NEW YEAR. NEW YOU. (Part 1)

I love December. It’s my favorite month of the year. Not just because of my birthday, Christmas and holiday cheer…but because the new year is upon us and a fresh start is eminent! I get excited about the year ahead and get ready to make significant changes and improvements. I map out my goals and races. I reflect on what has worked and what hasn’t. I love it. I feel like January is a blank slate and December is the time to get a little bit of a head start on the upcoming year.
2017 started so quickly…I was living in New York City: the Upper East Side to be exact – just like Blair Waldorf and Serena Van Der Woodsen. Except it felt all wrong. I (legally) cant get into why I moved back to Hawaii but I knew the second I stepped off the plane that it was the right decision for me. My first job back on solid sand was working in a made for TV Chinese movie staring Z Ttao…a Chinese Pop Star that acts (he’s currently in YSL’s Beaute Campaign). I enjoyed every minute of it. I play an “Upscale Caucasian Tourist” like nobody’s business! It was a riot…there was no translator on set and the crew spoke no English. Acting is so much fun!
After spending most of the month either acting or chasing turtles with my head under the water, I lucked out landing a full time job as a Stylist Assistant. I worked at a Boutique in Ward Village as a right hand woman to the most fashionable lady in Honolulu. My schedule quickly became insane…up at 4:40am, swim, take a bus or two to get to work, maybe home by ten pm. My swimming was awful…I had a new coach while Dan was on hiatus and she was terrible. I tried to embrace all the sprinting I had to do. I knew in my head that it wasn’t going to work but I kept pushing…

BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS

Yes, it’s true. 300 people were rescued from Monday’s Waikiki Rough Water Swim…but that story (and the North Shore 5k story) will have to wait. Because it’s important to celebrate how far you’ve come sometimes…and because it’s not every day that you find a magical place that makes smashed avocado on toast so right…

It was a glorious Sunday morning. Bright blue skies, already 80…perfect for a celebration breakfast with my two best friends. Cherelle scooted over to my house on her moped and Rod picked us up a few minutes later in the Beamer. We rolled through the graffitied streets of Kakaako, looking for a cool, new place called Arvo. As we approached the hippest eatery West of Ala Moana, a car pulled out of its parking space next to the front door. Rock star parking!

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We grabbed the only open table as we walked in the door – this place was buzzing and already packed! Everything on the chalkboard menu looked fantastic. We were excited to try everything and ordered a smorgasbord of items to share. We had lavender coffees, loaded avocado toast, salmon toast, matcha green tea chia seed pudding, Nutella with bananas and strawberries on toast…it was AMAZING! A symphony of favors ready to burst in your mouth. And sooooo pretty! Garnished with edible flowers- this place is an Instagram lover’s food photo dream.
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Most of the time, I don’t talk that much about swimming and training (more about men, the mall, the weather, family…) but today was special. Today was a mini celebration of our season. We had TWO open water swim races this week: the Waikiki Rough Water Swim (4K) and the North Shore 5k Swim. This summer, I won the North Shore Series Championship for my division overcoming a slow start and finishing 13th overall in the women’s and also finished 13th overall at the North Shore 5k. Rod overcame a major injury to finish the HURT100 mile run trail race. Cherelle prevailed over so much adversity and solo training to finish this summer ranked number one in Switzerland in the 400 and 800 meter freestyle and the 5k and 10k open water swimming events. She swam a lifetime best in the 10k at Olympic Trials in Portugal (2 hours and 2 minutes) but, unfortunately, was not selected to swim at the Olympics. She has handled disappointment with strength and grace and I am very, very proud of her.
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She took my advice this weekend, executed her strategy perfectly and beat all of the men out of the water! Yeah! I love it when the ladies beat the men – I’ve done it a few times and it is such a great feeling! I train consistently with an amazing group of women at UH – Cherelle, Chelsea, Haley, Miki and Sandy (also Lectie, Heather, Nicole, Emma and more) – they all managed to place in the top ten overall with the men and I am really happy for them…it is very difficult getting up at 4:30am but I choose to train at that time because it is the best training that we can get. I am sure they all feel that way!
So cheers to another hard fought win at the North Shore! Thank you to everyone that cheered for me, sent me notes and letters, sponsored me and supported me in all of my adventures! My goal this year was to stay healthy, get stronger and to be ready to tackle a major long distance swim in 2017. This year really challenged me and I have grown much tougher. It’s not how you start a race – it’s how you finish.
I am ready. Bring it on!

