Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shoulder update

Yesterday afternoon I went to visit my Sports Therapy Doctor, Spencer Richards.  I updated him on my left shoulder:  sharp pains in the very corner of my shoulder whenever I raise my arm above my head.  When I'm swimming it's livable, but strangely its worse when I'm out of the water lifting my arm above my head.  I've already visited him twice for a couple of cortisone shots which really helped, but only for a few weeks.

We decided that after the Slam the Dam race, I will undergo a minor surgery to remove the bone fragment in my left shoulder which is supposedly the cause of the pain.  Apparently it will only take three weeks to recover afterwards and should be able to make progress towards the EC training without shoulder pain.  I can't wait!

In the meantime, he gave me another cortisone shot before leaving his office yesterday.  Last night and this morning it is really painful!  Even without moving it.  I remember it being like that with the previous shots I had, and that it only lasted for a day, but felt like a million bucks within 3 days.  I'm really counting on that, because I'm planning to swim Bear Lake on Monday!  However, the weather forecast for Labor Day doesn't look good at all.  If that forecast doesn't over the week, I'll probably postpone the Bear Lake Swim once again. Boo!

Fellow OW Swimmer friend, Julian Riley posted this video on facebook this morning:  Now my shoulder REALLY hurts!

My charity of choice

Many marathon swimmers have a charity which they support which they encourage their followers to also support.  Most of them for disease research, abused animals, fighting cancer, etc...  Up till now, I've not really found an organization that has become personal for me.  I didn't want to just support something I wasn't passionate about.  But I've finally found someone that I really feel needs our help.  Here's her story:
Believe it or not,  this old lady is awesome!
There's a crusty old lady that is fairly unpopular and undervalued.  Her biggest problem is that on the surface she is shallow, ugly to most, and well to be honest, smells funny.  Still, she has many  great qualities.  For instance, she takes care of thousands of stray animals, and she shares her resources secretly with the city which also bares her family name.  She owns a great amount of land, and a few rich corporations are lobbying politicians and policy makers to take portions of her land.
Because she isn't very attractive to most people, she is being overlooked and those who try to take advantage of her, are for the most part being ignored and allowed to do so.  Relatively few actually know this old woman, appreciate her, and join her corner.
Does this injustice bother you?  Thing is, if you don't go visit her, and get to know her, any passion you might have to protect her might just fade away.  You can help by assisting in her defense financially, but probably more importantly, you can start by learning about her and what kind of contributions she really does give to the community.  Once you do that, you will undoubtedly join her small group of protectors and make a difference.  

Click here to read more about her, and even assist financially.  But I would encourage you to go to the next level.  Go visit her, and get to know her personally.  Don't be one of those who simply look at the surface and scorn her value.  Please, join her group of friends.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Beating the sun to the water

This morning I got up earlier than I really needed to.  I was hoping to do a little extra today, so I was in the lake at 6:20am this morning.  This time instead of starting from the GSL Marina's boat ramp I went northeast from the marina towards the eastern red buoy.  Went around that and then went straight to Black Rock from there.  I got halfway to Black Rock before the sun finally came over the horizon and hit me in the water.  When I almost arrived at Black Rock I saw Josh heading back to the marina.  I was hoping to catch him, but not a chance he was gone by the time I got back to the marina opening.  I went for one more lap of Gridley Straight.

Found an aluminum can at the bottom of the lake in about 5 feet of water.  Dove down to get it and put it in my SSD.  Today's swim was awesome.  I was able to detach my brain from my body for about 2 miles of the swim.  My arms just get in a rhythm and go and I let my thoughts drift off.  Love that!

Update on the recent pineview swimmer/boating accident:   Apparently the boaters knew they hit her and sped off without assisting her.  But that is from one guy's story.  Hard to imagine the heartlessness of people who hit and run.  Here's the latest news story on this:

I'll be watching this case closely.  It's really a sad story and have little patience for idiotic boaters.

Todays total:  5.25 miles in 2:23:49

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Swimming in Warm River, ID

After setting up camp and picking up Cathi's Marathon packet, we took the kayaks to the top of Warm River and let the kids take several trips down the river.  They had a blast.  After about 10 trips I was beat and ready to get in the water myself!

We found a nice place where the water was deep enough to swim and seemed fast enough to swim upstream like an endless pool.  The water was cold!  It was 61.1° F and I haven't been in water that cold for a long time!  Once I got in I felt fine and was able to not only swim in place but swim upstream just a little.  Every couple minutes I'd float back down a little so that I could go back to swimming right in front of Cathi who was sitting in a camp chair in the shade of a tree right at the river's edge.

