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  1. Experimental PRP

    by , January 15th, 2011 at 12:32 AM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Today, I ventured with trepidation for more PRP (platelet rich plasma) injections on my big toe area. http://www.treatingpain.com/diagnosi...h-plasma.html; http://www.treatingpain.com/medlibra...lasma-prp.html. This is a lingering chronic injury that began several years ago when I dropped the Finis Shooter monofin (made of fiberglass) on my big toe, slicing it open, copious amounts of blood all over the pool deck. While x-rays showed no fracture at the time, an MRI last year showed that I have tendon damage & degradation and some arthritis in that area. I may also have an osteophyte (bone spur) arising to protect the injured area.

    Because PRP worked reasonable well on my shoulder a few years ago -- I went from chronic awful pain from tendonitis to only occasional pain when I overdo it -- I decided to try it on my foot. My doctor himself has had the same procedure and, after several years has only intermittent pain in his foot. My first PRP session was a bust. I had the "forever bronchitis" right afterward and was forced to go on a short cycle of prednisone, which negated the PRP. I felt some slight improvement after the second session, which I deem my "first" session. Today, then, was then my second treatment.

    This time, and because he was focusing on the osteophyte, my doc anesthetized me somewhat. I had also put a lidocaine patch on my foot for several hours beforehand. PRP on the foot is absolutely excruciating, much worse than the shoulder. So, I was extremely grateful for this. I had about 15 injections around the problem area while clenching my teeth and trying to think of happier things. The pain medication is now wearing off and I can really feel it. Probably won't do much tomorrow.

    He was worried that these problems could be causing plantar fasciitis in my foot. But I have not experienced that problem thus far. I am supposed to work on mid foot and toe mobility until my next treatment. My doc has had runner patients with the same issue. In their case, with all the running, PRP postpones surgery for many years, but they ultimately have to have it and endure a 6 month recovery. I am hoping PR will spare me this. Or at least put it off for a very long time since I don't run anymore. () However, I wonder if my mega kicking takes a similar toll? I wouldn't think so since it's not weight bearing, but who knows?

    Anyway, here are a couple interesting links I found:

    http://www.arthritistoday.org/news/p...lasma044-2.php

    http://www.podiatrytoday.com/platele...ntar-fasciosis

    Other than that, my day was perfectly fine! Going for a monster night's sleep since Mr. Fort and Lil Fort are on their annual Daddy-Daughter ski trip with his best friend and his daughters.

    Updated January 15th, 2011 at 10:02 AM by The Fortress

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  2. Hanging Up My Suit, Dec. 18

    by , December 18th, 2010 at 02:27 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Hanging up my suit ... through the weekend.

    I must have overdid it Thursday because I woke up worse instead of better (as I expected) on Friday. After skipping a workout and officiating a Friday night swim meet, I feel just as crappy today. So I'm ditching all thought of working out this weekend. I'm not even sure I could get to a pool without an hour commute each way in any event. The roads here in urban suburbia are absolute gridlock with the weekend holiday shopping traffic. It's frightening.

    Poor Mini Fort is the latest target of the nasty family cold and, unfortunately, has another swim meet tonight. I've asked for a substitute official for me. Still hoping I don't succumb to another long round of bronchitis. Or I will be very very crabby and grinch like. Ho ho ho. Off to wrap presents and sip green tea.
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  3. Thursday, Nov. 18

    by , November 18th, 2010 at 08:27 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Couldn't make it to swim with Speedo today because of Lil Fort's Thanksgiving festivities at school. And the Rec Center pools are closed early now for HS swim. So no workout choice except to head to the gym.

    Drylands:

    windshield wipers, 25
    power wheel roll outs, 25
    power wheel plank knee ins, 15
    back extensions w/plate, 25
    reverse decine crunches, 2 x 15
    P90X X Press Squat, 40 x 1 x 10
    squat jumps w/45 lb bar, 2 x 10
    HS single leg extension negatives, 25 x 2 x 8, each leg (ouch!)
    standing lat pulldown, explosive, 100 x 2 x 10
    external rotators

    Ellipse, 20 minutes:

    snooze ...

