Saturday, April 11, 2015

Chad's English Channel Qualifying Swim

Yesterday I went out with Chad, Josh, Julie and Sam to the GSL for a swim.  The water felt nice.  I took a temp several times outside the marina and they read 64!  My digital one that I bought at the boat ramp read 62.

The swim was nice and I was able to keep up with Julie.  Shoulder felt great.  Didn't cause me any trouble.  There was a little bit of chop coming from the northeast so I preferred breathing on the right to avoid any water getting in my mouth.  

After today's swim we realized that we really ought to get out on Saturday for Chad's swim.  I stopped at the store on the way home to get some supplies.  

---------------------------- Saturday, April 11th -----------------------------

This morning I got to the boat ramp at 8:15am to eat my breakfast and get all ready for when we agreed to start.  I layed up the sun screen.  It was a very sunny beautiful day.  I took a preliminary reading with my digital thermometer at the boat ramp and it read 53°F !!!!!  Wow, we should stall a little and let the sun heat up the water just a little.

Chad gets ready to start.  Photo: Josh Green
Eventually 9am came around and Chad shows up.  He was late cause he forgot the backrest on his kayak.  My lower back was grateful he turned around instead of just saying "Screw it".  We took a temp with the traditional mercury read thermometers, and it read 55° in the marina!  We were hoping it would be a little warmer out in the water and the temp didn't seem to phase him.  It was a pretty calm day and no forecast for any kind of trouble with wind or rain so we decided to head out to Antelope Island and turn around about 3 hours into it and come back.

We took off and there was a slight breeze from the north, but nothing terrible. Just enough to cause about 1 foot wavelet that sometimes would crash over my bow and spray salt water all over me.  Not a big deal, but my gloves started to get salty.  I pulled out one of my "jokes" that I bought at the store.  Hulk gloves that actually ended up being really nice to have.  They were waterproof and had lots of foam so they were very comfortable to wear.  I put them on and it took a couple hours for Josh and Chad to even notice.  Haha!  I guess I look hulky naturally or something.  (Yeah I wish)

Looking strong.  Photo: Josh Green
After every feed I stopped and updated the log, while Josh would resume paddling, then I'd paddle like mad to catch up, and take over the support on the right side.  Chad really likes to breathe on the right side.  I don't have a problem with that unless it creates some kind of imbalance that introduces pain.

Every feed right from the start was like clock work.  30 minutes after the previous one.  At the first feed the temperature showed me 57° and the digital thermometer 55°F.  Woah!  That's significantly cooler than the 61 degree threshold.  I asked how he was doing and he said "fine", his feet were a little cold, but his core was fine.  He said he didn't even feel cold.  Awesome!  

My log that I maintained during the swim.
The first hour and a half the water was slightly choppy, but then it calmed down to just a ripple.  It was nice to get a bit of a break with the headwind.  Every feed was pretty flawless.  I'd wave him down, and he'd take two more strokes and stop just in time for me to hand him his bottle.  He didn't complain, or even make any requests for specific items to consume.  I'd alternate between his Perpetuem mix and gatorade, and at the two hour mark gave him his first solid: 2 little debbies.  He said they tasted a little salty.  Ha!  Everything tastes a little salty when eating them in the GSL.  He was cracking me up with some of the comments he'd make on this swim.  He was in very good spirits.  He said he forgot to over lube in his groin area and teased Josh about him greasing that area for him.

He said his face was taking a beating with the salt.  Particularly under his goggles.  The wind had died down, regardless I suggested that we go 3.5 hours north, that way when we head back south and get the push from the current and breeze so that we don't end up arriving at the marina earlier than the 6 hour target.

After finishing entering the information in the log from his second feed I quickly opened my waterproof container and called Cathi to give her an update.  She said that the tracker wasn't working and that it only showed one dot still at the boat ramp.  I checked the spot, and sure enough it was off.  I tried powering it up, but it wouldn't.  Dang, batteries were dead.  I opened the battery compartment and realized that I had backup AA's and the spot takes AAA batteries!  Doh!  OK now I know to pack extra AAA batteries.  So I asked Cathi to please update facebook with his status as many people would be curious.  Sorry Chad!  But if this is the only snag of the swim, it will be fantastic.

At the 8th feed, after asking how he felt (mostly concerned about the temperature taking a toll on him) and he mentioned fine except for some pain in his shoulder.  I gave him a couple
acetamenophen tabs (200 mg total).

