May 2011

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A day off for the holiday? Of course not.

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 6:04pm (May 30th, 2011)

I can't say I was very surprised when I realized there was a double workout on Memorial Day.  One family member said on Sunday: "when is your next practice... don't say Monday". We indeed did swim or lift for 4 hours today, but at least it wasn't 6.5 hours.  We got out early this evening in observance of the holiday!  I'm going to spend my evening eating and working.  I've really enjoyed all the feedback ALL the swimmers get from the coaching staff.  It seems like a great ratio of swimmers to coaches.  There are about 26 swimmers and 5 coaches/volunteers/managers.  I've honestly NEVER received as much attention or pointers from a coaching staff before.  Coach Mark Hill has single handily changed my freestyle and backstroke in a matter of 2 weeks.  I'm feeling faster and stronger in the water.  My moderately increased strength combined with a new tweak to my backstroke pull is giving me some much needed confidence in the pool.  I'm amazed at how much I'm learning each day.  I thought I knew this sport.  I had no idea what serious teams trained like.  I'm really looking forward to a meet!

The end of the practice we did an all-out 50m swim with fins and paddles, I swam a 50 back in 24.2 seconds.  Not great, but respectable!

Training Quote
"Doak, you're making some changes! You better watch out, you might just get fast... then what would you do?!" - Coach Mike Bottom

All good things

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 12:28pm (May 30th, 2011)

It's been a heck of a week.  It's been filled with a lot of swimming, lifiting and dryland when I'm not either working or sleeping.  Unfortunately I haven't had a single moment to update this site lately.  The good news is that I've been making solid progress in the pool.  Just this morning I started feeling like I can keep up with a few of the guys during practice.  I've had some positive feedback from the coaches  as well.  I'm noticing I'm a little trimmer than I was a few weeks ago but I haven't weighed myself lately.  I've changed my freestyle as well as my backstroke with the help of the coaches.  One thing is clear to me:  There is no way I would be training this hard, or improving my stroke without being on this team.  If I improve at all this summer, I owe it all to this training situation.  These guys push me every day.  It's been a very positive experience.

Training Quote
"Your backstroke is looking a lot better, you're entering and catching in the right place" - Coach Mike Bottom

A morning off!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 1:11pm (May 25th, 2011)

I've always appreciated the mid-week break swimmers get.  Every team I've been a part of always gives you one morning a week to sleep in.  It really refuels you to finish up the week, perhaps not entirely physical, but certainly mentally.  I got a full 8 hours of sleep for the first time in a long time.  I'm ready to go again!  Bring on the chlorine!


Horn Tootin' Time

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 11:31am (May 24th, 2011)

I don't normally toot my own horn, mostly because I'm too busy getting run over in practice to have a reason to.  This morning was different.  We did a series of max speed kicking.  It ended with 3x50's with a board all out for time with as much rest as needed between them.  This ended up being about a 300 easy and an extra 5 minutes rest between each max 50.  The first one I went a 34.x and felt pretty good about it however the group was reprimanded for not being fast enough.  After a pep-talk/yelling-fest we tried it again.  I dug deep and touched in a 31.6.... a lifetime best time for a 50 kick with a board from a push.  I got a few confused looks from the other swimmers, especially considering I was swimming 3rd in my lane.  The next fastest swimmer went a 33.9, still a very respectable time.  Others were 34's, 35's, etc. The swimmers and coaching staff seemed to be visibly confused at my time.  It was sort of an epic moment for me.  I was smiling because I seemed to realize what nobody could seem to comprehend.  I just swam over 2 seconds faster in a 50 than any of the 8 other guys in the group. 

