Friday, April 29, 2011

Gords' pool closed

My pool is closed so to speak thanks to my right shoulder giving me trouble.  I'll rest it over the weekend and if I have any trouble with it on Monday I'll be visiting the Doc.

Saw this picture on   Thing about open water swimming, is that you'd never see this sign!  Even though you don't really want to think about it, but is a worse problem.

I'm so far ahead on the GTD, that I can take a long recovery break like this and not be in jeopardy of falling behind my goal pace.  But at the same time, I can't really afford to get out of condition for my qualifier next month.  So I'm praying that my shoulder just threw a fit and will behave after a time out.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Stopped at Bountiful lake on the way home and did one lap around. My goggles were loose so I ended up fumbling with them several times before just taking them off and readjusting the tension while treading. They were fine after that.

My right shoulder was really bugging me only 100 yards into it. Not an ache but a sharp stabbing pain. But I kept going. The water was colder than I was expecting. The sun was shining all day and I was expecting mid to high 50s. My muscles got that "stick" feeling like they're literally freezing and my feet felt like bricks.

I kept telling myself that once I got to the south end of the lake it would warm up, and it did, but my right shoulder was still giving me trouble. Finished just over 30 minutes. Took temp and it was 53.8 degrees at the boat ramp.

1 mile total

Orson Spencer's 1932 Antelope To Saltair world record swim

It was recorded in Dale Morgan's book:

"In 1919 a professional swimmer, C.S. Leaf, negotiated the distance between Antelope Island and Saltair in 2 hours, 28 minutes and 27 seconds, and 7 years later a marathon swim was staged;  the event was won by Chick Mitchell.  The marathon was revived in 1930 and for 3 years was won by Orson Spencer; his record time, 2:20 was set in 1932."

Well, here is the newspaper article printed about the race.  I got the clip from Julie Bernard.  The article doesn't have a date, or whether it was the Deseret News or the Salt Lake Tribune.  But it implies that it was after 1931.  Based on the above statement by Mr. Morgan in his book, this article was from 1932.

"Veteran Paddler [Swims] To Victory in 2:20 Flat
Ray Welch Places Second; Nielsen's [Great] Finish Gains Him Junior Prize; Maurine Wilhelmsen Clocks 3:31:39 by George Wells
Orson Spencer's powerful strokes took the sting out of briny Great Salt lake again Saturday when he stroked to victory and another new record in the annual Antelope island-to-Saltair Beach six-and-one-half-mile swim.
It was the third successive victory for the Deseret gymnasium ace, whose blond hair stands out in contrast with the bronze of his brawny shoulders.
Spencer literally cruised to the finish in 2 hours 20 minutes, to lower by 5 minutes 41 seconds the record he established in the event last year.
The veteran finished 15 minutes 35 seconds earlier than his nearest rival, Ray Welch, junior champion in 1930, who clocked 2:35:35.
Theron Nielsen, after a rousing spurt in the final stretch, won third place and the junior championship.  He clocked 2 hours 44 minutes 20 seconds.
Conditions Excellent
Conditions as fair as those of the 1931 race prevailed Saturday.  A slight swell that lapped the swimmers gently toward their left as they proceeded in an almost due southerly direction prevailed throughout most of the race.
And, with his powerful strokes as a rudder, Spencer kept almost a bee line for the launch that designated the finish line.  He went into the lead from the start, and his steady free style propelled him out in front more than 200 yards by the time the half way mark was reached.
At that point, Welch passed Don Larsen and went into second place.  Welch held his position with little change in regard to Spencer, but he steadily pulled ahead of Larsen until he had left approximately 150 yards between him and his follower.
From that point on the genuine thrills of the race developed as Larsen and Theron Nielsen began a stroke for stroke battle that lasted throughout the 150-yard stretch to the finish."

SPL - Stroke Per Length

Personal crud:  This week we're down to one car.  My wife borrowed my keys and went on a run.  She hid them by a fence, and when she came back, they were gone.  She looked everywhere.  The keys are to a VW Beetle with the really expensive key system.  So we have to wait for 4 days until the key for the VIN can be cut in LA and sent to the dealership.  Major pain in the butt.  So I'm driving the van this week and it gets terrible gas mileage.

Then Cathi is going to Provo for BYU Women's Conference, so I'm going to play Mr. Mom for a couple days.  Which is OK, but there goes my swim on Friday.  At least I can put in a long one on Saturday to make up for it.

To top it off, I have a vicious head cold.  I'm coughing, have a runny nose and generally feel like crap.  Good thing is, I'm really feeding well and overdosing on Vitamin C as I go through a 1/2 gallon of freshly squeezed OJ a day.  I hope I can bounce back quickly.  This morning's swim was very short, but I also plan to swim BL on the way home for 1 mile.

