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Planning

Goals, Periodization, Lessons Learned

  1. Since I'm sitting here

    My SCY season consisted of 8 meets including Nats. Of those were two state championships (Iowa and Illinois) and several smaller (yet equally exciting!) meets.

    I'd really like to explicitly look at my 500 free times from the start til the end of the season:
    My first 500 of 2011: 1/15/2011 Danville
    Time: 7:18.93
    Splits: N/A (Avg: 43.9)

    After a lot of coaching and learning, I managed to pull this off at the Illinois State Meet.
    Best 500 of 2011: 4/7/2011 (ILMSA Champs)
    Time: 6:46.42
    Splits: 34.70, 40.11, 41.99, 41.26, 40.79, 41.49, 42.07, 41.89, 42.14, 39.98

    So I'm pretty happy with how my swimming has turned out! I'm not really sure how it all happened - but like magic I managed to start swimming way faster over these past couple months.
    I also swam the same race during nats... I did not swim it nearly as well, mostly due to fatigue and frustration from the days before. (We'll talk about that in a minute)
    Nats Time: 6:52.88
    Splits: 35.01, 40.18, 42.26, 43.04, 42.03, 43.28, 41.78, 42.57, 41.95, 40.78
    Not a terrible job, but I could do SIGNIFICANTLY better in the future.

    So I've also had an attitude adjustment in my swimming and in my training. My first adjustment came after my 200 free at nationals. Due to the fact that I was not swimming smart (lets just put it that way) I missed my wall at the 75 and killed my momentum for the race. It was a bad race for me and one that I wanted to do especially well in. Well - long story short, I can't go back and swim it again. That's just how it is. So instead, I'll just make it up with a vengeance the next time I swim it in a meet.

    In terms of training, I had the time to look at this article. Mr. Crippen's philosophy on his training and his mindset on pushing oneself to the absolute brink is not something I've never thought about before. However I've never truly been inspired to put myself up to it until after reading this. I don't ever plan or even want to be compared to Fran, but perhaps - just perhaps I can teach myself to become even a millionth of the athlete that he was.

    Thanks for reading! Hopefully I'll be able to post more this summer! I have quite the line up planned:
    2 Open Water Swims (Swim Across America and Big Shoulders)
    2 Triathlons (Wauconda Sprint Triathlon and the Bangs Lake Triathlon)
    2 Long Course Meets (Badger State Games and Indy SwimFit Firecracker)
    Muddy Buddy Chicago
    and at least 1 half marathon (not sure when or where)
  2. You'd think I had a job or something....

    In the past several weeks, I've had to make some adjustments to my workout. Work is finally starting to ramp up and attempt that "utilization to his full potential" crap that the authority figures in my life have always talked about (Parents... teachers... professors... coaches... etc...) Which has ultimately lead to a rise in the number of hours working.

    For about 2 straight weeks I was driving down to Oak Park outside of Chicago. So this would cut into my sleep schedule and thus my morning lifts were gone. Instead - they were replaced with the 80-90 MPH drive down 294 and 290. I think most people didn't even see my car, it was more of a silver blur at 6 in the morning.

    For those two weeks, I was unable to lift at all, and I was lucky to make practice. Sleep was cut to about 4-5 hours per night, and maybe an hour before practice (if I was lucky). I made it through those two weeks and straight into the Sink Or Swim Classic and another week of more of the same and shot immediately into the GRIN Fall Classic. As you all saw - I did really well for me.

    Well starting after the GRIN Fall Classic I was "able" to jump back into lifting. The problem was - I wasn't falling asleep after practice. I had also gotten used to sleeping in a little (til 6:00 AM instead of getting up at 5:00 AM) as a result of my travels and not lifting. So I've adjusted my workout schedule AGAIN.
    Trying to double up on lifting/swimming on days where I have to work just seem relatively useless since I was always just so exhausted. I felt like my work, my workouts and my swims were all suffering as a result of the schedule.

    So now:
    Swim:Sunday 7:30-9:00 PM, Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday 8:30-9:30 PM
    Lift: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday (Sunday will be optional)
    Core: 6 Days a week with a floating free day.

    I lift now whenever its convenient (Evenings on Mondays and Fridays). My new gym has a massive collection of weights and machines. So if I can't find something to do - I'm obviously not using my creativity.
    I wake up almost every morning between 6 and 6:30. That means I can eat a light breakfast and be ready to do core by 7:00 AM. I make sure I put in at least a half an hour of straight core work. I enjoy it because it gives me an endorphin rush in the morning, preps my mind for the day and helps to maintain the efforts I've taken so far in my swimming.
    I think its a pretty ambitious plan, but I also think I can handle it pretty well. I'm currently 8 days in and so far so good

    My next meet and the rundown has been decided! I will be swimming at the West Bend Short Course Meters Meet. I'll be swimming the 50 fly, 200 free, 50 breast, 200 IM, and finally - the 1500 Free. There will be more on that later though. I'm not ready to start blogging those goals for that meet though. That will come! This will be my first competition 200 IM!

