Monday, October 21, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: October 22nd

I smashed it!

Swim meet on Sunday... what a great day it was, for yours truly.  First of all, on the turnout, we rallied and got 20 people to register for the meet.  Great news indeed!  Then, going to the pool on a Sunday, I was so excited I could barely contain myself.

Actually, the fun really started Saturday night.  I tried to stay light all day with the food, but then I torpedo'd the whole thing and got Carne Asada Nachos *and* two Al Pastor Tacos from Tacos Por Favor.  I asked for three cups of red salsa... but what I didn't know is that the takeout order already includes THREE cups of both Green and Red Salsa!  Holy hell... now I had 9 cups of salsa and just a plate of nachos and two little tacos to go with it.   Oh yeah, I went for it.   Lathered the red salsa onto the tacos first... still had a lot left... then I pounded the water -- tongue was blazin'.   Went after the nachos, cup after cup of salsa... it was a test of endurance my friends.  Needed some more water, then went after it.   Man all that salsa did not cooperate with my digestive system.   It was like a bunsen burner lit up underneath the chute.  It never went away either!  Tried to get to bed... it was a struggle.   Got up around 4am... I was like, now what?  I still got that bunsen burner feeling.   So I made a few trips to the bathroom -- it helped.  I tried to go back to bed... I think I got in a *little* more sleep.  I got up around 6, put on the Franceser Football Sunday show to kill time, and stayed in bed.  My stomach and intestine were still tingling from all the salsa, but I was pumped.

The swim meet was only hours away by then... so if you remember the blog post from last week, the battle to put ON the swimsuit was underway by early morning.   Wasn't so bad!   Not as much muffin effect..  I'll be honest, that went better than I anticipated.  Good swimming plus watching what I eat -- who knew?

I pondered, for a moment, whether to get coffee before going to the meet.  I punted on that -- here's my thing: I usually don't eat or drink anything (except water) before I swim in the morning.  That's been my policy forever.  So I decided not to mess anything up, although I still had that burning feeling in my midsection, whoof.  But it wasn't *that* bad... got my swim bag ready to go and I was off.

Home Meet... Speiker Aquatic Center, a venue, by the way, where Cal and Missy Franklin will appear the day before the Super Bowl #hinthint , and today, it was the site for us Masters Swimmers.  It's an unbelievable pool.   The water feels so good here, it's so smooth, the aerodynamics of the water are impressive.   Not a lot of "feedback" current at all!  The locker room there is tiny, but it's a small price to pay.

Entered the pool for warmup, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh did that feel good!   Swimmers often do what we call a "shave-down" before a meet... usually not every meet but only the biggest ones.  Well, at Masters, most teams wind up doing only a handful of meets, so some may decide to shave it... I elected to shave... it's not so much for the *hair*... although that creates major drag, without question.  However, the bigger factor is the dead skin cells... shaving them off makes your limbs much more sensitive to the water... it's an enormous difference... really great feeling in water, and Sunday in particular, I felt dynamite warming up.

Small warmup program, just a 100 free to get acclimated, then some 75s kick/drill/swim, and finally a few 50's fly sprints to get used to the rhythm.   After two of them I was getting *REALLY* worn out and my arms felt like they had a vise on them.  So I realized then and there "damn I can't do that pace for the entire 100 fly."  I still did an extra two 50's fly at sprint pace to feel out pacing.

I had my game plan -- start strong on the first *25* meters, turn, pace the next 50, then BUST IT last 25.  The 100 butterfly was the focus of my meet... THIS was where I wanted to improve most.  Here's what happened.  I tried it a year ago and had my first qualifying time of 2:20.51.  Then I made three adjustments in the last six months: an improved dolphin kick, a pronounced S motion for each of my arms on the pull, and breathing every stroke. After a while I started getting around 2:20 for my 100 fly in practice.  Practice, fellas.  When the meet rolled around I knew, hey, I can easily beat 2:20 for a 100 fly... and I dedicated myself to fly technique.  I also worked on dives just before the meet started on Sunday.  One of the officials there said "put your toes over the edge of the block."  Huge advice... I pegged one toe over the line (this was a 70s song I think), well ok "edge" and then tried a dive... I LAUNCHED IT.  Whoah!

Now I was *really* ready to go.   Warmup, Dive Practice, I was locked and loaded.  Went to our tent by the blocks w/ the team.  Saw my team mates nail some noice 200m IM's and a 200m free relay which was quite good.  I think I was after that.  I got heat 3.   I was getting really nervous by then.

Of of my team mates was timing the race, she's a tremendous person.  Actually works on a Late Night TV program, nicest woman there is, w/ a good family all that.  Anyway she sees me, all nervous and she's like "You got this!"  She's recovering fm. injury too, but getting back into swimming, what a trooper.

All right, so here we went.  Just me and the pool and some other guys.  I was chanting to myself, all that jazz... got on the block, set my toe over the edge, reached for the edge w/ my arms and BANG!   Now all the analyzing went out the window...  All out!  Pace, pace, pace, last turn, punch it!  Then it was over... I felt pretty good swimming all that, but what was the result?  I looked up and it said 1:59.12.  Yeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssssssss!!!  I fistpumped like 20 times...  GUYS I WAS PUMPED.  I knew it was possible but still couldn't believe I broke 2 minutes... I mean it goes back to when I did my first butterfly swim at all in practice... and it took me 40-45 seconds and I thought I died when I did it.  To go from that, 2.5 years ago, to sub 2-min 100 fly at a meet.   It's been a great ride.  Got out of the pool and gave my supportive friend there a high five too...