RAW

RAW.
It’s been an amazing few days. I made some big changes and I am already seeing results.
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RAW POWER.
I am two weeks into my version of Joe Manganiello’s Evolution lifting program. It’s not realistic for me to lift six days a week on top of swimming five or six days a week and working full time so I am lifting twice a week both upper and lower body (2 workouts at one time) and doing abs 4 times a week. I could not move after the first day. Except my face. It had a huge smile! It has been a great experience to shake up my normal routine and sculpt my body. Sure, I was so sore I couldn’t even sleep the first few nights…but two weeks in I am looking and feeling better. I have only lost about a pound which first made me kind of grouchy! I mean – all that hard work and the scale is hardly budging! It is time for me to face the facts – diet is a big factor.
RAW FOOD
I kept seeing “70 percent diet/30 percent exercise” all over Instagram and it really hit home. I can’t just add weights, I need to eat better and I need to eat a little less!
I am eating protein every meal and feel really good. I am prediabetic and I feel calmer, my body feels calmer, when I am not having excessive carbs. What is on the menu for me? Meat! Vegetables, fruit, eggs, coffee… I am having nectarines or raspberries for desert. Sometimes I have one or two black sesame mochi (ice cream) for dessert – only around 100 calories. I am making better choices getting ready for some photo shoots in October!
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RAW STILLS
Had some fun the last few days shooting at Diamond Head and Lanikai. I am constantly trying to get better at modeling – learning how to move in front of the camera, trying different angles, seeing what works for me and also what doesn’t!
Loving it! Get a little better every day!
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FIGHTING

