Wednesday, June 30, 2010

White horses

Met with Josh, Jared and Melissa (I think that was her name) at 6:30 at Bountiful Lake. I threw in my thermometer and it read 70 after a few minutes. But it said 67 when we got out, so I didn't let it sit long enough on the initial reading.

Our first lap took 40 minutes. Melissa was a little slower than the rest of us so we held up at each corner for her. After the first lap Jared and Melissa got out. Josh and I continued on for two more laps.

During the last stretch of the second lap the waves going North really picked up. I felt rain and noticed that the waves were like two feet high. I stopped to turn around and check it out. I was thinking there might be a funnel cloud right behind us it was that crazy. There were some serious white horses, and instead of rain, it was water spraying off the waves with the wind. It only lasted about 1-2 minutes, but it was awesome! Halfway into the third lap the wind died down so much that the surface was like glass, really smooth. It's really strange how it goes from crazy wind to absolutely nothing in just a few minutes.

The last two laps we did in 28 minutes each compared to the 40 minutes for the first lap. So it was good to push it a little at the end. I sprinted the last quarter of the third lap.

When I got to work I took a cold shower. It wasn't bad. The days of taking warm showers and baths are over! Need to take the cold water serious and make it my friend. Bountiful lake is too warm now to consider that acclimatizing to the cold. I'll have to resort to cold baths and showers now. Unless I can find a facility that has an "ice pool", like Deseret Gym had.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Moon mission instead of Mars

OK I'm probably gonna get a reputation for being flaky, but after talking with coach JGal, and calling the Utah State Parks to discuss my plans, I've reconsidered my goal for this weekend. If the water were say 68, I KNOW I could swim the length of Bear Lake, but with it possibly being 58, that's like sending men to Mars, versus the moon. And I don't want to set myself up for failure, so I'll shoot for the moon, instead of haphazardly launching for Mars. I gotta take this in smaller steps.

Swimming in cold water without wetsuits is dangerous. So I've had to take a step back and reconsider the serious nature of what I'm doing and going to take baby steps which means that this Saturday, I'll be doing the width as originally planned and tackling that step before plunging into the length. Sorry John, I totally respect what you did last year and I appreciate your confidence in me and encouragement, but at the same time, I don't want to rush it.

So here's the new intended route.

I feel totally confident I can do this in sub 60 degree water. This route will take me about 3 hours to do. I can handle 3 hours of that cold water. Plus, I've swam 6 miles in open water many times so I apologize for jumping the gun and getting people all excited. I feel kinda dumb for that.

I'll have to postpone the bigger feat of doing the length until next year when I feel like I'm more prepared and conditioned for cold water. I have to be realistic. This year I wasn't able to properly prepare for this event. I needed to train for the Boise Half Ironman and couldn't dedicate my time to cold water acclimatization. Since I'm now officially done with triathlons until after the channel, I can now dedicate myself to cold water acclimatization.

Tonight I took an ice bath. I filled the bath with cold water (nothing but cold, no hot at all). The thermometer read 67 degrees. Still way too warm, so I had Jonas bring up 4 large bowls of ice and dump them in for me. Dropped down to 65, which is still to warm. I stayed in the 65 degree water for 20 minutes while listening to the end of "Losing it with Jillian".

I'm feeling like a burden has been lifted with this decision. Like I can actually see the peak of the mountain rather than just seeing clouds over the peak. With more experience with cold water and getting used to it, I'll be able to take it on and realistically launch for Mars.

The cold hard facts about swimming in cold water

So in preparation for this weekend's Bear Lake Swim, I found out that the 62 degree reading taken at the Utah State Park Marina at Bear Lake was taken in the marina from a depth of 10 feet in stagnant water. More than likely the actual temp is in the high 50's. So now I'm starting to get a little nervous. But in order for the qualify to actually count, it has to be in 61 or less so this is right about where it needs to be. Much warmer and it wouldn't be a qualifying swim.

So here are a couple excellent documents on the signs/symptoms and first aid responses to hypothermia.