That wasn't all!  I went after a 50m freestyle and got a personal best there too, improving from 43 seconds to 41 seconds... my new year's resolution was to break 38 seconds in 50m freestyle *yards*, but since we won't have a Yards meet til next year, I don't think I'll break it officially, however, the 41.58 in meters translates to under 38 seconds in yards.   My other events were 50fly (improved to 50sec from 58 sec) and the 100 free (first attempt: 1:43.84).  Just an incredible day for my young swimming career.

At the meet, we had some familiar faces and a couple new names.   A special women's relay team, composed of our Olympian Head Coach, a tremendous veteran butterfly-er, and two other incredibly talented ladies set a World Record for their age group in the 200m Medley Relay.  We all were doing the dance then!   I was in awe seeing all that happen.  Others on our club had some great was good to catch up with several of them.. an incredible day for swimming.  I loved seeing all of our guys going HAM out there.

I want to thank all of you readers for consuming a massive amount of self-oriented paragraphs today.  I hope you didn't mind the personal insight into a Masters' swim meet.  It was a long running dream of mine to compete in a swim meet, and to do that two years ago (a memorable new year's resolution), then to go from that into where I am now has been a dream come true.  I think all that's left is the Olympics, but I'm 31.. it probably won't happen.  It's been fun, though!

After a long meet like that, you get extremely tired.  This is why I wasn't able to do a blog yesterday.  Too tired... I found enough energy to get dinner though.  Good times were had.

On to some other random subjects...

What exactly constitutes "pudding?"  I've had what they call "bread pudding", but it's just bready.  It's not goopy or sweet like the pudding I grew up with -- Jell-O pudding.  But then, chocolate pudding is like cream.  So which is it?  Is it cream or is it bread?  They don't even have anything in common... honestly, I've wondered this for 25 years, I'm very confused.

My quest for lunchtime tots is over!  About 1-2 months ago, a Fab's Hot Dogs outlet opened in Westwood Village... I don't know how long it lasts, but my goodness, is this good food!  I used to go to the one in Reseda, and had their tots... I like the tots and their hot dogs.  They do a great job with both.

My friend Andy in Seattle brought this up a few weeks ago, but it is *outrageous* how some Starbucks baristas are trying to upsell you on coffee.  It's coffee!!!!!!!!!  It's not a used car!  I went over there yesterday, and asked for a latte.  The guy says "oh would you like to try our Clover coffees?  They're really good flavor" etc, all that jazz.  What a perplexing line of conversation.  Do you really think people are going to places without an idea of what they want?  Are people going to McDonald's going "I'd like a hamburger -- OR -- an alternate food item of your choosing?!"  Do people go to the airlines and say "I want a flight to Dallas UNLESS you have another location you'd like to take me to instead?!"

What a conversation that would be...

"I'd like a flight to New York please."

"You know, for 25% less you can get a flight to Minneapolis"

"Well, 100% of my wedding is NOT in Minneapolis, so you can get lost!!!" be fair, I got the clover coffee anyway.  It was pretty good.   Even so, companies gotta listen to their customers more.

Nothing beats the thrill of knowing you have the power to buy 50 cookies for five bones.  I was at the grocery store on five-dollar-Friday... saw the package of 50 regular sized cookies from their bakery for five bucks. I *almost* bought 'em.  but I had no use for cookies that day -- the meet was two days away and the cookies wouldn't be that good by Monday.    Even so... if there was a party that weekend or something, I would have been stoked to get 50 cookies at ten cents each.

There was one time last week when our new SAO, just out of college even, brought up THREE 23" pizzas up the stairs.  I was like "whoah!  Look at all those pizzas!"  She chuckled and went on her way... didn't get a chance to offer to help.   I wanted to though!  Those pizzas look like they overwhelmed her but she held on, I think.

The pizzas were for a Pizza Talk... but you know what I was thinking?  I want to tell her, "I want to get an enormous pizza just like that, but for just us.  We can get the staff together and have our own pizza lunch during a meeting or something and YOU get the first slice!  You earned it."

Had a lady up yesterday to help her install software and I was riffing on the coffee story from a few paragraphs ago and she started laughing but then she got that *really* good laugh... and I could sympathize with that.  You have like different levels of laughs... the regular laugh, the polite laugh, and then, gold, the total "this is really funny" laugh.  Hard to describe but we all know it when we hear it.  Glad she found the whole thing funny though.

Man, when you make the "this is really funny" laugh, it's just euphoric, isn't it?  I laughed just like that at a post on yesterday's game thread.

Speaking of, the Endies are coming!  That would be the "end of year" awards.  The only thing is, I wouldn't know who would set up the nominations.   I ruled myself out initially because I don't follow the Francesa show closely enough, but I thought about it, and I could just throw out the categories and ask others to nominate them.   I'm a little worried about it, to be honest.  I wouldn't know who would set up the categories and voting.   The man who did it a year ago has an incredible Twitter and YouTube enterprise working!  There may not be enough time for him to assess the Endies this year.   The question now is -- who takes over?  I'm not sure, stay tuned.

Thanks for reading the blog, everyone!  Catch you all tomorrow...

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