Saturday, July 24, 2010

FremontIsland Swim

In my English Channel Crossing training, I've realized that swimming in fresh water is one thing, but swimming in salty water is another.  Swimming in the Great Salt Lake is the extreme salt water swimming experience.  Don't let the fact that it's a lake lessen your impression that it isn't often times violent with waves like the ocean.  There have been Fremont Island Visitors who were in grave danger boating there.  When bad weather comes in, it can be very dangerous.

But not the case with my swim...

When I started out Friday morning we immediately had trouble with the trolling motor, so we hurried and packed everything back up and went to boat #2, the Pelican tandem Kayak.  Jacob was OK to paddle that far.  So we hurried back and started off.  The water was smooth as glass.  The DNR deputy followed us to the ramp and did a boat check and was a nice guy.  We passed on everything. 

We started off at 11:56 am.  The water felt comfortable and not overly hot, even though it came in at 83 degrees.  It took 3:19 to go 6.7 miles including feedings so I met the 2 mph threshold.  We landed and immediately set up camp.

We did alot of exploring and found that the island is covered (at least where ever there is sagebrush) with humongous spiders.  Here's the video summary of our trip

From Swimming



Next morning we got up, had breakfast, broke camp and loaded up the boat to swim home.  Left at 8:40am.  I noticed that about 3 miles from Antelope there were some big black rocks below the surface about 8 feet down.  Similar to the rocks on the beach at Fremont.  Look like igneous rocks.  The water was pretty clear and didn't see much brine shrimp.  But at 2 miles from Antelope it got more cloudy with  brine shrimp and the tiny brine flies got thick.  Gets really nasty the closer you get to Antelope.  Finished really strong and was pushing it hard.  Felt great!  Never had any issues with my shoulders or back.  Probably because I was so streamlined and my feet hardly had to kick at all.  Didn't even have to tread water at feeding breaks.  My lips and tongue sure took a beating!

Thank goodness for mouthwash.   That really refreshed my mouth every 30-40 minutes. 

Total Swim: 12.9 miles
Total Time: 6:14

Fremont Island History
Fremont Island has a rich history.  It was first documented as being explored by John C. Fremont and Kit Carson in 1843, who afterwards named it "Disappointment Island".  Carson was so bored that he chiseled a cross in a rock there.  It has also been called Castle Island because of the islands shape as well as Miller's Island because of Dan Miller who put 153 head of sheep there in 1859.  The official name is Fremont Island.

Fremont Island has been the home to permanent residents , outcasted graverobber , and sheep ranchers .  Has been recently visted by  kayakers , ham radio users , scouts ,photographers , and now a swimmer .  Because you can't drive to Fremont Island, it remains a "frontier" that not many people enjoy, even with thousands of local outdoor enthusiasts within a half hour from it.   It's quite possible the word just isn't out about how neat the Island is and what an adventure it is to visit.  Hopefully it's mystery can be enjoyed by more people.  If you do decide to visit Fremont Island, do the world a favor and share your pictures and write about your visit online.

Fremont Island is NOT owned by the State like Antelope.  It is private land and you need special permission to go out there.  Also, it's actually pretty dangerous if you're not prepared to deal with the elements.  



Fremont Island Swim

In my English Channel Crossing training, I've realized that swimming in fresh water is one thing, but swimming in salty water is another.  Swimming in the Great Salt Lake is the extreme salt water swimming experience.  Don't let the fact that it's a lake lessen your impression that it isn't often times violent with waves like the ocean.  There have been Fremont Island Visitors who were in grave danger boating there.  When bad weather comes in, it can be very dangerous.

But not the case with my swim...

When I started out Friday morning we immediately had trouble with the trolling motor, so we hurried and packed everything back up and went to boat #2, the Pelican tandem Kayak.  Jacob was OK to paddle that far.  So we hurried back and started off.  The water was smooth as glass.  The DNR deputy followed us to the ramp and did a boat check and was a nice guy.  We passed on everything. 

We started off at 11:56 am.  The water felt comfortable and not overly hot, even though it came in at 83 degrees.  It took 3:19 to go 6.7 miles including feedings so I met the 2 mph threshold.  We landed and immediately set up camp.

