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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. A cup of coffee would kill me....

    So I've not always been the most active and healthy person as I am now, but I've blogged about that before.

    So I'm going to step out in front and say that Good (or at least Dedicated) Computer Programmers live like rockstars. Much in the same sense that we stay up late, get up early, abuse our bodies with massive amounts of energy enhancing drugs, and have no business being classified with "normal" people.

    Working on a high profile project for my company, many of us were putting in between 90-100 hours per week. 6-7 day work weeks were not abnormal and sleep was a luxury not afforded to many of us. The glorious thing about this is we're all salaried.

    During that time, I found I could survive on 4 low carb monsters a day. I wouldn't even need to eat. I did drop a LOT of weight, and I got so used to the constant caffeine buzz I wouldn't even be shaky anymore. I could sleep 2-3 hours, shower and be ready to roll again the minute I got into work.

    I remember one night going home for Christmas, I drank at least 10-12 Red Bulls on my way back from Chicago to Iowa. I was up for 2.5 days straight and then ended up sleeping for about 36 straight hours.

    On New Years Day, I had already quit the monster/red bull rush. I would have the occasional rum and coke, but that was it. Apparently the damage had already been done. I was drinking my rum and coke - watching the parade with my friends and suddenly, my heart started fluttering like crazy. After about a half hour it chilled.

    This continued for about a week, until I finally quit drinking both alcohol and caffeine. I went to see a doctor, and we found out I had suffered from a caffeine poisoning, and was pretty much going to be "allergic" to caffeine for the rest of my life.

    Occasionally - because I obviously am stupid - I like to test the waters and see if I can eat that chocolate bar, or sip on that coffee. As expected it almost never goes well. I usually have to lay down and let my heart rate return back to normal before I can do normal things like walk around.

    So - LFMF (Learn From My Fail) as the internet has so wonderfully put it these days. Caffeine may be a lifesaver some mornings, but it can lead to some seriously miserable nights.
  6. 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?
  7. 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)
  8. 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!
  9. I can't have this "no practice" thing again.

    So I haven't been allowed to swim since last Tuesday. Last Wednesday I had two warts sliced off (what an experience!) and was told by my coach "You're not swimming" on Thursday, and practice was canceled on Sunday due to issues with scheduling at the high school. That caused my eating schedule to be thrown completely out the window (including my diet plan), my sleeping habits to be totally jacked, and my workouts to be cut off. By today I just feel kind of icky all over.

    So I did a lot of things last weekend I'm not proud of:
    1) Eating after I'm full
    2) Sat and just watched TV (causing more of #1)
    3) Didn't drink enough water
    4) Barely got in any sort of a workout this weekend.
    5) Didn't get enough rest

    I did however manage to pull together a few things I am VERY proud of this weekend:
    0) I was there a great friend on Friday night and helped her out when she needed a me.
    1) I only had a two beers last week.
    2) I avoided all of the cookies, cake, cupcakes, and frosting that was more or less shoved in my face all weekend.
    3) I managed to get in at least 15 minutes of abs on Sunday, which is better than nothing
    4) I actually took some time to PLAY in a pool, (not a lap pool) something I hadn't done in literally years!

    So after a nearly sleepless weekend and a lot of bad eating, we're back to the good ol' structure of Monday and getting back on the wagon.

    So questions for all of you:
    What do you do when you get in that "graze" mode? How do you fight it and get out of it?
    How do you maintain a a structure when you don't have a pool?
    What's your cheat? When you need to break from the norm and have a really "bad for you" meal, what do you eat?

    And completely off topic:
    What's your next meet/OW event? Mine's the Park Ridge 1500 on June 26th
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  10. Breaking through a wall

    So this morning I weighed in at 217 pounds. I'm not exactly the most emotional person in the world, but I nearly jumped through the ceiling! I've never been that light since before high school, let alone breaching that 220 barrier... it was a glorious light at the end of the tunnel.

