Thursday, January 22, 2015

Surgery is complete!

So it has been two days after my shoulder surgery.  I took two days off work and then went in today. I just got off the phone with Dr. Gardiner.  He explained that the rotator cuff was torn 90% and had I kept swimming with it, I would have certainly torn it 100% within a few months.  He said it was in the same spot as the left side.  He also cleaned up the tendinitis that was causing irritation.

He said that I should again do my best with the physical therapy and should be able to get back to where I was.  This time however, the days of back to back 10K
swims are over.  I need to realize that yes there are times for long distances, but they need to be done after fully recovering fro
m the previous one.  This wear and tear on the shoulder can only happen so many times before it's plain old abuse of the body.

So I visit Dr. Gardiner again on Monday to get a report with pictures of what he did, but it was neat to have him call me personally to check up on me.  He did a fantastic job and I would highly recommend him to anyone who is in need of a quality job on their shoulders.

Cathi took the liberty of taking several pictures of me prior to surgery, so I gave her a couple of real goofy faces.  She was a real angel though afterwards, helping me out since I was totally out of it.  Drugs, they can come in handy when needed!

Looking forward to getting back in the pool!!!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Speed work

Yesterday I did this workout which I wrote up, which involves a focus on speed:

Warmup:  500 free easy

 “Easy 600”

 100 free get under 1:25 leave on 1:45 no later, no sooner
200 free get under 3:00 leave on 3:30
300 free get under 4:40

 swim 8 x 100’s get under 1:30 on 1:45

 swim 3 x 200’s get under 3:00 on 3:30

100 easy

2,600 yards total

I was able to get around 1:20 pushing it, and 1:25 taking it at about 85%.  Cooldown was at 1:40 pace and my best swolf interval was 28 and worst 31.  Not too bad.  Stamina doesn't last more than an hour though.  Need more practice.

Here's the upload to garmin:

This morning when I woke up my right shoulder was definitely feeling it.  Surgery is in just 5 days and then I'll really be feeling it.  But after several weeks of healing and rehab, I should be much better.

Monday, January 12, 2015

First legit swim in a while

This is my third swim this month, but first one where I was holding a respectable pace with any considerable duration.  At least for me.  Met Chad at the Sugarhouse 24hr fitness and we did this:

Here's what I did:

400 free easy warmup
4 x 100’s kick with fins (alternate front/back/flutter/dolphin)
8 x 50’s breath left side odd, breathe right side even on 1:00

200 free @ 90 % Swolf @ 30

Put on some paddles
600 pull @ 85% (Swolf score @ 30)
400 freestyler paddles @ 80% (Swolf score @ 29)

200 PT paddles (Swolf score @ 34)

Kicking set:

8 x 50’s kick no fins on 1:15

Total: 3,000 yards total

I didn't want to overdo it so I got out at this point while he still have a ways to go for the full workout. He's a machine! I'm hoping I'm not too sore tomorrow and I can get back in for another workout on Thursday. I'll be running with Cathi tonight.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Now I remember

Haven't swam in months.  Still wake up nearly every morning with my AC joint aching.  I get surgery on Jan 20th, yet I've almost forgotten why.  So last night, after running for 3 miles with Cathi at the Syracuse Community center I drove across the street to RUSH for a swim.  I was a little excited to use my new Forerunner that Chad gave me for Christmas out for another swim that was more than just 1,000 yards.  Here's what I did:

Warm-up – 900 yds:
200 easy swim500 - 5 X 100 on 1:30 (FOCUS ON streamline after flip turn)200 - 8 X 25 kick

Main Set – 1,000 yds
200 stroke of choice @:10 rest2 X 200 free on 3:00100 stroke of choice @:10 rest2 X 100 free on 1:302 X 50 @:10 rest – drill/swim by 25

Cool Down – 600 yds:
300 - 4 X 75 @:10 rest [kick, drill, swim by 25]300 easy choice

Total: 2,500 yards

Was really surprised I was holding 1:24's on the 100.  I thought for sure I'd be up around 1:40's.  I took long controlled strokes, worked on controlled breathing and a solid kick.  Yeah it was tough, but it didn't kill me.

Shoulders held up just fine, just a little out of shape.  However this morning when I woke up.  Oh my!  Now I remember why I'm having that surgery.  Right shoulder is killing me. So glad I'm getting it taken care of so I can get back to it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Put your money where your mouth is

Warning:  This is a whiny post.  But I need to vent.  So skip it if you don't want to be annoyed.