    What do you do for your workout? How do you compensate for friends/family/job/swimming?
  3. Sink Or Swim Classic Premeet Prep

    Those of you who talk with me on the forums have probably seen my signature promoting the Libertyville Masters Sink or Swim Classic in Vernon Hills Illinois. Those of you who know me REALLY well (and now everyone) will know that I will be wearing this brief during the meet:

    To all of you who think that this is ridiculous - YOU'RE WELCOME, I've now opened your mind.
    To all of you who believe that this is awesome and classy - THANK YOU.

    Fun Fact: All summer I swam SCM at Vernon Hill High School - the very pool where this meet will be held. Since September we have been swimming SCY.

    I decided to sign up for as many events as I could - including relays for this meet. It's going to be a blast and I figure "Why not? I don't plan on winning anything - I just plan on pushing myself through this and making it a fun time."

    Events And Goals
    400m Free
    So I decided I wanted my first swim of the day to be the longest swim of the meet. I plan on using this event as a double whammy.
    1) It'll be a PR. No matter what.
    2) It'll be a great warm up before the 50 free which is my next event.
    My goal for this event is to swim it in 7:00. That will be an average 100 around 1:45
    It seems like this might be an easy goal for many of you, but its hard to say for me since I'm so used to swimming SCY, I come in around 1:30-1:35 on the 100 during practice, so I'm hoping that extra 7 foot or so won't equate to much more than 10 seconds.

    50m Free
    The 50m free is placed perfectly. Its a race I really like and a race I would like to do well in. I learned some painful lessons this summer swimming it in LCM and I'm excited to give it another go.
    My goal for this event is to swim it in under 36 seconds
    When I swam SCY in march, I swam my 50 (tapered) in roughly around 33 seconds. I don't see any reason why I couldn't beat that now non-tapered. I can swim a 35 at the end of practice these days (so I'm already exhausted and its a push off the wall).

    50m Breast
    I'm not good at breast stroke. I'm very aware of it. I know I should take the time, I just haven't. I'll admit it fully and readily. That being said:
    My goal in this event is to beat my LCM time of 59.57 seconds
    I shall not fear the event! I shall embrace it!

    100m IM
    Even though the 50 is the event I want to do the most well in, the 100 IM is the event I'm most excited about! I've more or less just learned butterfly in the last couple months and I'm excited about the prospect of finally getting to do it in a race! I practiced my transition off the wall from fly to back once the other night and its a LOT of fun!
    My goal in this event is to swim it in under 2 minutes.
    The 100 IM is just the stepping stone. By January I'm hoping to be able to do the 200 IM and stick with that event for a while while I build up my strength/endurance to do the 400 IM.

    50m Back
    The 50 Back is one of those events I like - but I'm not great at. This will have been after all of my other 4 events + 2 relays. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be more of a flooded kayak than swimmer at this point.
    My goal in this event - given the circumstances - is survival. That being said, I'd like to swim it in under 50 seconds

    Thanks for reading! I hope to have video of this!
  4. Get it together mcdonnell!

    So the past two to three weeks I've been seriously in a funk, out of the loop, whatever you want to call it.
    We've pushed up to 4 practices a week in the pool. I'm really thankful for it. I love swimming so much that another day is very welcomed! My times are dropping little by little and my endurance is building up pretty quickly. I'm doing my best to beat everyone around me. I have some serious competition though. Brian's been keeping pretty much even with me in everything. Anne and Laura have been kicking my butt unless its in pull mostly because I rock pull something fierce.

    However

    As a result of me gaining strength in swimming: I can afford to go on less sleep (significantly less sleep). When I don't sleep well, I don't eat well. When I don't eat well, I don't feel as good. When I don't feel good, I don't lift. If I don't lift, I don't sleep as well.... its a vicious cycle. I've also been drinking more than enough. I've also been eating a TON. I've been more hungry these past couple weeks than I was all summer long.

    So - time to reset. I'm a little hungover this morning so I didn't go in to work.
    Goal 1) Lift at least 5 times by next Saturday.
    I have swimming Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.
    I have basketball on Wednesday.
    So I should be able to lift today, Saturday, Sunday and maybe Monday.
    I'll take Tuesday and Wednesday off to make sure I can play basketball (its the semi finals for our basketball league) and swim immediately following.
    Then I should be able to lift Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
    This is great! I should be able to get back on my 3 days on, 1 days off pattern as recommended by my trainer
    Goal 2) Get my diet reorganized.
    I'm going to focus back on intelligent eating. I need turkey, chicken, a loaf of bread, tons of veggies, bananas, berries, and a gallon of milk.
    Goal 3) Get my rest. (~8 hours a night)
    Before I started swimming I could pretty much function pretty efficiently on 3-4 hours of sleep a day. Once I started - I had to start getting more like 8-9 hours of sleep. Now that I'm finally starting to get stronger in my swimming, I'm starting to drift back down to about 6-7 hours of sleep and my body is letting me know that that's not cool.