There are times in your life you just have to FIGHT.
If you are lucky enough, you can feel it coming on and give yourself some extra time to PREPARE FOR BATTLE.
This whole summer has been like that. Nothing has really come easy and it seems to all be coming to a head this weekend. Race Number Five. The last race, the ultimate showdown…NSSS Race Number 5 is almost 4,000 meters starting near one of the most famous surf breaks in the world at Pipeline, passing rugged natural preserves and rounding jagged rocks to finish at Hawaii’s iconic Waimea Bay. It is one of the Crown Jewels of Hawaii Swimming. It is my favorite race, the one where I have always been able to dig extra deep and do something truly special.
I have been sitting in second place in my division all season and I am in quite a deep hole…but if I know anything, it’s that anything can happen if you REFUSE TO GIVE UP and GIVE IT EVERYTHING YOU HAVE.
In the meantime, there is no rest for the weary. Racing every two weeks for ten weeks is tough and a lot of people quit right before the finish line. Or they are content with how the last four races have gone and slack off the last week. This is not the type of event you can master by taking it easy. See, this last race takes you in some sections against the current…you aren’t just FIGHTING YOURSELF – you have to BATTLE MOTHER NATURE. You can add 10 to 20 minutes in a heartbeat if you aren’t focused and determined…the ocean can literally drag you backwards if you aren’t careful!
It has been a difficult summer for me to train. It seems like almost every weekend it is either pouring rain or jellyfish central. This past weekend I was very determined to get in some special training at the North Shore. We were being hit with the remnants of a tropical storm and Saturday and I wisely resigned myself to going to swim practice at UH thinking that it was going to storm most of the day. While it only stormed for half a day, jellyfish blew in on both sides of the island and we had many visitors that morning at Masters Swim Practice. Practice was a mix of 200s and 300s. My pacing has been all over the board lately. One day I swim amazing, almost breaking 1:10 Long Course Meters and the next day I can barely go 1:30. Fortunately, I seem to be on an upswing and focusing on eating more protein and getting more sleep is helping. It has been very difficult to launch my new app, work full time, coach, do business, train and model while racing. But I don’t need easy…I NEED AMAZING.
SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO SUCK IT UP…keep working hard…focus on the positive and do your best.
On Sunday, I needed to TRAIN at the North Shore. It was my last opportunity. SO WHO CARES IF YOU’VE GOTTEN UP NEARLY EVERY MORNING FOR THE LAST WEEK AT 4:45 and WANT TO SLEEP IN?!?
You suck it up! You set the alarm on your one morning to sleep in for 6am and get on with it. Because being great is not easy.
So I woke up at 6am, Roxy flip flops smacking the asphalt as I jogged down to the 7-11 to meet my training partner, Haley, in the parking lot. The one hour drive to the North Shore was mainly quiet save for the sound of rain and windshield wipers going furiously back and forth. I prayed it would let up…not really sure what Plan B was. Our Plan A was to swim the course until the last turn into Waimea Bay and then swim back…around 7,000 meters. No water, no escort, just solid training.
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I amused myself in the backseat with my iPhone and livestreamed a beautiful rainbow for my new app. When we pulled into the parking lot at Ehukai there were 15 reluctant swimmers in their cars. As Haley and I finished breakfast and chugging water, one by one the other swimmers bailed…15 minutes later we were the only ones in the parking lot save for some homeless people in a van. We decided to go check out the conditions. Two to four foot surf, a little bit of chop, and now only lightly raining. OK. We can do this.
What is plan B? Plan B was to swim out and then go 10 X 300-400s. Swimming out was easy. I timed a lull perfectly and slipped about 400 yards off shore. You have to swim pretty far away from the coastline as this is an area famous for it’s powerful breaking waves. It is safest to swim a good 50-100 yards behind that invisible line. The water sloshed all around us as we went about our business. It was fun. We swam with the current in one direction on the odds and against the current on the evens. We swam two of them IM. How do we know how far we are going in the ocean? That’s easy – I count my strokes! For the IM one we went 20 strokes fly, 40 strokes back, 20 strokes breast, 40 strokes free twice through. On our freestyle laps I took at least 250 strokes. It’s not perfect but that is the fun of it! I don’t want a Garmin. I don’t want to know exact numbers. I want freedom!
The longer we swam, the more it cleared up! Surfers were paddling out, staring at us…wondering how we were going to get back in. I was wondering that myself! It is tricky swimming back to shore at Pipeline. First, there are a whole bunch of big rocks that you need to avoid and secondly, like most of Oahu, the wave breaks aren’t gentle – they slam you down. I am pretty little and I usually get slammed hard if I am not aware of what is going on. I swam a bit scared in. Swimming in is my least favorite part of training and racing. I used a skill I perfected in Australia, looking back while you are swimming so that you can see if a big wave is going to run you over. I swam next to Haley who felt my trepidation and when a lull came she said, “Mere! Let’s go now! Let’s beat the waves in!”
So we raced towards shore, hearts pounding, and just when I had less than ten feet to go – I knew I was going to be caught! A white freight train of water roared my way. I saw it, panicking I got ready to hold my breath and just keep scrambling for shore. The white water bulldozed over me and my body went right into the sand, cap and goggles coming off. Go! Go! Go! I kept charging as the wave tried to suck me backwards. I stood up and fell on all fours, crawling my way quickly onto the beach…and smiled. I won!

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After spending quite some time rinsing the sand out of my floral TYR bikini, Haley and I enjoyed a amazing Hawaii morning. The skies cleared as we headed to Turtle Beach and Hale’iwa…it was just the kind of morning I needed to clear my mind, push the reset button, and get ready to for the last NSSS Race!

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FOR MORE HAWAII PHOTOS AND VIDEO CHECK OUT MY APP AND INSTAGRAM
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BLUR – NSSS #1

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Sometimes I find it hard to write.
Not that there isn’t something to say…rather the opposite. Sometimes there is too much to say.

My season started amidst a blur of breakup/modeling/acting/business…things seem to be happening pretty quickly and I don’t personally feel ready for a lot of it. Or in “the right place” physically or mentally. But so what? I didn’t let it stop me. Because life never stops.
Never.