One thing that kinda bugs me is when swimmers alert the media about something they're training for and for some reason or another, don't actually swim.  That may be because they alerted the media prior to fully realizing the difficulty of the swim.  Difficulty in training, difficulty in hurdling all the logistics, difficulty in saving up the money needed.

Personally, I will never donate to someone who is raising money for their swim.  If they are asking for donations which link directly to a charity, that's completely different, and I'm fine with that.   It reminds me of those annoying calls from colleges I've attended.  They want me to donate for a scholarship.  Guess what?  I paid my own way through college, it drove me to excel, and not just coast.  Same thing with funding a channel swim.  If I pay for it myself, I'll train for it.  I'll take it seriously.

Last year I read up on this swimmer in Dallas who included ice baths for training for swimming the English Channel.  Yes, the Channel is cold, but ice baths in my opinion, are only good for mental training, or for training for an ice mile.  This is not cold water acclimatization training relevant to English Channel marathon swimming.  Ice baths are much colder than 50 degrees.  It's like a marathon runner training by sprinting 100 yards maybe twice a day and calling it good.  Exposure to super cold for maybe 30 minutes at a time is totally different than extensive multi-hour exposure to 60 degree water.

Did that Dallas based swimmer, Bryan Mineo swim the English Channel?  Not yet anyway.  The complete list of successful swimmers is here.  Dare to dream, but if it's a big dream, be sure you have done your homework and comprehend what it will take to complete it.  Especially if you plan to let other people know.

Reminds me of the guy in On a Clear Day.  He didn't even tell his wife or son, just his close friends who were very involved in his training.   If you talk, you better put up, or shut up.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Techinque to prevent over-rotation in freestyle

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, I'm coaching my boys early in the morning.  They all have uniquely different styles of freestyle with varying strengths and weaknesses.  One in particular, Jonas, was having difficulty with over rotation in his freestyle.

I tried getting him on a snorkel, and focusing on his head position that way, and it worked fine, until he took off the snorkel.

With him swimming and me walking alongside the deck, I would look down and his arms would cross over quite dramatically as he overrotated, and also took a breath almost at his 12 'o clock rather than a 4 or 8 o'clock position.

He has been playing a superhero game on the ipod where Superman blows his enemies away with his laser vision.  I explained that he should imagine he is superman when he swims and intensely focuses his vision on the bottom of the pool directly beneath him.  And by so doing, creates a laser between his eyes and the pool bottom.  If he crosses his hand or arm in front of that line, his arms/hand will get cut off at that point.

Once I added that imagery to his mind, he then started having a high elbow pull, his back almost remained flat in the water, with his hands pointed down towards the bottom of the pool and palms facing behind him.  He no longer had the cross over and it also fixed his over-rotation!  It was like a totally different swimmer just jumped in!  Now that we have that imagery that corrects the problem, we gotta keep working on that and get the muscle memory to kick in.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Monster Slayer Chad

Yesterday I witnessed an amazing thing.  Chad swam the length of Bear Lake.  That's a 19 mile freshwater swim at an elevation of 5,924 feet above sea level folks!

Chad picked me up on Wednesday night and we drove straight up to the marina.  The crew consisted of myself, Sue Frehse, Sarah Jones and Chad's wife Chandra.

We got the boat loaded up and had a crew conference where Chad discussed his plan including feeds, direction of swim (which we decided at the time of arrival and referring to the weather forecast for the next 14 hours).  We discussed the roles every had and safety.  We then tied the kayak to the back of his boat and motored to the north end.  We went towards lights that we thought were the marina, but once we got close the lights disappeared.  They were on the other side of the north road which was confusing.  We slowed down and saw the shoreline was covered with reeds and difficult to get to.

I turned on my handheld GPS and I could see Goody's track from a couple weeks earlier.  The marina was a couple miles east of us.  So we started heading east.  But no lights.  What happened.  Once we got close to where we should be based on the GPS Sarah turned on a flashlight and BAM!  The marina wall was right there!  If we had gone a few seconds further we would have ran right into it.  There were no lights whatsoever near the marina, no buoy lights, not even the lights along the ramp were on.  Very dangerous situation.  Good thing we slowed down when we did.  Idaho State parks really needs to think about how safe it is to not have a single light on in that area.