    Yoga/Stretching, 25 minutes

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Commentary:

    I would rather have done Speedo's workout today and drylands tomorrow, but the best laid plans ... I even tried to go to bikram yoga today, but the road was closed and I couldn't have made it on time going another way. And they don't permit late entries. I think I've seen someone sneak in a couple minutes late only once or twice.

    Mini finished her HS tryouts today. Despite not swimming much since last April (except sprinty stuff here and there), she swam the same times in the 100 breast/100 fly/100 IM that she swam in meets last year. Hmm ... I guess she's stronger from going to the gym? I may have helped create a monster. Though she has made noises about going back to her USAS team. I think she's deciding between that and crew in the spring. (Still doing club volleyball, but as a "practice" only player so she can do other sports).

    And I likely will have company in Boston in December. Fort Son and his GF want to check out schools in Boston. Fort Son is more interested in light of an email he got from the Harvard crew coach and he has a safety school on his list in Boston. But his heart is really elsewhere. I am hoping some miracle occurs and he gets in ED, and I can move on from this stressful process ... I must have miracles on the mind after helping poor Mini Fort decipher original sources from the time of the Crusades last night at 10:00 pm. The joys of parenting ...

    Updated November 18th, 2010 at 08:39 PM by The Fortress

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  4. Wed., Oct. 27

    by , October 27th, 2010 at 09:02 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    P90X Kenpo, 45 minutes

    http://www.beachbody.com/text/produc...pn=18004611535

    I like the Kenpo workout because of its focus on balance and explosive movements. Can't say I was "drenched with sweat" afterward though. Skipped the warm down.

    I meant to hop on my indoor bike for awhile today, because I really think I need more aerobic exercise, but life happened. This time, I was watching what I thought might be Fort Son's last HS race out at Burke Lake, when I got a call from the trainer that Mini Fort was injured again and needed an x-ray. So I dropped Lil Fort at swim practice and made another ER visit. X-ray negative, but volleyball season over. I must say, although I am not the sentimental type at all, I was a bit sad watching Fort Son race ... (His team did advance to regionals though, so he still has one more 5K.) He also sent off his early decision application today. He's all growed up.

    I am still holding out for a dull, mundane day where I am completely healthy and have my real voice.

    A crazy lactate loving friend did and suggested this set today:

    4x 150 swim on 2:40 at 75%, into
    4x 100 swim on 1:50 at 85% into
    4x 50 swim on 1:00 at 90%

    Updated October 27th, 2010 at 10:01 PM by The Fortress

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  5. Update, Oct. 10

    by , October 10th, 2010 at 10:02 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    No news is not good news is the blogging world, generally. I'm still struggling with bronchitis and asthma. Thought I was substantially better today. Then I left my house without my inhaler (stacked on the counter with other medication) and had an asthma problem. My chest and lungs are burning. Still, I feel like the illness has abated. So if I can just stop coughing, I will try to hit the pool tomorrow, though my kids are out of school. At this point, I doubt I'll swim the Sprint Classic on Oct. 24. I've been out of the water too long (10 days now) and don't feel like swimming completely unprepared or with creaky lungs. It will probably just be better to ramp it up slowly and aim for December. This has not been my year.

    I also feel bad for my Savageman relay mate who was attempting to PR in the Chicago marathon today. He was on pace for a sub 3:00 marathon, but got shooting cramps in the hamstrings at the 25K mark and had to go to the medical tent.

    All is not easy in the world of sport. But, as masters, there are always plenty more chances.

    I did spend most of Saturday glued to the computer watching Kona, which was awesome and inspiring.
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  6. What would you do?

    by , October 7th, 2010 at 06:37 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    What would you do?