    Alright - that's my trinity of goals. There's absolutely no reason why I should not be able to make those goals with the exception of me holding myself back.

    Okay. Time to eat breakfast finally and make these goals a reality!
  5. Since its been over a week....

    So the last two weeks have been a little off kilter thus far. My roommates have gone out of town and left me with their dog Sophie.

    Now - I love Sophie. She's seriously the most awesome dog in the world. She's a complete sweetheart and pretty much the only girl who likes me these days anyway


    However - with the sweet comes the slightly annoying. She wants a lot of my attention. Last week - I was just kind of getting into the swing of things just being her and I and I wasn't thinking too clearly. She pretty much monopolized my after work time when I wasn't working on computers. I felt bad just leaving her in the cage all day, so this was a combo effect all across the board. The only things I made time for that week were team events: swim practice, basketball and softball.
    I actually found myself in a bit of a funk as a result of not lifting. I was feeling generally in nature and my attempts to correct or alleviate the situation were only met with more problems and things just getting in my way.
    HOWEVER on the flip side. Thursday night's swim practice was probably the fast I've swam ever. I don't think I've ever really taken the time to give myself enough rest for meets now that I'm thinking about it. I swam roughly 10% faster as a result!

    Then swimming ended last Sunday. Its been difficult to get in the pool just due to time constraints. However this time - I've got a strategy. I put up the money and threw Sophie into a puppy day care so she'd be nice and tired by the time we got home. This has actually worked mostly. I've been busy with a lot of other things as well (car needed oil change, worked a 23 hour shift on tuesday, etc...) So I have been able to get in 2 weight lifts (and one more tonight) this week. I'm hoping that next week will give me even more time to do this as I kind of pick up things to do.

    I also went to the Lake Forest High School pool. I was sorely disappointed to find out that the LFHS pool is closed until August 10th.... So that means I have to turn around and go back to Lake Bluff where I have no lane lines and no ceiling. <ugh>

    I guess I'll be getting really good at my sprints and my breast stroke form then!
  6. SCY GOAL TIME!

    So SCY season is upon us soon! I'm already starting to plan out my goals and ideas!
    Since I like to break things down logically (being that logic is my job) I'm going to start by labeling my high level goals and then giving slightly more detailed goals that I have within those goals.

    Simple goals:
    1) Get Faster (in Swimming)
    2) Get Stronger
    3) Get Skinnier
    4) Build a giant robot that can take over.... .err never mind. (Remember Mike - this is PUBLIC)

    My physical stats and goals:
    Height: 6'3ish <-- I was 6'2 going into college, grew another inch freshman year
    Weight: 210ish <-- Lightest EVER
    Shoe Size: 15 <-- Sucks to buy shoes
    Waist Line: 34 <-- WOW! I'm so pumped!
    Body Fat (as of 7/22/2010): 17.5% <--- GRRR

    My body fat is a frustrating one. I have a lot of loose skin - so I honestly feel that it probably skewed the results of the 7 point pinch test. Especially when I can't imagine myself still having another 35 pounds of fat on my body. Regardless - I still have to keep working out anyway. Otherwise how can I get stronger? (What just happened?)

    My strength goals:
    I don't do a good job keeping stats (like 1MR) of my lifts. I'm not concerned so much with building up that kind of strength. All of my strength goals are to build my body so I can focus more intensively on swimming. So even though my curl is at 12x70 (35 in each hand) using an underhand grip and my lat pull down is at 12x115 - I honestly just want to see those numbers continue to rise on a biweekly to triweekly basis as I spend my 6 days a week at the gym, focusing on developing my extremities while strengthening my core as much as possible. If I can continue lifting and growing stronger - its only going to help me swim faster! (ANOTHER TRANSITION? What's he doing!?)

    Swimming stats and goals
    Alright - So my only SCY times are in the IL State Meet in April. That was long enough ago - and I've lost 20 pounds since then and have gained a lot of strength. I have a few LCM times - but rather than worrying about converting them. Lets just say I'd better beat them when it comes to SCY. The official times are still there:
    Code:
    50 Free: 32.97
    100 Free 1:18.42
    I have my goal times for the year to reach for.
    Code:
    50 Free: < 30 sec
    100 Free: < 1:10
    50 Back: < 50 sec
    100 Back: < 1:50
    50 Breast: < 55 sec
    100 Breast: < 2:00
    *Note - if I beat those times, then I just want to continue improvement. If I don't - its fine. I'm just looking forward to trying! Lastly for swimming; I want to learn how to do butterfly by next April for the Illinois state meet. I'd like to be able to do the 50 free in fly. We'll see what I can get my coach to teach me!
    Outside of swimming - I'm going to be working up to no less than 5 days a week swimming and if I can - 2 practices per day. We'll see how that lines up with sleep as one can't swim all of those events well if you don't have proper rest and nutrition! (He did it again! That son of a big guy!)