I had a perma-smile on during that next 300 swim as I considered what I just accomplished.  While we prepared for the last 50, the sprint coach ordered that I take the lead spot in the lane.  From a pride standpoint, nobody ever wants to be pushed to 2nd place because somebody else is having a good set so the coach asked that we split the lane and swim side by side.  I agreed as the other swimmer said "yea, so you can stop riding my wake".  It was a half funny, half serious comment.  We laughed it off as we got setup to race again.  I could feel my heart beating pretty hard, I was feeling the stress of the group watching me.  I think some of them assumed I left early on the last 50 to achieve the time I did.  I knew it was a legit time because head coach Mike Bottom was right next to me as I started.  My only concern was that I gave it everything I had the last time around, I was hoping I had something left in the tank.  As we pushed off, the other two swimmers in my heat got the jump on me, I was the last one off the wall.  This was on purpose, I wanted to ensure I left on the top of the clock (the :00) so there would be no room to question my upcoming time.  In only a few seconds I caught up and started pulling away from the other swimmers as I heard the sprint coach Mark yell, "Cmon, nobody wants to lose to Doak!".  I smiled and continued kicking my hardest.  My head was tilted to the left (just a habit) so I couldn't see my competition who were all on my right but I knew I was ahead, I could feel it.  As we neared the flags on the other end, I knew the other swimmers would take a few armstrokes into the wall (it's actually ok to do that on this team, within the flags), I chose not to, since I never do.  Armstrokes during kicking just feels like cheating to me.  I quickly looked to my right as I touched and didn't see anybody.  As I hit the wall the coach read out "32.9".  Shortly after me, the other swimmers touched.  One in a high 33, the other in a 34.  It seemed a little weird for a moment. Nobody looked at me.  I kind of felt like I overstepped my boundary.  There really wasn't a good way to handle it either... do I say "good job" to a person you just beat?  Wouldn't that come across a little mean?  I waited for eye contact from somebody but I didn't get it.  I pushed off and began cooling down.

After cooling down, a swimmer asked what I went.  I replied "32.9" and got a "good job".  I'm hoping I didn't tick anybody off today.  I just swam to the best of my ability and had a blast doing it.  I achieved a best time for a kick set in practice.  A 31.6 is a fairly respectable time for a 50 kick at my ability level. I'll take it :)

I caught the coach for a moment after practice and got a "good kick set today".  I replied "thanks, it's starting to come together".  I don't have many days that I can say I swam well within this group, today was one of those days.


4 Hour workout, yes, sit in 48 degree water for 9 minutes.... no

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 2:51am (May 23rd, 2011)

After the workout on Saturday, I got a crash course in why an "Ice Bath" is a great way to recover from a workout.  The logic is sound but nothing I feel like typing out.  A large tub was filled up with water and then a few coolers of ice were dumped in.  Two other swimmers hopped right in, two others took their time and eased their way in with a little complaining on the way..... then there was me.  To be clear, at no point did I think this was going to be an easy task for me.  I touched the water and knew this was going to be embarrassing.  I sat down in the tub but could only stay in for 30 seconds.  I bailed.  I bailed bigtime.  The others said I just had to get through 2 minutes, at that point, your body goes numb and it doesn't hurt anymore.  It was at that point that they checked the thermometer and read out "48".  I shook my head and laughed as I watched them all shiver in the water.  I tried it again and only got about 35 seconds before jumping out again.  I got called a few words I can't write on here.  I deserved each one.  I think I have a respectable tolerance for pain, but wow.  That's COLD.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to endure the 2 minutes, let alone the 9 minutes it's recommended to stay in the tub.

These people are crazy, but I respect the craziness.


Race Pace Saturday

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 11:33pm (May 21st, 2011)

Today we did race pace work.  A set we cycled through 4 times consisted of a 50, a 35 and two 25's, all with between 20 and 60 seconds rest.  It was challenging yet fun.  The sprints are short enough that it doesn't hurt for very long.  The first two rounds I swam freestyle and did quite well.  I held my own against the other swimmers.  I won about half the heats and really started feeling good about my abilities.  At one point was singled out and praised by the coach for what he saw as a strong effort to win the heats.  I felt like this was the first day that I could really show the other swimmers that I was approaching their ability level.  Up until now, I've been struggling to keep up however still making the intervals.  Today I raced, and it showed.  I'm noticing I'm nowhere near as good of an underwater kicker as I need to be.  At least two other sprinters pull a BODY LENGTH on me off the start, and I'm not losing to them in reaction speed or dive distance.  They just power away from me once we hit the water.