    So I'm actually here to blog about Sunday's workout. I think coach Laurel was actually thinking we were all a bunch of marathon swimmers. I got to the pool kind of late (I'm trying to get more rest as suggested by all of you... and my family.... and my friends.... and the dog...), and I didn't even really look at the board, I just got in and started my warm up (800 choice). After finishing that I then get up and look at the board:
    2 x {10x25 on 30}. Okay - easy enough -
    22x50 (1x50k, 3x50p, 2x50k, 3x50p, 3x50k, 3x50p, 4x50k, 3x50p). Not my favorite but I can survive that.
    Then comes what I see as a doozy:
    3 x {300 on 5:45, 2x100 descending on 1:55, 1:50, 1:45 }
    8x50 on 1:00

    Alright - so I'm definitely not a long distance swimmer by any means. I can do it, just not very fast (then again, my times are not very fast in general). However - for me to make 1:45 on a 100 in a SCM pool.... I should probably be pretty fresh, not right off of a 300.

    Well -by the time I got there, I was so tapped out from the 50s and 25s, I actually had to tap into my recovery drink (apple juice + casein protein). Thank goodness I thought to do that! After about 5 minutes, my body hit a second wind and I actually finished the set! This was a moment of extreme pride for me. I've never been able to finish anything barely over 3000 yards. However - when I hit the 4300 meter mark and hadn't cramped, I was ecstatic! I really can do it! People around me had quit early, too tired to finish (it was a LONG set for our team), but I had finished! It was the most glorious feeling in the world!

    That was until I tried to get out of the pool. Then my body basically said "eff it, I quit. You're on your own" and the chore of dragging myself out of the pool was about a 2-3 minute ordeal. Thankfully everyone had already gone in to the locker room by that point. I felt like a beached whale. On the one hand it was gloriously epic and it was really cool to feel totally exhausted. On the other hand, I drive a stick shift, and its insanely hard to shift when you cramp up every time you hit the clutch.

    Tuesday came though - and 2700 (500s, 200k, 200bk, 100ch, 3x300s on 5:45, 8x100 on 1:55) meters seemed so short, I actually asked where the other half of the set was!

    Some day I'll be a good swimmer... Some day!
  11. Hit the wall

    For the first time ever I will completely concede that I'm probably over training. Today I had to leave work early, tried to work from home, ended up passed out for 4 hours. I still want to go to sleep again, but I know if I do I won't sleep at all tonight. I'm also frustrated - I constantly feel the need to go go go but this pool has been the great equalizer in my body. Times when I used to run on fumes for days now I just crash and shut down. I guess I liked doing that - it always gave a sense of "epic" in my head.

    So I have a pretty regular schedule for my body:

    5 AM Wake up, hit alarm.
    5:15 AM - Actually get up.
    --Sometime between now and 6, I make my 8 egg whites with veggies and my lunch for the day. I usually shower (if I didn't the night before)
    6:30-7 AM Get to my desk job where I climb ten flights of stairs (roughly 120 stairs) to my desk.
    8:30 Eat my protein shake
    10:30 Eat some yogurt
    11:30-12 Lunch!
    2 PM - eat my home made protein bar!
    3:00 PM Leave my job.
    4 PM Start my Lifting circuits at the gym. (3 circuits of 3-4 exercises (core always included) performed 3 times for each circuit)
    5 PM Go home and chill. Do something like laundry, work on my personal computer stuff, mow the lawn, etc...
    ---(T/Th) 7:45 PM go to the pool, swim my rear off for my coach.---
    10 PM get home, try to bring my body down as much as possible.
    11-11:30 PM Bed.

    On Mondays and Wednesdays, I'm usually pretty cool, I can go to bed early (like 9 PM). Life is good. Wednesdays USED to be the same way, except this Wednesday I had two consulting gigs back to back that lasted until 10 PM (then grocery shopping). So come today (Friday) I get to work just exhausted, burnt out, etc... and I just can't stay awake at my desk.

    So what do people do when they're in these situations? My swim practice is late (which ironically was one of the reasons I wanted to go to this masters club...) but I get home from practice and my body is just roaring with adrenaline and I usually don't sleep worth anything those nights.