Swimming stuff:

So yesterday I read this blog post from Terry Laughlin which got me thinking about my SPL.  I used to keep track of it a long time ago, but haven't actually counted it in over a year, so today I counted my SPL to see.  Here's the graph of the recommended SPL:

I'm 5'11" so I should be between 14-17 strokes per 25.

2000 free - count SPL
1000 back - count SPL
600 free

3600 yards total 

When I really concentrated on long, slow pulls I could get 14.  When I was swimming at what felt like a normal rate I would get 15.  When I got sloppy: 16.

When I moved to back I was almost always getting 15 SPL.  I was very consistent on the backstroke, more so than freestyle.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

GSL Race results 1932 - Salt Lake Tribune - 24 July 1932

Champions in Great Salt Lake Swim
Nielsen Passes Larsen
Orson Spencer, stroking the route to his third successive
championship and another new record. 

Nielsen had passed Larson and assumed third place approximately a half mile from the finish, and as the latter lagged behind it appeared that his best paddling had been done. 
But he found a final rousing sport which carried him back into third place by a body length as the end neared. Nielsen, a former breaststroke man, swimming his first long free style race, lagged until the final 20 feet, when Larson developed cramps and nearly folded up.
Maurine Wilhelmsen,
lone female contender,
who stroked the 6.5 mile
Great Salt Lake course
in 3:31:39 to win the
women's title.
"He finished, however, but Nielsen had stroked steadily into third place and the junior championship by a scant three seconds.  Nielsen's time was 2:44:20, Larsen's, 2:44:23.  Willard Snow in 2:47:27, and Lewis Carroll, second in the junior race last season, in 2:50:57 completed the finish of the men's race.
"Miss Maurine Wilhelmsen, with one of the games and steadiest swimming exhibitions ever given by a woman in the race, stroked the course as the lone feminine entrant in 3 hours 31 minutes 39 seconds.
She was awarded the first place gold medal for the women's race and first, second and third place men in the senior event received gold, silver and bronze medals respectively.  Nielsen asos received a gold medal emblematic of his junior prize.
Twelve started the senior race, but six of them left the water for boats before the event was over."

Monday, April 25, 2011

August 1st, 1931 Deseret News Article

Deseret News, Saturday, August 1, 1931 - "A Few Courageous Swimmers Who Seek Honors in Deseret News Salt water Marathon - Here are a few of the swimmers in the annual Deseret News Antelope Island to Saltair swim which will be staged in the water of Great Salt Lake Today.  These paddlers will represent the Deseret gym and the Saltair Beach company.  Orson Spencer is the defending senior champion and Ray Welch is the junior champ.  Billie Droubay is the only woman contestant entered.  John Thomas, Don Larson, Grant Anderson, Stand Dangerfield, Cecil Jacobsen and Lewis Carroll are practically all former high school stars who are trying the marathon for the first time."
For 35 years paddlers have been doing battle with Great Salt Lake, Utah's great inland sea in an attempt to set up new speed records.  The annual Antelope Island to Saltair marathon today will be a continuation of this colorful attempt at new records in a swim which can be and should be in time one of the most important aquatic events in the country.
The Deseret News was first started by Deseret News swimmers way back in 1897 when the gunny sack bathing suit was the latest in beach leggery.
The first salt water marathon that was tried had in three contestants, all employees of the News.  They were John Hansen, city editor at that time George Q. Morris, now of Elias Morris and Sons, and Joseph E. Caurott, present editor of the News.  The trio started from Black Rock, followed by James H. Anderson, news editor in 1897, who tagged alone with a row boat to act as guard.  The distance at that time was said to be six and one-half miles from Black Rock to Saltair.  Hansen got cramps  .... year 1898.  George Q. Morris, Dr. Ralph Lee Chamberlain and Joseph J Cannon again tried that Black Rock to Saltair paddle.  They took the course slowly and [swam] the distance in about six hours.  J. H. Anderson again backed up the swimmers with a row-boat, assisted by Dr. A. J. Ridges, now of the the Salt Lake Clinic, and Fred W. Reynolds, now with the University of Utah, extension division.  This is the first certified Great Salt Lake Marathon Swim. "

Six and a half miles from Black Rock to Saltair?  The water level must have been really high and the location of the old Saltair much further north than the current one.  

Here's my swim for today:

Got up early to make sure I'm in the water as soon as the lifeguard gets on the chair.  Thing is it didn't happen until 4:59:45.  So much for getting an extra 5 minutes.