  1. Cold Water - How to Increase your chance of survival by Jane Blockley

  2. Hypothermia and Cold Water Immersion - Information for Rowing Coaches and Clubs - by Jane Blockley

I also looked at "channel grease". I've read that it doesn't really protect from the cold, except for some who have tricked their mind into believing that it does. Apparently Mike Oram, who is a reliable resource on Channel Crossings, also says that it doesn't protect the swimmer from the cold and the best way to combat cold, is to become acclimated to it. I've only had a few swims this season that were in the low 60's or lower, so I'm getting more concerned about the swim.

I can be as upbeat and positive as possible, but the cold hard fact is hypothermia is a physiological reaction to cold, and you can't prevent it from happening solely by having a positive attitude. So I'm going to make sure my crew is familiar with the symptoms and do the VERY best I can. If I'm smart and the worst case scenario happens where the onset of hypothermia happens faster and/or sooner than I expect, I will have at least tried, and learned from the experience. But I'm not going to throw in the towel before even entering the ring! So I'm prepared to shock myself and every one else with a victory! (But at the same time, not going to beat myself up over it. My life is worth more than a stinkin' title)

Monday, June 28, 2010

6000 yards straight

Today is my only planned pool swim this week:

6000 yards straight - nice and easy - 1:30:35

Had no pain whatsoever in my shoulders, just some minor lower back annoyance about 2 miles into it. Just found out today that Gatorade is NOT a good endurance drink for swimming more than 6 hours. So I'm madly trying to find a Maxim like drink (pure carb mix with no electrolytes) instead.

Emailed Marcia Cleveland and hopefully she knows of something I can use.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

It's a go!

I was concerned with the water temperature at Bear Lake a couple weeks ago, that the water temp on July 3rd would be too cold. But according to the Utah State Parks condition page, it is 62. Now that is on the South end. Which I'm sure is much warmer than the north end where the water inlet is and which is the starting point where the wind blows. It's probably 59 or so up on the North side.

So with this new information. I'm going to go with my original plans of swimming the length on July 3rd. That's 19 miles. I'm very excited! Last Saturday's swim was 9 miles. I realize that's only half of next week's swim, but as long as the wind is in my favor, I keep my body core warm with hot chocolate and strong swimming, and the shoulders and back hold up, I can do it! Giving up is not an option! I have alot of last minute preparations to do. Some of which are:

  1. Get a backup battery for the supply boat motor

  2. Call Bryce at the Cisco Marina in Garden City

  3. Email John Quackenbush about tips/preparations

  4. Ensure that Jacob and Cathi are comfortable with the GPS navigation unit

I'll be swimming tomorrow at Layton Surf N' Swim. Wednesday morning out at BL with Josh, and then taking off work on Friday so we can head up to the cabin and begin the "psyche up period" the evening before the big swim. I'm so excited and know this is going to be tough, but doable!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New PR - 8 laps around Bountiful Lake

This morning Austin and I went around Bountiful Lake 8 times. Started at 8:45am and got out at 1:02pm. 4 hours and 17 minutes to go between 8.5 - 8.8 miles. The first four laps were perfect. No wind and sunshine. The last 3-4 laps the wind picked up just like last time, although not quite as bad as last time. The water started to get cold again, just like last time. Then thinking logically I realized why. When the wind blows (south to north like it did today and last time), it blows the water from the surface which is hot from the sun, towards the north side which explains why it's nice a warm on the North side, but on the south, the cold water from the bottom of the lake rises and makes it feel colder.

I need to drill a hole in my thermometer top. It has a huge case with an air pocket at top, so that it floats on the surface. I want my thermometer to sink so it gives a more accurate reading of what I'm feeling.

Today's swim was awesome! I felt a little fatigue in my lower back and a little in my shoulders. But my shoulders weren't feeling it as bad as they have in the past. So my lifting weights and focusing on the shoulders is working! Now I need to do some lower back exercises as well as tricep exercises. As well as maintaining the abs every time. I think with the weight training it'll help those muscles get stronger and make them work longer before getting sore.