We motored over to the end of the boat ramp and Chad started greasing up.  He then waded over to the rocks at the end of the ramp and started walking back in and we started the clock. (12:45:10 am)

Here are my transcribed notes:

Start Time: 12:45:10am

Mile Time Elpased time this mile Temp Stroke rate Feed * Conditions Notes
1 1:18 am 33 min 62° F 65 spm None Glassy Sue learning to drive and doing well
2 1:51 am 33 min 62° F 65 spm Liquid mix Glassy Sue is an awesome pilot! Chad looking smooth
3 2:24 am 33 min 63° F 63-64 spm Liquid mix Glassy Chad is a machine! Gords concerned about the higher than desired water temps, but no reason to stop.
4 2:58 am 34 min 65° F (two separate readings) 64 spm Liquid mix Glassy Water almost feels warm to the touch. Extending the thermometer to about 2 feet down. Same reading on thermometer
5 3:33 am 35 min 63° F 62 spm Liquid mix + Swiss Roll A little breeze from the north (tailwind)
6 4:10 am 37 min 64° F 61 spm Liquid mix Air temp is 62°, water is warmer than air temp. Chad says his back hurts.
7 4:50 am 40 min 64° F (two separate readings) 61 spm Liquid mix and a Buzz Bite Wind from the south, getting choppy. Like a doofus I accidentally stepped on the mercury reading thermometer and it broke. I will submerge my watch to get a digital reading. I'm getting really sleepy. Asked Sarah to resume observing duties while I sleep for one hour and I should be good.
8 5:29 am 39 min 65° F 60 spm Liquid mix Still pretty choppy Chad's stroke rate is dropping, but he is in good spirits. Doesn't say much. Feeds are very quick.
9 6:15 am 46 min 64° F 59 spm Liquid mix Less wind, chop turns to ripples now. Light on the horizon. When I awoke from my 1 hour nap I feel very. Chad's stroke rate is slowing. Says his feet are cold, but his core feels fine. His speech isn't slurred. Will continue to monitor his condition at feeds for hypothermia.
10 7:02 am 43 min 63° F 59 spm Liquid mix, Buzz Bite and Swiss Roll Less wind, chop turns to ripples now. Chad asked what the temp was. We told him and he seemed a little disappointed. I explained we still submit, and if it isn't accepted as a qualifier we try a different swim at the needed temp. He went right back to swimming.
11 7:53 am 51 min 62° F 59 spm Liquid mix Hardly a breeze now, just some ripples The sun is up and it feels great.
12.5 8:59 am N/A 61 spm Liquid mix, Buzz Bite, Ibuprofen No wind now, nice and smooth! I ask if Sue wants to pace swim with him so I take over piloting the boat while she changes. The throttle has a little "click" that takes it into first gear and then after only a few seconds of steering throttle to neutral and coast. Chad is now at a point where he's never swam this far before. Chad tells Sue he is feeling a little cold. He puts on his tinted goggles.
13 9:23 am N/A 63.1 62 spm Liquid mix Glassy Sue pace swims. Chad's stroke is less efficient. Sue is making him increase his stroke rate though, so that is good.
14 10:06 am 43 min 63 62 spm Liquid mix Glassy Chad comments "What a beautiful day!" I think I saw him smile. That is extremely rare. Sue got out a while, ago but I continue to drive. It's kinda fun. Easy to observe him and pilot cause I gotta keep the boat right at his pace.
15 10:53 am 47 min 63 64 spm Liquid mix, Buzz Bite Glassy Chad's stroke rate is up. He asked how much further. Seemed to like the "3 1/2" response. In good spirits. Air temp is toasty!
16 11:36 am 40 min 64 60 spm Liquid mix, Swiss Roll Slight ripple Sarah gets in to pace swim. She has to slow down. Chad seems tired, but steady. Chad requests advil next feed. Beach is visible from here. Sue takes over piloting.
17 no reading N/A no reading no reading Liquid mix, Ibuprofen Slight ripple At this feed Sarah accidentally loses the pen and it floats away while Chad takes his liquid and advil. I untie the kayak and jump in to get the pen. We're close enough now that I can paddle and be ready to capture some video.
18 no reading N/A no reading no reading none See Notes Had a slight tailwind breeze, notice up ahead that the water has serious ripples, once we get there the wind completely shifts from southerly to northerly and we have some serious headwind. Very windy. Chad comments to me that he feels like he isn't going anywhere. Wind is directly at our 12 o'clock and we have white horses!
19 (Finish) 13:55:16 N/A no reading no reading none See Notes I paddled into shore and noticed a small black patch. When he arrived there he started walking and the black patch were a bunch of reeds that made it really hard for him to walk over, I noticed that the patch ended about 20 yards off to his left and encouraged him to walk around instead of straight in to avoid them. He fell a couple times cause they hurt to walk over and too thick to navigate through. When he arrived on the beach he sat down to soak it in. I let him soak in his success without smothering him. I gave him a high five and he got lots of cheers from the girls on the boat waiting about 200 yards off shore.

