Megan Braun's Final Blog Entry From Hawaii Follow junior Megan Braun and the rest of the Gophers as they are currently training in Hawaii.
Follow junior Megan Braun and the rest of the Gophers as they are currently training in Hawaii.
January 13, 2010
Whoever said that time flies when you’re having fun was right.With just three days and seven workouts left in Kona, it’s hard to believe we’re already getting ready to pack our sweaty and disgusting clothes back into our bags and head home. I would be lying if I said that every second of training trip was fun, because it wasn’t. There’s no denying the love-hate relationship one experiences with training trip. At this point, for many of us, island fever has set in. Just the thought of diving into the pool for what feels like the 100th time in two weeks is enough to make one feel ill. However, when the time comes on Saturday night to leave the warm air and the routine of Hawaiian life behind, we won’t remember the painful workouts (because as I mentioned earlier, it’s best to forget they ever happened), but will instead take with us the memories we’ve shared that are difficult to experience elsewhere.
Similar to previous days, these last few have been filled with unforgettable moments. Kelsey Ridder has now become known as the team’s terminator. After a bug the size of a person’s face flew into her swimsuit during warm-up on Sunday morning, she has been extinguishing bugs left and right. Her weapon of choice: a kick board. It’s so entertaining to watch such a usually calm, cool and collected girl turn so violent in the face of these tater-tots with wings that fly about.
As a team we’ve also gone on a few ocean swims. If I’ve learned one thing about ocean swims, it is to not partner up with someone who’s desperately afraid of the ocean; case in point, Lauren Weis. Typically, ocean swims are supposed to be completed at a relaxed, comfortable pace. I barely made it back to shore thanks to her phobia. I’ve also learned not pair up with Alison Eggers. She’ll lead you a mile in the wrong direction. These swims really help our team bond and provide us with great life experiences. On our first ocean swim, a pod of about 20 dolphins came and joined us while on the way back, a few girls swam with a manta ray. Unless you go to Underwater World at the Mall of America, these Kodak moments can’t happen in Minnesota.
Tuesday night we had a refresher of home life when we did our beloved ‘Goal Fifties’ set. This set is done twice a year and is one of our more infamous sets. The three groups come together to do 30 x 50’s maximum effort on a minute and thirty seconds. When all forty of us are together, things tend to get very loud, and Goal Fifties is no exception. But that’s what makes it fun! I’d like to congratulate Andrea Hanson and Castina Wabeke for completing their final Goal Fifties set ever and for completing their thirtieth 50 with style… or should I say no style?
As training trip comes to a close, on behalf of the women’s team I’d like to thank everyone that made this trip possible. Thanks to the Kona Club for accommodating our weight lifting needs. Thanks to the Kona By Sea Condominiums for dealing with our ridiculous number of towel requests and giving us a place to stay. Thanks to our athletic administration, coaching staff, and support staff.
It goes without saying that what happens in Kona definitely does not stay in Kona. For one, we are girls – we’ll be talking about Hawaii until next year’s trip. But more importantly, as I said earlier, the memories we gather along the way are too good to not reminisce about. The times may get trying and we may long to sleep in our own beds instead of a mattress on the floor, but once Tuesday morning hits and reality sets in, we’ll be longing to be back in Kona where the only pressures outside of the pool are how many Gossip Girl episodes you can fit in before bedtime, or getting the best tan (Alison took that title with a landslide. According to Kelly, she looks like she’s spent the last two weeks on the surface of the sun. Too bad it’ll be gone within one practice back home). I’m just going to end by saying that what happens in Kona will be on full display come time for Big Ten’s and NCAA’s.
Until then, Peace, love and Gophers!
January 8, 2010
The Rule of Cassie Wabeke states, “countdowns are only allowed to start once you’re one over halfway”. Usually this refers to swim sets consisting of multiple repeats or rounds, but it can also be applied to training trip. Today marks that point in our journey: we’re one over halfway. So, according to Cass, we could potentially start the countdown of days until we head back home, however that also means going home to the start of school AND hard training. Since that’s a killer combo, we’re just going to continue to apply “the countdown rule” to workouts and ignore the fact that second semester is only a little over a week away.
Speaking of workouts, it’s hard for me to reminisce and write about them for two reasons. One, they’re usually so challenging I try to forget they ever happened, and two, Kelly’s workouts are so complex and detailed I have a hard time remembering what we’re supposed to be doing in the moment, let alone afterwards. One of the more unforgettable sets that the mid-distance and distance groups accomplished occurred this past Wednesday. We did a series of 14 x 300’s in a pattern that went one set-up, four best average, one set-up, three best average, and so on, down to one 300 on 3:00 minutes. If your last name doesn’t happen to be Steenvoorden, Brandon, or Tommerdahl, and if you are unable to hold sub one-minute with the back of your hand, this set was ridiculously excruciating. It happened to be my birthday too. I left the pool telling myself, “it’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to.” So I did.