I saw some fish swimming ahead of me in the water and yelled out for Jacob and he was in the water within a minute searching for fish.  The other kids were deterred too much by the temperature and didn't get in.  I was able to get within inches of the fish, but never was able to touch them.  They were just too fast.  It was really cool to see so many of them in the water.  I had just as much fun watching them as I was getting in a workout.  I spent 40 minutes swimming upstream so I figure it was equivalent to a mile.  I was shivering a few minutes after getting out and got a hot chocolate at the Jubilee Market in Ashton.

Looking at the pictures from this trip, it really is a wonder I get hypothermia at all.  I really am quite a pudgy dude!

1 Mile Total

What I look like to a fish under the water.  No wonder they swim away!
What an ugly dude!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hebgen Lake 2011

We arrived at Hebgen Lake this afternoon and took down the two small kayaks for the kids to have fun with (and also help escort me across just to be safe).  Lucy took me on the first lap.  This was her first time in a kayak and was able to very quickly learn how to maneuver and she was able to keep up and was not a hindrance to my swim.  The water was much calmer than last year and there was no wind.  The water still had the same DARK atmosphere under the surface.  It's really weird.  It is clear up to about 3 feet and then gets REALLY DARK.  I can see my hands clear as day and bright, but looking down it is pitch black.  It must be a really deep lake.  I don't understand how it can be so black looking down.

At the end of that lap Lucy had a blister so Cathi took me across for the second lap.  Both laps were not sprints that's for sure.  Nice and easy.

Jacob found a couple of crawfish in the water like last time.  He filled up my waterproof case with water and put them in there.  We ended up letting them go before we left.  The kids enjoyed watching them.

3 miles total

We then went to West Yellowstone to watch "Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat" at the Playmill Theatre as a family.  This kids loved it.  I was mostly impressed with their costumes.  Very exquisite and detailed.  It was a great time.

Here's a slideshow of the entire trip!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Salinated Swimmer

I'm starting to not mind the tongue swell effect.
This is an old pic taken after my EC qualifier in GSL.
After this morning's swim: It's official, in open water, I've swam more miles in the Great Salt Lake than any other body of water.  I passed up Bountiful Lake as my number one open water swimming practice lake.  As of today: 137 miles in GSL and 134 in Bountiful Lake.  So I guess that means I'm more of a saline swimmer than a freshwater swimmer.  Not exactly though. I have many other freshwater swims in other places that still outweigh all my GSL swims.  But it's nice to have GSL as my number one place to swim.  Here's my totals spreadsheet.

This morning met Josh out at the Marina and we did the Gridley Straight.  When we got back to the red buoy we talked for a good 5 minutes and he took off to a meeting and I did another lap.  On the way back I was daydreaming when I looked up and I was only 8 feet away from hitting that one stupid pylon that I'm usually on the lookout for.  It was dead ahead and I almost ran right into it.  Whew!

On both laps I went from channel pace to race pace about halfway back.  I actually tried to break away from Josh on the first one, but he kept right up.  Which was great cause he's gonna be my pacer for the EC trip next year.  He's gotten alot faster this year.

It was nice today to not have an audience as I got out.  I was able to get to my car, go take a quick rinse with the hose and get out of there and off to work before being late.  Very nice swim.  While I was swimming I was thinking about Evan's Catalina Channel crossing tomorrow.  What an epic swim that is.  Right up there with EC fame.  He's got a top notch crew and weather permitting will be victorious!

Total Distance: 4.3 miles
Time: 2:05 (including drink/chat breaks)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thinking positively

Today I swam at SDRC.  Was in the pool at 6am and did:

1000 free easy
1000 - 2 x 5 x 100's descend 1-5 on 1:30 (1:25 - 1:13)
David Balling was a couple lanes over and was watching me on that last set.  He was apparently done with his workout and was just watching that whole set. On my last one he said "Pretty good!" I still feel embarrassed about our last conversation.  What an idiot! 
1000 - 10 x 100's stroke last one free no rest
2000 pull w/ankle strap build by 500s
1000 - 10 x 100's Tempo Trainer start fast tempo (:90) and slow it up by :02 per 100 (end on 1:08) on 2:00.  Try to maintain same finish time (@ 1:21)
1000 - 10 x 100's Tempo Trainer start slow tempo (1:08) and speed it up by :02 per 100 (end on :90) on 2:00
On these last two sets I was pretending that I was swimming downstream.  I could almost feel the current pushing me like I was swimming in a river downstream.  This kind of thinking I'm sure made me faster than if I wasn't thinking this way.  I think my "sweet spot", or ideal spm is right about 62 spm.  Faster rate and I'm not as efficient.  Slower rate and I'm just plain going too slow.  