8000 - 2 x 4000 free

had to get out for a quick bathroom break

4000 - 2 x 2000 free

400 - 100 IM/Free/IM/Back

12,400 yards total

I wanted 4x4000s, but I ended up taking too long talking to Tim in between sets.  So I had to cut today's workout from 9 miles down to 7.  (I also need to get to work early, I have a TON to do!)
Anyway Ted is going to Nationals the end of this week.  He's one of the fastest SDRC swimmers.  He and Kevin are the only ones going to Arizona from our group.  Good luck guys!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Information Overload!

Prof C.S Leaf
On Saturday afternoon, I met with Phyllis Spencer and her daughter Julie Bernard.  Phyllis is 101 and has really gone downhill the past few weeks and is expected to pass shortly.  I tried asking her questions about her husband, Orson and their young life.  But she was incoherent most of the time.  I'll try to scrap together a few seconds of the recorded interview, but I really should have done this interview last year.

Julie let me borrow several copies of newspaper articles which I copied and have gone over.  There is just so much information there and alot of great coverage of the old GSL races.  Many of the articles I already had, but I copied those that I did not have.  Here's the original collection I had a while back, and here's the new collection of cool articles

I was pleased to see articles about Orson's fellow swimmers Ed Watson, Ken Lyman and a picture of the first guy to swim the Antelope to Saltair course - C.S. Leaf.  I was also interested to read about an exhibition race at the old Deseret Gym where Adolph Keifer came along with a couple of his buddies and kicked around all the local speedsters, giving them various handicap head starts, and still beat them.  Must have been very entertaining and impressive to watch!  Now Adolph Keifer is a worldwide name associated with swimming!

I am amazed at how much media coverage there was of this event!  It must have been a very exciting time to be a successful swimmer in the Salt Lake area! I really dig the old swim suits.  Here's a very cool old picture of the life guards and those associated with the Red Cross probably in the late 1930's:

Later this week I will highlight a specific article and put them in digital form.  Now off to bed.  I have a 9 mile swim tomorrow morning!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Polar bear swim with Dangel

Last night I took the 15 boys to the southwest corner of Bountiful lake. I was hoping to swim with Josh and Jake, but the boys needed some direction setting up camp and getting dinner ready so I had to pass while they went without me.

This morning Jacob Dangel insisted on doing a polar bear swim so after we packed up camp, we got in our suits and waded in. I was extremely surprised when it read 48 degrees! Josh told me yesterday that his read 58. How could I possibly have dropped 10 degrees overnight with no storm?

We both recited the scout law and oath. He made me smile as his teeth chattered and he was short of breath with the cold water taking effect on him. I then gave him a high five and he swam back to shore and I turned around and swam around the western island and back to shore. A distance of 1/2 mile.

Later in the afternoon I met with Kevin Mortensen and talked with Phyllis Spencer, the widow of Orson Spencer. She is 101 years old and over the past week is nearing the end of her mortal days on earth. Later this week I will be posting some real treasures.

I then went on to SDRC and swam:

2000 free
2000 free
2000 free
100 back
2000 free
100 back
2000 free
100 back
300 - 3 x 100s IM/free/IM

10,600 total

10600 total

Friday, April 22, 2011

Winter Swimming and Rob D gets a plug from H2Open

As winter swimming nears its close here in Utah, the film by Jack Bright is getting very close to its full release.  He posted a sneak peek into a portion of the 30 minute documentary which makes me even more excited to watch the whole thing:

To the normal person, they probably are thinking that those people are nuts.  In a way yes.  But until you've done it, you just don't get it.

This week I've been taking my time going through the latest H2Open Magazine.  I was pleased to see my friend Rob get mentioned in the magazine as one of the best blogs to read for open water swimming.  I'd agree.  But what makes his site so juicy is his writing style and all the pictures and artwork he includes.  In my opinion, he's the most popular swim blogger out there.

This morning I slept in, but still got up early enough to get to work really early.  I'm taking the scouts to Bountiful Lake this afternoon and we're camping out.  I'll definitely be spending some time out there swimming while the boys kayak next to me.  

Thursday, April 21, 2011


When I was a kid my favorite Saturday morning cartoon was Superfriends.

Today nearly all the swimmers that I have nicknames for swam this morning at SDRC:

"Superman" - Kevin Mortensen, since he loves to fly
Flowerpower - real name unknown
Captain America - Scott, since he very often swims with hand paddles with stars and stripes patterns.
Nina girl - She wasn't there today, but is in the pool superfriends
Tarzan - I imagine some people might be thinking I remind them of Tarzan since I'm wearing the zebra striped Rob's Aquatics brief.

Do you give nicknames to people you don't know, who swim with you?