The last two rounds of the set were not as good as the first.  The coach had me switch to backstroke.  This set was with fins on.  We started in the water, with the fins sticking in the gutter.  I just couldn't seem to swim fast with the fins on.  I just wasn't being very efficient, I was only in the middle of the pack regarding times.  The last set was butterfly with paddles.  I chose not to swim with paddles since I typically lose them during butterfly.  It was a choice that probably cost me the last few races.  Since we don't dive in with paddles, we started on the wall.  We got a "ready.... go" from the coach.  When I heard the "go" I started.  I was the last one off the wall by at least a second.  Through the set I was corrected that I should go under when I hear "ready".  For this, and other reasons, I finished last on all 4 of the butterfly races though I had a few variables against me.  The other guys were going 25 meters underwater, they were wearing paddles and also starting on time.  Regardless, these guys were beating me underwater and perhaps nowhere else in the pool.  As soon as they came up, they were not pulling away from me, unfortunately, by the time they came up, they had a body length or more lead on me.

Overall, I was very pleased with my performances today.  I've made some changes to my freestyle and backstroke that I'm excited to try in a race.

I also learned a lesson through somebody else's mistake today.  A team rule (not university backed) is that if you show up late to practice on Saturday, you have to swim a 200 Long Course Butterfly at the end of the workout.  Let me tell ya, I've never seen a more painful 200 Fly in my life.  This guy was barely moving by the 125m mark.  I'm confident he will show up on time next week!


Another day, another story

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 12:06pm (May 20th, 2011)

Today we did a series of circuit training sets.  The 3 hour morning practice consisted of 1.25 hours of dryland and weights followed by nearly 2 hours of very abstract swim training.  In the weight room we're doing lots of power lifting, very low reps at very hight weight.  I've done alright but I'm definitely one of the weakest in the group regarding how much I can lift.  In the pool we used surgical tubing and a belt tied to the wall while we swam against it.  We did this 10 times with an interesting series of burst sprints built into the set in levels.  Afterward we cycled to do 10x25's underwater with "chutes" and fins on.  The chutes increase resistance but our interval was 1:00 so we had plenty of rest.  Finally we did a fun set of:

  • Running on a 12' carpeted section of the deck, diving over a laneline positioned 6' away from the wall, focusing on a shallow dive, doing a full breakout and swiming easy for the remainder of the 25 yards
  • Doing 4 pop outs (pulling yourself out of the side of the pool, then dropping down again)
  • Wading through the hot tub to stretch our hip flexers
  • Doing 20 seconds of vertical kicking while holding onto the 1 meter springboards
  • Running 20 feet and doing a flying dive into the water and a full underwater kick to the wall (around 25 yards) for time

The last set was a blast.  It was so new and abstract.  I was about average in the group today.  My 25 yard run/dive/kick time was a 4.84 seconds.  The best was a 4.2 and many guys were high 4's and low 5's.  It was really intersting because I'm not used to running and diving from 1 meter off the water.  In fact I've never done it.  I've run and dove in the water from deck level many times but always fairly slowly so I didn't slip.  Today we had a fair amount of traction so it was safe to run all out!

We finished up with a sprint kick set.  I was slightly above average speed for the group but definitely not the fastest.  I'm incredibly tired and feeling very run down.  I was moving pretty slow leaving practice.  I'm having a lot of fun with this :)


Lots of new experiences

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 11:42pm (May 19th, 2011)

Lately there is just too many new experiences to even write about.  Here is the short version:

The morning workout was referred to as an "in and out" workout.  We did a short warmup swim, got out and headed upstairs to the dryland area.  The first 20 minutes of this "out" session was dedicated to stretching and using foam rollers (cylinder shaped) and ropes (to stretch legs in different directions).  It was refreshing to see a workout carve out time to let the body recover in different ways.  I also had a chance to try the (hold your laughter) "vibration machine".  Now... this thing looks as silly as it sounds.  It's a bench with an domed area you can rest your leg or arm on.  A coach plugs the thing in, adjusts the frequency it vibrates with, and you do 1 minute sessions letting it massage your sore areas.  I have to admit, it was on of the weirdest experiences of my swimming career.  Due to the heavy lifting on Tuesday, the process downright hurt.  I did 4 sessions.  The first focusing on the backs of my thighs which might have been helpful, the second on the tops of my thighs.  The second session I had to stop early and have them slow the machine down, it was incredibly painful.  The third and fourth was on my arms and probably offered me no real benefit but I can see how it would if I had worked my arms more this week in the weight room.  We were back in the pool and back upstairs a few more times before the 2 hour workout finished up.  It was interesting to say the least.

