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  1. Since I'm sitting here

    My SCY season consisted of 8 meets including Nats. Of those were two state championships (Iowa and Illinois) and several smaller (yet equally exciting!) meets.

    I'd really like to explicitly look at my 500 free times from the start til the end of the season:
    My first 500 of 2011: 1/15/2011 Danville
    Time: 7:18.93
    Splits: N/A (Avg: 43.9)

    After a lot of coaching and learning, I managed to pull this off at the Illinois State Meet.
    Best 500 of 2011: 4/7/2011 (ILMSA Champs)
    Time: 6:46.42
    Splits: 34.70, 40.11, 41.99, 41.26, 40.79, 41.49, 42.07, 41.89, 42.14, 39.98

    So I'm pretty happy with how my swimming has turned out! I'm not really sure how it all happened - but like magic I managed to start swimming way faster over these past couple months.
    I also swam the same race during nats... I did not swim it nearly as well, mostly due to fatigue and frustration from the days before. (We'll talk about that in a minute)
    Nats Time: 6:52.88
    Splits: 35.01, 40.18, 42.26, 43.04, 42.03, 43.28, 41.78, 42.57, 41.95, 40.78
    Not a terrible job, but I could do SIGNIFICANTLY better in the future.

    So I've also had an attitude adjustment in my swimming and in my training. My first adjustment came after my 200 free at nationals. Due to the fact that I was not swimming smart (lets just put it that way) I missed my wall at the 75 and killed my momentum for the race. It was a bad race for me and one that I wanted to do especially well in. Well - long story short, I can't go back and swim it again. That's just how it is. So instead, I'll just make it up with a vengeance the next time I swim it in a meet.

    In terms of training, I had the time to look at this article. Mr. Crippen's philosophy on his training and his mindset on pushing oneself to the absolute brink is not something I've never thought about before. However I've never truly been inspired to put myself up to it until after reading this. I don't ever plan or even want to be compared to Fran, but perhaps - just perhaps I can teach myself to become even a millionth of the athlete that he was.

    Thanks for reading! Hopefully I'll be able to post more this summer! I have quite the line up planned:
    2 Open Water Swims (Swim Across America and Big Shoulders)
    2 Triathlons (Wauconda Sprint Triathlon and the Bangs Lake Triathlon)
    2 Long Course Meets (Badger State Games and Indy SwimFit Firecracker)
    Muddy Buddy Chicago
    and at least 1 half marathon (not sure when or where)
  2. The "Prettiest Waitress @ Denny's"

    Last night was the inaugural Wednesday practice for the Libertyville Masters! It was a relatively empty pool, but it was honestly a GREAT practice for me! I couldn't make Tuesday night's practice due to other (wasted) obligations so I was excited to not have to wait until Thursday night's practice.

    Yesterday I worked a little later than I expected to. So by the time I got home at 5:30, I realized that if I ate and then went to the gym and lifted as usual I would have less than an hour of recovery before swim practice. Now - I'm not REALLY that concerned about being slow at practice. I've been that for months now. I am however concerned with feeling like crap during practice because my muscles couldn't recover before another assault on them.

    That was probably the best choice I could've made last night!

    So I ate supper at 5:30ish, played drums for about an hour, and then started packing BECAUSE I GET TO MOVE INTO MY OWN PLACE! and left for practice around 7:45ish. So getting to practice - I was already hungry, I forgot a water bottle, and I was really tired. Even with all of those factors - I must've still brought my swimming "A" game.

    I was the "fastest of the slow lanes" (hence the title) last night! It was a pretty big difference too! I was getting back on average 5-7 seconds faster per lap than anyone else. So when we did a 12x100 set, I was getting back between 10 and 15 seconds faster than anyone else in the "slow lanes".

    It was a pretty cool feeling! I've definitely been getting faster - but I was coming in on 1:35/1:40 at the end of that 12x100 set! I think comparatively at the beginning of summer I was coming in on 1:50/2:00 for my 100s..... wait a minute.... This is really just hitting me like a ton of bricks (you're getting the raw data from the brain to the fingers here). We just switched from SCM to SCY. <Sigh>

    Alright - well it doesn't change the fact that I'm still the prettiest waitress at my own Denny's. Hopefully tonight will give me more opportunities to really rock it out in the pool. Since I'll be apartment hunting - I don't know if I'll get a good chance to do my lift tonight (again :-/). Its okay though - as long as I can get my swim in the night is not a total loss.

    Up next - my excitement for the SCY Season increases as some of the first meets are being put on the board!
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  3. SCY GOAL TIME!

    So SCY season is upon us soon! I'm already starting to plan out my goals and ideas!
    Since I like to break things down logically (being that logic is my job) I'm going to start by labeling my high level goals and then giving slightly more detailed goals that I have within those goals.