Today's swim was shorted since I've been reading alot lately about doing some cross training on a regular basis to supplement my swimming, so I plan to do some weight lifting this afternoon as well:

2000 free
2000 free
2000 backstroke
1500 free

7500 yards total

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Back to it

Alot going on this week that has caused me some mental stress.  Last night I was in charge of the combined youth activity.  We're talking 50-60 youth.  Anyhow it went well and its one less thing on my plate so today's swim went very well since I could relax and get into a zone.  Only thing left on my plate is a campout with the scouts this weekend.  But guess what!  We're camping at Bountiful Lake!  I'm going to take the kayak and let the scouts paddle around the lake while I swim.   Hoping to do two laps on Saturday.  Should be fun!  Here's this morning's swim:

2000 free
2000 free
2000 pull
2000 free
2000 free
100 easy
500 - 5 x 100's IM/free go strong!  on 1:45
100 grandpa backstroke

10,700 yards total

Meeting tonight with Wes and Lizz to discuss what they can do to help with the GSL race.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cut out early

Today's planned 6000 was cut to 4500 in order to execute on a good deed that I got in my head and couldn't get out of my head.  Here's what I ended up doing:

1000 free
1000 kick with fins
1000 pull
1000 free
500 back/IM/free/back/IM

4500 yards total

Monday, April 18, 2011

Swimming with Goody at Ogden Athletic Club

Last night I went to bed at 8:30 cause I had to get up at 3:30am to meet Goody for a swim at his pool which is the Ogden Athletic Club.

This place is huge!  It has a mediocre pool, but the facility in whole is probably better than SDRC.  It has way more weights and fitness equipment.  It has raquetball, tennis courts, a nice little snack bar, a licensed masseuse and physical therapist, coed and gender only hot tubs and steam rooms.  If I lived in Ogden, I would most definitely be a member there.  But it's about 25 minutes further north and that's the opposite direction of my work.

 But I love SDRC and especially the underwater lights.  Swimming at OAC was a little depressing as the place was not well lit and I really enjoy swimming in a bright atmosphere.  Plus I like the option of being able to swim at 4:30am if I'm crazy enough to get up that early, but 5:15am is perfect for me.  I'm still not a very natural morning person.

Being that I was on Goody's turf, I just was there for the ride and did whatever he was going to do.  I didn't even keep track of my yards.  Mostly because he showed me his cool toy.  He has a lap counter that he puts on his finger and just taps it every time he does a 50.  We did 100 laps to get 5000 yards which consisted of about 300 yards kicking, the rest was free with some backstroke thrown in.  I wasn't really feeling too energetic and just did zombie free most of the time.

He gave me some pointers on my backstroke and took some video for me.  I was actually pretty pleased with how it looked.  I would have thought it was way worse than it was.  Granted its far from perfect, but not bad.  It was good talking with Goody and getting to know him a little better.   Haven't had much opportunity at BL to talk much, so it was cool to have a laid back swim session this morning to socialize a little instead of just crank out yards.

5000 yards total

Saturday, April 16, 2011

New PR for biggest swim week ever!

This week I swam a total of 73,200 yards in the pool plus 3.5 miles open water for a total of just over 45 miles.

Today after supporting Cathi at the Salt Lake City Marathon, I drove to SDRC and did:

2000 free
2000 zombie
2000 zombie
1000 back/free by 25 straight
Some guy got in the lane next to me and was able to lap me doing the back/free combo so I switched back to straight free to see if I could get that lap back. I did and then some.
1000 free
2000 pull
2000 free
400 100 IM/100 Free/100 Back/100 IM

12,400 yards total in 3:30
This workout was fine, but at the end I was pretty BLAH. My neck was stiff right from the start. Don't know what I did. Might have slept on it funny. The plan was to go to Bountiful Lake after this workout and do a mile there if it was sunny.  It was.  So I went out there.  The temp came in at 56.9°F.  Got in and it was cold on the north side, but SO warm on the south end.  I bet it was 60 on the south side.  It felt great!  I started another lap after finishing the first one.  I had to meet Cathi at my parents house for an adult party so I only had time for an extra lap just around the eastern island, which I did with a wide circle, so I got in another 1/2 mile.

When I got out I didn't go through the shakes like I normally do.  If I had time I could have easily done another mile.  What a great swim.  I was thinking how much more enjoyable the Bountiful Lake swim was compared to the pool workout I did.  The sun was shining, and there were alot of people fishing, two canoes out on the lake and the water had definite warm pockets unlike yesterday.  What a perfect day!  Plus I broke a PR this week.  Felt wonderful!  Not sure I can top it next week, but I'll try.

1.5 Miles Open Water total in 43:53

Friday, April 15, 2011

1 Mile @ 55° in BL and 3000 yards at SDRC

Met Josh at BL at 4:40 and we did one lap around the perimeter to get one mile. The water temp was pretty constant. Usually there are cold and warm patches, and while I did feel some minor patches, they weren't as obvious. New goggles worked like a charm, no fog, no water. Just clear vision.

