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bzaks1424

  1. 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 02:46 PM by bzaks1424

    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  2. 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?
  3. Meet Prep for the IndySwimFit

    I'm currently stuck in training at work. Its about how to run some monitoring application. Honestly - my efforts are better spent in about 50,000 different places, but I'm stuck here for the rest of the week. I'm going to do some prep for this weekends meet.

    I will be swimming the following races:
    • 50 Back
    • 100 Back
    • 50 Free
    • 50 Breast
    • 100 free


    I also did some reading, and it appears I can sign up for at 1 relay. I know I'm going to be completely cashed by this point, but I'm totally signing up for another relay at this meet. I loved swimming it last weekend. It was fun meeting the new people as I swam it as well!

    Goals
    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.
    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!
    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)
    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.
    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

    My goal for every race
    Push through the O2 deprivation. I'll have at LEAST 2-3 minutes to catch my breath after every race - so O2 debt is not going to be a major concern. I can catch my breath later!

    Nutritionally - I'm going to play it a little differently. Last meet I did not come prepared to consume enough fast acting carbs so I felt that my recovery was not nearly as fast as it should have been. So this time - I'm going to prepare again with a healthy balanced breakfast around 6 AM. Warm up around 8 AM, have a banana around 9 AM, and be ready to destroy my old record (hahaha only record) at 9:30-9:45 when the 50 back comes up.

    So I'm ready... going to train on my own tonight, practice tomorrow night, and I get on a train at 2:20 Friday to head to Chicago to catch the 5 PM to Indy from Chicago. I might even lift Friday morning before work. We'll see if I can sleep after practice.
  4. Where the @#*& is the @#$8#@$* Wall?!?!

    Its not often I swear underwater. Usually its caused by an annoyance in my lane or a severe pain in my body. I usually reserve my energy for swimming - its an intelligent thing in my opinion.
    This weekend was almost an exception to that rule. That 50 Free in an LCM pool nearly killed me.... but we'll get to that later because right now its time for the

    POST MEETS POST MORTEM

    The Park Ridge 1500 @ the Oakton Pool in Park Ridge IL
    Results

    The PR 1500 was a fun race for me actually. I had never honestly swam more than 1000 straight in practice and so my first and foremost thought was "I just need to survive the race" I had done a 20x100 in practice this week - and survived rather well. During the race - I found myself pacing it like a 3x500. The first 500 was a warmup, the second 500 I focused on my form and technique, trying to keep a strong kick and keep going. The final 500 was focused solely on build up; I wanted to make each 100 faster than the 100 before it leaving the final 100 for a sprint to the finish with 0% energy left.

    Quick Anecdote: During the race on my first flip turn - I saw the number on the wall - and for some reason I was mesmerized by it, and ended up jamming into the wall on my flip turn. The rest of the meet - I avoided looking at the number so as to prevent that problem.

    Well - I finished my race @ 29.32! A PERSONAL RECORD! Hysterically enough - even with my build up and everything - my teammate Jamie told me that my pace was pretty much RIGHT ON 1:59 for all 15 laps (no more than a second or two deviation). So all of that "build up" I did was really just a correction to keep me from going slower. My final "sprint" was on 1:54. So much for extra energy output.

    I won my age group though! Out of no one else

    Goals for meet:
    • Maintain a consistent pace with no more than a 3-4 second deviation between any two laps.
      DONE AND DONE
    • Keep my *average* split time under 1:50.
      Nope. Going to have to work on that speed thing.
    • Finish the race strong, even with nothing left in my body.
      DONE!
    • Dolphin kick off the wall at least 80% of the time.
      YES! I was very proud of that - I can count only twice off the wall that I didn't dolphin kick and that comes out to 86.67% dolphin off the wall!

    Things to improve for next time:
    • I need to bring my average time down. This 1:59 thing won't do for me. I know I just need to build up in the pool with more swimming. These sorts of things come with time.
    • I need to focus on my sprints at the end of the race. I'm pretty sure that I probably could've pulled more out of the tank had I pushed a little harder earlier. I wasn't really feeling tired until the last 2-300 anyway.