Total time elapsed: 13:09:06

I'm so proud of Chad and how he was able to power through this.  I could tell he was tired, yet he persisted and not once complained.  Chad is the sixth person to have ever swam the length of Bear Lake!  Pretty neat accomplishment.

I had a great time crewing on this swim and although mother nature didn't help us out with a 61 degree temperature, she sure was kind in the relatively smooth conditions, until the end.  Those winds at the end were simply unreal!  I thought of the prayer that Chad asked Sarah to offer at the start.  Today's conditions were truly an appreciated answer to that prayer.  The winds the last mile were an eye opener to me of how it could have been.  Had it been like that starting half way into the swim, I don't think it would have been possible to finish.  It was amazing enough that he pushed through that last mile.  So proud of that guy!

Here's a few pics and video I took.
Chad joins a pretty exclusive group to have ever slain the
Bear Lake Monster!  (Image created by Josh Green)

Some things to work on:
He does have some stroke techinique that'll we need to work through to help with his lower back pain.  He needs to drive his head a little lower to get a more streamlined position, and we need to work on bilateral breathing.  The goal on a long swim like this should be at least 34 minute miles.  Why? Because in order to hit Cap Griz Nes in a tide cycle that lasts 6 hours, a 12 hour swim is ideal.  Unless your Trent Grimsey and can swim it just under 6 hours.

The English Channel from the shortest distance (Cap Griz Nes to the coast in Dover), is 21 miles.  If you're able to swim the English Channel in 12 hours, you're averaging 34 minute miles (including time wasted at feeds).  The more you deviate from that 34 minute mile average, the more you're gonna miss the cap which means a longer swim, because of the contours of the French coast.  I'm sure I'm over simplifying it, but regardless a 34 minute mile is something that is definitely achievable especially in good conditions.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What I consider the most inspiring clip from a swimming movie

The past few months I've been supporting several swimmers in fairly big swims.  2 out of 3 were pulled for hypothermia.  It's a serious thing to be on a support crew where you need to measure safety and support and know when the scale is tipping and what kind of support to give.

It made me think about my favorite scene from my favorite swimming movie.  If the swimmer is not in danger, the thought of being the crew member that convinces the swimmer to not give up and continue on until they actually finish.  That gives me goose bumps!  Now THAT is inspiring!

This clip is from "On A Clear Day".  If you're training to swim the English Channel, BUY IT

Sunday, August 10, 2014

2014 Season wrap up with Deer Creek

Yesterday the Deer Creek Open Water Marathon took place and it was fun.  Even though I wasn't able to swim, I paddled for Sarah while her husband Steve paddled for their daughter, Sophia, who swam the one mile course.

When the 10 mile swimmers began they stayed relatively close together for the first half mile, but then spread out a little.  At that point Sarah was right on my starboard side about 3 feet out.  She did some drafting for a few minutes off various people, but I found that most of the other kayakers were doing a terrible job in guiding their swimmers.  I knew that if I could get her to follow my line closely, that we could swim a shorter path and "swim faster" than those who were having to sight every 5 strokes.  
At the end of Wallsburg bay she moved into 5th position.  Once she got around that buoy she quickly moved into 3rd position.  Then by the time we got to the mouth of Wallsburg bay again, she was only 25 yards behind Lisa and George.  By the time we got about 2.5 miles into the race she had passed Lisa and George and was continuing to lengthen that lead.  When I told her at mile 2 at her first feed she could win this thing, she splashed me and didn't believe me.  I told her I was serious and that if she maintained this pace she would definitely win it.  They were slowing down and she was speeding up.  Their kayakers were all over the place and I noticed they both were sighting frequently.  Sarah didn't sight more than a couple times the entire time I was with her.  