    Rest and Nutrional Goals
    Now - nutritional goals are nothing new for me. Rest goals however totally are. To help me focus better on my swimming and to allow me to swim more often and more effectively - I need to be properly rested and well nourished.
    So to help me rest more - I'm giving up organized recreation outside of swimming for now. As soon as my seasons are over for basketball and both of my softball leagues, I'm going to forgo other offers so I can just primarily focus on my swimming and my workout (lifting and possibly running).
    Nutrionally - I need to focus on making sure I keep a solid grip on the reality of my situation - I have to maintain healthy eating habits. I know from experience now that when I do splurge - I end up feeling kind of sick and tired within a few hours. If I'm going to perform - I need to be on top of my game!
    I also need to make sure I sleep enough. Which is such a tear for me. One the one hand - if I get up early - get to work early and get home early - I get to have the afternoon to accomplish what needs to be done. On the other hand - my masters team meets at 8:30 at night. That means practice goes til 9:30, and I'm awake til 11 minimum. A 5 AM wake up just doesn't happen on that these days. So especially once basketball and softball are done, I'll take some time to really focus on how I'm going to actually implement these ideas.

    Thanks for reading again! Today's post isn't as long - but I still appreciate you reading! So today I'm offering a dinosaur:
  7. New Forum Pic + Swim Across America + What now?!

    Well - it seemed like a really good idea at the time and for once - it was!

    Swim Across America - a late night of softball (missed my party because it ran so late) where I tore up my left knee and leg sliding into home, followed by a drive to chicago where I slept for a few hours, and was up at 5:20 AM and down at Navy Pier by 5:40 AM.

    I actually got some really cool pics of the harbor that morning. You can check them out at my Picasa Web Gallery. I'll be adding more as I get the hi-res versions available. All the pictures taken early in the morning were taken with my phone though. I like how they turned out!

    The swim went decently! I learned a lot of neat things on Saturday as a result.
    Lesson 1: I LOVE wetsuits! I rented my $5 wetsuit, put it on and immediately took a walk in the water - I was incredibly buoyant! Each step my legs felt lighter and lighter as the suit made picking my feet out of the water easier and easier! During the swim - this would help fix my body position and put me in a great place to just coast my way through the middle half mile.
    Lesson 2: Drafing ROCKS! Getting in the water - I had no idea how the swim was going to go. So I immediately started in the back of the pack. When you have 15 people swimming in front of you and dragging you along for the first (roughly) 1/4 mile... it's AMAZING. I was putting in virtually no effort, and just swimming along. Before too long, I was passing people left and right and I think I found myself towards the front of the pack when it came to miler swimmers.
    Lesson 3: Those wet suits are very VERY tight. Seriously, I got out of the water tired, disoriented, dizzy, and feeling drunk - sans the fun of having drank. Within a minute of me finally pulling the zipper open on the back of my suit - my chest opened up a LOT and suddenly oxygen was rushing through my body. It was kind of a cool feeling! Although - pulling the plants off my head and body was rather annoying in my disoriented state. I remember having a conversation with Coach Catie as I tried to walk inland:
    Me: Did I win?
    Catie: Good job Mike!
    Me: Yeah but did I win? (trying to stand without falling)
    Catie: Sure Mike, you won..... Are you okay?
    Me: (Stumbling past Catie) Yeah I think so...
    It took me about 5-6 minutes to regain my footing, and once I was able to breath and on dry land I was in much better shape. Speaking of being in better shape - that new forum/profile pic I have posted is actually my taken right after I got out of the water - hence why I look like I feel like I'm going to die.

    So I've decided I'm not a huge open water fan. I might do Big Shoulders just so I have competition to swim for in September. I'm kind of undecided about it all. I'm not a huge OW fan to start. Things like plant life, choppy water, weather.... those things aren't really my most favorite things in the world.

    That leads me to the most important topic: What now?!
    Some important things to know: 1) Our season ends August 1st. Next season doesn't start up until August 12th(ish). I am NOT taking 12 (or more) days off. If anything - I need to ramp up my swimming even more. SCY season is going to be here and I need to be able to destroy my times from last year!!!!

    So I'm going to shift my training to Lake Forest High School pool. The resident annual pass is $260, so I may just buck that out. That'll get me through next summer of doing up to 6 days a week of swimming (and even 2/days!!!) Since my masters team doesn't practice nearly enough for my liking. I'll probably see if I can pull some of my teammates in with me.