Man I was sick of seeing
50's.  This is a legit
It ended up being perfect to turn around at 3.5 hours, cause it took a few minutes more than 2.5 hours to get back.  The breeze was fairly constant and gave us a nice push heading back.  For the first three hours the temperature stayed below 57, and at the turn around point it finally hit 58. At the four hour mark it hit 59° and stayed there until the final feed at 5.5 hours into the swim, I finally got a 60+ reading (61 degrees).  As we got near the marina opening Josh pointed to the outlook and there was Chandra and Chad's kids with posters off in the distance cheering.  When we got to about 100 yards from the marina opening Josh shouted that the temperature had risen dramatically and he got 65 degrees.  I took a reading to confirm and indeed the last 200 yards or so the temp had jumped 4 degrees.  Wow!  

Nearing the finish!  Photo: Josh Green
He finished strong and got out at 6:03:29.  The average temperature of the entire swim came to 58.1°F.  He swam strong and his stroke rate remained about the same.  He only dropped from 65 down to 61 at the very end.  The cold temperature seemed to have practically no affect on him whatsoever.  The salt did a number on his lips and tongue which was to be expected.  He mentioned that the pain in his shoulder went away as he realized that he was doing a thumb first entry and when he focused on doing a proper entry that his shoulder pain went away.  Glad he was able to figure that out, and correct it.

I'm so proud of that guy!  I was holding off getting tickets to England until this swim was over and now I can very confidently purchase those tickets!  He did outstanding and given a great day out over the channel, we're gonna make this happen!  Very happy for him.

Thanks to Josh for coming to assist paddling for the swim.  It was nice to have someone to talk to, as well as cover for me while I was taking notes in the log.  Thanks!

Here's a highlight video I produced:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Group swim in GSL

Last Friday I met up with Chad, Jason and Sam at the GSL.  We made our way into the water which felt much cooler than 60 degrees, however the many readings I took from my watch resulted in 60.0°F even at the lowest.  After the swim I picked up another thermometer cause I don't trust my watch is correct.  I'll confirm its accuracy next week.

We swam out the marina and then along the deep channel along the breakwall.  We swam to the second red buoy and then turned back.  It was 1 mile exactly for that route.  I was pretty cold.  Everytime the group stopped to wait for me at the buoys, we talked briefly and I was shivering in the
water.  Not terribly, but I was cold.  I had to keep moving.

The inside of the marina felt cooler than outside.  It was nice to have a group to swim with.

I also swam with the South Davis Masters group last Friday morning, so I got in 3 miles of swimming total on Friday.  Pretty good.

I met with Dr. Gardiner on Thursday and he said I just need to continue on with the PT and keep stretching.  No word on the official thumbs up for getting in the water though.  Kind of don't ask, don't tell policy at this point.

This morning I swam with Chad at 24hr at 4am.  Here's what I did:

    200 breaststroke + 400 kick with fins

Main Set:
    6 x 100's free on 1:40
    2 x 50's back on 1:00
    8 x 200's free on 3:15
    4 x 50's breast on 1:00

3,100 yards total

Monday, March 30, 2015

One week of normalcy

This past week I took the leap.  I started swimming freestyle stroke again.  The first day I swam 200 yards, the next day 400 yards and so on.

This morning got up at 2:15 to get to the pool for Chad.  Swam 2,800 yards and the shoulder felt fine.  Forcing myself to only allow myself to increase my distance a little at a time.  Can't go nuts and mess it up.  Went to work and spent an hour on the treadmill and then 30 minutes with the light weights that my PT has me doing.

On Friday I put my shoulder to the test. I swam several 100's freestyle at a 85% effort.  Got 1:22 - 1:24 on them.   Here's the data.  Pleased with the low swolf score. Pain and tightness still an issue for sure.  Just got to be patient.  I'm still many weeks ahead of what I'm really supposed to do, so I'm being careful to really listen to my body and not overdo it.

Meet with the PT this morning.

Swam 11,000 yards this past week total.  Just enough to stay sane.  Part of that included a swim in the GSL last Friday for 1/2 mile where the water was in the high 50's.  The air temp was awesome.  I forgot my grease and was feeling some serious "heat" on the back of my neck and on my cheeks.  Need to remember to bring that stuff.  It's crucial for longer swims.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Welcome home

Jason's one of the fastest swimmers at SDM where I coach.
  He has the potential of beating the GSL Antelope Island
to Black Rock record this year if the conditions are right
and he keeps training hard.  But to be fair we'll have to start the
swim at a depth that is shallower than years previous in
order to preserve the integrity of the
race distance being as close to 8 miles as possible.
This afternoon I met Jason at the GSL Marina for the first swim for the season.  In fact, for me this is the first GSL swim since June 10th of last year!  That's the longest dry spell I've had from the GSL since I started.