    The Badger State Games @ Erb Park Pool in Appleton Wi
    Results

    In this meet I swam the 50 Free, the 50 Back, the 100 Free and I jumped in in an ad-hoc relay (the 4x100 free relay). It was a fun meet- but being there alone kind of sucked. I did make some fun friends though!

    The 50 Free
    The 50 Free was my first race - and actually the most brutal of the races I did that day. I took my time to warm up. Was pretty relaxed and feeling really good when I got on the blocks. My dive was so-so, I totally forgot to dolphin kick. I was doing really well too until I hit about the 40 meter mark. Then all of a sudden everything started to cut out. I had 0 energy, was totally exhausted and running out of O2. I ended the race on 39 seconds.

    The 50 Back
    I got out of my swim down from the 50 free and I take a peak at the heat sheet. I have 2 minutes until my 50 back! Aye Dios Mio!! So I shake it all off, sip some gatorade and get down to the blocks. Time to rock and roll! I've never started the back stroke nor have I ever finished the back stroke. So it was an experience. I did get in and swim a 50 back "quickly" to get a feel for it. During the entire race I kept focusing on "floppy floppy ankles" and relaxing the arms as long as they were out of the water. I got through that race in 53 seconds.

    The 100 Free
    This was a rough rough race. I got done with my 50 back, discovered I only had 3 heats of 50 back before I had to swim the 100 free! So I got a sip of gatorade and started shaking my body around. Had to knock off that lactic acid build up asap. I got on the blocks and dove in. I must not have tucked my chin right because my goggles came off. DOH! I swam as hard as I could, but I was freaking out a little mentally. I was having a hard time breathing and I knew form was collapsing. I went into the wall and did my push off with my eyes completely closed. I came up and kept swimming as hard as I could, running out of breath because I was still in a mental panic. I hit the wall at 1:39 - I was extremely disappointed in that time. I nearly threw up after this event. My stomach was so tight I could barely breath!

    The Ad-hoc 4x100 Free Relay
    I had about 8 more heats of 100 free after me. So I was able to get a little bit of rest and relaxation before having to dive in again. I was the 2nd swimmer in the relay, and this time - I was going to make sure those goggles were not coming off. I'm partially convinced that I was cutting off circulation to my brain during that race, but I honestly didn't care. I think I swam really really well. I remember looking up at my second split being 40 seconds. If my first split was anything less- that means I did a sub 1:20 on my 100, which for me is AMAZING! I put my relay behind - but fortunately our anchor was pretty fast! He came from behind and won the race! Yay Strangers! Seriously though - Ad-Hoc relays rock the house.

    Goals for meet:
    • Under 35 in the 50 Free (its LCM, a whole new beast for me)
      Nope. I have another chance next weekend though. I think I can shave that time off by more intelligent pacing.
    • Under 1:30 for the 100 Free
      If I'm not freaking out about my goggles - yes I can do this next weekend. This weekend I did not.
    • Under 45 for the 50 Back
      I definitely did NOT get anywhere close to that. I'm also not sure if I can pull it off. We'll have to see!
    • Dolphin kick off the wall for my ONE turn.
      Nope. Did not do it on the relay either. I'm going to focus pretty hard on that one over this week and for the next meet.
    • Dolphin kick after my start for the back.
      I totally did not. I will be focusing on that this week as well during practice.
    • Don't screw up my Back start.
      I'm pretty sure I didn't do it "right" but it wasn't awful. I at least made it to the flags before coming up!

    Things to improve for next time:
    • I need to focus on endurance for those last 10-15 meters. I need to remember that I can breath when I'm done and honestly - O2 deprivation is fine in the short term. I need to have better times next week.
    • I need to remember to dolphin kick off the wall... One of the things I'm realizing in this 50 meter pool - since I don't have my flip turns and pushing off the wall I need to get as far as I can off my dive as possible so I can spend as minimal amount time swimming as possible so I can have the energy to sprint with with my arms and kick like crazy when I'm not able to glide.


    Sorry for the long post. I'm down for any thoughts or suggestions any of you have!

    See all of you (or none of you) next weekend at the Indy Swim Fit at the UofI Pool!!!

    Updated July 7th, 2010 at 02:44 PM by bzaks1424 (Jon: post MORTEM Mike MORTEM)

    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  5. 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!