We did alot of exploring and found that the island is covered (at least where ever there is sagebrush) with humongous spiders.  Here's the video summary of our trip


From Swimming



Next morning we got up, had breakfast, broke camp and loaded up the boat to swim home.  Left at 8:40am.  I noticed that about 3 miles from Antelope there were some big black rocks below the surface about 8 feet down.  Similar to the rocks on the beach at Fremont.  Look like igneous rocks.  The water was pretty clear and didn't see much brine shrimp.  But at 2 miles from Antelope it got more cloudy with  brine shrimp and the tiny brine flies got thick.  Gets really nasty the closer you get to Antelope.  Finished really strong and was pushing it hard.  Felt great!  Never had any issues with my shoulders or back.  Probably because I was so streamlined and my feet hardly had to kick at all.  Didn't even have to tread water at feeding breaks.  My lips and tongue sure took a beating!

Thank goodness for mouthwash.   That really refreshed my mouth every 30-40 minutes. 

Total Swim: 12.9 miles
Total Time: 6:14

We left a geocache on the Island (with , which is still being reviewed, but once it is published I will update this page.

Fremont Island History
Fremont Island has a rich history.  It was first documented as being explored by John C. Fremont and Kit Carson in 1843, who afterwards named it "Disappointment Island".  Carson was so bored that he chiseled a cross in a rock there.  It has also been called Castle Island because of the islands shape as well as Miller's Island because of Dan Miller who put 153 head of sheep there in 1859.  The official name is Fremont Island.

Fremont Island has been the home to permanent residents , outcasted graverobber , and sheep ranchers .  Has been recently visted by  kayakers , ham radio users , scouts ,photographers , and now a swimmer .  Because you can't drive to Fremont Island, it remains a "frontier" that not many people enjoy, even with thousands of local outdoor enthusiasts within a half hour from it.   It's quite possible the word just isn't out about how neat the Island is and what an adventure it is to visit.  Hopefully it's mystery can be enjoyed by more people.  If you do decide to visit Fremont Island, do the world a favor and share your pictures and write about your visit online.

Fremont Island is NOT owned by the State like Antelope.  It is private land and you need special permission to go out there.  Also, it's actually pretty dangerous if you're not prepared to deal with the elements.  






Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's Official

I'm going to swim the English Channel sometime during the neap tide of Aug 8th-16th, 2012.

I just paid my pilot, Paul Foreman, $400 USD to get my spot reserved (Spot #2).  That means that during the tide starting August 8th, he'll approach the first person with the best day to go.  If they pass it up for any reason hoping for a better day, etc.... then he'll ask me.

There's no backing out now.  I'm now financially committed.

Coach Gords

It's been a while since I've had to be a coach or swim instructor, but Dale asked me to help analyze his stroke and what he could do to improve it, so this morning after I did most of my working, he came to the pool with his friend Josh and we worked together for about 40 minutes.

The biggest thing (which is what alot of new swimmers have trouble with) was:

  1. Bilateral breathing
  2. Slowing down the stroke and doing a full reach forward to a full pull backwards with a glide.
  3. Keeping the head down in order to raise the legs and keep the body in a more streamlined position.
Other than that, just spending time in the pool to give those muscles work and getting used to increasing the distance.  

Josh had a good stroke but found himself running out of breath.  Some of that is letting out air as soon as the head goes back in after a breath, as well as just spending more time in the pool and getting the muscles used to working in swimming and maximizing that oxygen.

As for my own workout:

1000 yards straight moderate pace
850 yards kicking straight
1000 - 5 x 200's pull on 2:50
1000 - 10 x 100's free on 1:30 (get under 1:17 on all)

150 yards warmdown

4000 yards total

I told them that one of the best ways to analyzing the stroke is to see your own stroke.  Nobody can "see" their own stroke while swimming, they can feel it, but that is different.  So next time I'll have to bring my video camera and show them so they can see what they're doing.  I often wish I could have my own stroke videoed and analyze it myself more often.  It really is telling!  