    You are at a quad cross country race with 4 rival schools. The race is almost over. One of your teammates (who finished 2nd) took a wrong turn and ended up running extra distance. (Many witnesses to this fact.) Nonetheless, after the race, a runner from a rival team comes racing toward your team tent shouting obscenities, accusing your teammate of cheating & cutting the course. They refuse to leave, "want answers," are in your face and keep up the stream of obscenities. You step up to defend your teammate. Do you:

    a) return the obscenities
    b) calmly explain that he is incorrect
    c) punch him
    d) call for your coach (who's at the finish line waiting for the last of the runners to finish)
    e) tell him to back off and roughly push him away when he won't leave
    f) laugh at the idiot
    g) ignore the jerk and walk away
    h) some other Jimslie Thornton-esque response

    Pic = Warm up. Guy on the left accused of cheating, guy in the middle who went on the defense, guy on the right who ultimately won the race.

    Votes?


    Oh, no swim today. Still too sick and hacking. But feel that tomorrow might be the day after a week out of the pool.

    Art of the Deck Change:

    http://www.swimnetwork.com/News/Swim...paign=Facebook

    Updated October 7th, 2010 at 08:10 PM by The Fortress

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  7. Wed., Oct. 6

    by , October 6th, 2010 at 08:35 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Out of the water today and will be tomorrow as well. Got a huge night sleep though, and hoping for another.

    Interesting reading:

    SwimNetwork:

    http://www.swimnetwork.com/News/Swim...paign=Facebook

    Triathlon Magazine:

    Interesting preview of Kona in this month's edition. And an extensive article on overhauling nutrition, making some of these points (some of which are obvious and we've discussed before):

    1. Eat more, weight less. Eat right after training or you'll be hungry later.

    2. Eat enough calories to avoid a negative energy state. If you don't eat enough, you'll teach your body to store fat, not burn it.

    3. To promote recovery, eat a healthy meal right after exercising, not beer and burgers. Doh.

    4. Avoid caffeine, which leads to stress, poor sleep, digestive problems, depression and interferes with the body's ability to tone up and burn fat.

    5. Don't switch from dairy to sodas. Sodas can deplete the mineral content of your bones and inflame the appetite.

    6. Don't just drink water to hydrate. Have something with electrolytes.

    7. Don't diet before a big race as it could compromise your immune system.

    8. Ginger helps to reduce post workout muscle soreness.


    Splash Magazine:

    "Profile of a Sprinter," excerpts:

    "Sprinters personify the saying, work smarter, not harder. Every lap in the pool is preceded by "why" and followed by a "why more?"

    Salo states that "sprinters are simply different from swimming's mainstream." They are "just as committed to excellence" and "always focused on competition" whereas the D swimmers like the training process more. Sprinters "value speed" and don't talk about "aerobic base."

    Others say "sprinters won't practice from a menu" ... but "the need for variety doesn't correlate with a lack of focus." They are "intensely curious about what techniques and drills will enhance speed."


    Triathlon:

    Growing Ironman:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...le_Lifestyle_6

    Sewickley friends competing:

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_702161.html

    Updated October 7th, 2010 at 11:22 AM by The Fortress

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  8. Excruciatingly Slow Swim, Tuesday, Oct. 5

    by , October 5th, 2010 at 08:11 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Rest apparently didn't help. I dragged myself to the pool this morning after making African masks with 4th graders and did this measley bit o yardage:

    Swim/SCY/Solo:

    Warm up:

    600 various

    Slow 50s:

    12 x 50 @ 1:00
    reverse IM order, drill fly

    10 x 50 backstroke kick @ 1:00

    50 EZ

    Total: 1750


    Doc Visits:

    Went in for an evaluation and PRP with Dr. Wagner. MRI shows arthritis, tenosynovitis and degradation of the tendons. Only two options are surgery and PRP. I opted for PRP. Unlike with my shoulder, however, they don't numb the foot when doing the procedure, which involves multiple injections right into the tendons and joint. It was excruciatingly painful. I'm supposed to be hobble free by Thursday. Another round of injections in 4 weeks. Now that's something to look forward to! Of course, this is all necessary if I ever want to wear high heels again. Interestingly, he had seen a tri, a swimmer and a runner before me.

    As I was still feeling awful, I dragged myself to Immediate Care. Diagnosis: bronchitis. Real shocker there. Starting antibiotics.


    Commentary:

    Today, I was trying to stay in the water as Jimslie suggested. I'm just not sure how much this helps. I certainly didn't feel better afterward. I think this week is going to be a write off training wise. Kinda frustrating. I was just getting back in a nice groove.