It was like the lake was glad to see me, welcoming me home.  The sun was out and the air temperature was wonderful!  The water temp at the gslmarina website reported 55°.  Jason was a little nervous, but I tried to reassure him that it wouldn't be as cold as he thought.  Sure the first 10 seconds would be tough, but after that once you control your breathing, it's fine.

I haven't been OKd yet to swim freestyle so I swam breaststroke the whole way.  We swam out to the red buoy outside the marina opening and back.  The water felt great.  Didn't even shiver afterwards.  Granted I was only in the water for about 12 minutes or so.

Total: .33 miles

I have been swimming a little this past week.  No major workouts, just alternating by 100/200 from kick, swim backstroke, swim breaststroke, to swimming with a snorkel and kicking again, etc.  Nothing too fancy, or too fast.  Taking it easy.

Added 8,200 yards total pool swimming this week to my overall totals.  Again, nothing really to write up a press release over, but it's just a milestone to get back in the water and make the shoulder feel the motion again.

Monday, March 16, 2015

April is Learn to Swim Month - Free offer

First Annual LMSC Leadership Conference for U.S. Masters Swimming

So this past weekend was the first annual LMSC Leadership Conference.  Held at the Phoenix Airport Mariott.  Overall it was really neat to attend and I learned some pretty cool ideas that could make our LMSC better.

Friday night we had a light meal and listened to Misty Hyman talk to us.  She told us her story of growing up swimming.  She started out talking about 25,000 miles.  She asked if we knew what that number meant.  I knew where she was going with this.  It's roughly the circumference of the earth at the equator.  She talked as if many of the people there had already done it.  Including herself.  If that's the case, then I truly am a newbie.  Swimming that far means you are truly an expert according to the 10,000 hour rule.  Currently, I'm barely over 7,000.  Not even a 1/3 of the way there.  I had a late start through, as I found out later.
She talked about her days swimming at Stanford with Richard Quick.  Which I found very interesting since he's the coach for Jayme Jorgensen and he has produced some pretty cool swimming videos which I have been watching.  After her talk I had the opportunity to meet her, get an autographed picture of her, as well as a signed cap which I had her make out to Jayme.  I'm not sure if they ever crossed paths at Stanford.  Pretty cool though.

The next day was the full day of instruction.  We started out with Jill telling everyone what the plan was.

We learned more about the House of Delegates and their role in USMS.  The Hose of Delegates is a representation of a USMS by LMSC depending on size.  Since Utah is over 300 members we get 2 delegates.  Last year we sent Lynne Lund to represent us at the HOD conference.  This is where any big changes are voted on.

Then we learned about Non Profit organizations and the way they are organized and how they need to operate in order to maintain their non-profit status.  Basically, you can make a profit, but the money needs to be used for the organization and not go into any executives pocket.  Yes, travel expenses, contractual services and other expenses can be made to operate the "business" of the organization, but bottom line, nobody should be pocketing anything without providing a service for the organization.  And the compensation must be on a contractual basis and not just given to stakeholders for their investment in the organization.  Makes sense.

Then we talked about the Mission and Vision of USMS:

Mission of USMS: "To promote health, wellness, fitness, and competition for adults through swimming."

USMS' Vision:
"To be the premier resource for adult aquatic fitness in the United States and make fitness through swimming available for as many adults as possible."

We watched a short video where Bob Beach talked about his conversations with Dr. Ransom Arthur the founder of U.S. Masters.  He said that they struggled a bit with what to call the organization.  He said Authur didn't like the word "Seniors" swimming because it sounded like a bunch of old people.  He named it "Masters" because of his experience with Golf.  He also mentioned that its focus right from the start was NOT about competition, and said that "the competition is the carrot to the goal, which is to maintain cardiovascular fitness.

Three initiatives were identified to enhance USMS' vision:

  1. Website - "Encouraging adults to swim" being the slogan
  2. Opportunity - A picture of an empty pool was shown.  Unfortunately that picture is far too common.  The statistic was presented that there a 300,000 commercial swimming pools in the US, but only 1,500 programs.  Personally I find that 1,500 number to be extremely surprising, to the point where I don't know if I believe it's that low.
  3. Education - USMS is introducing their Adult Learn to Swim program.  With April being Adult Learn to Swim month, it's critical that more adults learn to swim.  We were told that roughly 30% of American adults can't swim across a 25 yard pool.  I'd be surprised if it was that low.  I bet it's more than that.  
An LMSC Board Members Duties:

1) Duty of Care
    a. Be prepared for board meetings
    b. Be involved, look for ways, and volunteer for tasks that can improve the services the LMSC provides the swimmers.
    c. Manage finances carefully.
    d. Use good judgement.