Looking forward to Fremont Island swim tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A little faster - 4 laps around BL

Met Josh right at 6:00 and swam 4 laps around BL.  A slight wind kept the water a little unsettled during laps 1 and 4.  But nothing bad.  Each lap was just under 30 minutes, and these were serious laps with each one closer to the outside than I normally do.

Sprinted the last 500 yards.  Got out of the water at 1:59:25  Not bad.  Didn't have ANY shoulder or back issues at all.  Felt great!  The lifting is paying off already!

Looking forward to Friday's Fremont swim.  Tomorrow I meet my bud, Dale Majors, who is doing the Bear Lake Half Ironman.  He wants a few pointers on his swimming.  We're meeting at SDRC tomorrow morning.  I'll go a little earlier than we agreed so I can get in some laps before then.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pineview 10 Mile swim

We got up this morning and took the aluminum powered boat out to Antelope Island.  Put the boat in and immediately noticed it was leaking about 2 cups a minute.  I saw the water coming in at a rivet in the back of the boat.  I went with Jacob out of the Marina with the boat just to see how bad the leak would be and it was coming in at a rate that I wasn't comfortable with especially with Jacob being the only support, so we went back and put the boat back on the trailer and took it to the welder I know on 1000 W (Steel Crazy).

The backup plan was immediately put into action.  Hooked up the kayak trailer and drove out to Pineview and did 10 Miles.  Here is the map:


The first 7.5 miles the sky was very cloudy and looked like rain, but it didn't.  I asked Jacob to be on the lookout for lightning, but luckily it didn't get that bad.  The first 4 miles were easy, but it started getting tougher at mile 5.  My stroke count went down and I was getting really tired of the stupid waterskiers going by fast and making waves for me to deal with.  But I can't complain, cause it's good experience.  

I swam to the other side (5.5 miles into it) and the turned around and came back.  At mile 6-8 it was really tough.  My shoulders were achy, and I wasn't feeling very energetic.  I was thinking to myself, that I felt like I was "walking" a marathon.  I just wasn't really pushing it.  I've always felt like when I swim distance that I need to take an easy pace.  Problem is I feel a little guilty for being such a panzie when I swim a mile in over 30 minutes.  I really want my miles to come in at least under 30 minutes and still be easy.  

I realized that I really need to hit the weights.  Shoulders, lats and triceps.  If I can just build up some strength in those areas, it should help.  Anyhow I got a second wind at mile 8.5- 10.  I think much of that was due to the cloudy and depressing weather going away and it got really sunny.  In fact I got a little too much sun on my neck, even though I put on some sunscreen.  I was able to pick up my pace, and my shoulders and lower back didn't feel so bad anymore.  My feedings didn't start until mile 3 and then I took a quick cereal bar and/or gatorade every mile after that.  I'm so glad it wasn't sunny the whole time I would have really been fried!
Jacob did VERY WELL staying with me and I only had to remind him a couple of times the whole trip to stay close.  There were ALOT of boaters and jetskiers who weren't very polite with their speed as they came near.  But I was able to finish in 5:39 which is about 39 minutes slower than what I'd prefer so I have a long way to go.  I don't want to just swim, I want to swim well, and that will take some speed training and strength training. 

When we got back I went to pick up the aluminum boat from the welder and the rivets have been welded over.  So I'm hoping that totally resolves the leaking problem with the powered boat and that next Friday afternoon we can do the planned swim out to Fremont Island, camp out, and then swim back on Saturday morning.  That should be alot of fun.  After today's swim I think that will be the best route given that 10 miles pretty much kicked my butt and I can't imagine doing 12 right now especially in that nasty salty water.  

This was the longest open water swim this year so I'm pleased to have that milestone and to build upon that soon!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

3 miles around Bountiful Lake - 1:27

Met Josh at BL at 6:25 this morning and we got in and started the swim.  The water temp was probably around 70-72.  It wasn't too hot, it wasn't hard getting in.  It was just right.  I felt really sluggish.  I never had any pain in my shoulders or back, just felt slow.

Josh was right there the whole time.  When we finished the third lap I stopped my clock at 1:27:45.  Not terrible.    Yesterday I got up to go swim at Layton surf N' swim, but after going to the bathroom, I realized that I was robbing myself of some much needed sleep so I went back to bed.  So yesterday I didn't swim.  Today's swim was the first serious swim in a week, so I need to get back in the water!