Austin did a fantastic job as support crew. He stayed right up next to me the whole time and was very responsive to give feedings quickly. Through the course of the 8 laps I ate: 1 banana, 2 cereal bars, 12 ounces of gatorade, 6 ounces of water, 5 vanilla oreos, and 1 buzz bite. Didn't feel weak, just sore in the shoulders and lower back, but kept them strong. Probably the best swim I've had in BL!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Swim in the Great Salt Lake

Josh met at my house tonight at 6pm where Cathi, Jacob and I went out to Antelope Island and did a swim. We started out in the marina heading North outside the enclosure for the boats (there was only one boat stored at the docks which had probably 30-50 spots for boats).

The water was really warm. It felt like it was in the 70s. We swam west along the north end of Antelope Island. We stopped every 10-15 minutes to get a "rinse" and drink of gatorade. The salt was really strong at first, but as we headed further west it seemed to get a little less salty.

I found after a few minutes, that if I abandoned my bilateral breathing and stayed to the right, that I got less water in my mouth. After swimming about 35 minutes to the west I started touching the bottom with my hand. I stood up and the water was only about 2 feet deep. We noticed that we were coming to some shallows and that it was about time to turn around.

We swam back and I noticed that the chop was pretty good. At least it was more waves than I'm used to. As long as I kept my breathing to the right, I was pretty good about keeping the water out. Afterwards Cathi and Jacob said that I was lifting my head out of the water more than I normally do. As we neared the marina I noticed that the water got nastier again.

It's a good thing we had the trolling motor on the boat. It was nice for Jacob and Cathi to use. It has five speeds going forward and when it was put on 5 it was slightly faster than we swam, but 4 was slightly too slow. So as long as there isn't a ton of chop and wind, that trolling motor should do just fine. And as long as the battery is able to maintain that power.

Josh's GPS registered 2.5 miles and it took us 1:25. But we did alot of stopping, getting rinses and drinks, talking and just taking it nice and easy. There were alot of bugs. But none of us got eaten.

2.5 miles total

Looking forward to a long swim tomorrow morning out at BL.

Monday, June 21, 2010


1000 - 4-4-4
3200 - 4x800 (1-2 = fins and pads, 3-4 = pull pads) :20 rest, medium pace
100 stretch back
1200 - 6x200 fast pace on 2:50.
Only got about 5-8 seconds rest on these, but I was able to maintain a strong pace on them and really had a fast last 50 on them.

400 - 8x50 backstroke on 1:00 easy pace
100 warmdown

total 6000

Felt great!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Disappointing swim - 6.5 miles on BL

Last night I got a massage cause my shoulder blades and lower back were giving me some trouble. I did that in anticipation of today's planned 13 mile swim. I had a cooler with ice, gatorades, water, sandwiches, cereal bars. Jacob was my support crew. I trained him to stay right next to me and give me feedings every time I got to the Northwest corner of Bountiful lake.

We got in at 7:40am. It felt cold, but soon just felt comfortable. I wasn't chilled and felt great. I checked out the therm dangled at the back of the boat after swimming one full lap. It read 64. After 4 laps I yelled out to thank Jacob for his help. It was the perfect swim. But then the winds picked up. There was some serious chop. Jacob was having a real hard time going in a straight line. At the 5th feeding at the 6th lap I asked for a Buzz bite. But he was unable to control the boat to steer directly to me. After a few more minutes, he was about 150 yards away.

I know how some people are. Some people just don't mind their own business and some people are worriers. I didn't want fishermen (or rather old grandma fisherwomen) worrying about me so I yelled out in frustration for Jacob to come to me. It seemed like he wasn't even trying to stay close to me. For some reason I also started to feel chilled. It seemed like even though the sun was going higher in the sky and no clouds were around, it was getting colder. The wind was pushing the water around and making waves, but that shouldn't actually cool the water. When he finally got close to me I took another look at the thermometer - 61 degrees. It was colder!

