out, pretty awesome if you ask me (dad in front, Troy in back). Next time any of you say "Your husband is such a saint" you just remember that his life rocks the house (He's married to me...duh).

So while they were galavanting in the winter wonderland of Steamboat Springs, Michelle and I were tag-team parenting so that we could each get in all our workouts. I moved into her house and we swapped kid watching and attending so that we could train. It was really fun and I think we did a great job with the kiddos. It's been a long time since I've been to a slumber party. Everyone was asleep by 9pm at this one though!

The big kicker for me was on Sunday. I had signed up for a swim clinic (my first ever) with Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen of Aquatic Edge. One of the rough things about swimming is that everyone you talk to has different advise on how to swim. Get on your side...swim flat...head up, head down....etc etc. I've written about this many times before, and really, it doesn't even bother me anymore. I made a decision quite some time ago to listen to everybody, to "Seek First to Understand". That's my MO with swimming.

Karlyn has her own stroke. One that is probably a bit more "off center" than most. But the most awesome bestest coolest, neatest, radest thing about Karlyn's clinic was that no stone was left unturned. She taught her stroke from entry, to exit, from fingertips, to toes. She drilled us in every aspect of what she was teaching and when I left I knew exactly what her stroke entailed. It was clear as a bell. For someone who has never been taught from the ground up how to swim this was refreshing. Usually people look at your current stroke and give you tips. Karlyn was the opposite. It was almost like "throw that out, just do this". Here is her swimming if you have never seen this before:

Crazy, huh? Karlyn has set 208 FINA Masters World Records (more than anyone else ever), and 47 of those are currently standing. She is a dynamic, friendly teacher who is enthusiastic about her sport. I loved that she said "When your knees are toast, and you're tired of getting hit by cars, my sport is waiting for you".

I think more than most people in the clinic I was quite receptive to the changes. Not to say that people weren't "receptive", but I think it's because I'm pretty attentive, good at following directions, and I REALLY REALLY want to swim faster. I am a sponge when it comes to information and I really started to fall in love with her stroke, and what she was teaching. Karlyn lives in Kona, and due to my current infatuation with all things Hawaii (says the girl who's fingers are very sore from playing the Ukulele for 2 hours last night), I think her stroke just reminded me of the islands. She gave a lot of tips like "paddling on your surfboard" and "see the fishes, hear the fishes". It was like she was speaking to me, hahahaha!

Off topic: I found this picture of Troy. He has that sweet "old school" stroke, I love it! He is dang fast in the pool though.

I didn't even take any pictures during the 5 hour clinic, I was in sponge mode (not sponge as in sit at the bottom of the ocean and don't move, but sponge as in "absorb").

So monday, the day after the clinic, I had a swim that I was nervous about. Chuckie asked us to pick a 3,000 set that we would repeat often to help us start to become more aware of our own state of being in the pool. He calls it in-tuning. I picked 15x200 where the first 5 you start out fast with little rest (like really little), then you will get faster after that, but with more rest. I didn't know what to do. Old stroke, new stroke? I hadn't tried to go fast with the new stroke, I had only learned it 20 hours prior and I was still just trying to stay afloat.

After my warmup I did a few 100's. Oh, Wow, Ok! So I guess the new stroke is definitely not any slower! So I got into the work of the day and went NEW STROKE all the way. Go big or go home. Wow, sometimes I felt like I wasn't getting any of it, other times I had forgotten I was in the landlocked state of Colorado. I was swimming with the turtles in Kona. Karlyn gave us so many triggers to think about that the entire workout flew by. Between thinking about my wrist/lat connection, paddling my board, pointing to the corners of the pool, keeping my V, glide/set/snap, keep your pulse, feel your paddle, relax your shoulders. Whew, that workout went by likity-split.

The new stroke lead me through a great workout (read:fast) and towards the end as I was trying to pick the pace up more and more I told myself "paddle away from the shark". Then immediately I said in my head "No, don't think like that, paddle to keep up with the dolphins, paddle to catch the wave". I have to stop initiating that fight or flight response in the water. At the end of the workout, my fingers were shaking, and my arms felt great in that ouch way. It was such a good hurt. I so very much look forward to keeping it up and I feel like I actually have something to master while I am putting in the trials of miles in the pool.

I made a little 3 minute video of some of my time in the pool this month so far. The beginning of the video is before the clinic, the end of the video is after the clinic (actually the night after the clinic). It's all still very new, so keep that in mind.