I plan on swimming out at Pineview this Saturday with Jacob and the powered boat.  In the meantime, I need to go to Layton and get in some yards!

After I got out an older gentleman was standing in the parking lot next to his truck.  He said he was a 65 year old guy who worked for the Utah Department of Natural Resources.  He commended Josh and I for our swimming. He said when he was young he used to come out here before the lake was dug out and was just a ditch with swamp lands.  He would go duck hunting out here and do quite well.  He went on about his life, he served in Vietnam, had cancer a few years ago, that has been taken care of and cleared.   His job is to come out to Bountiful Lake and check the Ph and oxygen levels for the fish.  Also check the depth of the water.

While he was talking I was trying desperately to get my left ear plug out.  I had jammed it way too far into my ear canal and couldn't grip the little stub to pull it out.  It was really in there.  After talking with the old guy I had to use my pocket knife to use the little scissors to grip the stub and carefully pull it out.  Man, you don't have to push it so far in!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Snake River trip

So on Friday afternoon I went down the Snake River for an hour and a half with part of our Varsity squad.  I was assigned to be in the front with Matt Yeates.  Austin was in my row, but in the back next to guide.  We hit several category 3 rapids.  The sun was out until we got in and then it got cloudy and a little breezy.  I got in for a few minutes and the thermometer read 58 degrees.  It was pleasant.  Taylor  and Hunter got in with me for a bit, but nobody else.  It was pretty cold with the wind on top of the water from the rapids.   I was in for about five minutes is all.  We were coming up to some rapids and I had to get back in the boat.   It was alot of fun and our guide Tyler did a great job.

Yesterday we floated down the Portneif River in Lava as well.  That was alot of fun and we could go down in individual, double or four man tubes.  I went down individually first.  That was fun, but then I went down a few more times with Austin.  That was better cause I was able to sit in back and steer a little bit with the kayak paddle I brought.  We hit a couple of small water falls that were great!

We had a fantastic time, but I was only able to swim for about 20 minutes in the pond at the Lava property that Felter had us swim in.  The water was 71 degrees and I got a couple of tiny leeches on me which I discovered on the way home.   I felt some movement on my legs and looked down and saw about 5 "maggots" climbing up my leg and when I pulled them off, they grasped onto my skin. Kind of eerie, but again, they were really small and looked like maggots.

I'm excited to get some swimming in as I ate a ton at camp and didn't get in any decent swimming although we did have several good games of cops and fugitives late at night, a marshmallow dart war, and over 3 hours of serious manual labor collecting dead wood from Felter's land.  So I did burn some calories, but unfortunately, not very much swimming.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

6 Laps around Bountiful Lake - 3:01:56

Got up at 5:10am this morning and drove with Jacob to Bountiful Lake. Got in at 6:00am and did one lap after which Josh met us at 6:30 and started the second lap with us.

We did 3 laps together and then I did a couple more since I had the day off.
Here's a pic of the GPS route which was with Jacob (who made a few detours as well as a few short cuts. Figure it evens out.

Did it in 3:01:56.  That included a few stops to get a drink, and load up a small tree that was floating in the water into the boat so Jacob could dump it on shore. 

Quite a beatiful morning.  Got to watch the sunrise.  A little bit of wind, but much less than normal.  Jacob did a fantastic job staying nearby except in the upper left corner where I told him to turn around and wait since I would be turning around back towards him anyway. 

My left shoulder was a little touchy, but not really painful.  Felt good.  The temp was 71 degrees and wasn't even cold getting in.  What a great way to start the morning! 

Now I'm off to three days of whitewater fun on the Snake River and at Lava Hot Springs.  Hoping to get some good swimming in.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What's next?

With the Bear Lake swim almost being disappointedly easy, I thought I'd set sights on the next open water adventure: Fremont Island. A little more than 12 miles round trip. I'm aiming to do this on Friday, July 23rd.



Fortunately, I won't have any waves from powerboats and jetskis. Just the wind. Typically there is some pretty good wind out there. One extra thing to pack for this swim: mouthwash. My mouth will probably be totally thrashed by the time this is done, but it'll be a good experience. I'm sure the water will be HOT too. Last time Josh and I swam out there it was really warm.

