Tag Archives: black triathletes

Back on the Block

Hey there RYPEness…
…it has been a long time!

You know how all of a sudden it seems that “life” just gets in the way of what you are supposed to be doing? How you allow yourself to get derailed because it seems that you are being overloaded with too much “life”. Well, I am hear to tell ya…you ain’t alone. There’s comfort in company, isn’t there?
So, if I could share some things that I’ve learned from my little “life” experiences, I would say this:

  • God never dishes out more than we can handle. Ever.
  • Your test is your testimony…for somebody, somewhere…regardless of if you realize it or not.
  • Challenges make us reassess and dig deep to keep it moving.
  • “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” is a very true statement, because we always come out wiser.

Remembering those little jewels doesn’t necessarily make the blows softer, but it does make getting up, brushing off your knees, and moving forward a requirement. Na wada mean?

“Life” got a little rough for me these last months. My dad’s health was failing, I was under-employed, my bills were stacked, then I got a good paying job but it was kind of demanding – immediately, and my dad’s health continued to spiral, and then my brother’s sister died, and then a friend of mine was killed, and then my daddy died.

OMG.

Man…I am supposed to be training a team of dynamic sistahs for Tri Latta, sharing my healthy well-being advice with whomever would listen, and “Inspiring Women To TRI“; but now I don’t want to even get out of bed…let alone swim, bike or run.

Or so I thought.

Upon returning to Charlotte on a Sunday (my parents are in Cincinnati, so I was there for over two weeks), I couldn’t imagine racing that following Saturday. I hadn’t been in a pool to do a workout in months. I hadn’t ridden my bike in weeks. I hadn’t gone for a run in I don’t know how long. How was I possibly going to do a triathlon, sprint distance or otherwise?

So Tuesday I went for a run, first in like…ever. It was a solo run which was good. I was with my thoughts and prayers, and actually – unbeknownst to me at the time – beginning a healing process for my soul. The run was hard…as hell, but I got through it. So my plan was to just go out there and Tri Latta best way I could.

Friday I head to packet pick up, and while standing there at the participants meeting I received a text message informing me that a good friend of mine had just passed away.

WTF.

That was a moment….to say the least. Do I race? Do I bow out gracefully? Uh…yeah…NO! I kept repeating to myself, ‘you led these awesome ladies to this moment, how dare you consider a bow out now?!

Race.

And racing ended up being the most therapeutic thing I have ever done. The swim was difficult, but I gotta say…for a chick who had not been on a bike in a while, I kinda killed the ride. I mean, definitely wayyyyyy better than I expected. The run, well lets just say I had the inspiration I needed to keep it moving by having a Team RYPEr in front of me who I was chasing in my head, and a work colleague behind me who I refused to let catch me!!! HA! But when I crossed that finish line, a wave of emotion just came over me…just like when I crossed the finish line of my first triathlon ever…which happened to be Tri Latta…11 years ago. Crazy right? After I got myself together, I looked around and began to take it all in. How DOPE AND OFF THE CHAIN the amazing ladies of RYPE looked out there in our DOPE AND OFF THE CHAIN RYPE gear. How much love RYPE was being shown. How proud we were as a team to be the only example in that race that Black women DO Tri! And that we were able to display that to a plethora of little brown faces who happened to be volunteers on the race course (way to go Queen City Dolphins)! It was the most satisfying and purposeful “get cha self up and brush it off” moment I’d ever experienced.

So, all that to say this: It is true what they say…exercise IS a great way to relieve stress, anxiety and depression. You will feel the physical relief once those endorphins are released. Your mind is clearer and you physically feel stronger.

But on top of that, know that there is no feeling like the high you get when you are walking the path that has God intended. “Life” can get tough, but you can never allow it to stop you from crossing the finish line.

The RYPE Train is on the track and moving. Next stop…Tri Ballantyne.

Team RYPE

Team RYPE

 

 

 

Drills, Drills, Drills!

Hey there RYPEness!!!

How many of us can relate to this picture? swimYesterday I had to send out a tweet about how cool it is to watch new swimmers start to “get it”. Remember: good swimming equals efficient swimming and efficient swimming comes from drills that reinforce that efficiency. Kind of sounds like physics equation, doesn’t it? Anyway, I thought that some of you out there in triathlon land -and beyond- might want to know which drills we are currently working on that are getting these awesome ladies to their “AH HA!” moments. Incorporating these into the beginning of your workouts is a really good idea….always.