The evening practice was comprised of a few other new experiences.  The first being the "Avida" program.  This system lets you strap 5 modules to your body, one on each ankle, one on each wrist and one under your cap with an ear piece.  It triangulates your position in the pool using a GPS type system and utilizes accelerometers to measure your distance per stroke and strokerate.  It took a good 20 minutes to get mine setup and it never did quite work out.  It was delivering the information to the tablet computers for the coaches to review but I couldn't hear the feedback through the earpiece.  Honestly I think mine was a little messed up.  Some of the team likes them and sees a benefit to their usage but thus far, it's been more trouble than it's worth to most swimmers.  It's an awesome idea but might not be fully "baked" yet.  I look forward to trying another set sometime.  We did some burst swimming and I'm experimenting with a new backstroke pull with the help of volunteer coach Mark.

I also got to go out to dinner with some of the other post grads this evening.  I've been impressed with how welcoming and accommodating everybody has been thus far.  It's been great so far.


Yea... I'm hurtin'

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 1:19pm (May 18th, 2011)

All those weights and dryland yesterday tore me up pretty good.  Add in 4 hours of swimming and it's left me pretty sore.  I'm glad to have a day off.  I'm actually going to do an ab workout today.  Believe it or not, after all that working out, my abs aren't sore at all.  Yesterday was a frustrating day.  I'm realizing how tough it is to entrust all my training to a coach when I have different views on training.  I know there is no right or wrong way to train, everybody has different theories on training.  What I'm struggling with is that I KNOW that a certain regiment of weights, abs and burst swimming works really well for me.  I'm stressing out a little about the fact that we seem to be pretty far from what I'm used to.  The result can only be positive, in the sense that, no matter who is training me, this much training can only improve my times versus what I was doing while training alone in community pools.  What keeps running through my mind is: will all this new training make me better, or A LOT better?  I think a level of uncertainty is normal when you join a new team and have a new coach.  I'm learning quite a bit about training regardless of the outcome.


6 Hours Later

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 9:35pm (May 17th, 2011)

I was exercising for 6 hours today.  It's been great having the team back from Colorado Springs.  I was getting a little tired of training on my own.  This morning we did 1 hour of dryland and weights followed by a 2 hour swim.  This evening we did a 45 minute dryland set and a 2.5 hour swim.  I was a little frustrated today due to all the new terminology and abstract training techniques.  I've never once before wished that a coach would just slam us with some long boring yardage.  At no point today was I bored... however, almost constantly lost or confused as to what was expected of me.  Some of this frustration is simply learning how a coach writes workouts, yet part of it is also the sheer chaos that is referred to as a written workout.  They are so complex that it makes my head spin.  I know I'm not alone here, I asked around.  The entire day today made me realize that there is a good chance that I will become a better freestyler training with CW.  I'm very concerned about my buttefly and more importantly, my backstroke.  We do a ton of freestyle (in the sprint group).  I briefly caught up with head coach Mike Bottom after the practice and he assured me that based on my goals, I was in the right workout group.  We get the whole day off Wednesday!  I'm gonna live it up.


Down Below 170 Again

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 9:09am (May 13th, 2011)

As expected, I'm eating constantly but losing weight.  I'm looking forward to the entire CW team being back in town.  The current group is small and the practice times are fragmented.  I was only able to get in 3k long course today.

Session Weight Information
Pre-Practice Weight: 168.0 lbs
Post-Practice Weight: 166.7 lbs
Practice Information
Dist: 3,000 LCM - (Long Course 50 Meters)

Cool backstroke start picture from Nationals in Arizona

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 12:24am (May 13th, 2011)
Backstroke start in Mesa AZ

As much as I dislike people tagging me in photos on social networking sites without permission.  I saved this photo before promptly untagging myself.  I wish it was better resolution but it's still an awesome picture of my backstroke start.