2) Duty of loyalty
    a. avoid conflict of interest issues
           i.  "Wear the right hat".  Do what's best for the LMSC and not just your special interest.

3) Duty of Obedience
    a. Understand and be faithful to the organizations mission.  

We talked about effective planning and what LMSCs should be doing for their respective swimmers.

  • Don't just save money, use that money for serving the LMSC!  And not just a piece of the whole group (competitive swimmers), but as many as possible.  From fitness swimmers, to triathletes, to competitive swimmers.
  • Delegate the responsibilities among the board.  It shouldn't just be a couple people, but more of the board needs to get involved.
  • Monitor and strengthen programs and services.  What are "Signature" activities in your LMSC?  Some responses were:  award banquets, 100x100 events, Lake Placid open water swim, "First meet" goody bags for new swimmers.
Funny note:  Someone in the back of the room (where all the USMS executives were) started to play a train whistle on their handheld device which I heard a few times throughout the conference which made the presenter "snap of out of it" and take control of the conversation.  I interpreted that whistle that the conversation was getting "derailed" with someone's detailed descriptions and they were hi-jacking the flow of the meeting.  Haha!
  • Measure the success of your activities.
Discussion around building a competent board:
  • Club reps - get the involved
  • Job descriptions for each member so they are aware of their responsibilities 
  • orient members so they now the time commitments
  • get new board members, the board shouldn't be "musical chairs" with the same board members just rotating roles year after year.
  • Comply with non-profit laws and obey the bylaws of USMS as well as the LMSC.
  • transparency and accountability (Make the LMSC meeting minutes available publicly)
  • Enhance the organizations public standing:  Get the clubs to actively teach and serve all their members.  
  • "There is a time to join a board, and a time to leave." 
They took a break and I met Jim Barber.  Jim is from Indiana and he has also swam the triple crown of open water swimming.  He's going for the Oceans Seven as well as going for the title of Oldest Swimmer of the English Channel.  The oldest swimmer is 73 year old Otto Thaning.  Which means Jim will have to stay in shape, or at least be ready for his swim 18 years from now in order to pass that 73 year old mark.  Wow!  He's swimming the Cook Straight in 2017.  

Jim told me some of the neat things the Indiana LMSC is doing (which has 27 clubs and 1,200 swimmers).
  • They waive the LMSC fee for college kids
  • For seniors over 80 years old, they not only waive the LMSC, but they pay the USMS portion as well.  Basically anyone of 80 gets a free membership.  Woah!
Later we broke out into four groups:
  1. Supporting coaches with the LMSC - Bill Brenner
  2. Non competitive opportunities - Laura Winslow
  3. Helping programs save space or gain pool space
  4. The value of LMSC Communication
I went to group #2.  There were two rules for participating:  1) Think outside the box and be creative! 2) Don't say "It's not possible", and don't go into details.
Some ideas from the participants included:
  1. LMSC wide workouts.
  2. What are non-competitive swimmers?  Triathletes, fitness swimmers, social swimmers.  
The question was posed "What can USMS do to attract more non-competitive swimmers" and everyone was asked to respond as they went around the room of about 20 participants.  There were many good answers, and many that I thought of.  So to avoid duplicating an answer, I thought of how USMS had essentially turned their back on open water swimming with the high surcharge on sanctioning those events.  Considering that there are several OW swimmers this year going without USMS membership because of it no longer being required in order to swim OW events, said "Get rid of the open water surcharge on event insurance."  Laura scoffed and said "I'm not going there."  So much for representing Mission and Vision.  Personally, I feel that the organization needs to fine tune the mission to preclude the word "swimming" with "pool".  For they have abandoned in my opinion, the mission to really include all swimming in their mission and including open water swimmers in their vision.  

There are many who are deeply involved in marathon swimming, that see the value of training in a pool, and swimming with Masters.  Including myself.  But there are some who are "lone wolf" swimmers that do not, that struggle from workout to workout.  And there are many who feel betrayed and resent USMS as the self proclaimed "Premier resource". If one of the goals of USMS is to increase the membership base of the organization, they should pay more attention to that special interest group, instead of "Not going there". 

At noon, the CEO of the publisher over swimming world magazine, Brent Rutemiller, talked about the problem with college swimming programs being dropped throughout the country.  Some things that we can do to help is to really support college clubs.  In our case, the club at the University of Utah, Utah State University and Weber State University.  These are clubs not associated directly with the athletic program and are driven and organized by the students themselves.  

What can the LMSC do to value coaches?  Answer: Recognizing them, help swimmers find them through the website.