Kick On Side drill. Why? This drill promotes good balance in the water. Serious swimmers use kicking on side during warm-ups and during the active rest portion of difficult swim training sets. If your kick is currently weak, use flippers and then slowly wean your way off of them as you get stronger. To know what your body position should feel like, stand up and raise either your right or left arm, and you want to raise it like you are really reaching to the sky in an effort to try to stretch your body out. Keep the opposite arm straight down and stuck to your hip/thigh. Pretend that hand is in your pocket and therefore cannot move. Position your head so that it appears you are trying to smell your armpit. No, seriously. When you need to breath, your head is going to rotate on a swivel so that now you are trying to listen to your armpit. No, seriously. Smell the armpit, listen to the armpit. Smell the armpit, listen to the armpit. Without seeing you can now actually visualize the head movement, cant you? AH HA!

Now….check out this video of good form while executing Kick On Side: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mjZsk8L0M0

Shark Fin drill. Why? This drill ALSO promotes good balance in the water. This balance thing is a repeat offender with the topic of swimming…balance is KEY! We in the triathlon swimming world tend to call that side kick position when you are listening to your armpit the “sweet spot”. It is perfect balance in the water AND you can breath. So to start the Shark Fin drill, begin in the same position as you would for the side-kick drill. Lift your elbow on the arm closest to the surface of the water up toward the sky…creating a ‘shark fin’. You do this by dragging your hand up the side of your body until it reaches your armpit (never thought our armpits would get so much love, did you?) or until you’ve made a shark fin. Once there, simply slide the hand back down your body to where it started.

Now…check out this video of good form while executing Shark Fin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwQ3l5YyloQ

Fingertip Drag drill. Why? Fingertip Drag is one of the oldest swimming drills in the books. It’s survived the test of time because it’s not only simple to explain but also incredibly effective. Fingertip Drag can help you practice a high-elbow recovery, and can help you achieve a relaxed hand during the recovery. The drill requires that your body be balanced, and that you use full body rotation in order to complete the drill correctly. That’s a lot going on for one drill, but it’s super effective!! We accomplish this drill by keeping your fingertips in contact with the water, and keeping the hands close to the body, and it causes you to then maintain a high-elbow recovery. Remember our previous drill? See how these build on each other to develop a highly efficient stroke? AH HA!  In order to SKIM the surface and not simply JAM your hand forward with a sloppy splash, you need to keep your fingers relaxed and under control. After your hand passes the shoulder, extend it forward and focus on staying long while the other hand is recovering. You will always want to keep your head down, and your body balanced.

Now…check out this video of good form while executing Fingertip Drag: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XITzpum5lxA

And there you have it. Three relatively easy but extremely effective drills that will develop you into an efficient, thus good, swimmer!

In no time you will be executing your swims with ease, just like this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pt2jxlkNpw

Hyped 2b RYPE!!!

Did You Know…

…that improper breathing technique during swimming can cause scissor kicks, poor body position, cross-overs and lop sided strokes? Yep, sure can. Its human nature that, if we are unsure of our next breath, we panic. So becoming comfortable in the motion of breathing while swimming is key to “relaxing” in your stroke. And a relaxed stroke tends to be more efficient. And efficient swimming is what endurance swimmers – TRIATHLETES – are made of!! 😉 That’s why RYPE decided that the first swim clinic HAD to focus on understanding how to breath.

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Executing breathing drills during the first RYPE swim clinc

Wednesday morning we had a super fun, yet very anti-climatic first swim clinic. Our clinic focused solely on breathing techniques. Essential, as described above. There was definitely no swimming, very little movement from one side of the pool to the next, and a ton of time standing still while bobbing our heads up and down. Simply getting “easy” with that feeling. Making it very easy to relax your body in the water.

And ya know what the hardest part of that breathing thing is? Learning to exhale completely. So check out this great article on exhaling, how to do it and why its so incredibly important:

http://www.swimsmooth.com/exhalation.html

Then make sure you incorporate breathing technique drills into your swim workouts. Watch your stroke and ease with the swimming improve!

Go ahead and exhale RYPEness!!