On the other side of the pool, the sprinters are working just as hard. They’ve been kicking more than swimming, and have been doing enough underwaters (or as they like to call them, “undies”) to last them at least a solid season. The kicking intermixed with the weight training makes me feel sorry for their hamstrings.
On the flipside, we’ve experienced a nice distraction from training when we had our first of two team dinners. We traveled down the road from our hotel to one of the many lu’aus the Big Island has to offer. The main course was roasted pig, an aroma we’re all too (unfortunately) familiar with. Due to the various lu’aus at many of the local resorts, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning practice is spent breathing in the stench of burnt pig. There’s just nothing better. We also ate poi, sweet potatoes, rice, pineapple and other unique Hawaiian dishes while watching men in loincloths dance around with fire. It was quite the experience.
Being half way through training trip means our bodies are so broken down that we’ve stopped waking up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy and now wake up feeling more like YouTube’s Tourette’s guy. We’ve lost roughly 800 apartment keys and delirium has started to set in. For some of us, we’ve become so tired we misplace our clothes and think someone has stolen them. Luckily, the mystery of Room 104’s thief was quickly solved and Lauren Greenberg’s clothes were found in the wash… right where she left them. On the plus side, we still have plenty of time to enjoy the hard work and sun. For me, halfway means graduating from 80 SPF to something a little more reasonable in hopes of catching a tan while praying I survive the next chapter of this trip. For now, we’ll just sing the chorus of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to each other like we always do in workouts, take it one day at a time, and enjoy the days we have left in Hawaii. Go Gophers! YEAH!
January 5, 2010
Aloha Gopher Family, Friends, and Fans,
Yes, believe it or not, it’s that time of year again -- December and January. Typically, these months consist of blistering wind chills, winter storm warnings on an hourly basis, and days where the sun is up for about 2 hours before it starts setting again. That’s if you’re in Minnesota, however. Fortunately, for the women’s swimming team, these brutal winter weeks are spent in paradise. Well, weather wise that is. That’s right. For us, December and January means spending an extended period of time in Kona, Hawaii for training trip, and is often the most memorable and fun time of the year.
On December 30th, after a 5:15 AM workout, we left the barren streets of campus and prepared ourselves for 16 hours of travel. I knew this trip was off on the right foot when Kelsey Ridder’s electric toothbrush erupted in her carry-on while walking through security. The best part was the fact that she was confused, since everybody else knew what was going on inside her bag. Once the mystery was solved and passers-bye stopped staring, we were well on our way. After two pit stops, one in Denver and another in San Francisco, we arrived in Kona to clear night skies and 80-degree weather.
We’ve now been in for a week, and seeing as though we have a team rule of “if you’re not 5 minutes early, you’re ten minutes late”, I’m surprised this blog wasn’t written last year. But to quickly play catch up, these last seven days have been filled with what anyone would suspect training trip would entail—swimming, lifting, and cardio, with some fun in the sun on the side.
For our first lift, we maxed out on back squats. Needless to say, we awoke New Year’s Day with stone legs. Thanks Dave and Y! Although walking was a struggle, we somehow managed to have a great workout up at “the pool in the mountains.” Due to the holiday, our usual training pool (Kona Aquatic Center) was closed, so we ventured an hour around the island to Waimea to swim. The distance girls completed 4 x 1650’s, mid-distance did a creative Kelly Kremer set of quality 75’s, while the sprint group enjoyed the infamous Fish Burn activity (as Terry would say). Aside from the fast swimming, the best treat of the day came when Lance Armstrong and his army of BMW’s whizzed by us on our road trip. Looks like we’re not the only one’s training hard in Hawaii!
These last five days we’ve gone single, double, double style for workouts and have mixed in two more weight and cardio sessions as well as 45-minute dry land workouts that include body weight exercises, stretch cords and an abs-workout, designed by none other than Terry-the-great herself. Most of our down time is spent sleeping, or in the case of Abigail Staats, sleep walking into the kitchen. As funny as this is, the crinkling bag noise awakes us all and prevents us from properly waking up to our Lady Gaga “Bad Romance” alarm. We’ve also been passing Gossip Girl back and forth between rooms, catching rays out by the beach, and just enjoying each other’s company. If I make it through Kelly and Terry’s workouts to the next blog, I’ll update you on our team adventures soon. There will be lots to write about because with this family of thirty not a minute goes by without some sort of excitement.
Oh, and P.S.- 12 days and counting until the highly anticipated event of the year. Our very own Kelly Kremer turns 40! (Or as he would like to think, 39 years and 365 days old.)