I noticed today that Google Adsense has been added to the USMS Forums which I think is a good strategy to monetize the forum a little bit. USMS needs to make money where it can and I would guess that its large amount of web traffic is one of its biggest untapped resources. Making individual ad deals for the site would probably make more money, but using Adsense is much easier to implement and a good way to test out this type of advertising.

Google Adsense, if you’re unfamiliar with it, is a context based ad service program for web publishers. The website owner pastes some code from Google into their site and then Google will serve ads based on the content of the page. When a visitor clicks on an ad Google shares the profit from the click with the website owner. Adsense is very common on the internet and I use it on this site.

There is already a thread on the forum where some people have started to voice some concern about the ads being served revolving around one’s privacy. Many people see a targeted ad on a page that they’re visiting and worry that they have some kind of virus or the website knows more about them then it should. In reality when it is an Adsense ad served by Google it is derived from the content not the individual user. Also you need to remember that there is no privacy on a public internet forum in the first place. Everything on the USMS Forums has been indexed and recorded by search engines.

So even if you’re not a fan of the new ads on the forums, don’t worry too much about them. Adsense is pretty unobtrusive and helps make USMS some money. Would you rather pay more money every year to be a member or ignore some text ads? If USMS starts experimenting with pop-up ads… that would be a good time to lead a user revolt :)


Source: sawse.com via FFFFound!

I’m a night owl, I can’t help it, if I could wake up at 4 in the afternoon and go to bed at 8 in the morning I would be happy. I have a bad habit of waiting too late to get in a full workout at the gym because I have no concept of what time it is once the sun goes down. Tonight I wasn’t in the water until about 9:10PM so I really only had about 40 minutes to swim. I readjusted the workout I had written earlier in the day and started moving as fast as I could.

After warming up, my first set was focused on butterfly tolerance. I’m still not sure if I’m going to the Rose Bowl meet, but I want to be ready for a 200 fly if I do. Yesterday I did 8 50′s, today I did 2 100′s separated by 100 free. That hurt! I don’t know what you call the region on the inside of your arm from about your forearm to the middle of your bicep, but it is not pleased with me! I don’t typically do full 100′s of butterfly in workouts, I really need to do more of that.

Warm Up
400 free
100 kick

100 fly
100 free
100 fly
100 free

100 kick

5 x 100 IM

100 kick

200 cool down

1800 yards total, I had 2300 planned but the gym was closing and I had to split

Tonight was my first real workout in a while. Last week was pretty much lost to being sick, I’m still not 100% but I think I’m good enough. I had a few coughing fits towards the beginning of my workout, but after a couple hundred yards I was good to go. Luckily I fell right back into a good rhythm during my workout tonight.

I’m still playing with the idea of adding the Rose Bowl meet to my schedule so just in case I’m ramping up the yardage in all my strokes not just fly and free. If I do the meet I’m going to go all out and try a bunch of events I probably shouldn’t. I was penciling it out earlier today and I think I might try the 400 IM, 200 Breast, 200 Fly and the 200 IM. It gives me 1 event to rest between each race. So far I haven’t done very much backstroke so that needs some work. The other thing I need to focus on is butterfly tolerance. I swim a lot of fly but I’ve never done 200 yards of it in a row on purpose.

Warm Up
400 Free
100 kick

8 x 50 fly

100 kick

Repeat x 3
100 IM
100 Back
100 Breast
100 Free

Cool Down
100 kick
200 free

2500 yards total

In looking at The weekend of the 7th and 8th I’m pretty sure that I want to drop my bike ride and go swimming. I just need to figure out how I’m going to get down there and where I’m going to stay. Since the Rose Bowl meet starts early I’m going to have to come down Friday night. The tricky part is Heidi is thinking about coming down for the Irvine meet on Sunday and I don’t want to be down here with two cars. So I can either take a bus/train to LA and just hop a cab to Pasadena then have Heidi pick me up to go to Irvine Saturday night. Or I would have to drive myself and do the weekend by myself. Also looking into a hot air balloon… the whole thing is overly complicated…

I have a mild dilemma… there are 2 LA area swim meets coming up the 7th and 8th of February. Good right? Not so much.

The meet on the 7th in Pasadena was announced much later than the rest of this season’s schedule. Since there wasn’t anything going on that day I signed up for the Pedal to Pier bike ride here in my area. So now I’m trying to decide what to do. Either way I want to go to the UC Irvine meet, that’s happening one way or the other. But that Saturday I need to figure out if I’m going to drop the bike ride or go swimming.