So off of suck training, I managed to get my act together and have a solid race. I think racing is just in my blood. The horn blasts and I am gone. That’s how it was this past weekend at the North Shore. Around a mile, point to point – no rules, just “keep the last buoy on your left.”
Love it.

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The men started five minutes before us. They split into two distinct lines – inside or outside. And that is sometimes how it is…pick a side and go. I picked the inside of the outside, a million thoughts going through my head as I treaded water about one hundred and fifty yards from shore. I questioned myself. I was looking to my left when the horn unexpectedly went off and automatically I lunged forward, throwing my body at full speed towards Ehukai. I was off like a gun shot and it took about fifty yards for a few fasties to catch me. I swam with them, hands hitting each other, legs a little too close to my face. No one settled. We were all battling, trying to establish a good start position. After about 400, I dropped most of the ladies around me and entered a section past Pipeline that can be a little scary.

I could see that most of the faster girls were taking the inside line. They were about 100 yards or more to my left and we were all entering a stretch of big waves. Huge, white, rumbling and breaking waves were coming. I didn’t really have a plan except to swim as fast as I could to get through it and to duck under if something looked like it could hurt me. I ducked twice, kicking like mad, trying to not get pushed and carried off…the girls on the inside had more waves to contend with, however, the waves were pushing in the right direction. I kept at it, following my race plan, swimming as hard and smart as I could.

I always have a race plan. It is always possible to change your strategy on the fly. I race better when I have a clear idea of my personal pacing and strategies. There is nothing worse than trying to figure out what you should be doing after the gun goes off. For most of the race I was by myself or passing men. It may not have been exactly how I envisioned it in my mind but I was really excited and happy to be doing my thing at the North Shore. It’s hard to train for months on end and I hadn’t raced since September! Getting to the last buoy always seems to take forever. In Hawaii style racing there are only a few (maybe 3 to 5) buoys on the ENTIRE course. No little rope guidelines – you pick and choose your course. Open water swimming is a different beast than the pool. You need to know how to handle different conditions (chop, big waves), wind, currents, people…going into the last turn, I straight lined it and decided to swim over a bunch of guys and quickly maneuver to the inside (left).

It worked very well. I was in the right spot less than two hundred yards from the beach – a straight shot. I put my head down and churned and burned, breathe every three or four strokes – really driving the legs. Now less than 100 yards from shore every alarm bell in my head started goin off. All of a sudden I was rising and dropping very quickly. At the top height I could see that huge waves were crashing on shore. To add to the difficulty of this situation I had about twenty men in front of me. I changed every thing I was doing in a split second. I started breathing every stroke, looking far back to keep my eyes on the waves. I kept my stroke vert stretched out in front, ready to catch a wave…and I did! Almost immediately I was flying towards shore. For about forty yards and I was launched by a very powerful wave, trying to stay as high as possible, I was literally body surfing at world record pace. The wave sputtered out and I kept fighting and moving as quickly as possible! The next wave picked me up almost immediately!

Again, I flew. I gathered speed and was on a collision course with the twenty men. The wave I was on was going to break on them and there was a great chance that I was going to land on someone or worse – get a possible kick to the face! I kept my arms stretched out in front, trying to shield myself from oncoming danger. The wave started collapsing and just as it’s powerful white wash slammed full force into everyone in front, I managed to pull another “Mary Poppins”! I ran vertically out of the water as the wave broke and escaped all of the chaos!

I dug, dug, dug deep in the soft sand and finished with everything I had! Crossing the finish line was a great feeling. I didn’t care about my time or my place. I knew I had a solid race! This way the North Shore Series works is they add all five of your times up and whoever is the fastest, wins. It doesn’t matter if you place third in your division four times- you can have an amazing last race and be a few minutes ahead and win the whole thing. It’s so exciting! I was surprised to be so far up in the standings. My goal was to be in the top 40 and I came in around 25th. I tend to move up dramatically in the standings during the last three races. Barring a disaster (like when I was too aggressive last year and had to be ocean rescued over the coral), I have four more opportunities to climb into the top ten overall!