    As far as dry land goes: I'm going to talk to my trainer tonight. I'm thinking I should adjust my training to be far more plyometric in nature. I want to be able to build my sprints as much as possible this year - so by building those fast twitch muscles - I'm hoping to finally build up the ability to sprint (rather than whatever it is you say I do).

    I'm also not going to be doing the extra sports from now on. I've kind of made the decision for now I just want to focus on swimming and only swimming. Basketball has been fun, as well as softball - but they get in the way of my dryland and swimming workouts - and that drives me NUTS!

    Wow - that was a novel of a post! If you made it this far thank you! You win a cookie:
  8. Swim Across America

    Swim Across America is tomorrow....HOLY COW! SWIM ACROSS AMERICA IS TOMORROW!

    I'm NOT prepared for this at all! I'm supposed to be doing my first OW tomorrow, swimming a mile in Lake Michigan, and I haven't even thought about anything aside from the fact that I have to be there to help set up at 6 AM tomorrow.

    I'm going to be jumping into this one like I tend to do the rest of my life - without a single extra thought. (Lets hope I jump IN the water, not too soon or I'll just be eating sand.)

    So here's my schedule for tonight through tomorrow:
    Leave work in about 20-30.
    Get to Runner's Edge so I can try on wet suits so I know what size to rent tomorrow.
    Go home, mow the lawn.
    Shower, Lift at the gym (if I have time, legs tonight!)
    6:00 PM Play two softball games
    Go home, shower (again, I know)
    Get to Milwaukee for a party I'm helping host (You should come! PM me if you're interested!)
    11:30ish PM: Head down to home, pick up Greg from his mom's house (he's dog sitting) and go to his place in Chicago so I can sleep.
    5:30 AM UP AND ATOM! Time to help set up for Chicago's very own Swim Across America!
    7:00 AM Rent my wetsuit!
    9:00 AM Swim
    10:00 AM Call for help while swimming
    6:00 PM Leave hospital.... Oh wait, scratch these last two.
    10:00 AM-11:30 AM tear down, eat lunch and head home.

    So you can see - things usually get interesting. I have this weird tendency to over-commit myself. I get it from my mom.

    See you all (or not) tomorrow at S.A.A! Hopefully I won't be drowning!
  9. Back To Action!

    So after my 6 day hiatus on swimming due to my trip and my 7* day hiatus on lifting, I'm getting back into it today.

    I've made some adjustments though:
    1) I'm starting on the P90X Phase 2 Nutrition program as of today.
    a) I'm also making sure that my nutrition has a greater variance from day to day - keeping my body on edge about what it may burn at any given time. I hope this will help burn fat more effectively... I noticed that's how they do it in the week by week plans for the P90X nutrition program; in that program every day is completely different.
    2) To double check I'm not over consuming - I checked my RMR and Daily Activity Burn on the P90X formula. I'm still in Level 3, but I only have to lose 11 more pounds to put myself into Level 2. (Which is significantly less food per day.... yikes!)
    3) I'm restructuring my dryland workout template to add in plyometrics and adding 1 extra ab workout per circuit.
    So a single circuit for chest/shoulders/back could look like this (example):
    Code:
    Circuit X {
      Medium/Heavy Lift For Chest x 12 (Incline Bench Press)
      Medium/Heavy Lift For Back x 12 (Lateral Pull Down)
      Medium/Heavy Lift For Shoulders x 12 (Front and Lateral Raises)
      Repeated Ab Exercise x 15-20 (Exercise Ball Crunches)
      Plyometric Exercise Targeting Shoulders (Medicine Ball Slams)
      Endurance Based Ab Exercise (2pt Plank - 30 seconds ascending to a minute per rotation)
    }
    Last night I finally got back in the pool. (I didn't lift because I fell asleep ) It was so nice for the first 1600 meters (600s, 200k, 200p, 8x75k/d/s). Seriously I loved it! It was so nice to feel the water "hugging" me again! Then the hard set came: 6x250 descending (3 moderate, 2 hard, 1 killer). By the last 250 I thought I was going to die. That's the last time I ever take a week off from swimming! 3100m is not that much!

    Unfortunately the rest of the week is going to be very variable. I'm going to have to figure out how to make practice on Thursday while helping my friend Sara move, get to a trainer appointment, and potentially playing a softball game. It could potentially be a very long day!

    Starting next week I'll be getting back on the strokes and sprints cycle I started. I know there are a lot of issues with the pool, and I've found a new home, I'm just waiting for my current pool to close on September 6th. In the mean time, I'll make due. I actually have been tired enough since my vacation I've felt it necessary to have to "ramp back up" into my workout so I'll just be doing the standard Master's practices this week. This is why I never let myself relax!

    So those of you who are vigilant may have noticed that I put an * next to the 7 on my 7 days of lifting. I actually lifted Monday night when I returned from Oregon, however I feel it was such a pitiful attempt at lifting - I'm not counting it. I spent most of my time staring off in to space from the exhaustion that it was hardly worth my time to have been there at all. I did end up walking between 6 and 7 miles that night though, so that was at least something!

