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bzaks1424

  1. 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:
  2. 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!
  3. The Oregon Trail

    <-- Love this!

    So I had decided to take a long weekend and travel out to Oregon to visit my friend! We had a white water rafting trip with her church group!

    I arrived Thursday night around 11 PM, woke up in the morning and we went out to the Pacific beach in Lincoln City. It was approximately 70-80 degrees outside and VERY foggy! The water in the ocean yesterday (so I was told) was 53 degrees!!!! I was totally prepared though; I wore my old lycra jammers that were a touch too large and my swim trunks over top. It was so cold that I actually went numb!!! I managed to swim in it for approximately 10 minutes though! I would walk out in the water until it was about up to my chest and then swim up the waves as they came crashing down on me. It was an awesome experience because as the water would be SO cold as it came over my head my whole body would tighten up and I couldn't breath at all! It was so much fun! Then when I would walk back on shore - I would notice that I couldn't feel anything in my legs and would sometimes be stomping into the ground or kicking into the slightly higher ground. (That's how I figured out my legs/feet were so numb!) After I finally got out and dried off, we grabbed a small bite to eat and took a hike up and down the coast. Around 4:30 PM the air and sky finally cleared and we were able to see the cliffs off in the distance.

    Fortunately - I'm already relatively tan from my earlier meets in the year (the P.R. 1500 and the Badger State Games) and I wasn't burnt too bad from the ocean. My friend however, was lit up like Rudolph's nose! Poor girl... we still had to do the White Water Rafting the next day!

    Today (7/10) We went white water rafting. I was up at 5 AM PDT (7 AM CDT, so it wasn't bad for me) and we got in the car and drove 2.5 hours from Salem to Maupin and the Sage Canyon River Co to raft down the class 2/3/4 rapids of the Deschutes River! We had a blast! White water rafting was NOTHING like what I thought it was going to be though. I fully expected to get in the water and have about an hour complete adrenaline and paddling my off until we broke the the other end of the rapids and were just done for the day!
    I was completely wrong. We ended up spending about 90% of our time just floating lackadaisically down the river. Then there was that 10% of the time where our boat was completely flooded, often times we were @ risk of being thrown out and we were trying to paddle amidst the serious waves. Those parts were a complete blast!

    There was one part - where after we rafted through it, we were told to get out of the raft, walk back up stream along the bank and then jump in again and go through this part called "Elevators" - what an awesome time! I did learn something though and I figured I'd share it with the rest of you:
    NEVER EVER WEAR RUNNING SHOES WHEN TRYING TO SWIM!
    It was a fun experience yes. The ride down the rapids was a blast. Then when I was trying to kick and swim my way back to the shore line (the water was some 15-20 ft deep) my shoes would just catch water and pull me with the current. If it weren't for the fact that they're my only shoes that I have here this weekend I probably would've just tossed them. It was VERY annoying!
    So lesson learned! Good times were had by all! Lots of water fights between rafts as well!

    As much fun as it was though. I'm not entirely sure that its something I'm going to go out of my way to do again. I did have a great time, its just not what I was thinking it was. I'm thinking had it been that 1 hour of super intense adrenaline pumping paddling and constant rapids, I'd be all about it. Spending a day on "lazy river meets occasional small waterfall".... meh... I'll save my money and go to a swim meet instead (I could be at the Carbondale IL meet this weekend!)!

    Thanks for reading!