I was expecting Steve to catch me around mile 2, but he was no where to be seen so I stayed right with her.  I'd occassionally give her a sign of "You're doing really well", but holding a fist up.  I'd give her a two minute warning before her 30 minute feeds which went really fast.  They were about 30 seconds or so. She'd drink and go.  

When we got to the 5K turnaround buoy at the Rainbow bay she was doing very well.  We made it all the way to the 4.25 miles into it when Steve paddled up behind me.  I told him she was due for a feed in one minute and that if she kept going at this pace she would win.  

At this point I had to go to the bathroom really bad.  The whole experience made me much more appreciative of Tom Reilly and Terry O'Malley my paddlers for Catalina and MIMS.  That sure is a long way to paddle and I was only paddling for 3 hours.  They both did way more than that.

Today was a special day for me as it's my "Channelversary".  What a dream it was two years ago when I was able to tour Dover and England having just swum the channel!  I'm excited to go back and experience that all over again as a coach for Chad.  Here's a video that still gives me chills!

It's my ultimate goal to share that experience with him.  At yesterday's race he had an incident where a kayaker got too close to him and he ended up breaking and dislocating a couple fingers on his hand.  That was about a mile into the race so he swam the remaining portion in terrible pain, but he finished!  I can only imagine the frustration, disappointment and worry he must have gone through during the race.  
Charles, Lisa, Sarah, Chad and Stacey.  Utah Triple Crown
swimmers for 2014!
He is taking a couple days off to let the swelling go down and to heal, but he is very determined to continue his training and get his qualifier done in September.  I'm praying for him that it heals quickly.  Fortunately you don't have a ton of pressure on your fingers so the strain on them should be relatively small.  It's a significant amount of pressure if they're in pain I'm sure, but once they've even partially healed, it should be just a matter of keeping that pain under control.  

I'm so proud of my two close swimming friends Sarah and Chad for their performances on Saturday.  There were 5 swimmers total this year that swam the Utah Triple Crown during race day.  Pretty impressive!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Paying the price for pushing

Shoulder pain continues.  Went to see my surgeon this morning with the MRI images and he told me of three issues.  He said I have arthritis and tendonitis in my shoulder.  First off, I'm wearing down the tendons around the AC joint, instead of cartilage, there is none, it's bone rubbing bone which is the source of the pain.  He said it can be fixed fairly easily and without much impact on my training.  It's like a 4-5 week recover is all.  You cut down the bone and it fills in with scar tissue.  That part alone isn't a big deal.

But he noticed a couple things, a cyst near where my rotator cuff attaches to the bone.  There was a good amount of liquid in the tendon and in the bone around that cyst meaning that its been irritating that joint and its inflamed.  The amount of tendon that attaches to the bone concerned him.  Instead of it attaching along the full length, it was only attached at a fraction of the length, which implies there could be a partial rotator cuff tear there.

He seemed more concerned about another image which meant there could be a partial Labrum tear going into my bicep.  It would mean going in under my armpit, severing my bicep tendon and reattaching it to my bone instead of my shoulder.

There was a lot of information to take in and I hope I got it all right. He gave me several options like doing one surgery for the AC joint, or additionally having him go in with a scope and get a good look at things at the time of the AC joint surgery to see how bad it is and fix it.

It's got me thinking about my future and where I really want to go with this.  Do I want to keep pushing my body with training 8-10K yards a day several times a week in preparation for a ultra marathon swim?  I worry when I see my mother who doesn't have full range of motion in her shoulder due to her body breaking down and having surgery, but never back to full range.  If I get this surgery now, do I risk needing another surgical procedure later on, cause I've "worn out" that fix?  Do I take this as a sign to move on to a different sport?  My shoulder still needs some rest.  I tried swimming with it a little this morning while working with the kids.  Still pretty painful.  Makes me really sad.

I mentioned this idea to Dr. Gardiner and he said that there wasn't anything that required surgery for day to day functionality, but that if I wanted to train for big swims, that it would be a good idea to proceed.  So I'm leaning towards letting it all just rest and move on, then reassess in a year.  It's like I'm closing a chapter in my life that has brought me so much joy and purpose.  I have to be happy and extremely satisfied with what I've accomplished.  I know there are other activities I enjoy that will keep me young and fit.

I'll still be involved in coaching and participating in my friends adventures, but as for me training superhuman distances and planning long swims, that is postponed for at least a year.