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CLICHES

I WEAR MY HEART ON MY SLEEVE
It’s true…I do. I am over sensitive, over emotional, care too much…it is something that I can’t change about myself and don’t want to. But I get hurt.
A lot.
If you dream big and put yourself out there then there are times you are going to get hurt…I got my heart smashed to bits by someone a few weeks ago. The timing could not be worse although there really is never a good time to be dumped over the phone.
My iPhone app launch is supposed to be this week…FanHero very graciously agreed to push it back. I was hesitant to change the date but now, I am really grateful. It is hard to promote something when your heart isn’t in it…I have been on autopilot.

THIS TOO SHALL PASS
I tried to stay consistent with training but I fell off the wagon and gained about 14 pounds in two weeks! I am a stress eater…working on a film set last week for a movie (an incredible and wonderful distraction, I played a wealthy hotel guest drinking at a bar) made me recognize that something was off so I bought a scale. When I stepped on it I was shocked…but then I put myself in a positive frame of mind and decided to be proactive. It feels really good to be doing a little bit of running, again. I ran up Diamond Head and watched the sunset surfers for a few minutes and appreciated feeling a little more in control…the weight is coming off really quickly so hopefully I will be back to myself (in more ways than one) in a few weeks.

THERE ARE OTHER FISH IN THE OCEAN
When I get really upset there are two places I really like to go…Cartier or Hanauma Bay. Cartier, right now, will just make me cry…so I tucked my hair into my TYR hat, threw on some sunscreen and headed to one of the most beautiful places on earth. Hanauma Bay is magical…I dive in and swim through black and yellow Angel Fish, big, fat blue with rainbow striped fish…I held my breath and swam through a school of thousands of black and silver fish, trying to touch them…I starfish over the coral and float on my back staring at the blue sky trying to not think or feel anything- just be in the moment.

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DON’T FIND SOMEONE YOU CAN LIVE WITH, FIND SOMEONE YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT
But it is hard to escape your thoughts, sometimes. I really loved him…he just doesn’t love me back…

OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND
This Saturday is the first race of the season! I am back on track this week and swimming pretty well…I feel like I am a bit of a wild card – not sure what I am going to swim like out at the North Shore but I am determined to tow the line aggressive and ready to do some DAMAGE. That is my word of the day. Damage, baby. Get out of my way.

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON
Well…I just hate that one…it is such a bullshit statement to me…especially right now…

ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR
See you at the North Shore Swim Series Race #1 (Sunset to Ehukai/around a mile Hawaiian style). Game on!

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FAKING IT

He broke up with me over the phone.
After flying me to Maui…
I am so sad which is ironic…mainly because the second he hung up, I sat in my warm bed and my first thought was, “I will show you, you made a huge mistake and I am going to break every long distance open water swimming record from here to Japan.” I was so angry. Then the tears came and the anger subsided and now I am just…sad.
I haven’t been this upset since I got hyperthermia at Nationals two years ago and thought I was going to drown.

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It is all consuming at the moment and negatively impacting my training. I am trying not to freak out because my minimum yardage of 30k+ a week plus a long swim just went out the window. Everything will be ok…this is just a moment. Life is always going to interfere with practice. It is how you deal with setbacks that make you a champion.
My Dad is really great at giving me my own advice…he’ll find my quotes somehow (which is funny because he does not follow me on social media – he just asks my Mom) and then he’ll repeat them to me…which is flattering and annoying. Gotta love family!
Anyway, it was Tuesday morning and I didn’t have the luxury of crying my eyes out under the covers and sleeping ALL day. I got dressed for work and put some extra makeup on, got to the office at 9 sharp and got through the day. And the next day…and, well, I don’t really know how to get my head and heart back in the game but I have faith in God and I know that eventually I will get my fire back!
I am just trying to show up at practice this week and not buy Nutella…

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DIRECT CASTING:
I got my first direct casting for a movie! It is the first time I didn’t have to audition or go to a casting! I am going to be an extra in Goldie Hawn’s new movie and it makes me feel like I am moving up just a tiny bit in the modeling world! I am so excited!