    Updated October 5th, 2010 at 09:04 PM by The Fortress

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  9. Nada, Oct. 24

    by , October 4th, 2010 at 05:04 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Finally gave in and decided to rest. Too many coughing, breathing and asthma issues. So today is my 4th day out of the water. I don't think 30 minutes on Saturday really counts. Not sure I'll get in tomorrow either, as I'm in Lil Fort's class in the am and getting my foot jabbed in the pm. In light of all this, I think Indy at the end of the month is out for me. I won't be ready and I had wanted to attempt to swim fairly fast there. So I guess I'll reboot and aim for another SCM meet in December.

    Updated October 4th, 2010 at 05:09 PM by The Fortress

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  10. Saturday, Sept. 18

    by , September 18th, 2010 at 06:44 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I'm sitting on the deck of a lovely cabin on Deep Creek Lake watching the sun set. The weather this afternoon was spectacular -- sunny and mid-70s. (Though we've been warned it will be frosty in the morning.)

    I hopped in the lake around 2:45 pm and swam the .9 mile course. Having done it once, it doesn't seem quite as intimidating as last year. Judging from the number of Cervelos in the transition area, there are a lot of serious bikers here. Mr. Fort was looking longingly at the tri bikes. Dave Scott, multiple time Kona champ, is also in the race.

    The water seemed a bit choppy this morning, but it's calmer now. Hope there's no fog in the morning. I can't tell what temp the water is. I've read it can be 68 in Sept., but it didn't feel that cold. Maybe low70s.

    We've got the cowbells ready for the Westernport wall. (Sorry Geek, the girls love them.). I am expecting Mr. Fort to be faster this year, so I hope I make it there in time to see him!

    Updated September 18th, 2010 at 07:02 PM by The Fortress

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  11. Friday, Sept. 17

    by , September 17th, 2010 at 03:47 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    No swim today. Had to see my chiro and ENT and get ready for Mr. Fort's birthday. Still need to pack for Savageman. We're leaving right after Lil Fort's 8:30 am soccer game.

    I hadn't been to my ART chiro for body work in several months. (Well, I didn't train that much in the summer, so I didn't feel the need.) He said my shoulders still felt very stable. We talked about my foot. I've had increasing pain in the first toe of my right foot over the years. It began with the MF incident, developed into tendonitis and I ignored it b/c I couldn't get a cortisone shot given my then meet schedule. As I understand it, cortisone is most effective if done immediately post injury. Now I get toe/foot pain when I run and jump (or wear high heels ). I'm having an MRI done next week. The suspected diagnosis is tenosynovitis/tendinopathy, aka degeneration of the tendons. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/e...cle/001242.htm. If that's what the MRI shows, I will need PRP, platelet rich plasma, therapy to fix it. http://www.treatingpain.com/diagnosi...ch-plasma.html. This is, as I have previously noted, a controversial therapy. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/he...0plasma&st=cse. But it seemed to work on my shoulder. And therefore I would definitely try it again. It should be much less costly and time consuming than a shoulder as well.

    I have succeeded in making a cake that looks (somewhat) like a Jamis bike. Now I am off to finish present wrapping and pack. I am feeling slightly more savage after a good night's sleep.

    Oh, I've discovered a couple new smoothie ingredients: beet greens and leek greens. They go well with cherries, red grapes, pineapple and berries. My allergist told me to stop using Amazing Meal b/c it has grass in it, and I'm allergic to grasses. Doh. I was unable to do a skin test for food allergies earlier this week (too much histamine in my system), but did submit blood for this purpose and for routine labs. Hopefully, it will rule out food allergies, as they are there so rare in adults. And, of course, Jimslie considers the entire topic pure quackery.
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  12. Sunday, Aug. 15

    by , August 15th, 2010 at 06:15 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Because of my outdoor pool phobia, I drove to OakMarr this afternoon to catch a shortish taper swim. Upon arriving, I was informed the pool was closed due to kid poop -- again -- and wouldn't open for awhile. So I trudged back home. Seriously, twice in a week this happens to me?! So blighted, I decided to just 1 up QBrain by taking the entire day to pretend I was retired and happy. Tapering always makes me exceedingly lazy anyway. I didn't do even a lick of RC exercises or stretching while at the beach. I see no reason to start now.