Afterwards I went straight to SDRC and did:

1000 free
1000 pull
500 back
500 - 5 x 100's odd IM (got 1:21 on all)/ even free(1:17 on all) on 1:45

3000 yards + 1 mile OW total

SDRC competition pool was only half open.  The deep end there was a water polo tournament.  I wanted to watch and stay, but I was already way late getting home.

Baby steps

Ever watch the movie What About Bob?  Dr. Marvin preaches about taking baby steps.  Well today during my swim I was thinking about my planned GSL swim.  The thing that really concerns me most is safety.  The further north I go, the further I get away from the very experienced search and rescue team of the GSL Marina.  With the planned swim taking 6 days it is pretty likely that I may deal with a storm at some point and that is accompanied by waves and wind that can be bad news, especially for a kayaker who is loaded down with a week of provisions.  Taking on this trek needs a couple of other things which Kevin Mortenson suggested to me:
1) Base camps - instead of packing everything, having a team go to the designated spots the afternoon of arriving there and setup a base camp.  That way there is a team waiting for me at each resting point
2) Air boat instead of kayak - A kayak is good, but an air boat, especially on GSL is better.  It can go in really shallow water and doesn't require human power.

Those are a couple of great ideas, however, I've taken a step back, and looked at this whole plan and realized that I really am taking way too big of a step here.  I need to make a baby step move first.  The most I've ever swam in open water is just over 12 miles.  While I know I can go alot further than that,  doing 15 miles in open water every day for a week?  That's like someone who's never actually run a marathon, but does 20 mile training runs plan to run a marathon for the first time and the follow it up with another one for everyday for the next week.  Seems a little nuts.  Plus if the person fails, they can just get in the car and go home.

If I fail, I'm stuck way up north where vehicle access to the water is extremely limited, and I'll be up there with a 12 or 15 year old boy in a kayak, loaded down with provisions.  Now it seems REALLY nuts.  So with that said, here's the new plan which is a pretty good baby step to the ultimate goal of one day swimming the length:

White Rock Bay to Black Rock Beach - I really like the name of that too.

The plan is to do this in one day, which accomplishes two things:

1) Sets a new world record in the longest documented swim in the Great Salt Lake.
2) Establishes a marathon swim standard for the Great Salt Lake that is comparable to the English Channel, or Catalina Channel or the length of Bear Lake.

So this isn't necessarily a big downgrade in difficulty.  It's more miles in a day than I was originally planning, but its no longer a staged swim, but a all at once swim and there's ALOT less risk from a safety standpoint on this one.

1) I can still go with the kayaker and they won't have to pack a ton of camping gear.
2) I head south towards GSL Marina which has the best search and rescue team equipped to handle an emergency on the lake.

Now I'll still be fighting currents on this swim as you can see from this map that Dave Shearer shared with me.

Plus given the length, and the possibility of the water temp being 60 or just under, this definitely qualifies as a English Channel qualifier.  I think this a much better plan for this year and allows me to gain some critical experience in something of this magnitude before jumping into something alot more involved logistically and more difficult from an endurance standpoint.

We already have a significant marathon swim in Utah:  The Length of Bear Lake, which I plan to do one day, but I'm so excited about the Great Salt Lake that I'd like to do this one first and get it noted as another Mother of Marathon swims in Utah.  What do you think?

As for today's swim here's what I did:

2000 - 1000 free, 2 x 500 kick with fins
2000 pull
2000 - 1000 free, 2 x 500 kick with fins
2000 pull

8,000 total

I have to get to work early cause I need to make up some hours, plus I plan BL again tonight since it's supposed to be really nice and warm today, and then I'll go back to SDRC and do another hour to get my 12K+ for today.

I'm so excited about this new plan!  It's a relief as I was really worried about the safety concerns I had.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Inspired by Lynn Kubasek

This week on, Steven interviewed Lynn Kubasek.  She discusses several topics but one part of the conversation that really perked my attention was one February she swam 360 miles in pools.  I remember the chlorine burn I felt after being in the pool for 11 hours!  360 miles?  That's 90 miles a week!

That's even further than what I plan to do the week of May 30-June 4th at the Great Salt Lake!  If she can do it in a pool, I can do it in open water!  Well, as long as Mother Nature is in a good mood.

She mentions several other swimmers who are in their 50's that swam crazy distances.  You know I don't get it.  If you look at the list of top ten distance swimmers in Go The Distance for USMS, half of them are over 50!  (as of today)  Forget that they may be retired, or out of a job.  That kind of distance training is tough!  It shows that being over 50 doesn't mean you're ready to check into a rest home, but rather kick some young kid's butt in the pool.