I held on to the boat as I had a serious discussion with Jacob. I instructed him to not get more than 10 feet from me. We continued on with a renewed understanding that he needed to be able to reach me with his oars. But for some reason, he wasn't able to abide by that order and again was so far away from me, that I was yelling at the top of my lungs to instruct him to again join me. I was getting really angry.

Jacob was distraught at the struggle he was having with the waves. I was starting to get hypothermia. I was in the water for three hours. The water was getting colder and for some reason even though at first 64 degrees felt great, prolonged exposure was getting to me.

I decided to swim the rest of the lap and then get out. So we ended up going 6 laps (two more than my previous PR) in 3:15, but still far short of the 12 laps I had originally planned to do. I felt like a failure getting out of the water. I had only swam about 1/3 of what I need to do for Bear Lake. The water at Bear Lake will be just as cold. However I won't be doing laps at Bear Lake, and more than likely the wind will be in my favor. Going North to south.

I'm having doubts about Jacob's ability to crew a kayak all by himself in less than favorable conditions. I mean he's only 12 years old. With Bear Lake the support boat will have a motor, but should that motor fail, the swim would be doomed. The boat does have oars, but there wouldn't be a hope that Cathi and/or Jacob could resume the rest of the way by themselves with the oars, the rest of the way. So I'm concerned about that.

Jacob is also my sole support for a couple other swims this year - Deer Creek 10 mile swim, and the 6.2 mile Slam the Dam swim. Hopefully the weather on those days are good and he is able to stay closer to me, than he did today.

I'm planning a swim next Wednesday evening with the motor boat out on Great Salt Lake. Cathi and Jacob will crew that boat on Wednesday. Then on Thursday morning (before going to a family reunion that afternoon), Jacob and I will go for another long swim out on Bountiful Lake. Hopefully at least 8 laps.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cold swim in BL - 56 to 60 degrees

This morning I met Josh at Bountiful Lake. The water felt colder than the last couple swims. This was our first morning swim and it made a difference. I tried easing it, but it was tough so I just dove in after getting up to my waist. The bugs were eating me and it was hard getting the cold water on my upper body. The lake was smooth. No wind. More garbage this time though. The water seemed even more murky than last time.

There was an oil spill in the south end of the valley, but heard news reports that it didn't make it into Davis County. I was extra sensitive to the taste of the water this time just to see if it tasted or smelled like oil. Nothing. I try to keep the water out of my mouth anyway.

Well we swam 1 lap and then an additional lap around the first island. Probably about 2400-2500 yards. When I got out I looked at the temp and it remained at 60.

Josh's therm said 56. His therm is a sinker and mine's a floater so it's probably safe to say it was between 56-60 degrees. Cold stuff! I was fine until I got out and was exposed to the air and then I really started the shakes.

Felt great and I think I enjoy the swim better when Josh is at my 9 or 3 o'clock so I can see him. When we swim together it's nice to be side to side instead of single file. That way I don't have to worry that I'm swimming on while he might be in trouble, or vice versa if he is ahead. Not that anything would happen, but without having a constant eye on each other we might as well swim alone, and that violates the buddy system.

Actually during today's swim I was feeling VERY grateful to have a partner who is:

1) Reliable
2) Swims the same speed as I do
3) Eager to swim in open water

Not many people with all three of those qualities. I'm lucky.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Back in the pool

600 - 300 swim, 200 back, 100 breast
2100 - 7x300 pull with pads with band moderate pace but strong arms on 4:30
100 stretch
1800 - 12x150 STRONG. on 2:10 these are all fast pace and high intensity
700 - 14x50 odds kick evens drill IM Order

total 5300

Boy the pool sure is hot. I bet its in the mid 80s. Sure makes swimming in the 60s feel great! I'm excited to get back in BL tomorrow morning.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bear Lake - still 55 degrees

On Friday June 11th at about 8:15am I happened to be at the North Beach of Bear Lake waiting for Cathi to hit her mile 18 of her marathon. I walked down to the boat ramp there and put in my water thermometer. It stopped at 55 degrees. Brrr... It better warm up quickly in the next three weeks or I'll be postponing my length swim. I will go for it once it hits 60. I have no desires to swim in Antarctica or some lake up in Everest.