    I only have a very short window of opportunity to swim tomorrow b/c of broken car/broken AC and getting our kitten. If need be, I'll just go to my gym pool and swim at night.

    I enjoyed the article on suits in the Washington Post. [ame="http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=17351"]Fina rulemaking: How to run swimming into the ground - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame]. I daresay us masters will be more effected by it than the elites. And I am quite glad I have my TRX ready to go after Zones. Core, core, core ...
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  13. Thunder, Friday, Aug. 6

    by , August 6th, 2010 at 07:09 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    After a decent morning at the beach, thunder foiled my plans for both a swim in the ocean or a swim at the Y. So I took an involuntary rest day. The weather is supposed to be somewhat sketchy tomorrow, so I plan to get to the Y whenever it is open.

    In the meantime, I:

    1. Am almost done with the Stieg Larsson series. Sniff. sniff. Next up: The Dead End Gene Pool.

    2. On Julie O'Roddin's recommendation, I purchased a black running skirt. Much cooler and more comfy than shorts. Can't wait to try it out running or at the gym.

    3. I returned a sugoi swimsuit. Hated the way it fit.

    4. Am getting ready to dine at a restaurant on the pier and hoping not to get rained on.

    5. I saw Inception last night. Quite liked it, though I kept wondering about whether it really took that much effort to plant the seed of an idea in someone's head ... I ordered The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, as it is not rentable. here.
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  14. First LC Workout, Wed., June 22

    by , June 22nd, 2010 at 10:29 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Swim/LCM/Team:

    2 x 25 abs
    1:00 plank
    50 flutter kicks on back
    30 med ball tosses

    Warm up:

    600 swim, middle 200 stroke

    600 kick, middle 200 w/o board
    (I didn't use a board.)

    200 IM, 25 drill/25 swim

    Main Sets:

    4 x 50 kick w/fins @ 1:00
    (I worked them pretty hard -- went 32-33.)

    300 w/fins
    (Went out too fast, felt dreadful.)

    4 x 50 kick, no fins, use paddles as a "kickboard"

    300 pull

    12 x 100 @ 2:00

    3 x through:
    75 free/25 stroke
    50 free/50 stroke
    25 free/75 stroke
    100 fast

    We were supposed to descend 1-4. I didn't do that. I went a mod cruise pace on 1-3 and went fast on the last one. I did numbers 4 and 8 backstroke with fins and went 1:11 and 1:08. On the last four, my arms were tired and i kicked them. On 12, I kicked backstroke and went a 1:05. I was really gasping for breath after the fast ones. And I was exceedingly surprised by my times -- much faster than I thought I'd go. My lanemate did all the stroke portions
    fly.

    100 EZ

    Total: 3700 meters

    -------------------------------------------------------
    Commentary:

    The pool was so long. So long. It almost made me glad I'm not focusing on LC this summer.

    I may try to sneak in one more swim tomorrow morning. But it might feel pretty dismal coming so close on the heels of this workout.

    I'm blogging from my iPhone. My Internet service was down today, broken router. It's damn inconvenient timing. Mr. Fort had to go to a friend's house to print out our boarding passes. We also got an ipad for the trip, but our computer won't recognize it. Bummer cuz I can't download anything.

    Back to packing!

    Updated June 22nd, 2010 at 10:39 PM by The Fortress

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  15. Kenpo, June 16

    by , June 16th, 2010 at 06:58 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    P90X, Kenpo:

    Decided I needed something different today, so I popped in the P90X Kenpo DVD, which I've never done before. It's definitely one of the easier P90X routines. Mostly a lot of punching, kicking and jumping. The X jumping jack plyo is a great exercise. It did seem like a good overall body workout, with good focus on balance and speed.

    Here's a description and the list of exercises:

    http://www.fitnessdestinations.com/p...day-6-kenpo-x/.