The full interview with Lynn Kubasek can be found at for premium members.  I bought mine last month and always look forward to Thursday morning when I get to listen to the interview while I work.

This afternoon's swim was just me.  My cold water partners had other commitments come up.  It happens.  The temperature came up at 52.1°F.  I was going to do a full lap, but my goggles which normally are awesome and never leak were leaking and filling up on the right side every minute.  I stopped and readjusted them several times, but no matter what I tried they kept filling up.  So I opted for a lap around the east island.  I was frustrated with those stupid goggles.  Time to get new ones.  Anyhow I got in 1/2 a mile in just over 15 minutes which involved quite a bit of breaststroke, backstroke and some swimming without goggles at all.

Cathi came out with Jonas who got a fishing pole for his birthday.  He did some fishing while I swam.  They kids always love playing at the lake when I'm out there.  Oliver comes over after I get out and says, "Dad, I saw a big rat!.  It went in a hole!".  Cathi is terrified of rats and I think its good for her to come out and see them so she can get desensitized to their presence.

Hoping to swim with Josh at BL tomorrow and this time with some decent goggles!

1/2 Mile in 15:16

Finding out your in love with "just a friend"

Have you ever been "just friends" with a girl when you were young, and then one day it hits you?  You care deeply for this friend and you realize that its love?  Not the kind where you wanna jump their bones, but the real kind?  Anyhow, that happened to me this week with Backstroke.  I've never swam backstroke in a meet, but I certainly spent time doing it in work outs every since I swam on a team.  I never really enjoyed it like free or fly.  It was a stroke that "mixed things up" for my workout.  Well this week I have realized I LOVE backstroke!

2000 free :30 ri
2000 zombie swimming
Zombie swimming is the same thing as channel pace, while Grandpa swimming is painfully slow, it's even slower and less mindful as zombie swimming.  The stroke is long, controlled, and aware of the catch, glide, pull, and recovery, as well as bilateral breathing.  No thought is put into going fast in order to hit a certain split time.  Just swim relaxed and pace yourself!  Like yesterday's post explained: Zombies can go on forever.  That's the goal.
2000 backstroke
The pool at this point had 2 people in every lane.  The guy sharing a lane with me had a fairly good free, but a little slower and was perfect for when I was doing backstroke.  We were almost the same pace.  Then another guy was standing on deck trying to find a lane.  I stopped the guy in my lane and asked him if it was OK if we circled and let the other guy in with us.  I figured we were nearly the same pace anyway.  One thing I don't like is circle swimming with someone that is extremely slow where I end up trying to pass them once every 100 yards or so.  But when we're nearly the same pace, no biggie.  
2000 free
2000 zombie swimming
Half way into this set I felt like giving up.  I was exhausted and while my shoulders and lower back weren't really giving me troubles, they certainly weren't blowing kisses.  But I threw the excuses and whiny baby thoughts out of my head and continued on!
2000 backstroke
When I do backstroke on a distance set like this the clock in my head really slows down.  I am amazed at how I can do 2000 yards, but it feels like I've only done half that.  My underwater push off the wall goes even further with back than when doing free, and my stroke count and rate is lower than freestyle.  Granted I go about 25% slower, but it is SO RELAXING!  I feel like I'm a windup toy.  When I do freestyle, I'm getting wound up, and then when I do backstroke, that wind up toy just goes!  The tension in my shoulders and lower back gets released.  Loving it!

400 - 4 x 100's odd fly/even free on 1:45

12,400 yards total

Swimming BL tonight.  Hoping to step it up and do a mile unless its lower than 48°.  But I think it'll be above that.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Discovering backstroke as an alternative distance stroke and thinking about zombies

Today's set was about avoiding back pain, and to find out how tough it is to do distance backstroke.  I've never done backstroke in any long distances, and with GSL on my mind, I might find it difficult to keep my face in the water when my lips and mouth have just had enough!  So I was thinking that doing some backstroke might become necessary.   So today I experimented with doing distance sets of backstroke and was very happy and surprised by the results!

2000 free
2000 pull
2000 back
2000 free
2000 pull
2000 back
200 IM

12,200 yards total in 3:30

I found that my backstroke is about 25-30% slower than freestyle.   I was doing 2000 back in just under 40 minutes, while it typically takes me just under 30 minutes free.  The thing that surprised me most is that I didn't have any rubbing points, I was able to get in an extremely relaxed state when doing long strokes on my back.  I felt great!  I know it sounds weird, but it was almost as relaxing as a massage.  I'm sure my form looks really bad.  When my right arm enters the water I rotate my body slightly to the right and my head goes under the water and I exhale.  This rhythm allows me to really focus on an exhale underwater and allows my breathing to go into a calm and rhythmical flow.  I REALLY enjoyed the back set.  I didn't want to focus on how much slower I was going.  I wasn't pushing it by any means.   This was designed to be a long distance set and I'm excited to do more practice doing backstroke in long distances in order to counter the aches that occur when doing tons of freestyle.  
Yesterday I saw a picture of TL doing freestyle.  In this picture and in videos I've seen of him, although the stroke looks relaxed and effortless, I'd say it does NOT resemble a dolphin, which is TI's mascot, but more like a zombie.  Made me laugh thinking of having a mindful swimming zombie as a mascot.  

