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  1. Get it together mcdonnell!

    So the past two to three weeks I've been seriously in a funk, out of the loop, whatever you want to call it.
    We've pushed up to 4 practices a week in the pool. I'm really thankful for it. I love swimming so much that another day is very welcomed! My times are dropping little by little and my endurance is building up pretty quickly. I'm doing my best to beat everyone around me. I have some serious competition though. Brian's been keeping pretty much even with me in everything. Anne and Laura have been kicking my butt unless its in pull mostly because I rock pull something fierce.

    However

    As a result of me gaining strength in swimming: I can afford to go on less sleep (significantly less sleep). When I don't sleep well, I don't eat well. When I don't eat well, I don't feel as good. When I don't feel good, I don't lift. If I don't lift, I don't sleep as well.... its a vicious cycle. I've also been drinking more than enough. I've also been eating a TON. I've been more hungry these past couple weeks than I was all summer long.

    So - time to reset. I'm a little hungover this morning so I didn't go in to work.
    Goal 1) Lift at least 5 times by next Saturday.
    I have swimming Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.
    I have basketball on Wednesday.
    So I should be able to lift today, Saturday, Sunday and maybe Monday.
    I'll take Tuesday and Wednesday off to make sure I can play basketball (its the semi finals for our basketball league) and swim immediately following.
    Then I should be able to lift Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
    This is great! I should be able to get back on my 3 days on, 1 days off pattern as recommended by my trainer
    Goal 2) Get my diet reorganized.
    I'm going to focus back on intelligent eating. I need turkey, chicken, a loaf of bread, tons of veggies, bananas, berries, and a gallon of milk.
    Goal 3) Get my rest. (~8 hours a night)
    Before I started swimming I could pretty much function pretty efficiently on 3-4 hours of sleep a day. Once I started - I had to start getting more like 8-9 hours of sleep. Now that I'm finally starting to get stronger in my swimming, I'm starting to drift back down to about 6-7 hours of sleep and my body is letting me know that that's not cool.

    Alright - that's my trinity of goals. There's absolutely no reason why I should not be able to make those goals with the exception of me holding myself back.

    Okay. Time to eat breakfast finally and make these goals a reality!
  2. Swim Across America

    Swim Across America is tomorrow....HOLY COW! SWIM ACROSS AMERICA IS TOMORROW!

    I'm NOT prepared for this at all! I'm supposed to be doing my first OW tomorrow, swimming a mile in Lake Michigan, and I haven't even thought about anything aside from the fact that I have to be there to help set up at 6 AM tomorrow.

    I'm going to be jumping into this one like I tend to do the rest of my life - without a single extra thought. (Lets hope I jump IN the water, not too soon or I'll just be eating sand.)

    So here's my schedule for tonight through tomorrow:
    Leave work in about 20-30.
    Get to Runner's Edge so I can try on wet suits so I know what size to rent tomorrow.
    Go home, mow the lawn.
    Shower, Lift at the gym (if I have time, legs tonight!)
    6:00 PM Play two softball games
    Go home, shower (again, I know)
    Get to Milwaukee for a party I'm helping host (You should come! PM me if you're interested!)
    11:30ish PM: Head down to home, pick up Greg from his mom's house (he's dog sitting) and go to his place in Chicago so I can sleep.
    5:30 AM UP AND ATOM! Time to help set up for Chicago's very own Swim Across America!
    7:00 AM Rent my wetsuit!
    9:00 AM Swim
    10:00 AM Call for help while swimming
    6:00 PM Leave hospital.... Oh wait, scratch these last two.
    10:00 AM-11:30 AM tear down, eat lunch and head home.

    So you can see - things usually get interesting. I have this weird tendency to over-commit myself. I get it from my mom.

    See you all (or not) tomorrow at S.A.A! Hopefully I won't be drowning!
  3. 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!
  4. 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?