    I was not inspired to try this martial arts type workout by Karate Kid. I almost fell asleep during that slow snoozer of a movie.

    I wanted to do some P90X yoga, but got too busy doing kid things. In any event, my body appears intolerant of a training load increase right now. I've decided the legs are the most difficult to get back in shape. They seem to require the most conditioning and then, conversely, the most rest before meets. The upper body seems to snap back faster. (This is, of course, purely anecdotal and not supported by well controlled scientific data. Or, if the data does exists, which I'm sure it doesn't wrt swimming, I haven't bothered to look for it. )

    Does anyone have any good tips for a father's day gift for a runner/cyclist?

    I may do one of Patrick's workouts tomorrow (not the 400 free one!) and then swim with Speedo on Friday before subjecting myself to a crushingly busy weekend.

    Day 6 of detox ...

    I've attached a pic of a cute Maine Coone kitten we'll be getting soon (we're getting one of the white chested females pictured). I'm only mildly allergic to cats, and tolerate our Siamese well. I can't do dogs at all. My youngest has really been jonesing for a new kitty, so I caved. Hope I can still breath with it in the house.

    Updated June 16th, 2010 at 08:00 PM by The Fortress

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  16. "Sleep It Off" June 2, 2010

    by , June 2nd, 2010 at 04:20 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I consulted my doctor today about my ongoing malaise, for which JimRude has taken responsibility. He said there is a nasty 2 week malaise like virus going around and that I should just "sleep it off." I will do my best in this respect; I would just like it to be gone by the weekend during which a malaise is decidedly contra-indicated. Though Jim gallantly took full blame, I wonder if it is the result of some funk from Nationals? Several people I know have come home and been quite ill.

    Mike left an interesting link to an article in the NYT re: massage. The article, which reports on a scientific study, concludes that post exercise massage “actually impairs removal of lactic acid from exercised muscle.” http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/0...=me&ref=health. So it made me wonder whether massage really does speed recovery (as I was opining after my post Zones massage). I suppose it could speed recovery for reasons unrelated to lactic acid. I certainly have been going the passive recovery route ... and am currently re-watching Lost with Mini.

    Mike suggested that massage might help sickness. Anyone have experience with this? I've heard that, if you have symptoms, it can bring on the illness like gangbusters ...

    Given that this is the lengthiest time off I've had in ages, I'm hoping it doesn't hinder my workout mojo when I return and make me a wuss. My son opined that this was a likely result of taking complete rest as opposed to recovery type exercise. Of course, none of his opinions have any valid basis either. I am trying to stave off being a "wuss" by being a Snotty Forum Poster.

    BTW, Dr. Jaeger (who teaches Evidence Based Medicine at Mayo) reported back to me that Metagenics products are sold in the Mayo store, not the Mayo pharmacy. He's not sure how they got the product space. I agree with him that the marketing of supplements is far ahead of the scientific study of such supplements. Nonetheless, I have received my 7 Exfuze sample and took my first shot today!

    Ok, time to get off the couch and go back to my almost full time chauffeuring duties.
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  17. Going Nowhere, June 1

    by , June 1st, 2010 at 03:34 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Blech, blech, blech. Still sick. I'm trying to fend off what seems to have devolved into a sinus infection/bronchitis. Not one stitch of exercise since my last blog entry.

    The only swimming related things I've done are to purchase lifeguards suits, purchase summer league suits, and purchase practice suits. Our summer league kick off meeting is tonight.

    I am also getting massive pressure to be a referee this summer, which sounds decidedly un-fun. Though perhaps over-ruling S&T judges that don't know WTH they're doing would be somewhat satisfying. (evil smile).

    I can't believe it's June 1 already ...

    I received my 3 week trial supply of 7 Exfuse in the mail today. I'm thinking I should wait till I'm healthy to start using it in my smoothies.