Zombies wouldn't fit the overly conscious self-awareness criteria that TI preaches.   Dolphins are fast and powerful.  Comparing humans and dolphins is like comparing circles and squares.  Both are shapes but thats about it.  They're both so different.  The thing that's freaky about zombies is that while they are slow, they seem to move effortlessly and just keep on going like the energizer bunny, which is what you want when you're doing marathon swimming.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Half mile in BL @ 52°

I had planned on swimming at BL this afternoon when I woke up, but it was raining and generally pretty crappy outside so I had decided to swim out there tomorrow instead.  However I looked out my office window at 5:00pm and saw that it was partly cloudy and the sun was shining through so I hurried out there.

I took a temp before I got in and it read 52.3°F.  I only had time for a half mile, so I hurried around the eastern island in 12:05.  I was pleased that I was able to be fully in control of my breathing and was able to do bilateral the whole time.  My stroke was strong, yet easy.  I definitely could tell I wasn't swimming in sub 50°F water.  My body still had pins and needles and then the burning sensation, but it wasn't as painful and I wasn't as intent on hurrying to the finish in order to get out.

After I got out a couple of people came over to the car and talked to me while I dried off, Grant who is an older guy with a gray mustache.  He had a cute little boxer puppy.  I forgot the name of the lady.  She asked me if I ever am worried about the dirty lake.  I told her I've never got sick or had skin problems because of it, so I'm good to keep going.  They both are big fans of Bountiful Lake and love the area.  I've seen them there before last year and I believe talked with them last season. I'm terrible with names and faces.  So I'm making a note of them here so I hopefully remember them next time when I see them.

1/2 mile in 12:05

New PR - longest swim without stopping (even for feeds)

Today's workout was non stop.  Not even open turns, or grabbing a drink.  Just go straight through!  Granted I paced myself and did a grandpa channel pace, but my time to completion wasn't completely awful.  So I was pleased.  Here's how I counted it to keep track:

6 x (2000 free, 100 back)
12,600 yards total in 3:10

I had a gatorade bottle in my bag and once I got out of the water I walked over and downed that thing in one swig.  Never tasted so good.  Had lower back ache from the stupid flip turns at the half way point.  Took quite a bit of mental power to distract myself from that.  Glad I finished it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 1 of "mandatory distance" training

This week won't be much of a deviation from what I have been doing (except that I'm not allowing myself to have any "oopsies".  It is mandatory that I swim minimum 12,400 M-F and then 14,100 on Saturday! )

12,000 - 6 x 2000 (even no equipment, odd pull) on 29:00- 29:30 depending on whether take drink or not.
600 - 100 back, 500 kick no fins, 100 back

12,600 yards total (7 miles)

No shoulder or back issues.  I focused on a smooth and effortless stroke  Did the full workout in 3:10

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I found my new support boat crew!

I need to get this guy's contact info!

If you can't outswim your opponents, you could at least give the order to have your crew blow the other support boats out of the water and win out of sheer naval warfare!

Nice huh?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

10 Miles at SDRC on a really snowy day

Wednesday I didn't get to swim cause I had to get to work real early so I could leave work early for driving to Moab with the family.  We arrived at Ken's Lake at Moab at 9:30 pm and had to setup camp in the dark.  Thank goodness I had a lantern.  The next morning we went over to the Lake and I had to get everyone setup fishing.  The sun was out and there was a slight breeze from the south.  I was thinking on waiting until the afternoon when it would warm up even more.  

That was a big mistake.  It did not warm up, it got worse.  Way worse.  The clouds came and the wind!  The wind was insane!  So to make it simple, I did NOT get my swim in Ken's Lake like I wanted.  In fact I came home a day early with the kids, which wasn't all bad, because I got up early this morning and did a long swim at SDRC:

2000 free
2000 tempo trainer at :98
2000 pull
2000 - 10 x 200's kick (8 with fins, 2 without)
2000 pull
2000 free 
2000 tempo trainer at :98
2000 pull
2000 - 200 of each stroke + 200 IM, 10 x 100's free/IM on 1:45

18,000 yards total (10 miles)

I had some minor issues with my lower back from all the flipturns, but the last set of IM work really resolved that and the pain was gone by the time I finished.  Felt great!  I was considering going 2000 more for an even 20K, but thought I really should get home and spend some quality time with the fam!  Cathi is still in Moab doing the marathon and the kids I'm sure are hating the snow and feeling prisoned inside the house, so I think I'm gonna take them rollerskating, or bowling. 