200 IM warmdown

7200 yards total

Monday, August 22, 2011

Another good reason to swim GSL

This morning Cathi emailed me this story about a woman who was ran over by a boat yesterday evening in Pineview while she was swimming. According to the report it happened at 8pm which is dusk time.  That is the worst time to swim because if she wore any lights they wouldn't be visible, and it's not really light enough to an SSD very well (even if she did have one).  My instincts are to lash out at the boater, but it's also the responsibility of the swimmer to be extremely cautious and take precautions such as wearing an SSD, or have a kayak support boat nearby to make it easier to see that there is a swimmer in the water.  It really is sad.  Pineview is crazy busy with boats and I've witnessed alot of boaters who just are plain reckless.

Many times while swimming you can hear when a boat/jetski gets close.  Even when they're a hundred yards away, under the water, they are noisy!  I've never seen a motorized boat in the GSL (except for the harbor master's).  All sailboats, kayaks, or rowboats.  Problem with these boats is that your can't hear them coming! But on the other hand they are very rarely out on the water and if so, it's such a huge lake that there are miles and miles of water to share and they get very spread out!

This morning's swim was out at GSL and for the first time that I've swam out there over the weeks in the early morning I saw my first boat!  It was a guy on a single skull boat.  He was about 30 yards from us as we were heading back from Black Rock on our first lap.  Then he was coming back to the Marina while we were 1/3 into our second lap out to Black Rock.

On the last length back to the marina I pretended that I was wearing my massive hand paddles.  I felt like I was getting a stronger pull and was able to make pretty decent time back to the marina.

Total distance: 4.3 miles
Time: 1:01:17

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Official "Sign your name" entry

So Josh made it an official event, and after my initial attempt earlier this week, which pretty much sucked, I decided to have another go at swimming my full name.  This time in Bountiful Lake.  After yesterday's soapbox post, I realized I should have a little more pity for those who look at that lake in disgust.  It was indeed pretty nasty today.  I prefer GSL anyday to BL.  I got off work and hurried over to BL just in time to finish before my Mom's Birthday party.

I looked at the map of the lake earlier today and found that if I look at the map with the south end up, I could use the islands to help me with the "o" and "d".  I thought it worked out well.  The water seems lower than normal cause I kept hitting a bunch of stuff as I rounded the islands.  I also noticed another set of tree trunks sticking out of the water at the southeast corner of the western island.  Wouldn't want to run into those when sprinting out a Josh Green Loop entry.  I did alot of breaskstroke today so that I could keep an eye on where I was so that I could get a decent entry into the name contest.  It was long and boring.  I definitely will have this be my official entry and won't be trying this again.

Here's the GPS results of my swim:
Distance: 1.79 miles
Time: 1:06  (I really don't like breaststroke, but today's water was super nasty and I also needed to really be aware of my direction and distance, so it was necessary to do about 25% of it breaststroke)
"Gords" spelled out in Bountiful Lake.  Cathi thinks I'm a real nerd!  Whatever.  

Wow, I'm sore

No shoulder issues at all, but I'm even more sore today in the chest and lats than I was yesterday.  That weight training session I did on Tuesday evening was more intense than I thought.  I wanted to swim at GSL this morning, but my mouth is still pretty swollen from yesterday's swim, so I swam at SDRC to give my mouth a break:

1000 - 10 x 100's easy on 1:45
1000 - 1000 kick with fins
2000 - 2000 straight pull w/ankle strap and paddles
200 - 100 IM, 100 free easy

4200 yards total

Tonight is my Mom's Birthday party so I'm gonna have to miss an OW get together at GSL.  And tomorrow is Cathi and my 17th anniversary.  Then I head up with the scouts to Ephraim's Grave so it's gonna be a busy weekend without much swimming.  Hoping I can get something in though on both days.  We'll see.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Perfect swim

Last evening I did a chest workout, and woke up this morning pretty sore.  This was a GOOD sore.  The kind where you know you've worked out well, but didn't injure yourself.  Today's goal was to just swim an easy 4 miles and mostly focus on a good stretch for the sore chest.  I drove out to GSL marina and got there at 6:30.  I got in the water and swam Gridley Straight.  Halfway to Black Rock I stopped and took this video of the sunrise.

Then stuffed the camera back in my SSD and continued on.  I did two laps this morning.  It was nice and easy.  Probably at around 65% the whole time.  I stopped once to get a drink and just laid back and rested my head on the SSD like a pillow.  I stopped there and enjoyed the moment for a couple minutes.  I very rarely do that when I'm out for a swim.  It was so relaxing. The water temp was 79 and almost too warm for a fast swim.   There wasn't a cloud in the sky and no wind.  Really calm day.  The perfect morning swim.

I was thinking about my swim partner Josh, who I knew was going for a fast swim this morning out at Bountiful Lake.  When I got in to work I found out he beat the record.  That put a smile on my face.  I was hoping he would.

At my second lap to Black Rock I was almost there and saw something poking out of the sand under the water.  It was round and looked like a perfectly round rock.  I stopped and dug it out.  It was a "White Flyer Bio" clay pigeon.  Supposedly it biodegrades 95% within two years.  Glad that these aren't all over the place. First time I've seen one out here.  Hopefully the last.