I also took a waypoint and placed one also at the bottom: 18.8 miles.

My back up date is July 17th. Here's a panoramic pic of the North end of Bear Lake.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I met Josh and Jim at BL at 5:30. We got in and it felt a little colder than last time. Even though the air temp was above 80, the water felt low 60s. We did our first lap in about 45 minutes. Nice and easy. As we finished the first lap I saw Cathi drive up with Jacob and the kayak. They took their time getting in while I treaded water well enough away from the fishing folks to interfere.

Josh and Jim had to take off so I did the next lap with Cathi and Jacob. I really pushed it this time. Did nice long strokes with power and kicking. It felt great. Took the temp when we got out and it read 63. Wow, it felt a little cool, but nothing that was bone chilling. I feel like 60 is right at my threshold. Below 60 and I degrade into hypo stage. It was perfect today.

At the end of the first lap I saw some serious clouds to the North and West. Fuzzy long clouds that I could tell it was raining hard. I asked Cathi if they were up for one or two more even with the clouds and she said, "Sure, if it rains we can handle it." What a sweetie. So I kept on going, but by the time I got about half way to the second island I could see those clouds were heading right for us and they were really dumping. So I stopped and told them that I didn't feel good about going further and turned around. Swam strong back.

The last two times I've swam at BL I get the same question by fisherman. "How deep is it?" I don't have any idea. I said at least 10 feet.

When we got back and loaded up the boat, within 2 minutes it started to rain. And hard. In fact I don't think it's rained that hard since I've had the Bug. I thought it was gonna tear a hole in the soft top. I had the wipers on as fast as they would go and Jacob said to make them go faster. If I had kept going and we were trying to get back to the ramp while it was raining like that, they would have been more wet and colder than I was!

So I only ended up going around twice, but I definitely had 4 in me. Oh well. Next up..... Boise 70.3. I got home and shaved my arms in prep. Cathi and I leave for the cabin tomorrow afternoon and have some friends coming over to the house to live for the next few days to take care of the kids.

Cathi does the Bear Lake marathon on Friday morning and then we rush off to Boise right afterwards. Should be a great time together!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

First non-wetsuit swim in Bountiful Lake

Very nice day today. Lots of sun. Got in without the wetsuit. And it was perfect! Average temp was 65. Definitely had cold/warm spots. Jacob and Lucy did a great job staying close to me and letting me swim for 1.5 hours and get three laps in (3 miles). Here's some fun video with pics:

From Swimming

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Much warmer swim at Bountiful Lake

So I took Jacob with me to Bountiful Lake this evening. He is going to be my support this year in lots of open water practices as well as events. I got him some gloves and he is happy to practice with me. I'm very lucky to have such a go getter of a son.

I got in with the wet suit remembering how cold it was last week even with the wetsuit and realized that it had really warmed up since last week. I took a temp reading about 10 minutes into the swim and it said 62. There are definitely cold/hot pockets within the lake. When I got around to the south side, it was much warmer. Took another temp reading on the south east corner where it felt warmest and it read 66. Then when I went back up near the boat ramp it was cold again. It's amazing how much difference 4 degrees makes! Even at 62 I wasn't very cold.

I'm planning to go again Saturday afternoon with Jacob after we get back from a scout camp. I'd like to do a few laps this time without a wetsuit and see how that goes.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

BLDSA Postal Swim 2010 results - 3rd place out of 33

So the results from the 2010 British Long Distance Association's Postal Swim finally came in. So out of 33 swimmers in my age group I took 3rd. That was a shock. I didn't expect to end up placing. Nice!

If you look at the older age categories, I wouldn't have placed. Go figure.