Warm water

Swam at Layton pool this morning. When I jump in the water now, it's almost a disappointment with how warm it is. I enjoy the refreshing chill of water that is below 70. When it's in the 80's, it turns my stomach in a way.

1000 - 4x4x4's
1000 - 2 x 500's kick with fins
1000 - 5 x 200's pull (100 one arm drill, 100 fast)
100 easy
2000 - 4 x 500's under 7:00 on 7:30
200 backstroke

5300 yards

This week I go with Austin on a scout camp. We spend a day on the Snake River. Hopefully they'll let me swim for a bit.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Swam the width of Bear Lake

We got up at 6:30 and I had some oatmeal for breakfast. Got in the van, drove to the Utah State Parks Marina a mile north of Garden City. Dropped off the boat and some guy with his fancy ski boat asked Cathi, "Are you going out in that!?" We said yes. He said, "I wouldn't". The wind is bad and the swells are like 5 feet tall (as he holds his hand up to his chin). Cathi got real nervous. "Really?" He continued scaring her while I finished loading up the boat and tied it to the dock. Once we were settled we left Jacob there with the boat so he could keep and eye on it while Cathi and I drove over to the east side where we left the Van. I marked the spot on the GPS and set the navigation on the GPS to take us to that point. Drove back in the bug, and we saw another couple guys loading up their boat that was probably half our size.

Cathi remembering the warning of the guy from earlier said, "Are you guys going out in that?" Oh my gosh! Cathi gets so easily freaked out. She told them about the man who said "I guarantee you will tip over if you go out in that". The winds had settled down a little, but it was still pretty good waves. We all got in and slowly made our way outside the protective shell of the marina. I finished getting balm on my shoulders and my goggles on. We started just outside the marina where I jumped out and started swimming. The water was cold, but it didn't feel below 60.

Here are the stats of the swim, including details.

I was worried about the temp and it was unfounded. 65 was the average temp and that was very nice. If I did the length, I couldn't have counted it anyway as a qualifying swim. So it was fortunate that I did the width so I can get an idea of what to do next time. Next time, I'm definitely doing the length. Cause the waves would push me the whole way. I wasn't going directly into them and they weren't terrible. In order to get that swim to be a qualifier though I want to ensure that the temp is colder than it was today. So I'll probably have to wait until mid to late September. I'll have to keep a close eye on the temps for the rest of the year and put a plan together on when to do it.
Here's a map of the actual swim:


The water was clear and clean. It was nice not having to gag when I end up swallowing a bit of water.

Boy did I get a burn on my upper legs, just below my speedo. Whats up with that! I have swam out at Bountiful just as long or longer than today's swim, and I never got a burn like that on the back of my legs. My theory is that the Bear Lake water is so clear that the UV can get
my legs, whereas Bountiful is so murky that it can't get to my legs.

It was a very rewarding swim and click the image below for a quick video.

Friday, July 2, 2010

60 degrees in stream at cabin

Tonight Grandma and Grandma Low took us all out to Golden Corral. We talked about cold water and then somehow it came up that we were going to do a cold water challenge after dinner.

When we got, Jacob, Lucy, Austin and I all changed into swim suits and jumped in the small stream that goes into the Logan river. Jacob put the thermometer in. We were all in up to our necks laying down in the stream. The thermometer read 60 degrees and holding.

I was in there for 22 minutes and I could see Austin really struggling. Jacob already got out at around 5 minutes into it. Lucy appeared to be unaffected by the cold and in good spirits. I decided to get out cause I already was planning to swim the next day at Bear Lake. No need to prove anything.

Lucy and Austin made a truce at around 45 minutes. Boy they did great!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ice Baths - starting to be a regular thing now

So yesterday I took another 30 minute long ice bath. 65 degrees is as low as I could get it. We ran out of ice. But I lasted longer this time, with less shivering. I need to keep this up. Normal air needs to feel like I'm in a hot tub.

I bought this book yesterday. Hoping that this warm blooded dude can inspire me.

Gearing up for a width of Bear Lake on Saturday.