It was nice to get out of the water in privacy instead of being an object for a goofy picture by tourists.  I stopped to take a picture of a good sized Orb Weaver spider that was hanging out on a web at the boat ramp.

Total Distance: 4.25 miles 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Answering ignorance with sarcasm

You know I'm starting to get sick of defending Bountiful lake as a viable place to swim.  For those who I perceive really want to be brave I'll give them my true opinion.  But for those who are nonchalant about open water swimming and ask "faithlessly", I'm just going to start answering with "No, Bountiful Lake is way too dangerous to swim in.  Don't try it, you might die."

Today I wanted a quality pool set so I came up with this workout:

500 warmup free
500 - 5 x 100's drill (first 100 easy with camera, 2nd 100 fingertip drag, 3rd - touch and pull, 4th touch and pull, 5th easy) on 1:45
I wanted to capture video to make sure my pull is not crossing over and that I'm as wide as my shoulders and not coming close to my center line. Also that I keep my forearm pointed down and not curved in.  Looks pretty good to me.  Probably could hold the reach for split second longer though.
1000 - 5 x 200's on 3:00 Tempo Trainer (start @65spm and increase each set last set on 60 spm)
Maintain same time of 2:40
1500 - 5 x 300's
Odd (3 x 100s one arm fly/back/breast) on 5:00, even free on 4:30
2000 - 5 x 400's pull w/ankle strap on 6:00
2000 - 5 x 400's pull w/ankle strap on 5:45
500 - 100 back, breast, one arm fly, easy free, free strong (1:06)

I wanted to go back down to 5 x 300's and 5 x 200's, but my right shoulder was starting to bug me, and finishing the whole workout (over 10K) also meant I was going to be late for work, so I called it.  I also made a mental note to be aware of if I burp or not.  Not once.  But I have a worse habit.  Coughing up phlem and spitting it into and rinsing out the gutter.  I remember in high some old guy stopping at the gutter every time he was done and very loudly producing loogies to spit in the gutter before he got out.  He really grossed out alot of people.  At least I'm very discreet.  Hopefully :)

8000 yards total

Monday, August 15, 2011

Carving my initial in the Lake

Today the water was very flat and barely a ripple.   The sun was just coming up as I arrived at the marina.  My shoulders from Saturdays race have fully recovered.  I was pretty sore Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, but felt alot better as the day went on yesterday.  This morning they were totally back to normal so I was eager to get back in the water.  I decided that I wanted to try carving my initial in the water.  So I burned this image of my cursive 'G' in my mind and tried very hard to swim this path into the water:

Today's swim was awesome!  I didn't have any stiffness or soreness and felt really strong.  I swam with about 80-85% effort.  The water was about 74 degrees and felt great!  The colors from the clouds and sky reflecting off the water was so beautiful, lots of orange and pink and some purple.  Of all the days that I left my camera in the car!  Here's the actual path of my route today.  After looking at it I realized that I should have head less east and more of a southerly direction.  This looks too much like a box.
Actual route according to GPS.
Dang it, a little too square to look much like my 'G'.
I can probably pee a 'G' in the snow better than this.
When I hit the red buoy northeast of the marina I should have taken that corner a little more rounded and went further south in order to get it to look more like a G.  But it isn't a complete disaster, it kind of resembles a G anyway.

When I hit the boat ramp again another busload of tourists were already there.  One of the same guys from last week was there and walked up and said, "Hey friend!  How often you swim here?"  He must be the bus driver cause who would take the same tour from the previous week?  I told him about 2-3 times a week.  He asked again like he did last week, "You swim breast stroke or freestyle?"  I told him free and that when you breath to the side your face is higher out of the water and that water rarely goes in your mouth.  And that if it does, it isn't that bad.  I told him its a great place to swim as long as its calm and not stormy.  He said with his hands together and a small bow, "I want to marry you." and then turned around and went back to the bus.  What the hell? He said that same thing last week at the end of our conversation, but I thought I heard him wrong.  That has got to be a misinterpretation in his mind of what that means.  If he says that to me again, I'll have to correct him on his English and what that word really means.  The world might be messing with the definition, but I will not put up with its misuse in reference to me.

Today's swim was 1:35 and swam 3.5 miles total.  Very nice

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Results of Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim - 10 miles in 4:56:36

Yesterday evening Austin, Jacob and I drove to Heber and bought some supplies at the Smiths there.  We drove to Deer Creek and Jacob and I swam a very easy two laps to the buoy and back.  About 200 yards.  Then we settled down in the van at a vacant parking lot across from Wallsburg Bay at Deer Creek Reservoir.    Watched TRON on my ipod when the sun was down.  Jacob got up really late in the middle of the night and said he had to go to the bathroom, so he crawled out the back of the van and starts to pee.  Thing is he wasn't being discrete at all and was peeing towards the road as people are driving by on the highway.  The parking lot is lit so I'm sure people were able to see him quite clearly.  I wonder how much a ludeness ticket would cost?