Oh yeah, I got this really cool looking Boston Light Salt Shaker in the mail from Greg O'Conner.    What a nice group of swimmers!  I never imagined that I'd get to start a salt shaker collection, and I'm very grateful to all those who sent these in!  It really makes my day.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

1/2 mile in 48.9° at Bountiful Lake

Today was a cloudy and pretty crumby day.  Even then I was crossing my fingers all day hoping the water would be in the low 50s at Bountiful Lake.  Last week it was 58!  Unfortunately it read 48.9 so I decided against doing a mile like last week and opted for the 1/2 mile swim around the island and back.

My stupid goggles fogged up on me the whole time, so I ended up going quite a ways off course a couple of times.  My time ended up being 12:23 for the swim.  Here's some video of some entertaining reactions to the cold in the car AFTER the swim:

1/2 Mile in 12:23

Ninjagirl - Kia Hodgson

This morning's swim was rather uneventful until 7000 yards into it.  I was doing my sets of 2000, and was halfway into my 4th one when a woman got in the next lane over and was swimming freestyle straight through, but I wasn't making any significant progress in passing her.  She did like a full 500 yards and crossed paths at the same place!  I initially thought this was "Flowerpower" but in a solid black swimsuit, but realized that this was not her.  She reminded me of a ninja.  Very strong, yet with a stroke that appeared relaxed and efficient.  When I hit the end of my set I kept on going cause I wanted to pass her! I was making progress but I really had to increase my stroke rate.  I finally caught and passed her, but then she immediately started doing sets of 100 so I wasn't able to really pace myself when she was going nonstop.  I thought I wouldn't find a faster swimmer at SDRC than Flowerpower, and here a week later I finally run into some lady that's even faster!

Kia works as a partner at a local law firm.

When I finished my 5 sets of 2000, Kevin Mortensen was getting in and he said, "It's busy today!".  I told him I didn't recognize any of the swimmers except a few.  He said hello to "Ninjagirl" and asked if he could share a lane with her.  Apparently he knew her and introduced me to her.  Her name is Kia Hodgsen and her boy is the one who holds a bunch of HS records up on the wall.  No wonder, his mom is a ninja swimmer!  She also holds a bunch of Utah Summer Games records.  Looks like she specializes in Breast, Fly and Back.  Enough though. I'm not really a cyber stalker!  I just like to know a little background on the people who have earned my respect in the pool!

Today's swim went well and I swam really strong and had ZERO issues with my shoulder or lower back.  Felt great!

10000 - 5 x 2000 free :30-:45 rest between sets except the last one, go straight through.
600 - 6 x 100's odd IM, even free fast! on 1:45

10,600 yards total

Will be swimming OW this afternoon.  Hopefully warmer than 50 so I can do a mile!  We'll see.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Going Solo

Today I was in the water at 5:13am and started:

2000 free strong
2000 pull
2000 - 1000 free, 500 kick, 500 IM order by 125
2000 free strong
2000 pull
2000 free strong
400 - 4 x 100 IM/free on 1:45
100 grandpa swimming

12,500 yards total

Today I did not swim with masters because for the rest of this month as well as May, I need to focus on pacing myself and that is not what Masters is all about.  They pool swimmers, they do interval training and there is often some occasional breaks to chat.  I need to just swim at a channel pace and keep it going.  When I mix in sprints, that would be good, but it also tires me and makes it difficult to get in the 10-12K yards I want per day.  So I'll be doing my pool workouts on my own for the next couple of months, and after that I'll be spending more and more time in open water and hardly any time in the pool.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Crystal blue

Since we are up at the cabin in Logan, I went to Utah State University's HPER Pool. Everytime I swim here I get sentimental because I feel like I go back in time since the pool, deck, locker rooms are all identical to the pool that I swam at in high school, where I lifeguarded for years and ultimately met Cathi, my wife.

The water here is so clear and blue.  Really beautiful pool!

Today's swim was fantastic. I felt really strong and had full and good reaching pulls:

10,000 - 5 x 2000 free on 29:00
600 - 200 IM on 3:00, 200 free easy, 200 IM drill

10,600 yards total

I stopped at Poco Loco swim shop on Main Street in Logan before I went to the pool and bought two new pairs of goggles.  My old ones were fogging up real bad and were getting worn down.  It sure was nice to really appreciate the clean water with some really clear goggles!