Pro for swimming:

  • I’d rather go swimming
  • I can do this ride anytime by myself
  • It’s a good chance to do some 200′s that I would usually pass on
  • I have to trek 200 miles into LA for UCI, I might as well do 2 meets to make it worth the trip

Con:

  • I already dropped $100 on the bike ride, oops
  • Not sure how I would get there logistically
  • Heidi is planning to come to UCI but she isn’t off on Saturday
  • I might have to pony up for an extra night in a hotel

Since I’m a dork I set up a poll to let you guys sway me :) I can’t promise I’ll listen, but you might push me over the edge.



Nancy Kirkpatrick-Reno, the coach of Conejo Simi Aquatics Masters (my adopted team), was featured on the LA Times web site in an article and a video on how to start out as a lap swimmer or new masters swimmer. She gives advice on drills you can do to jump start your swimming if you are a beginner.

You can read Nancy’s tips and watch the video here.


Click the picture to see Coach Nancy’s video

(Update 1FEB09: Results for the Las Vegas Masters Free Play meet have now been posted here)

This weekend I trekked out to Las Vegas to swim my first meet of the year and the first SCY meet of the season. I’ve been (still am) really sick for the last week and I didn’t get to train as much as I would have liked to for this meet, but overall my races were decent and I had a good weekend.

I left town on Friday after work to go to LA. My friend Robin was accompanying me out to Vegas so my first stop was her place. I’ve been finding various ways to not have to use my truck to get places (I’m on the verge of going voluntarily carless since I’m almost there already), so I tried out the Central Coast Flyer which is an Airport shuttle that does a loop from San Luis Obispo to LAX. It was a good option for me and I think I’m going to try and use it a lot more. I got into LA around 9 and me and Robin went out and got some Korean food for dinner. After that we just went home and got some sleep because we had a 4 1/2 hour drive to Las Vegas ahead of us.


The pool in Vegas

I got to the pool around 11:30, a few folks were there but it was pretty quiet. Around 12:30 the Grunions showed up en masse via bus and filled the place up. I felt awful between just being sick and then the big changes in elevation was messing with the pressure in my head. The pool area is indoors and was stuffy and heavily chlorinated… not that it shouldn’t be, but I had a hard time with it. After some respiratory excitement on the pool deck I got into the pool and continued coughing my brains out. I have to say I liked the pool though. It had a lot of available lanes, it was a good depth, and it wasn’t too warm.

I was originally signed up for 5 events but I cut it back to 3. I did all of my 50′s, but my lungs weren’t up to racing 100′s and I didn’t want to pass out or throw up in front of a crowd.

My first race was the 50 fly. I was in the far lane of the last heat. This was the one race that I really wanted to do good in. My Q-time for nationals is 27.23 and it’s the one I’m in the most danger of hitting first this season. I felt decent off the blocks and got in some solid kicking underwater. My arms felt pretty strong but not 100%, I missed a lot of workouts in the last week. My turn was good and I worked the underwater dolphin kicks further than anyone else I could see from my lane. Once I came up I jammed through the last little bit as hard as I could. Once I got out of the water I found a nice corner to go cough and hack until I could breath again. I went a 27.7 which is a half second off of where I need to be. It’s not exactly what I wanted, but considering the circumstances it’ll do.

Up next was the 50 breaststroke. I am by no means a breaststroker, I just like to race it every once and a while because I feel no pressure to do a good job :) In my race I focused on staying underwater as much as I could without getting DQ’ed. For whatever reason my breaststroke pull is really inefficient so the less stroking I do the better. I went about 34 seconds on this one. I probably lost a second on my turn because I flubbed the streamline. My hands came apart in a weird way on my streamline and really slowed me down.

My last race of the day was the 50 freestyle, I was in heat 9 of 10. I was feeling pretty relaxed at this point but I was still having problems with my cough. During the race I managed to hold it in and came away with a decent time for me. I finished in about 26.4 (or so I’m told, I couldn’t read the board at all w/o my glasses). I really want to at least get down to a 25 this year. After this last race I made my way to the far end of the pool to warm down. I had a ridiculous coughing fit! It was the kind of thing where it was so hard I was sort of surprised I didn’t black out or something. Eventually I managed to finally swim a few hundred yards after that.


Me and Ahelee Poolside in Vegas

Despite being sick I did have a lot of fun talking with people at the meet. My buddy Bob from out in the central valley was there. I’ve seen him at UCLA and the SLO Gobbler Classic. He’s like me in that he’s training by himself and using swim meets to gauge progress. I talked with some of the guys from the Grunions, I had on my Naples Island swim t-shirt which was a conversation starter with the guys from Long Beach. I also finally met Ahelee who is an assistant coach with NOVA and someone that has commented here on the blog before. She was super nice and a lot of fun to talk to. She got a picture of us together at the pool that I posted above. She was nice enough to offer to videotape my 50 free so I could see myself swim but we both ended up in the same heat. I would have stayed longer to talk swimming but I was feeling too sick to function in public after my race. After the meet Ahelee was jetting off to Tuscon for a meet there on Sunday. Hopefully she did good out in Arizona!