We got up at 6:30am and drove over to check in.  Met Lynn Jolly and her crew which were borrowing the raffle kayak, along with Traci Chase who is the swimmer that Austin is paddling for.  I helped Josh get people checked in and labelled for the race.  Then everyone started heading down to the boat ramp and I realized I had my boats all tied up and I wasn't even in my swimsuit, so I really had to rush to get ready myself!  The boys were still asleep in the back of the van.  I met and talked with alot of really cool people, but my head wasn't on straight and I don't remember alot of names and I wish I could have had a full morning to just visit and chat with people.

We finally got everything ready and the race started.  I tried to stay up with Jorge Azevedo, but that guy was just too fast.  There was another guy in a wetsuit that got ahead of me, but after the 5K turnaround he stopped for a drink break and I passed him and stayed in second position the rest of the time.  It took me until the 5K turnaround to finally get in a rhythm.  I wasn't bilateral breathing, my goggles were fogged and it was hard to see looking into the sun at the end of Wallsburg bay.  But once I got past the 5K turnaround I rinsed out my goggles(which were perfect for the remainder of the race after that) and started bilateral breathing and I got into a good rhythm.

Let's get going!
When I got near the north end of the bay, across from the boat ramp, Kelsey Withrow passed me.  I tried drafting, but I only lasted for half a minute.  By the time I got to the 10K turnaround, Will passed me at that point.  Last year, I was passed at the end of Wallsburg bay, so this year was a little better!

I kept on going but I couldn't even see Jorge's support boat ahead.  He was really far up there and there was no catching him.  My pace was right on, or maybe even a tad slower than I wanted and I was pushing it.  This was going to be tough to get under my 4:50 goal.

Jacob and me after the race
I took my first feeding about 100 yards past the 10K turnaround.  It was a fast one too.  Only about 20-30 seconds with Gatorade, then go!  Swam across the bay and took another feeding at this buoy.  This one was a little longer.  About 45 seconds as Jacob quickly handed me a swiss roll and threw me the Gatorade.  Headed north and almost at the 5 mile point to turn around.  My strokes were slower, but still strong and I even was getting in a strong 2 beat kick.  The sun was really strong the whole day.  I never got warm, but I knew I was going to be sunburned a little.  I have a goofy looking upside down smile across my forehead where my cap line was.

Hit the five mile point and took another feeding.  Then headed back west.  Saw many 10 milers about 15 minutes-20 minutes behind me.  Seemed like a LONG time to get back to the bay to swim across.  Finally got there and took another feeding and then swam as fast as I could across the bay.  My time was definitely slower than my goal pace.  Got to the 10K turnaround buoy again and told Jacob to stay with me.  He was staying behind me and I couldn't see him.  I don't sight off him, I just don't like wondering where he is and worried that he is getting tired and dropping back.  But he stayed with me just fine after that verbal correction.

Most likely this isn't the case, but it kinda
looks like Michelle Poole is checking me out!  More likely
she's admiring the Rob's Aquatics logo.  Haha.
At the 5K turnaround I was glad to hit the home stretch.  I was going to be lucky to get under 5 hours at this rate.  I really pushed it.  I was pulling really hard, and stretching forward and getting a good pull.  I looked over and saw a big white buoy with a yellow base on it.  What the heck!  As I got closer, it was Austin!  That kid had taken off his shirt and the whole time I was fretting because I forgot to tell the boys to put on sunscreen and I knew they were fried.  Here is Austin without sunscreen and paddling away with his big white chest exposed.  I stopped and yelled out across the narrow end of the bay.  "Get a shirt on you doofus!"  He responded, "I'm getting a tan!"  Whatever.

Austin paddled for Traci, and Jacob paddled for me.
Nice job Gridley boys!
The 1/2 mile left buoy was a welcome sight.  I literally sprinted that last 1/2 mile.  I improved my 5 hour time, but didn't quite hit my 4:50 goal.  Ended up with 4:56:36.  OK well considering that it's a 10 mile race and I went 6 minutes slower, that meant I had to swim about 36 seconds faster per mile.  That's 2 seconds per 100 yards that I needed to improve.  Just didn't have it.  I can honestly say I did my best.  Just haven't worked on SPEED this season.  I sure enjoy long swims when I don't feel rushed.