    Speaking of walking - I need to start running the mile and a half to the gym instead of walking it. Its not that far to run, and it will be a far better workout - especially considering how much I need to be running anyway!

    Lifting C/S/B + Basketball tonight!
    Thanks for reading!
  10. Strokes and Sprints

    I've decided that my 3/wk with the Libertyville Masters is just not enough anymore. While I do thoroughly enjoy swimming with them, I feel that I need/want more. So I've decided on any day I can (M/W/Sat) I'm going to do my own workout to help build technique and speed. My current focus is going to be on strokes (Back, Breast and Butterfly), and sprints (freestyle for now).

    I'm operating under 2 assumptions: 1) Good form is built by proper execution of drills. 2) Form breaks down when fatigued unless good form is consciously sought after and executed carefully.

    The idea behind all of my stroke workouts will be based on kicking and drills. If I build up strength and endurance in my kick, then it won't be as big of a fatiguing factor when I'm swimming. If I build proper form in my drills, then when I do take the time to combine it together, the proper form should (ideally) build on the experience from the drills and the strength from the kicking.

    The idea behind my sprint workouts will be based on short distance (right now - 25y) and are to be executed with the following mindset: "move your arms as fast as you can and kick as hard as you can and breath as few times as possible." I'm not concerned with things like dolphin off the wall, or timing my flip turns right now. I want my sole focus to be building those fast twitch muscles in those sprint workouts.

    The park district pool I currently swim in on my own is a 4 Lane 25 SCY pool, no lane lines or flags in the lap swim area. I usually am only one of two maybe 3 people, but the openness of everything makes it kind of tough to swim. Its pretty choppy compliments of the kids playing in the rest of the pool to the east, and the kids diving in the diving well to the west. (Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right...)

    My workout last Monday looked like this:

    Warm Up:
    600 swim
    200 pull
    100 catchup drill ([ame=http://forums.usms.org/showpost.php?p=33665&postcount=3]I don't use a kickboard[/ame])

    Back Stroke Set
    Due to the fact that there are no flags, I swim right next to the one lane line which is next to the kids playing in the pool so I can make sure I don't bash into the wall
    8x25 kick
    8x25 long axis drill (I need to learn more backstroke drills)
    4x25 swim (no flags == kind of scary to turn)

    Breast Stroke Set
    8x25 kick
    8x25 breast stroke pull with flutter kick (I also need to learn more breast stroke drills)
    2x50 swim

    Sprint Set
    8x25 pull
    2x100 easy swim
    8x25 sprint

    Cool Down
    50 easy swim
    1.5 Mile walk back home.

    So from all of you who are far more experienced than me - would you care to give any suggestions? I'm all ears!
  11. A fun and quick little story:

    So last weekend I swam at the Badger State Games in Appleton Wisconsin. It was my first LCM Meet where I did sprints. You all have seen the times from my previous post Where the @#*& is the @#$8#@$* Wall?!?! So we all know - they weren't really that good.

    So because there was no one else in my age group for any race except the 50 free and my relay won, I was able to achieve 3 gold medals and 1 silver medal for the meet.

    So the other day I get an email saying "results are up from the badger state games!"

    Naturally - I'm excited so I check the link: Results and even as of 9:20 AM on July 2nd, they most certainly are not!

    However I was playing around the website and I see this:
    Did you win a medal at The Badger State Winter or Summer Games?
    If so, you may qualify for the State Games Of America!

    In order to qualify for the State Games of America, participants must have won a gold, silver or bronze medal in a SGA sport in their local State Games in a qualifying year (2009 or 2010 Summer, 2010 or 2011 Winter). The State Games of America will take place in San Diego, August , 2011. For a complete listing of sports and more information visit www.stategames.org.
    So following a few links I found this:
    California State Games/State Games of America

    So August 5th-7th in 2011, I guess I'll be swimming in San Diego! Hopefully by then I'll be a much better swimmer - maybe I'll even be able to give [ame="http://forums.usms.org/member.php?u=18385"]U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame] a run for her money in the breast stroke!

    Does anyone know anywhere in Illinois where I can consistently train in LCM?
  12. Meet Prep!

    So I'm not going to lie, I'm VERY excited for this weekend. Even if I'm a little sick I'm going to go in there and kick some serious rear! I'm not slowing my training for this either. The summer is all about doing everything I physically can. (As you can tell from all of my other posts, I don't leave much time to slow down.

    However - that doesn't mean I won't be taking these meets seriously! I've already established my goals (and have since learned they may be unrealistic in an LCM...) and I've already figured out what I'm going to eat and when to help make sure my body is ready to roll.

    The only problem I may have now is actually sleeping. Its by no means an issue of not being tired, or not even being in my bed. Its a matter of containing the excitement before these meets!