My fantastic view of green flood lights at the MGM Grand

That night I stayed at the MGM Grand. Me and Robin got cleaned up and dressed up and went out in search of dinner. I hadn’t eaten since 10PM the night before so I was starving at this point (I know I’m supposed to eat at meets but I just can’t eat when I’m competing). We ended up having dinner at Tao in the Venetian which is excellent. We got a bunch of little plates of tempura, pot stickers and stuff like that.Robin had their Chiliean Sea Bass which apparently is fantastic, and I had a pepper crusted filet mignon udon noodle dish that was very good. I definitely recommend the restaurant. The only thing that was lame was me getting shot down for a hand stamp for the club there. Since we spent a ton of dough on dinner we could get stamped to skip the lines to get into Tao’s night club. Robin got her stamp without incident but the hostess shot me down over my shoes. Lame. I was wearing some shiny silver Pumas which is a little weird, but they’re still nicer than most crappy dress shoes. Oh well.

After dinner we hung out in a piano bar in the Paris casino that was a lot cooler than it sounds. They had two guys playing and they knew everything. These dudes played Phantom of the Opera and Metallica’s Master of Puppets in the same hour! Too awesome. When they took a break we made our way over to Risque which is a night club inside the same casino. The club wasn’t that cool but the people watching was outstanding.

Our last stop that night was Prive in Planet Hollywood. This was the official Miss America after party and it was packed. Normally I wouldn’t have been interested in something Miss America related but I had read that Cullen Jones was going to be a judge so I was curious to see if he would be floating around. I brushed past a guy that looked like him by the VIP area but I’m only about 37.5% sure it was him. I didn’t see any pageant looking chicks in the club, but Robin said there were some unnaturally hot looking girls in the bathroom crying their eyes out so I’m guessing that’s where the girls that didn’t win posted up for the evening.

Sunday we woke up and had some lunch at Mon Ami Gabi in Paris and watched the fountain show at the Bellagio from our table. After that we drove 5+ hours back into LA and then I took a 4 hour bus ride home from LAX. I finally hit my pillow around 2AM.


Lunch at Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris Casino overlooking the Bellagio


Source

I might be wrong… it would be awesome if it really did look like this though! I’m expecting swim up cocktail waitresses in the warm up area :)

So tonight was my last night to swim before I leave for Las Vegas but I just couldn’t do it. Heidi is at the gym right now and I stayed home to pack for my trip. My prep for this meet hasn’t exactly been ideal, but I’ve been dying to get back in the pool in a competitive setting so I’m not going to skip it. The month and a half with no meets to go to sucked for me! I’ve decided to classify being sick all week as an extreme taper, my muscles should be super rested… look out I’ll be dangerous out there on Saturday!

The plan is to swim the 50 free, 50 fly, 50 breast, 100 fly, and 100 free. Normally I would have some goals set for each swim… for this one I’m just going to do my best and hope for the best. Luckily I’m not signed up for anything long. I think I can deal with just about anything for :30 to 1:00.

I ventured to the pool tonight for the first time in quite a while. You might have noticed from all of my complaining the last few days that I have been pretty sick. I hate being sick. Breathing hasn’t been going my way recently so I went to the gym with the idea of just testing the waters to figure out if I can actually race this weekend.

The verdict is… muscles are good, lungs are suspect. As it stands right now I think Vegas is a go. Even if I still have some issues with breathing I’m only doing 50′s and 100′s so I think I’ll be fine.

My swim consisted of a token 1000 yards of mainly freestyle with a little butterfly and breaststroke mixed in. Afterwards I spent a little time in the hot tub steaming out my head a little more. If I’m lucky, tomorrow I can put in a more purposeful workout… I’m driving to LA Friday night and then out to Vegas with a friend Saturday morning so it’s my last chance before I have to leave town.


Source: Olaf Veltman via FFFFound!

I used to be fearless in open water. I would go down to Pismo and swim with no real purpose, I’d just float around and have fun. I’ve swam with seals, otters and dolphins which I think is pretty cool. As I got older it started to freak me out a little more to swim in water I can’t see through, I don’t really know why. It probably doesn’t help that we had a fatal shark attack 15 miles from my house a few years ago. I need to find myself an open water buddy to take my mind off of what might lurk below. When I did the Naples Island Swim back in September it didn’t really bother me, I guess I figured we were using the sardine defense.

In other news… I am still super sick. I was hoping all the drugs the doc gave me yesterday would take the edge off and let me live my life. Ultimately today has been worse than yesterday… yay… I’m starting to get nervous about Saturday’s swim meet… hopefully I can shake this thing in time!