    Some good news: I'm down to around 220 pounds. I haven't been this light since high school! Age 25 and in the best shape of my life! :-D

    And if anyone ever reads this, I'd like to say: Thank you to the masters community. This community has made me feel more at home than any other community I've been in in a long time. Growing up I was always taught to say thank you to those who helped you. I will say everyone here has :-)
  12. 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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  13. Dipping my feet into the blogosphere again

    I hate blogging. Honestly - its annoying to feel the need to blog and journal to keep track of the things I do on a day to day basis. However I'm planning on trying to encourage my fitness levels by keeping this thing pretty low key and basically just doing it for myself. I need to grow on my own and remind myself how hard I've worked to get where I am now.

    So I'm going to at least talk about where I was, where I'm at, and where I want to go with this whole "fitness" thing.

    Short History:
    5 short months ago, I was 270 pounds, freshly dumped and working my *** off at my job. My eating habits were less than stellar, I spent a lot of my free time drunk as hell trying to forget how I was feeling and doing my best to lie to myself and just tell myself I'm completely fine. It was taking a lot of convincing and I have a scar on my hand from my birthday that really proves it. (Lets just say it was an alcohol related accident).
    One weekend I tried snowboarding with my friend Tessa and Raul and fell completely in love with it. I realized as I continued trying to to snowboard that I was completely out of shape for a sport that was so dependant on the legs. So I got my rear in the gym and began to lift and workout again. I wanted to really learn how to do this snowboard thing well!
    About a week later I flew out to Baltimore to see my friend Melissa and to go snowboarding with her and her friends. I had gained a little muscle and a little strength in my legs and was able to successfully snowboard at least 2 times down the hill. Regardless - I was still far too out of shape to really take snowboarding and go gung-ho the way I really wanted to. I kept working out and learning and even bought my own snowboard.
    Flashforward another week: At church talking with one of the other choir members about his daughter swimming reminded me of a lot of time I spent in the pool at Carthage. I really started to miss it and resolved immediately to find a masters team in the area. I first looked to Deerfield and made the call to go there. I talked on the phone with their coach for 20 minutes and they actually told me I should look to Libertyville because they would have a better schedule and would be a cheaper option for me.
    So the very next day I called coach Laurel and decided that I would show up and try it out. I've been hooked since.

    The present:
    Since January - I'm now down to 225 pounds, and I feel like I have seriously another 40 pounds to go. I lift much more often, often times 3-4 times a week. I have curbed my eating to the point where I now probably eat about half the calories I was eating before in any given week. I have great muscle definition in my arms and legs and can't wait to see where I go from here. I often times push myself to the point of complete failure in whatever I'm doing. With swimming that usually means my ankles and legs begin to completely cramp up, with lifting that usually means I have a large set of weights that are risking my ability to breath or move.
    Mentally I feel much sharper during the day, and often times with much more energy. I feel more tired physically - but that's usually a compliment of the constant exercise I do. I'm usually pretty taxed at the end of each day. Consequently it really helps me to get to sleep.
    My current activity schedule:
    1) Coaching for the Fluffs (h/s freshman basketball team). *Just finished last weekend*
    2) Libertyville Masters Swimming (averaging 2 miles per practice) (t/th/sun)
    3) Waukegan Park District Men's Softball (Fridays only- double headers)
    4) Lake Bluff Park District Co-ed Softball *Starts in June (t-th)
    5) My Company Basketball League *Starts in June - Wednesdays only.

    The Future:
    Tomorrow I'm meeting with a personal trainer. His name is Jon and he's the drummer for my roommate's band. He's also a huge body builder. The guy is really smart and is pretty cool. In any case - I'm going to present my goals here so I can have them set up for him tomorrow.
    Goals for me in terms of my fitness level:
    1) Create a better diet plan for myself. I want something that's developed a little more intelligently than just me guessing at what I should and shouldn't eat. I need to minimize recovery times and maxmize my physical gains from each workout if I'm going to be able to perform well this summer.
    2) Build a solid workout program. I need a program that's going to challenge me and keep things switched up over a long period of time (> 6 months) but also something that's going to be easy enough so I can survive the other 5 things that I'll be doing on any given day.
    3) Reduce my body fat to < 10%. At that point I will be in a much healthier and stronger state than I've ever been in my entire life.
    4) Develop a year round program that will help me maintain a lifestyle of physical fitness.

    There you have it. My past, present and future. I'm gonna cross my fingers on this one.

    Updated October 1st, 2010 at 12:08 PM by bzaks1424

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