    Simple goals:
    1) Get Faster (in Swimming)
    2) Get Stronger
    3) Get Skinnier
    4) Build a giant robot that can take over.... .err never mind. (Remember Mike - this is PUBLIC)

    My physical stats and goals:
    Height: 6'3ish <-- I was 6'2 going into college, grew another inch freshman year
    Weight: 210ish <-- Lightest EVER
    Shoe Size: 15 <-- Sucks to buy shoes
    Waist Line: 34 <-- WOW! I'm so pumped!
    Body Fat (as of 7/22/2010): 17.5% <--- GRRR

    My body fat is a frustrating one. I have a lot of loose skin - so I honestly feel that it probably skewed the results of the 7 point pinch test. Especially when I can't imagine myself still having another 35 pounds of fat on my body. Regardless - I still have to keep working out anyway. Otherwise how can I get stronger? (What just happened?)

    My strength goals:
    I don't do a good job keeping stats (like 1MR) of my lifts. I'm not concerned so much with building up that kind of strength. All of my strength goals are to build my body so I can focus more intensively on swimming. So even though my curl is at 12x70 (35 in each hand) using an underhand grip and my lat pull down is at 12x115 - I honestly just want to see those numbers continue to rise on a biweekly to triweekly basis as I spend my 6 days a week at the gym, focusing on developing my extremities while strengthening my core as much as possible. If I can continue lifting and growing stronger - its only going to help me swim faster! (ANOTHER TRANSITION? What's he doing!?)

    Swimming stats and goals
    Alright - So my only SCY times are in the IL State Meet in April. That was long enough ago - and I've lost 20 pounds since then and have gained a lot of strength. I have a few LCM times - but rather than worrying about converting them. Lets just say I'd better beat them when it comes to SCY. The official times are still there:
    Code:
    50 Free: 32.97
    100 Free 1:18.42
    I have my goal times for the year to reach for.
    Code:
    50 Free: < 30 sec
    100 Free: < 1:10
    50 Back: < 50 sec
    100 Back: < 1:50
    50 Breast: < 55 sec
    100 Breast: < 2:00
    *Note - if I beat those times, then I just want to continue improvement. If I don't - its fine. I'm just looking forward to trying! Lastly for swimming; I want to learn how to do butterfly by next April for the Illinois state meet. I'd like to be able to do the 50 free in fly. We'll see what I can get my coach to teach me!
    Outside of swimming - I'm going to be working up to no less than 5 days a week swimming and if I can - 2 practices per day. We'll see how that lines up with sleep as one can't swim all of those events well if you don't have proper rest and nutrition! (He did it again! That son of a big guy!)

    Rest and Nutrional Goals
    Now - nutritional goals are nothing new for me. Rest goals however totally are. To help me focus better on my swimming and to allow me to swim more often and more effectively - I need to be properly rested and well nourished.
    So to help me rest more - I'm giving up organized recreation outside of swimming for now. As soon as my seasons are over for basketball and both of my softball leagues, I'm going to forgo other offers so I can just primarily focus on my swimming and my workout (lifting and possibly running).
    Nutrionally - I need to focus on making sure I keep a solid grip on the reality of my situation - I have to maintain healthy eating habits. I know from experience now that when I do splurge - I end up feeling kind of sick and tired within a few hours. If I'm going to perform - I need to be on top of my game!
    I also need to make sure I sleep enough. Which is such a tear for me. One the one hand - if I get up early - get to work early and get home early - I get to have the afternoon to accomplish what needs to be done. On the other hand - my masters team meets at 8:30 at night. That means practice goes til 9:30, and I'm awake til 11 minimum. A 5 AM wake up just doesn't happen on that these days. So especially once basketball and softball are done, I'll take some time to really focus on how I'm going to actually implement these ideas.

    Thanks for reading again! Today's post isn't as long - but I still appreciate you reading! So today I'm offering a dinosaur:
  4. New Forum Pic + Swim Across America + What now?!

    Well - it seemed like a really good idea at the time and for once - it was!

    Swim Across America - a late night of softball (missed my party because it ran so late) where I tore up my left knee and leg sliding into home, followed by a drive to chicago where I slept for a few hours, and was up at 5:20 AM and down at Navy Pier by 5:40 AM.

    I actually got some really cool pics of the harbor that morning. You can check them out at my Picasa Web Gallery. I'll be adding more as I get the hi-res versions available. All the pictures taken early in the morning were taken with my phone though. I like how they turned out!