    Saw an article in the Post on veggie contamination, akin to the article posted in the GS on protein supplements being contaminated:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...053101914.html

    Updated June 9th, 2010 at 07:37 PM by The Fortress

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  18. Sick, May 29

    by , May 29th, 2010 at 04:13 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Well, I haven't been feeling so hot for a couple days and I've had a sore throat. Today, I woke up (after some decent sleep) and just knew I was sick. I feel sort of like I did in March when I had swine flu -- sore throat, cough, sinus pain, mild fever, headaches and lethargy/fatigue. It's kind of a bummer because I have a lot of social events planned this weekend. Laid on the couch most of today and will try to muddle through a friend's birthday barbecue tonight. I feel like maybe Atlanta, and all the excitement and sleep deprivation, maybe just zapped my immune system and/or depleted me mentally and physically ... It's also my new theory that starting a big taper meet off with a double whammy or huge disappointment is difficult mentally. Instead of having momentum that literally (or I guess, figuratively) carries you through the rest of the meet, you're immediately in a hole battling back. Eupohoria is easier than resiliency.

    Given this development, I've decided my two weeks of relative rest -- no strenuous exercise -- is going to be now (including this week), not on vacation. The cruise ship has a fantastic workout facility, so I will be able to cross train and do drylands there, even if pool swimming is out.

    Kudos to Speedo, the Littel Roddin Devil and Geek for their great swimming so far this weekend!

    Updated May 29th, 2010 at 04:57 PM by The Fortress

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  19. Bittersweet, Day 1 & 2 of Nationals

    by , May 23rd, 2010 at 09:46 AM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Blogging from my iPhone as I tried to sleep in, but couldn't really.

    First off, the social side of things is fabulous. I've seen old friends, new friends and met many new people and forumites. I've watched and cheered for both the Olympians and my good friends alike. Super proud of my buddies for ripping up the pool. I think I'm proudest of my wolfpack mate, SwimStud, for breaking 1:00 in the 100 free.

    Day 1: 50 breast/100 fly

    I can't say the meet started off well. On my 50 evil, I couldn't hear the starters beep. It is rather muted and soft. So I pulled a Jimby like statue of liberty and just stood there as everyone else swam. I actually thought there was a false start and just jumped off the blocks. I was literally shell shocked to see my heat racing. This has never happened to me as a master. I just stood there stunned. A super nice official saw me and sat me down, telling me they'd try to get me in another heat. That came about 2 minutes latter, when I was still not exactly in a racing frame of mind.

    Nonetheless, I got up on the blocks and did my best. And I went very fast, cutting almost a second off my time from Zones with a 32.8. My extremely fleeting joy was immediately extinguished when I saw an official looming over my lane announcing that I had been DQ'd for taking two dolphin kicks.

    Just to be clear, I did not take two dolphin kicks nor intend to. Unfortunately, it appears that way because of my body undulation. My sequence is: dive in, separate hands, huge dolphin kick, ride the glide, huge pulldown, then breaststroke kick up. Unfortunately, my pulldown is very strong and it causes my body to undulate. I prefer this sequence because it maximizes my time underwater. Someone told me I was close to the 20 meter mark on the start.

    On the upside, both Ahelee and Ande told me my stroke looked good, that I was undulating and getting a lot of forward momentum. Ande said I looked like a mini Roque.

    I was extremely angry about the DQ for 15 minutes and then brushed it off for the rest of the day. But it is somewhat of a downer to start a meet this way -- with a double shocker of missing your heat and then a DQ. I would have placed 4th.

    On to 100 fly. I was very happy with this race, especially since I don't train in any conventional way for this race. I swam a 1:01.3, which equalled my time from last year which had been a huge drop and was 1.4 faster than Zones (same suit). I had a great start (for me), nice breakout, and good walls. I died at the end, but it was a mini piano. I was out in a 28.6, which felt very easy and made me feel I would have a blazing 50 fly on Saturday.

    We had a mixed 200 free relay after this. I was
    and felt a bit lackluster. It takes me forever to recover from a 100 fly. My shoulders feel beat up afterward.


    Day 2:

    I arrived at the pool just in time for the second warm up after the distance events. I decided to slip on my B70 and warm up in it because the relay was the first event after warm up. More bad luck ... I blew a hole in my suit putting it on. I literally ran to the B70 kiosk and asked for a new suit and they gave me one. However, because it was new, it took almost as long to get on as my Jaked. Didn't get the best warm up.