REALITY SHOW:
On June 9th. my own personal iPhone App launches! I have been working with FanHero for months and am happy to announce that it goes live in ten days!!! This App allows my fans to access all of my social media as well as exclusive video content at the touch of one button! My goal is to show what it really takes to conquer channels, break into modeling and how to survive in one of the most expensive cities in the world on a shoestring budget. Sometimes I make things look easy and sometimes that is just not possible- things are heartbreakingly and insanely difficult…see the reality behind the glitz and the glam and be a part of raising money for charity and going after swim records. I am determined to keep things very real! Nothing bothers me more than only seeing stylized, happy, fake photos and being kept from the truth.
I can’t wait for it to go live and I appreciate all of your support!

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SILENT KILLER

Stress.
Wow…where do I even start?
Last week I came back from a mini trip to Maui and jumped full force into work and training. It has been a solid three month build up at swim practice and work is hard to balance with that…my life lately has been get up crazy early, swim hard for 1.5-2 hours, take a sponsorship meeting/answer emails, go to work for eight hours, come home and work on my projects for 2-4 hours, then crash…it’s too much sometimes and I know it…life has never been about balance for me…I am someone who likes to push limits!
I nailed a 14k in the pool about 2 weeks ago and instead of being fired up and propelling myself to the next level, I’ve been too stressed out from all of the demands I have outside the pool to be excited. The 14k went great. I did it on a normal Friday morning before work. I started at 5:40 sharp with 4K choice under an hour, two minute break, 4K pull strong around 56 flat, two minute break, 2k ez swim choice on 30, minute and a half break, 2k pull under 27 minutes, 2 minute break then a 2k float choice…the last 2k was mentally challenging. It’s super hard swimming by myself and I started having a mini pity party and having a hard time counting. I probably did a total of 800 backstroke, 400 breastroke, 600 kick, 6k pull and the rest free. I am stoked with the effort and my pace.
My eyes started really bothering me on Tuesday. I thought I had pinkeye – they were so red! I got up at 4:40am to go to practice and stopped myself at the bus – I didn’t want to get everyone sick…so I went home and layed low…by Thursday I was an absolute wreck, eyes so bloodshot, but still managed a full day. I started worrying about the 4 hour swim I planned to do this weekend. Again, I got up at 4:40, looked in the mirror and started crying. I crawled back into bed for two more hours of sleep and then went to work early.
I toyed with the idea of not keeping the doctors appointment I made for Friday afternoon. My thoughts: I am tough…I have a four hour swim this weekend…I’m fine…sometime later that morning I got word that Steven Munotones, Head of the World Open Water Swimming Association, also a friend/fan and a huge supporter of the Swim Around Oahu, had a heart attack and is in critical condition. I was shocked! Aside from stress and working too much he seemed to be in good health…then it started to hit me…Mere, that is you! You need to calm down and go to the doctor and find out if you are sick and take care of yourself!
So I went…and I am glad I did…I am not sick…just over stressed and I need to sleep more, work less, take care of my eyes and wear my contacts less…I am so thankful that I have a chance to make some positive changes…I started with a new pair of eye glasses. Thank you, Ralph Lauren!
I think, sometimes, when you are an athlete, you think you can push through everything. I tend to beat myself up mentally – telling myself to just work harder, keep going, try more. The truth is, it takes a very strong will to step back and refocus in order to set yourself up for more success. Change can be scary but it is necessary for growth. You have to take care of yourself, inside and out. I haven’t quite figured out my new, healthier improved plan…but I am working on it!
Time to adjust my sails!

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UPDATE

STATUS UPDATE:
Modeling/working and swimming 24/7 and LOVING IT.
I’m a little tired but really getting into the groove of being up around 4:30am and go,go,go-ing until my head hits the pillow most nights. It’s pretty satisfying knowing that you are giving your best and trying your hardest to make your dreams come true. My next long swim is going to be in September. MOLOKAI TO OAHU. 26 MILES. LET’S RAISE SOME MONEY FOR CHARITY AND GO AFTER ANOTHER RECORD! More details soon…

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TRAINING UPDATE
I had my first three long swims for the year in March. They were pretty simple.
Swim one: Swam two hours in the ocean. Straight.
Swim two: Swim two and a half hours in the pool…see if you can get in 10k. Mix it up – different sets of free, IM, pull and kick. I got in @ 9,700. Drink/eat every half an hour.
Swim three: Swim three hours in the ocean, 90% free, 11k. Drank a ton of water and Gatorade before I started. Swam two hours, took a feed break, then swam another hour. I think I had some Gatorade Chews, half an apple and a bottle of water in less than two minutes.
Other than that I am averaging 5 practices a week of at least 5k…with the occasional suck practice and the occasional awesome one!