    The swim went decently! I learned a lot of neat things on Saturday as a result.
    Lesson 1: I LOVE wetsuits! I rented my $5 wetsuit, put it on and immediately took a walk in the water - I was incredibly buoyant! Each step my legs felt lighter and lighter as the suit made picking my feet out of the water easier and easier! During the swim - this would help fix my body position and put me in a great place to just coast my way through the middle half mile.
    Lesson 2: Drafing ROCKS! Getting in the water - I had no idea how the swim was going to go. So I immediately started in the back of the pack. When you have 15 people swimming in front of you and dragging you along for the first (roughly) 1/4 mile... it's AMAZING. I was putting in virtually no effort, and just swimming along. Before too long, I was passing people left and right and I think I found myself towards the front of the pack when it came to miler swimmers.
    Lesson 3: Those wet suits are very VERY tight. Seriously, I got out of the water tired, disoriented, dizzy, and feeling drunk - sans the fun of having drank. Within a minute of me finally pulling the zipper open on the back of my suit - my chest opened up a LOT and suddenly oxygen was rushing through my body. It was kind of a cool feeling! Although - pulling the plants off my head and body was rather annoying in my disoriented state. I remember having a conversation with Coach Catie as I tried to walk inland:
    Me: Did I win?
    Catie: Good job Mike!
    Me: Yeah but did I win? (trying to stand without falling)
    Catie: Sure Mike, you won..... Are you okay?
    Me: (Stumbling past Catie) Yeah I think so...
    It took me about 5-6 minutes to regain my footing, and once I was able to breath and on dry land I was in much better shape. Speaking of being in better shape - that new forum/profile pic I have posted is actually my taken right after I got out of the water - hence why I look like I feel like I'm going to die.

    So I've decided I'm not a huge open water fan. I might do Big Shoulders just so I have competition to swim for in September. I'm kind of undecided about it all. I'm not a huge OW fan to start. Things like plant life, choppy water, weather.... those things aren't really my most favorite things in the world.

    That leads me to the most important topic: What now?!
    Some important things to know: 1) Our season ends August 1st. Next season doesn't start up until August 12th(ish). I am NOT taking 12 (or more) days off. If anything - I need to ramp up my swimming even more. SCY season is going to be here and I need to be able to destroy my times from last year!!!!

    So I'm going to shift my training to Lake Forest High School pool. The resident annual pass is $260, so I may just buck that out. That'll get me through next summer of doing up to 6 days a week of swimming (and even 2/days!!!) Since my masters team doesn't practice nearly enough for my liking. I'll probably see if I can pull some of my teammates in with me.

    As far as dry land goes: I'm going to talk to my trainer tonight. I'm thinking I should adjust my training to be far more plyometric in nature. I want to be able to build my sprints as much as possible this year - so by building those fast twitch muscles - I'm hoping to finally build up the ability to sprint (rather than whatever it is you say I do).

    I'm also not going to be doing the extra sports from now on. I've kind of made the decision for now I just want to focus on swimming and only swimming. Basketball has been fun, as well as softball - but they get in the way of my dryland and swimming workouts - and that drives me NUTS!

    Wow - that was a novel of a post! If you made it this far thank you! You win a cookie:
  5. Strokes and Sprints

    I've decided that my 3/wk with the Libertyville Masters is just not enough anymore. While I do thoroughly enjoy swimming with them, I feel that I need/want more. So I've decided on any day I can (M/W/Sat) I'm going to do my own workout to help build technique and speed. My current focus is going to be on strokes (Back, Breast and Butterfly), and sprints (freestyle for now).

    I'm operating under 2 assumptions: 1) Good form is built by proper execution of drills. 2) Form breaks down when fatigued unless good form is consciously sought after and executed carefully.

    The idea behind all of my stroke workouts will be based on kicking and drills. If I build up strength and endurance in my kick, then it won't be as big of a fatiguing factor when I'm swimming. If I build proper form in my drills, then when I do take the time to combine it together, the proper form should (ideally) build on the experience from the drills and the strength from the kicking.

    The idea behind my sprint workouts will be based on short distance (right now - 25y) and are to be executed with the following mindset: "move your arms as fast as you can and kick as hard as you can and breath as few times as possible." I'm not concerned with things like dolphin off the wall, or timing my flip turns right now. I want my sole focus to be building those fast twitch muscles in those sprint workouts.

    The park district pool I currently swim in on my own is a 4 Lane 25 SCY pool, no lane lines or flags in the lap swim area. I usually am only one of two maybe 3 people, but the openness of everything makes it kind of tough to swim. Its pretty choppy compliments of the kids playing in the rest of the pool to the east, and the kids diving in the diving well to the west. (Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right...)

    My workout last Monday looked like this:

    Warm Up:
    600 swim
    200 pull
    100 catchup drill ([ame=http://forums.usms.org/showpost.php?p=33665&postcount=3]I don't use a kickboard[/ame])

    Back Stroke Set
    Due to the fact that there are no flags, I swim right next to the one lane line which is next to the kids playing in the pool so I can make sure I don't bash into the wall
    8x25 kick
    8x25 long axis drill (I need to learn more backstroke drills)
    4x25 swim (no flags == kind of scary to turn)

    Breast Stroke Set
    8x25 kick
    8x25 breast stroke pull with flutter kick (I also need to learn more breast stroke drills)
    2x50 swim

    Sprint Set
    8x25 pull
    2x100 easy swim
    8x25 sprint

    Cool Down
    50 easy swim
    1.5 Mile walk back home.

    So from all of you who are far more experienced than me - would you care to give any suggestions? I'm all ears!