Scott and Rachele Kunz finished the 10 mile.  Scott's one of
the most outgoing and fun guys I've met.  He's quite the
athlete as he does 100K runs and 26.2 marathons.  This was
I think his new PR for longest OW swim.  He did great!
I left having a good time and hit my secondary goal of getting under 5 hours so that's something.  I also left with some things I need to improve on.  I had a great time with Jacob, and talking with Kunz' and the other swimmers.  Wish the race could have accompanied a BBQ or something.  I just felt robbed not getting to spend more time with everyone and getting to talk with everyone.  I'm not a very social person and could care less in most settings, but today I didn't get my fill of talking with people.

I wanted to talk with Jorge and find out what his training was like.  Cause that guy was able to go so fast!  He really kicked butt!  I also wanted to talk with Rachel (she won the kayak that I donated) and Matt, and many others.  But by that time everyone was already gone.  Dang!!
Lynn left me a very cool book.  I've already read the first chapter and it looks like a good one!  What a great day it's been.

I'm very pleased on the whole of it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pre-race rituals

I don't have a very extensive list of pre-race rituals, but I do have a few.  These have been on my list ever since high school:

  • get short haircut (even shorter)
  • Shave arms and legs
  • Have a trout for lunch
  • Eat more carbs leading up to the event

With open water swimming I added one more: 
  • prepare a lanoline/vaseline mix for body lubrication.  It helps avoid any chaffing:

What are your pre-race rituals?  Confess!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Setting the bar - 18:50

After deciding to start the "Josh Green Loop Virtual Open Water Race", I figured I'd set the standard.  I went as fast as I could.  I was aiming for under 20 minutes and got 18:50.  The water was very warm.  I'm guessing it was in the high 70's or even low 80's.  I was happy with that time.  But I don't think it will last very long.  It could easily be beaten.

Per the rules, here is the video/pics of my entry:

Total Miles: .7 in 18:50

I ordered the trophy that accompanies this ongoing virtual race.  Should get here in about a week or so.  I'm actually hoping people try to beat this record.

Josh Green Loop Virtual Open Water Race

Name: Josh Green Loop Virtual Open Water Race.
This course is named after Josh Green, who has done so much for the sport of open water swimming in Utah.  Founder of Utah Open Water, and Great Salt Lake Open Water, and co-race director of Deer Creak Open Water.  Bountiful Lake is one of the current training locations for Josh Green and several other swimmers in Utah.  
Location: Bountiful Lake, Bountiful, Utah
Distance:  0.70 miles (Inside track of the loop)
Course Description:  Starting at the waters edge at the boat ramp swim west past the first island on the northern side of the lake.  Swim around the western island counter-clockwise around the lake.  Go as close as you wish to the shoreline of the island, but you must swim all the way around it, then swim just south of the two islands in an easterly direction.  Once you pass the eastern-most island, head back to the boat ramp and the clock stops as soon as you exit the water on the boat ramp.
Cost:  FREE!
Current Records here.


  • This is a VIRTUAL race!  You can do it anytime that Bountiful Lake is open to the public, and the race has no finish date.  
  • You may swim with or without a support crew.
  • You may swim with or without an official ISHOF Swim Safety Device.
  • You may NOT swim with a wetsuit, fins, hand paddles, or pool buoy or any other floatation equipment that can assist in propelling the swimmer through the water.
  • You must capture video or picture of you entering the water.
  • You must capture video or picture of your final time on a stopwatch.
  • Once you beat the record time, submit the video/picture of your start and stopwatch finish time via email:
  • There are obvious ways to "cheat" in this contest.  This is not an official event, so the honor system is respected here. 
  • If participation is lacking, I reserve the right to sweeten the pot somehow to encourage participation.  
Record Holder awarding:
  • Those who break the record will be given this unique trophy.  
  • If the record is broken, the trophy must be forfeited and given to the new record holder (given they followed the rules above).
  • Due to lack of space on the trophy, the time will NOT be engraved on the trophy, but this website will show a complete history of all records including name of swimmer, date record was set, and the time.
  • A picture of the record holder receiving the trophy with the new record time will be posted.
  • The record holder must provide their email, phone and address so they can be contacted should the trophy need to be collected and awarded to the next record breaker.
  • For local UT residents, the trophy will be awarded and collected in person.  Should some out of state swimmer come in and show Utah swimmers what's up, the trophy would be shipped at no expense to the swimmer.
Fine print:  You are ultimately responsible for your own safety!  You should consult a Dr before starting any exercise program.  You should also ensure that you are safe when swimming, especially in open water.  If you are not confident in your swimming abilities, do NOT attempt to do this swim!  You cannot hold Utah Open Water, Gords Swim Log, Bountiful City, or ANY OTHER individual or organization responsible for any injuries, or death which might occur when participating in this challenge.  You take sole responsibility for all of your actions.  This is not an organized event.  No fees are collected, no waivers are signed.  Again, you are solely responsible for your own safety!  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gridley Straight for time

This morning I arrived at the marina a little later than planned and noticed as I was walking down the boat ramp that Kevin and Josh were just nearing the corner of the marina opening heading out. So I had some catching up to do. I started my stopwatch as I started. I wanted to see if I could go all the way to Black Rock and back in under an hour so I pushed it a little.