    Normally - I'm usually really chill. I don't usually allow myself to get excited until the precipice of the event. It keeps me from having this exact same problem! The whole night I had visions of swimming and flip turns. I spent a lot of time laying in bed with my eyes closed just trying to let go and I couldn't. I remember when my email click went off on my phone around 1 AM, then a few facebook posts around 2 or 3 AM..... I had already decided around midnight to just shut off my alarm, since I wasn't getting to sleep and just wake up whenever (my job offers me a lot of flexibility).

    I couldn't lay there anymore around 4:30-5:00 AM and ended up just making breakfast and going into work early. So here I sit now, not TERRIBLY exhausted (much less exhausted than I thought I would be) but still tired.

    The only part about this that really drives me wild is that I still have 2 nights of trying to sleep before I even get to the Park Ridge 1500, let alone the Badger State Games! I remember I was like this before the Illinois state meet back in April, but I just had problems sleeping the night before the meet, not the week of the meet!

    I think what triggered it was my performance during practice last night. We did 20x100 and I was supposed to be on 2:15. Well - due to some ankle issues I've had to swap in and out of using the pull buoy. I'm MUCH faster on pull than I am on my standard swim. So I was doing my pulls on 1:30 and my swims on 1:55. I ended up finishing way ahead of time - which was such a COOL experience for me. I was driven enough by it that I managed to pre-make my meals for today, do the dishes, and take out the trash after practice all before 11 PM after practice last night. (I get home around 10:15).

    What gets you excited? What gets you pumped for a meet?
  13. Sick Nutrition

    So I finally caught something. And it is TERRRIBLEEEE!!!
    Really - I'm whining, imagine me with a high pitched voice and the crabby moaning sound.

    If I am Superman, then sinus infections are my kryptonite. I get one of those and you can count me being pretty much down for the count for 1-2 days minimum. I'm usually tired because i don't sleep, dizzy because I don't breath (and sometimes eat) and unable to sleep because I can't breath and I'm dizzy.. Its really a vicious circle.
    Fortunately - someone out there invented the Neti Pot, and someone else out there invented Mucinex. If I ever meet either of those people I will offer to kiss their feet and father their children.... Not that that is awkward at all.

    ..... NUTRITION! Right.....

    So our metabolism can be kept akin to a fire. Hence why we burning calories right? So the problem with being sick is you don't want to eat. Your fire can't burn without fuel. Even if you have a lot of fat stored away (like I do), that's more like wet wood that doesn't burn until you have a hot enough fire going in the first place. So you REALLY have to eat when you're sick. Not A LOT by any means, but enough to sustain a healthy metabolism.

    So now the question begs - what nutrition defines PROPER nutrition while you're sick?

    Here's what I think I know:
    Proteins are designed to burn hot and build muscles.
    Veggies are designed to fill you up and give you essential nutrients without giving you a lot to burn.
    Fruits are there for quicker energy and for nutrients.
    Grains are there for longer burning energy (assuming they're complex) and fiber.

    So when you're sick in bed - you don't need fruits as badly, because you're not going to be doing anything rigorous that will require a quick boost.
    If you're not hungry, the veggies aren't going to give you too much to burn, and they'll fill you up, so they're slightly more necessary.
    Whole grains are going to give you some longer burning energy and some healthy nutrients.
    Protein .... well IMHO you ALWAYS need some good ol' protein in the diet. Something low in saturated fats... like turkey or chicken.

    So after this weekend of being sick and thinking through the whole shindig- my goal is to keep some whole wheat turkey noodle soup with veggies frozen around the house. It will provide a healthy amount of protein while giving me the complex carbs and nutrients that I need! Plus - if its home made - its something new for me to learn how to cook. I call that a win win situation.

    What is your "kryptonite" ?
    What do you eat when you're sick?

    What is your favorite activity (aside sleeping) to do when you have a sick day? (Anyone who says the Price is Right automatically wins +1 for the day)
  14. LCM Here I come!

    So I'm going to be swimming in the Park Ridge 1500 on June 26th. It will be my first time ever doing a solid mile. Ever.
    The very next day, I'm going to swimming in the 50 back/50 free/100 free up in Appleton for the Badger State Games.
    Now - I'm not exactly nervous. I've swam 2-3 miles in a single practice before. That's really no big deal.... This time its different though. This time they're in an LCM pool (and I'm used to the SCM pool I practice in right now) and this time they're in front of people who aren't just swimming next to me.
    Now for those of you who've never read this, or really don't know me here's the twenty second background: I have recently discovered "athleticism" in the past 2 years. Before that I was in a lot of activities, but never very athletic or competitive. So this new drive to be good, if not great at something and to not lose, and to push myself to my furthest horizons is very fresh and very powerful in my heart right now.

    So right now I'm going to put out my goals for this meet and talk about how I plan to achieve them.