At EMU for a few days

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 9:25pm (May 11th, 2011)

Today was a bit of a throwback to how I was training a few years ago.  My workout represented a regiment that I believe got me to the Olympic Trials:

  • Briefly stretch
  • Run 1/2 Mile to the pool
  • Lift for 30 minutes, 3 rounds of 8 reps each machine
  • Swim for 1.5 Hours, approx 3,500 - 4,500 meters

Due to a Water Polo tournament at Club Wolverine, I felt it was best to just rely on the predictable training times available at EMU.  The summer squad had some open lanes during their workout so I grabbed a workout and joined in.  It was a 4,300 meter workout which culminated with 32x50's (2 Max + 2 Easy) @ 1:00.  I held it together for the whole workout until this set.  It got pretty ugly pretty quickly.  I did the first 16 of them freestyle.  I would swim the first of the max 50's on the :30.xx and the second on the :33.xx.  Those times are in no way impressive unless we're talking about age group swimming.  I think the weights and running really took a toll on me.  I was getting ruined by almost everybody in the pool.  It was a little embarrassing.  I look forward to a blog post where I can say I excelled in practice.  Today is not that day.  It will probably be a few months till you read something along those lines.

I miss swimming at EMU.

Session Weight Information
Pre-Practice Weight: 168.1 lbs
Post-Practice Weight: 167.0 lbs
Practice Information
Dist: 4,300 LCM - (Long Course 50 Meters)

Skipping the Charlotte Grand Prix

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 7:19pm (May 10th, 2011)

My plan earlier this month was to attend the Charlotte Grand Prix this coming week.  However I found myself still pretty run down from the transition into serious training.  Considering a flight would have been $500.00 plus hotels and food totalling another $500.00 or more.  I didn't feel that I could have swum well enough to justify a $1,000.00 trip.  I'm confident this decision will moderately disappoint the coaching staff at CW however I'm comfortable with my choice.  To swim well at a high profile meet, I need to be acclimated to my new training and although I almost never feel READY to race, I would like to be more prepared than 3 weeks of intense training and no taper.  I'm going to research a local meet at EMU this summer and aim at that for some good long course times.

Due to a crazy schedule at the U of M natatorium I have avoided training there the last few days.  The practice times are inconsistent and frankly, it annoys me.  It's only this week which will be like this, I believe there is a big water polo tournament so the swim teams are displaced for a few days.  I find myself a little out of the loop on these scheduling changes and I've shown up at least twice (per the schedule) and the practice times had changed last minute.  I chose to train at EMU today where I knew I could get pool time and a lane to myself.  No pool feels like home quite like EMU's Michael H. Jones Natatorium.  I love that pool.  It was great to be back.

Session Weight Information
Pre-Practice Weight: 170.4 lbs
Post-Practice Weight: 168.7 lbs
Practice Information
Dist: 3,000 LCM - (Long Course 50 Meters)

Adjusting Again

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 11:39pm (May 9th, 2011)

After taking a week off training due to the Short Course Nationals meet in Arizona, I'm back to training with Club Wolverine.  I find myself still adjusting to the training and dryland routines.  Many of the practices I'm still struggling to keep up with the guys.  I'm hoping I'll see some improvement soon. 


Back from Arizona!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 1:17pm (May 5th, 2011)
Back from Arizona!

It was a great trip overall.  I saw some old friends, cheered for some other Michigan Masters swimmers, took some pictures and Placed 1st three times, 2nd once and 3rd once.  It was a successful meet and a nice vacation.  I got to hike during my last day there.  It's a beautiful area, I hope to return someday!


2011 Masters Short Course Nationals Videos Added!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 10:43am (May 5th, 2011)

I added videos from the short course nationals.  The pool level aspect (versus bleachers) isn't ideal but an expert job by my videographer compensated for it!


Sunday Results

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 2:15pm (May 2nd, 2011)
On Deck at the 2011 Masters Short Course Nationals in Mesa, AZ


50 Back: 23.68 (relay)
50 Back: 23.87 (1st place)
100 Free: 47.45 (2nd place)