A Day in the Life: Blythe Murray, Day 2

SEATTLE, Washington, November 15. BLYTHE Murray's "A Day in the Life" series continues today with a lot more training talk as well as some insights into the difficulties of being a collegiate student-athlete.

Tuesday, November 14, Day 2
College is hard. Sure, there's more coursework and the tests are more difficult, but the funny thing is, one of the most challenging aspects of college is simply showing up for class. For many students it's all the extra curricular activities, so many things to do, people to hang out with. As a swimmer, though, the challenge is hiking up to campus for your 8 a.m. class after a grueling two-hour workout with the knowledge that not 15 minutes away is your nice soft bed just waiting for you to lay in and take a nap.

For me, there's no skipping class. I'm a senior in the school of business, majoring in accounting. The classes become much smaller as the courses become more specialized. For me (a senior in a very specific major) this means the professors know everyone in the class and include participation as a major piece of my overall grade. This isn't to say I've never nodded off in class… like I said it's hard.

Even if I wanted to, I probably couldn't skip class. I see now that I missed a lot of important topics in a finance class when the team traveled for our meets last week. Luckily, I have some good friends in the class who were willing to take notes for me. If I missed any more class than I do now to go to meets (skipping to take that nap for example), I'm not sure I could keep up.

Tuesdays, I usually have coffee and lunch with my best friend and former teammate (she was a captain last year) Megan Bright. We go to the Starbucks (a Seattle staple) in the University Village (a yuppie, up-scale open air mall near campus). After lunch, we usually walk around and look at shoes and clothes. We are both fashion nuts and loooove shopping and dressing up so much so that some of our teammates ask us for advice.

Tuesday afternoon's practice is composed of a weight lifting and swimming workout. Yesterday, I found out I have "walking pneumonia" so the trainer told me to see how I felt today and not to overdo it. In weight training, we are given specific workouts based on our individual events and previous injuries. Everyone is expected to increase their respective weight gradually and on an individual basis. Lifting with good form is greatly stressed during the workout, and socializing is kept to a minimum. Our coaches think it's important to focus on what we're doing because the weight room is one of the most common places for injuries.

My favorite two exercises in the weight room are chin-ups and dumb-bell bench presses. For chin-ups, we do three sets of eight reps. The objective of the exercise is to do as many reps as you can unassisted, once you fail, you move over to a machine that assists the chin-ups and finish the chin-up station. With the dumb-bell bench press, we do two sets of 6 reps, and every week we try to increase the weight.

I was allowed to swim today, so that was very encouraging. Even though I didn't stay in the entire practice, it was nice to get some water time and even get my heart rate up. I don't know, I guess it makes me feel less like I'm falling behind in my training. One of the hardest parts of practice today was the hypoxic work. Usually I'm pretty good at swimming without breathing much but today it was super-hard. I bet it has something to do with the pneumonia and the whole "fluid in the lungs" thing.

Our breath control set was:

[1×100 on 1:25 6 breaths total, 1×50 on :55 build to fast prime stroke, 1×50 on :45 build to fast freestyle.]

Our main set consisted of:

5 x 100
4 x 100
3 x 100
2 x 100
1 x 100

Each round was followed by 1 easy 50 and then 3 x 50 drill. There were different lanes and send offs for back, breast, fly and free and all the rounds were the same stroke and the interval started out quick and descended to really fast. I didn't complete the main set but the girls did a great job!

After workout, most of the team heads over to the student-athlete building for training table. Training table is a service provided by the university to provide its athletes with healthy dinners. Essentially, it's the athlete cafeteria laid out buffet style. As a student-athlete with a busy schedule and lots of training required weekly, it's important that we fuel our bodies with high quality fuels. If you want to perform your best, you need to eat the best. My favorite part of training table is the fruit bar. They have great pineapple and fresh strawberries. The training table is also a great place for the student athletes of the school to socialize.

After dinner, I usually take a quick 15-minute power nap. This break helps me to switch gears from training to school. After the nap, I get to homework and studying (with the occasional Facebook and Limewire "study breaks". With all the schoolwork done, it's time for bed. 5:30 practice is only 6 and one half hours away!!!


Go Dawgs!!