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  1. My favorite set so far:

    I'm not usually one to blog about my workouts - but last night I had a super challenging and fun set. The design was relatively simplistic, but the overall affect was fantastic! I couldn't sleep for hours.

    18 x 100

    Super simple, but broken down it was actually a little more than just that.

    3 x {
    2 x {
    3 x 100
    1st Set: 1 & 2 on 1:45, 3 on 1:40
    2nd Set: 1 & 2 on 1:40, 3 on 1:35
    3rd Set: All 3 on 1:45 w/ last 25 sprint
    Rest 30 sec

    During the 1st set - I was doing really well! 10-15 seconds rest on the 1:45 and 5-10 seconds rest on the 1:40.

    During the 2nd set - I was doing alright for the first half. After that 1:35 I got less than 2 seconds rest. So the 4th 100 I was getting less than 5 seconds rest, I decided to pull the 5th and managed to wing about 10 seconds rest. I'm a much faster puller.

    Finally during the 3rd set, I died off. My first 3 100s were okay, but my last 3 were terrible. I was barely making 1:45 at the end.

    In conclusion - that set rocked my world. It was fun, it was fast and I would love to do 1,000 more like it. The end.
  2. A Non-Dairy Diet

    So its 9/30/2010. To everyone else - just another day. To me - my last day for the next 2 months allowing dairy consumption.

    So to clarify - I have NOT gone off the proverbial deep end on this. I have researched this and am responding to a challenge from another [ame=""]U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame]. This all started as an argument on this thread and I've decided I would use my own body as a testing grounds.

    So here are the bounds of this diet:
    • When I say "non-dairy" I specifically mean "non-lactose". My whey protein has milk products in it and is an essential part of my diet. It however does not contain lactose, the common element that most people are allergic to.
    • This will last exactly 2 months. That means I will miss all dairy contributions to my diet over Thanksgiving. I'm aware of that and am okay with it.
    • The only exception to this rule is when someone else feeds me. I will not ask people to make exceptions in their cooking as a means to serve my needs. That being said - if the food is served family style or buffet style, I will avoid the dairy products at the table.
    • Finally - I will post a daily status of how I feel and any relevant non-dairy things I find (such as food replacements) on this blog. I suggest you all read it and comment as I will need the encouragement to do the daily status updates.

    If you have thoughts comments or suggestions - please see my first posting here.
  3. Speaking of Changes


    As many of you know - I don't like keeping things in my life very static. Those of you who might even know me a little better know I have a lot going in this month. So I'm going to lay out my goals, my ideas and ask for your feedback. Savvy? Let's continue!

    This Friday - October 1st 2010. I get my keys to my very own apartment. It will be the first time in my entire life I've truly lived on my own. I'm not going to lie, this is possibly the most exciting thing to happen to me since the day I finally left the farm and moved to college. (Don't misunderstand me, I love my family very much. It was just great to move on to somewhere new!)
    So in my excitement - I've completely and totally forgotten to purchase a bed! So - my plan is (legitimately) to take the couch I have, and assuming its still in good condition after being stored in the garage wrapped in a tarp for the past year (I'm really hoping) and use that until I can find a bed that I like. This couch is comfortable.. I mean really comfortable. I used to sleep on it when it was at my parents place back in Iowa whenever I'd got back for the holidays. It was always the most amazing sleep in the universe. I could rush out and purchase a new bed RIGHT NOW, but honestly I feel like to make such a purchase would definitely be in haste and would be a waste of a chance to sleep on that amazing couch once again. Perhaps I'm just being cheap... Okay I'm probably being really cheap but I'm really okay with it!

    There are more bonuses to moving though!
    My new location will be within 10 biking miles of work if I take my bike safe route! (found here) The extra 20 miles of biking should be good for me until it starts to snow. I just need to buy the reflective clothing. Right now I have a black sweatshirt, black wind pants, a black stocking cap and black gloves. Something tells me I'm like a target for a car if I try to bike during any bit of a normal time of the day. The ride itself is actually a really nice ride! Most of it is on a path, and the parts that aren't are on less driven roads - which reduces my chances of getting nailed when I'm biking work at 6 in the morning! I'm hoping that this slightly addition to my activity level will actually help me kill off the couple of extra pounds that are still making little "love" handles that I hate.

    Dairy Free
    Starting when I move - I'm going to move towards a 100% dairy free (excepting when other people are feeding me) diet. Now - I have no reason to believe that I'm going to have any changes in my body as I've never had any problems digesting dairy. Proof: I ate a 1.5 qt container of chocolate ice cream in a contest a couple months ago and I felt amazing the next day. That being said - I made a promise to some people so I'm going to do it. My goal is 2 months non-dairy. So that means no cheese, yogurt, or milk. Or any other products containing the lactose protein. We'll see how I do!

    Workout Changes
    These are not really at all related to the move - but I wanted to talk about them.
    Lately in practice my coach has really been pushing better SDK work as a means of preparation for our Sink Or Swim Classic! She's also been harping on me about my body position. This is good, it means she cares and I like that. She's making me use a snorkel so I can keep my shoulders positioned correctly in the water. So I use my snorkel for all of my kick sets, my pull sets and any 25 sprints swimming I HATE flip turning with them. I always flood up then there's a panic of being unable to breath until I get that stupid snorkel out of my mouth.... <sigh> I'll get it. Its just frustrating.

    In any case, I'm excited about a lot of things. Next blog post will be about my goals for the SoS meet on the 24th! It should be a great time! I will be wearing my tuxedo speedo -> which is an even BIGGER reason you should all be coming to that meet!
  4. Its a Lifestyle Change!