    Since I was doing the breast leg on the relay, I had no choice but to play it safe with a conventional pulldown. I must say this did not agree with me. I surfaced a good 5 yards earlier and was slower. Also felt like I was spinning my arms some. So I'm in a quandry about breaststroke. I honestly feel like there's a difference between natural body undulation and an intentional dolphin kick. But the officials have a hard time distinguishing it. I've put some substantial effort into practicing this pulldown and am not inclined to change it. So I have to decide whether to retire from evil, which will be different without the suits anyway, or continue risking DQs. Because I am stubborn as a mule, I'm not inclined to change my pullout at this time. BTW, this was a different DQ from Zones where the official said I took 2 evil kicks underwater then re-wrote the DQ slip to say I didn't surface in time. So this is in fact, the first time, I've been called for a double dolphin kick, and I've been doing this for awhile. It didn't help my cause that I was in a slow heat and my long pullouts draw attention.

    50 fly, 27.0:

    This equals my PB from last year. But I was disappointed with my race. I had a terrible start, very flat and a bad breakout. So I began the race a half body behind. With the caliber of swimmers in my heat, this is not advisable. Had a good second length but ran out of room.

    I chatted with Rich Abrahams after. He said it was one of the worst starts he's seen ... He thought with a good start, I would gave been 26.4 or 26.5. Oh well, same old story. I can't fix this without some on deck coaching and an opportunity to do starts. This race left me oddly deflated and I tried to get back in a positive race for my best event, 50 back.

    50 back:

    I approached the blocks ready to race and, in an instant, was completely discombobulated. I forgot my nose clip. Of the various frustrations of this meet, this was by far the worst, a huge mental error. I was unglued at the start, freaked out and panicked. This manifested itself initially by my changing hand positions from the vertical bars to the horizontal bars. I took off and my SDKs felt choppy. I took 15 instead if 13, hurried to the surface and spent the rest of the race thinking I was DQ'd. My time was 27.2, but that's nit much faster than I went at the Sprint Classic. I think thus race qualifies as my first ever true choke. I usually swim well under pressure. Mental errors did me in here. I wish I had this race to swim over. Not surprisingly, this sequence of events was disappointing and I couldn't shake it off as quickly as the 50 breast DQ. I will be stashing my pockets with nose clips for the 100 back today.

    I'm going to scratch the 100 IM today. I'm not mentally up for it and I'm tired from the last two days. I'm going to save up and try to execute properly on my 100 back today. I'd like to end the meet with a PB. Plus, I can't have Geek
    winning our gridge!

    On a physical note, I think I hit my taper and have the requisite speed. I'm also feeling fine except for a perpetually wrenched left side of the neck. This isn't effecting my swimming, but I've had a persistent headache and suspect this is the culprit.

    Good luck to everyone today!!!

    I apologize in advance for iPhone typos ... I see one above. My back was a 28.2, for 3rd place.

    Updated May 23rd, 2010 at 10:00 AM by The Fortress

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  20. Atlanta, May 20

    by , May 20th, 2010 at 05:39 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    I had an easy trip to Atlanta on a flight with my teammate Barb and Jazzy. Jazz was very psyched to learn that Speedo had procured him a LZR for his upcoming grueling 200 free.

    We headed straight from the airport to the pool. Got there with sufficient time to check in, register our relays and swim for 30 minutes in the competition pool. The pool is sweet and feels very fast. I felt pretty good in the water. My backstroke was a little funky at first, but then smoothed out. I did 2 forward starts, one good and one blah. The backstroke starts will be interesting. They've got both vertical and horizontal bars. I'm going to use the vertical ones. However, the FINA wall is somewhat slippery. I did one start with my feet placed high on the wall, but felt like I went too deep. I may try and do another start tomorrow when the day's events are over. Otherwise, I'll put my feet a bit lower.

    Off soon for dinner with friends. Then time to let 'er rip!

    I've met some new people, and hope to meet more. Hopefully no one will want to punch me like they do Geek.
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