    My goals for the 1500:
    1) Maintain a consistent pace with no more than a 3-4 second deviation between any two laps.
    2) Keep my *average* split time under 1:50.
    3) Finish the race strong, even with nothing left in my body.
    4) Dolphin kick off the wall at least 80% of the time.

    My goals for the Badger State Games Meet:
    1) Under 35 in the 50 Free (its LCM, a whole new beast for me)
    2) Under 1:30 for the 100 Free
    3) Under 45 for the 50 Back
    4) Dolphin kick off the wall for my ONE turn.
    5) Dolphin kick after my glad for the back.
    6) Don't screw up my Back start.

    So in the 1500:
    I'm going to keep my eye on the clock if possible. I swim about a 2 minute 100 (SCM) in practice when I'm totally fatigued. I've never swam a straight 1500 before. I don't think I've ever done more than 600 straight. In any case, I think coming in really fresh should give me the ability to do at least the first 20 laps around or under 1:50. I'm also going to finish the last lap or two all out. There's no excuse to have anything left in the tank after that.
    Nutritionally - I'm going to make sure I have enough long burning carbs in the body. This is probably going to be (minimum) a 25 minute swim for me. So some complex carbs (shredded wheat) with my usual protein in the morning!

    In the BSG Meet:
    I'm going to push myself pretty much to absolute limit on each race. I want to make sure that I give 100% in all 3 races. By this time, since its the day after the 1500, I should be pretty used to the idea of an LCM pool. I'm planning on showing up an hour early for warm ups and make sure I get *at least* 4-5 laps (preferably about 10) in so I can get a feel for the pool. I have 1 turn in this meet, I do NOT want to screw it up.
    Nutritionally - Since the meet doesn't start until about 1 PM, I'm going to eat a very solid breakfast (I do every day, but I'm going to make sure I have it properly balanced to give my body what it needs). Then I will be snacking on some faster acting carbs with protein right before my first event and between each of my events.

    For Both Meets:
    I'm going to step it up another day and get a 4th practice in per week at another pool as a guest. It will actually be the same pool as the Park Ridge 1500, so I will be getting familiarity with the pool as well as giving myself another opportunity to swim. Besides, mixing up the LCM and the SCM might do me some good!

    So even if I don't win (which - logically speaking I probably won't win anything). I will at the very least have beaten my goals. Which is what this counts for! Some day I may be competitive with the rest of the world, but for now, I'm just going to have to keep racing myself.

    That being said - does anyone have any suggestions for where I could improve further upon my goals? Any ideas for things that will give a novice swimmer a last minute boost?

    Thanks!
  15. Bring on the PT, Bring on the Pain! (literally)

    So last night, I (finally) had my first PT session with Jon. I hurt. A lot. It was funny because he just took me through a run of about 20 some different exercises on a circuit just to show me everything he wants me to learn. So as I realize how hard he's worked me, and I decide. Its worth the $200/mo to make sure I have this kind of workout at least once a week. Granted - I can do this on my own, but I think the reinforcement of working with John through the summer ( at the very least ) will do me some great favors and prep me for the SCY season coming up.

    Speaking of that: I told my coach one of my goals specifically for swimming (which for whatever reason was totally ignored in my last post) I would like to swim at LEAST a 25s 50 Free (SCY). She basically told me it was never going to happen. Not in so many words, but just gave me the same end feeling. :-/

    As one can see here:
    http://www.usms.org/comp/meets/indre...wimmerID=06TZ1
    I'm a little ways off from hitting that goal. 8 seconds pretty much. During that race, I had only been swimming 2 months and basically hadn't really prepared my body for the onslaught that a meet does to my body. During the entire weekend I probably was able to consume 3000 calories total. My stomach got very tight, and even after the events for the day, I was hardly able to eat at all.

    I've been reading SwimFasterFaster.com (thanks Ande!), I've been working the muscles detailed and defined in the book Swimming Anatomy by Ian McCleod. So I totally disagree with her. I know I can do this. I'm going to be swimming in the SwimAcrossAmerica in Chicago this summer (http://www.swimacrossamerica.org/bzaks1424), I'm going to be swimming at the Park Ridge 1500 (LCM), and I'll be swimming in the Appleton Badger State Meet (LCM, 50fr, 50bk, 100fr). I'm getting my experience in and I'm preparing. I want to do that 25 by the state meet next May. (Actually, I'd love to do it NOW. I just haven't been able to yet! ;-))

    Now I totally understand this goal is SUPER lofty and to be completely fair, I'm going to be happy as long as I keep seeing improvement in my times, my form and my endurance. Honestly - at this point its all about having fun in the long run, right?

    So in other news, I just started on the P90X Nutritional Program... I've gotta say its completely different than anything I'm really used to. My energy levels are not quite leveled out on it yet. I'll keep you posted as I keep going.

    Thanks for reading my rants!
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