    So life has been wickedly busy for me lately - and I'm proud to say I've compensated. Since swimming has turn into a four times a week activity, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday just seem to fly by. It also was taxing my body and mind a lot more than it used to. So I had to figure out what to do. If i kept on the daily track and schedule I was on I was starting to crash and burn. If I lifted, my swims sucked, and if I didn't swim... well, I wasn't swimming and that's not really that much help to my goals.

    So I've adjusted, adapted if you will to a schedule that maximizes my rest and allows me to get more out of my day.
    I now wake up at 4:30 every morning.
    *Oof* I now wake up at 4:30 every morning.
    Sorry - I had to do that for dramatic impact. Try imagining the slow-mo punch to the face from Rocky 4 with the helpful visual below.

    The schedule is pretty simple: 3 days in a row, get up, eat, find something to keep me busy from 4:45-5:20. Then get my rear on the bike, get to the gym and start lifting. As soon as I get done at the gym, I go home, shower and get to work. Which I will assure you is very very hard work!

    Afterwards, depending on my energy level, I will take a nap when I get home usually until swim practice (or church meetings, or until I feel like doing freelance work).

    This has also helped me keep my diet in control! That means that I've been seeing 205 on the scale a lot more often than I've been seeing 210. Its definitely helped my confidence in the pool and in general.

    Speaking of the pool - being that this is a swimming blog. I've noticed a significant drop in my times since the summer. I swim an average of 1:35 per 100scy! To most people that's still slow as sin. In fact, to some people swimming that slow IS a sin. Since I'm already planning on going to hell eventually - this works out.
    However - this is progress. Like a salmon swimming upriver to spawn, eventually they make it up a waterfall. I have personally seen my times fall from around 1:55 per / 100scy to this ~1:30 time in the last 9 months. So if we take my 100scy time at state (1:18 or 78 seconds) and apply the fact that my times in practice were roughly 1:55 (115 seconds) per 100scy. That means my taper induced a a 32.2% increase in speed (or reduction in time). If that holds true - that means my tapered swim times right now would be roughly a 1:03.65. That means I'm only a mere second off of qualifying for nationals (assuming the NQTs from last year are not too much faster than this year)

    So cross your fingers cowboys and girls! I might actually earn my way to Nationals this year! I've got a pool, a plan and a dream!

    Updated September 22nd, 2010 at 08:33 AM by bzaks1424

  5. Not quite moving on yet...

    Wow, just totally found out I'm not moving until Oct 1st and not Sept 1st. Simultaneously bummed and excited.

    I am bummed because I'm excited to live on my own.

    I am excited because I now have time to get my stuff together a little better.
  6. The Oregon Trail

    <-- Love this!

    So I had decided to take a long weekend and travel out to Oregon to visit my friend! We had a white water rafting trip with her church group!

    I arrived Thursday night around 11 PM, woke up in the morning and we went out to the Pacific beach in Lincoln City. It was approximately 70-80 degrees outside and VERY foggy! The water in the ocean yesterday (so I was told) was 53 degrees!!!! I was totally prepared though; I wore my old lycra jammers that were a touch too large and my swim trunks over top. It was so cold that I actually went numb!!! I managed to swim in it for approximately 10 minutes though! I would walk out in the water until it was about up to my chest and then swim up the waves as they came crashing down on me. It was an awesome experience because as the water would be SO cold as it came over my head my whole body would tighten up and I couldn't breath at all! It was so much fun! Then when I would walk back on shore - I would notice that I couldn't feel anything in my legs and would sometimes be stomping into the ground or kicking into the slightly higher ground. (That's how I figured out my legs/feet were so numb!) After I finally got out and dried off, we grabbed a small bite to eat and took a hike up and down the coast. Around 4:30 PM the air and sky finally cleared and we were able to see the cliffs off in the distance.

    Fortunately - I'm already relatively tan from my earlier meets in the year (the P.R. 1500 and the Badger State Games) and I wasn't burnt too bad from the ocean. My friend however, was lit up like Rudolph's nose! Poor girl... we still had to do the White Water Rafting the next day!

    Today (7/10) We went white water rafting. I was up at 5 AM PDT (7 AM CDT, so it wasn't bad for me) and we got in the car and drove 2.5 hours from Salem to Maupin and the Sage Canyon River Co to raft down the class 2/3/4 rapids of the Deschutes River! We had a blast! White water rafting was NOTHING like what I thought it was going to be though. I fully expected to get in the water and have about an hour complete adrenaline and paddling my off until we broke the the other end of the rapids and were just done for the day!
    I was completely wrong. We ended up spending about 90% of our time just floating lackadaisically down the river. Then there was that 10% of the time where our boat was completely flooded, often times we were @ risk of being thrown out and we were trying to paddle amidst the serious waves. Those parts were a complete blast!

    There was one part - where after we rafted through it, we were told to get out of the raft, walk back up stream along the bank and then jump in again and go through this part called "Elevators" - what an awesome time! I did learn something though and I figured I'd share it with the rest of you:
    It was a fun experience yes. The ride down the rapids was a blast. Then when I was trying to kick and swim my way back to the shore line (the water was some 15-20 ft deep) my shoes would just catch water and pull me with the current. If it weren't for the fact that they're my only shoes that I have here this weekend I probably would've just tossed them. It was VERY annoying!
    So lesson learned! Good times were had by all! Lots of water fights between rafts as well!

    As much fun as it was though. I'm not entirely sure that its something I'm going to go out of my way to do again. I did have a great time, its just not what I was thinking it was. I'm thinking had it been that 1 hour of super intense adrenaline pumping paddling and constant rapids, I'd be all about it. Spending a day on "lazy river meets occasional small waterfall".... meh... I'll save my money and go to a swim meet instead (I could be at the Carbondale IL meet this weekend!)!

    Thanks for reading!
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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