I got just outside the marina opening and noticed Josh turned east and Kevin was heading towards blackrock. Once I caught up I stopped to say hello and tell hem that I was going to head to Black Rock and back. Then I took off.

Long strong strokes with a slower than sprint stroke rate. When I arrived at Black Rock, my watch read 27 something. I stopped, got my drink out and also defogged my goggles and started back up at 29 minutes. The way back I took a path a little closer to shore so I could go directly to the marina opening. Once I got to opening I couldn't see much with the glare of the sun coming right into my eyes, so I couldn't see if Kevin or Josh were there, but I just picked it up and sprinted the last 200 yards or so through the marina up to the boat ramp. Finished in 59:06. Right on! I was pleased with that. 2.23 miles in under an hour. Not bad at all. And that included a couple of short stops.

There was a busload of Asian tourists who were at the bottom of the ramp as I arrived. I said "Good Morning" and some couple asked me if I could float so they could take a picture.  So I sat back almost in a sitting position and had both my feet and hands out of the water and they took pictures. Kinda weird. I wonder if they'll photoshop their face on my body for their album.

Talked with Kevin and Josh after the swim for a bit. Kevin is doing the Mountain Tropic Triathlon at Bear Lake this weekend. He said he'd probably do Deer Creek next year. Josh is going to get a kick butt time on his 10K this year. He's faster and way more experienced. I'm hoping he gives Will a run for his money.

2.23 miles total in 59:06

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tapering pool swim

This morning I did a tapering swim in the pool. Got in the water at 7am:

1000 free easy under 15:00
2000 pull w/ankle straps under 30:00
1000 kick
1000 - 5 x 200's on 3:00 desc (2:58, 2:53, 2:49, 2:40, 2:45)
Some guy got in the pool in the next lane over and was trying to race me for 50 yards during this set. So I picked it up during that 50. I'm sorry, I'm not gonna let some punk with some bermudas jump in and swim heads up free style and race me and win. Thing is after he lost a couple times he just got out. Whatever.
500 - 5 x 100's easy alternate free/back/breast

5500 yards total

Monday, August 8, 2011

Early GSL swim and Steve Spencer's video

My first day of my window of opportunity to swim the EC starts August 8, 2012: One year from now. Man, I can't wait!

This morning I met Josh before the sun even came up. The gates to the marina were closed and as soon as the sun started to shine just before coming up over the wasatch mountains to the east, the gate automatically rolled open. Josh and I started our swim before the sun showed up. It was beautiful. I was originally planned to do two laps of Gridley Straight, but the water was so calm that I thought it would be nice to go out away from shore for a bit and do one big loop rather than two laps. Here's the map the GPS tracked:

Josh and I swam together to Blackrock, but after that he headed back and I went north.  I wouldn't have done that if the water was crazy, but there was barely a ripple and I felt confident that I would be OK.

I swam about 15 minutes north and then turned east.  I stopped a couple of times to take a picture or to get a drink.  Just north of the marina I saw a red buoy so I turned left and met up with that.  Then went again east for another 20 minutes.  Then I stopped and saw the red buoy that is east of the marina so I headed south to that.

I was feeling so good!  I was doing long efficient strokes.  My time was good.  So I decided to go all the way in through the Marina opening rather than from the beach and rocky path from the east of the marina.  What a beautiful day it was, hardly a ripple the whole time.

Total Distance: 4.6 miles in 2:10

The video of Steve Spencer's visit to the GSL race in June was finally completed with editing and is now available online!  I wish I could have been there to see in person the trophy and cool medals he one, and to meet the family.  Here's the completed video which we will make available on the race website for future swimmers to enjoy:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

365 days and counting

So one year from today I will be boarding a plane with Cathi for Dover.  Still seems so far away, but it's now less than a year.

Met Goody at Pineview this evening at 6pm and we swam east.  Goody had a red eye flight from back east last night and was eager to get in a swim today.  He called me this morning while I was on an outing with some Boy Scouts.  We planned this evening's swim and that put me in a good mood.  Nothing better than having a plan!

When we started out we stayed pretty close to each other, but once we to about mile 2, Goody started to feel the effects of the jetlag as well as lack of sleep.  He was slowing down, but kept at it.  I didn't mind the slower pace, I'd do some backstroke to let him catch up a bit.  I liked really extending my stroke and pulling after a good glide.  I looked forward underwater, watched my hands and then pulled after all the bubbles had left.  That way I could get an efficient pull and it felt great!

Austin and Gords
Austin came as the paddler.  I haven't seen this many boats out there before.  It was crazy, so I made sure to slow up and make sure we stayed relatively close together under the protection of having the big orange kayak there as our buffer from other boats.