SPONSORSHIP UPDATE
Wow! Thrilled to partner with TYR Swimming, Gatorade, Riverflow by Current Systems, More Than Sport, Sharkbanz, The Surf Channel, The Marsha Nadalin Salon and Spa at the Kahala Mall and to be represented by Niche Models and Talent for 2016!

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MODELING UPDATE
Four photoshoots in ten nine days!
They came out AMAZING…
I am trying something new – I have been reading up on male body builders/fitness models and have been doing a modified version of water loading and then restricting two to three days prior to a shoot and I like the results even though it is unhealthy and tough to do. I would never do it on a regular basis…more of a three or four times a year for a specific shoot. I love my body and I am not concerned with my weight – however, I drink a minimum of 100 ounces and sometimes over 150 ounces of fluid a day and that can make it tough to keep your stomach looking tight for photos.

BEAUTY UPDATE
I tried gel nails! I went with Cherelle, my training partner from Switzwerland. I have been talking about getting gel/shellac nails for years but have always chickened out. Cherelle got so sick of hearing me lust over her perfect nails every day and dragged me to this little hole in the wall place near UH. Long story short (I will post a special Beauty Blog in a few days) I am not a gel nails virgin anymore!

FINANCIAL UPDATE
Personal victory! I have more than $1,000 in my bank account for the first time in a year! It is a little short lived…most of it is going out in the next few days but I am still really happy about it. I keep fighting, praying and working hard! Champagne on me, baby!

RELATIONSHIP UPDATE
It’s complicated…

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BREAKS

A lot has happened in the last month…
HEART BREAK
I can’t even go there…except to leave two quotes:

“Never be afraid to fall apart because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish you’d been all along.”
and
“You know you really love someone when you can’t hate them for breaking your heart.”

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TOE BREAK
Ow! Two weeks after I started really training…

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NO BREAK
I decided I wasn’t going to let anything stop me or even slow me down. I didn’t take any time off…just added quite a bit of pull and kept things more on the “gentle” side – unaggressive intervals. It helps that I really love pulling.
Here is an example of what I did two days after breaking it…
600 choice warm up
4 X ( 3×300 pull on 4:15 and 4×50 choice)
12x50s choice warm down no interval
I am really glad with my decision to train through discomfort. Things are starting to come around and while my times are a bit erratic things are moving in the right direction. I am back swimming with my normal group…having fun trying to keep up with all the fasties.

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WORK BREAK
Who knew making burritos and working in the charcuterie at Whole Foods would be so challenging?!? The hardest part was taking two buses and either waking up at 4:30am or getting home around midnight…while I appreciated every minute I felt it made my life too stressful… I am so thrilled to be working for a new company close to home. It is an office job and the best part is that I can walk there from either my house or the swimming pool! Yes! The hours are 9-5, everyone is so nice to work with…it has been a major, positive change and I really think it will help my training this year.
I have been coaching the Men’s and Women’s Swim Team at UH this season, working primarily with the Distancers and the Breaststrokers. It is an absolute joy. They are in California this week swimming at their Conference Championships. GO BOWS!

NAIL BREAK
I finally did it. I went with Cherelle and got gel nails for the first time! I’ll let you know if they last three weeks…I have an appointment tomorrow at the Marsha Nadalin Salon and Spa at Kahala Mall. I love going there – it’s great when you have complete peace of mind when you are going to get your hair done. It’s relaxing (they give incredible head massages while they shampoo and condition your hair) and sell a complete range of products – everything from $12 Wet brushes to the full line of Moroccanoil products!

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LUCKY BREAK
The ink is drying on a few new contracts…I have major news to announce soon…

SURF BREAK
Thank God I leave near the beach…it calms my soul. I love the ocean!

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