What can the LMSC do to provide value to a USMS membership? 
  • Award banquet
  • 5,10,15 year recognition milestones for swimmers.  
  • Swimmer highlights in the newsletter rotated by club
  • Volunteer and coaches awards
  • Go Pro video of the swimmers
  • Free clinics
  • GTD type activities like "Associates degree" - 5 miles per month, Bachelors degree - 10 miles per month, Masters degree - 15 miles per month, PhD - 20 miles per month.  
  • Good communication: Electronic newsletters, Website, including keeping the website current.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Early morning swim

Wow, getting up at 2:15am is pretty hard core.

That's what I did, where I was swam at the 24hr fitness in Sugarhouse at 3:30am where I was meeting Chad.  I did the following:

300 Breaststroke
300 kick with fins
200 Breaststroke
200 kick no fins

1,000 yards total

Then I got out and coached Chad the following workout:

500 free easy
200 back
200 kick

Main set:
5 x 200s holding same pace on second 100 as the first
6 x 50s kick on 1:10
7 x 300s - 100 easy + 200 fast
8 x 50s odd back, even free
9 x 100s bilateral breathe fast free under 1:30 on 1:45
10 x 200s - odd IM, even finger paddles :20 rest
400 easy

8,000 yards total

This morning's swim was good for my shoulder.  Went to work early to get in more cardio on the treadmill, followed by some lifting/PT.  Enjoyed my bike ride last weekend which was a first in very long time.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

First swim post surgery

Yesterday's visit with the Physical Therapist was really encouraging.  My range of motion is improving and my pain is really low.  I noticed that the schedule said that I'm good to introduce "Pool Therapy" which I interpreted as the thumbs up for starting to get back in the water.

So last night I went to Rush and swam:

500 kick with fins
100 breast stroke

The Breast stroke was really pretty stiff at the start of the stroke.  Can't seem to get my right arm straight out ahead of me like my left one and it was starting to get painful.  I already put my shoulder through the ringer at the therapy session earlier in the day and I didn't want to overdo it, so I called it after 600 yards total.

The arches of my feet we cramping pretty bad at the kicking set.  The water was excruciatingly warm at the RUSH.  Didn't get a temp reading, but I'm guessing it was around 85.

Which by the way I'm officially a coach with the Syracuse Blue Fins.  Coaching the pre-comp team on Tue/Thu evenings.  My kids are also officially on the team which frees up my Tue/Thu mornings with them, so I can get in my workouts in the mornings now every day except Wednesday.

Excited to slowly build up my swimming back.  Seriously for the next month, I'll be swimming Grandpa style, but it's better than not getting in at all.

Total: 600 yards

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pics from shoulder surgery

I can't believe it's been a month since my surgery.  It's gone by pretty fast.  Already have a decent range of motion considering it's only been a month.

Met with Dr. Gardiner this morning and her shared some pictures.
The area within the circle should be all white.  This is the top of my collar bone where I was feeling the pain.  I had word the tendons down to nothing.

The area within the circle in this picture is what it should have looked like.  This is another tendon that is connected to my bicep that is just fine.

 This shows a healthy rotator cuff tendon where he wrote the name of it on the picture, but down below is another one where you can see it is all frayed and not a solid structure.  That is the one he fixed.

See how frayed it is.  All that grinding over and over was tearing it up.

He said I was the youngest person he's ever done both shoulders on.  I held my tongue, but I wanted to say, "Yeah, and nobody you've seen has swam over 5,000 miles in their lifetime either."

This morning I took the boys to RUSH and worked them out.  They worked on backstroke, freestyle distance and kicking.  
Typical morning.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Capturing my boys first CSS time

I recently tested the South Davis Masters Swimmers on their CSS.  That test is good just to see how you're swim fitness is, compared to the last time you took the test. It's not intended to be a measure against anyone except yourself.

I tested my kids for the first time to set a baseline.  They've been swimming 2-3 times a week for about 7 months.  They've made a lot of progress, and still have a long way to go, but better than when they weren't doing anything and I was just swimming and neglecting them.  This is good to get a starting number, so when I test them again in a couple months they'll be able to see how big a difference just 8 weeks makes.

After their current basketball season, they will be swimming with the RUSH team in the evening's and I'll be helping coach a couple evenings a week.

Here is their stats:

400 Free200 FreeCSS Time
Jonas (12)8:274:002:14
Lucy (14)7:533:561:59
Sam (9)9:184:342:22
Oliver (7)13:595:554:02

The key is to get the dropoff between that 400 and 200 to be as minimal as possible. Here's a good video from Paul Newsome explaining the concept.