Friday, April 15, 2011

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.

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