View RSS Feed

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. My Indy SwimFit review!

    First and foremost - I want to say the Indy SwimFit meet was run very well! I had plenty of rest time, the results were posted extremely fast and the people running the desk were REALLY cool.

    So to get to Indy, I decided to take the Amtrak. Its easy to get to, and its super low stress. This trip I take my friend Tessa. She's a great friend and she promised to video tape my swims.
    We arrive in Indy about 11:30 PM, and walk about 300 yards to the hotel (GREAT PLANNING). After getting ready for bed, I fall asleep until about 4:30 AM. I finally get out of bed right around 5:15 get my stuff together in the dark and start walking around the hotel. Finally around 5:45 I make my way into the restaurant and get my first cup of decaf. Finally after consuming a massive amount of food by about 6:30, I get up and I walk over to the computers for the hotel and start playing around on the forums, facebook and gmail. (See here: [ame=http://forums.usms.org/showpost.php?p=219296&postcount=48]Forum Post[/ame])

    As I'm sitting at the computer - I see a few people walking through the hotel with their own swim bags. I figured I'd just introduce myself and make friends - what a GREAT idea. The person I met was Nadine Day. First off - she knew EVERYONE at the meet, so I got to meet a lot of fantastic swimmers and make a lot of new friends. Secondly - I immediately labeled her as my surrogate coach. She actually did quite a bit to help me learn at the end of the meet and I'll be repeating those drills at pretty much every practice.

    So enough fluff - I swam the 50 Back, 100 Back, 50 Free, 50 Breast and finally 100 Free. I'm coming to the conclusion - if I at least do one race well - its a good meet. :-)

    Before the race - I received a free swim cap. I figured I would try it out! Why not; right? I did a few practice laps and decided I would just keep it on for the rest of the meet. It was a really weird feeling not feeling the water on your head.

    Results

    50 Back
    "I'd like to go at least a 50 in the 50 back this time. I did a 53 last weekend, and I think this time I'm going to be a little better prepared mentally for the race. I've also increased my backstroke during the week and kick to help push myself down the lane."
    BORKED
    My goal in backstroke is always to survive. Although - its also to beat last meet's time. As of July 4th I don't have my official time for the Badger State Games, but I know I swam an equivalent time so I was pretty happy with that even if I didn't swim a 50. At least I'm not getting slower! I remember at the very beginning of the race I was choking on the water as it kept coming up over my face with my left arm. So I relaxed the arms and made sure that my stroke was even and calm and the water stopped flowing over my face. Watching the video - its pretty obvious that I don't know how to start. Something that I just have to learn in practice. As I'm watching though - I'm noticing that I bend my knees when I kick. This will be corrected as I learn the drills that Nadine taught me. I also worked to try and make sure my shoulders came out of the pool when swimming; you can tell when I'm thinking about it and when I'm not because I either do it or don't. Practice will even that out though.

    100 Back
    "I'm hoping I survive. No kidding. It's going to be a long race - and I'll swim it as hard as I can, but we'll have to see. I'm also hoping to have a good flip turn followed by a strong dolphin kick. I'm aiming for the flags off the wall!"
    --No Video--
    The race started the same as the 50 back - with me choking from water from my left arm. I again chilled out and let my arms relax. I swam a much better race. When I flipped turned off the wall, I didn't get any air right before my turn, so I was totally in O2 Debt by the time I came out from under. I also had a very deep flip turn for whatever reason. I came up and was able to breath again. At that point it was just "make it to the wall". I swam a 1:55 - which was great for me especially because I thought I was going to be doing about 2:00+.

    50 Free
    "I'm working on my sprints this week. I'm hoping to be able to make it to the 49 meter mark before I'm totally starting to cash out this time! So that means I need to dolphin off the dive and extend my dive for a little longer than I did last weekend. I swam a 33ish in 50 SCY, and a 39 last week. With some improvements in form that I'm working on I think I can speed things up significantly. My goal is going to remain 35 (as last week)"
    BORKED
    <Sigh> This was a very disappointing race. I should've come up sooner and relied on my on my ability to swim rather than dolphin kick underwater. I wasted a lot of time in that race underwater. (Nadine came up and basically told me she was happy I was working on my underwater - but that was too much). I also didn't finish that race completely exhausted. So I know I didn't give 100% and I know I could've done much better. I ended that race on a 40, which sorely disappointed me. Next time I'll make it. I KNOW I can!

    50 Breast
    "Survive again. It would be nice to finish my 50 Breast in under a minute. Its my weakest stroke mostly because my kick is essentially useless. I'm working on it, I just need time and experience I think. However - specifically - I'm going to make sure that each lunge forward with my arms helps propel my body forward."
    BORKED
    I did manage to complete this race in under a minute! I was super excited about that. I spent this race completely focused on form. That was far more important to me than any time or anything like that. So I made sure to allow time for a little bit of glide before going into the stroke again. Next time however I will probably take a little less time gliding and a little more time swimming. I think its about learning that delicate balance? Coach will tell me eventually. :-)

    100 Free
    "I'd like to see no goggle problems this time, a strong dolphin kick off the wall and pacing it right. Again - with some strong improvements in form that i'm working on - I think I can speed this up significantly by this race. Goal: 1:25"
    BORKED
    Well, I certain did not swim a 1:25. I swam a 1:30. By the time I hit the blocks on this race, I was only focused on making a stand against that awful 50 Free I did before. I remember coming down, feeling pretty strong. My swim into the wall was not really that great (those bulkheads were trippy for me... I will have to swim in that pool more). After coming off the wall - I noted the guy next to me was beatable. So I decided to push it, hard. I started kicking harder and swimming harder. This entire time I was also not taking the time to breath every other stroke or even every three strokes. I limited myself to 4 or 5 strokes per breath thinking "You can breath when you're done...". I pushed myself as hard as I could into the wall with that guy right on my tail. He ended up kicking it in just at the last second and beating me by .05 seconds. I need to work on my finishes apparently :-) That race was a great race for me and I'm very proud of it.

    All in all at this meet I was happy with how it turned out. I met Mary Pohlmann, Nadine Day, and quite a few other people whose names currently escape me. I can't wait til my next meet, regardless of the pool size. I do happen to really like the long course though. I really wish I could train in it. I've also decided after this weekend, I definitely need more swimming in my life. So I'm currently working to find more pools to swim in as well. We'll see how that goes and we'll see if I'm capable of keeping it up! Thanks for all of your encouragement everyone!

    Tonight: Drills at the Lake Bluff Rec! Going to basically just do drills for a couple hours to work on form. Post ideas for drills if you want!

    Updated July 7th, 2010 at 03:46 PM by bzaks1424

    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events