We should have planned on arriving at 5 though cause it was dusk at 8:00 and I didn't feel good about going another mile without some lights or something that really stood out.   I could barely see Goody with his white cap when he was more than 50 yards away.  On the way back I sprinted from the buoy to the shore.  That felt good to really pour it on.  I'm excited for the race next weekend!

Total: 3.4 Miles

Friday, August 5, 2011

Water Maggots

I've tried to several times to capture good images
of these things, but they never turn out.  You just have to
come out and swim with me to really appreciate them!
How did the slang term "Sea Monkeys" ever come up for brine shrimp?  They don't even resemble monkeys in the slightest!  Whenever I swim at the GSL they remind me of a snow storm underwater.  Today they seemed bigger.  Some have progressed from all white to brown or red.   About 1/4 inch at the biggest I'm guessing.  They remind me of maggots.  But not in a gross way.  If there were really millions of maggots in GSL I wouldn't swim there.  These guys are harmless and I'm sure ALOT less germy than a bunch of squirmy maggots!

This morning I took my time getting out the door.  I was in the water at 7:02am and did the "Gridley Straight" route but continued to the far eastern buoy past the marina, and then exited from the water from the rocky path just east of the lookout.  Today's swim was fun!  It was quite choppy today.  I also got a bug to fly in my mouth at the same time I was breathing at exactly the time I was inhaling.  Spent about 10 strokes to recover.  I was coughing and gaging underwater.  Also during a couple places on my swim, I felt something in my mouth and fished out a few "water maggots" out of my mouth with my tongue.  How the heck did they get in there?  I didn't end up taking in any water that I recall.

I hit a real cold spot on the way to Black Rock that took my breath away.  Made me say to myself, "Gordon you panzy! I bet that was probably 65 degrees!"  Made me excited to jump in when we do the polar plunge on New Years.

3.25 miles total

I'm feeling MUCH better and no longer destroyed due to the walking pnemonia symptoms.  I did see the dermatologist yesterday about an issue with some itchy red skin on my left hand that has been getting worse over the past couple years.  Guess what?  Ringworm!  No it's not contagious.  Nobody in my family has it, just me.  And I think I know why!  A couple years ago we picked up a stray kitten up in Idaho at a family reunion.  It was beautifully colored.  We found out from the vet after a couple weeks that the cat has ringworm.  So he gave us this sulfuric smelling solution that was just nasty!  We had to bathe this cat in this stuff twice.  Guess who was assigned that task?  You guessed it, Dad!  I'm guessing the ringworm fungus transferred to my left hand and there it stayed.  Until now.  I'm on meds to get rid of it which will be nice, cause it sure is annoying!  I've been living with it for two years and I've had enough.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Deer Creek OW Clinic

This evening was an OW clinic and I ran the swim portion.  Met Rachel, Kris, Kate, Erin, Greg, Julian, Josh and Jim at Deer Creek and a storm was just coming it.  It poured for about 15 minutes and then it cleared up nicely.  Josh did the dry portion of the clinic and then we walked down from there to the waters edge.  There were a couple buoys out: 1 about 100 yards out and the second one about 100 yards further.  Each lap was about 400 yards. Here's the drills we did:

  1. Controlled and thoughtful swimming/Warmup:  Swim with a buddy of relatively similar speed, and swim side by side and focus on synchronizing your arms to the same rhythm in pulls.  Only breathe on the side facing your partner.  Don't like that side?  Switch sides!  Stay parallel to your partner and try to create a mirror image.  This helps you focus on several things:  Forcing you to breathe to only one side should there be major chop going right into your face.  Synchronizing your stroke is intended to make you focus on a steady and controlled stroke.  If both of you are efficient at your stroke, this drill is so fun!!
  2. Sighting:  Bilateral Breathe this time.  When swimming to the first buoy, count how many strokes you normally do before you sight forward.  Then after the first buoy try to double that stroke (or sight half as frequently).  Trust yourself!  Use the force! Envision where you are going, as well as sight off to the side instead of forward all the time.  
  3. Drafting: Take turns drafting off your buddy.  Practice getting close, but not too close.  In a race, you don't want to make the leader ticked off.  They shouldn't know you're there.  But feed off them like a leech!  I used to have the opinion that drafting was a faux paux and for dummies, but I'm starting to change that opinion.  I'll tell you right now, when those super fast 10K swimmers come up behind me, I'm going to kick it into gear and try drafting off them for a good little bit. (Don't worry Will, I probably won't last long.)
  4. Buildup/Finish strong:  To the first buoy lap really extend and hold your reach.  Exaggerate it.  Take the stroke nice and easy.  To the second buoy swim normal.  To third buoy pick up your pace, make it strong, but hold back for the finish... To the shore: Sprint!  I want to see kicking feet, and some major effort.  Finish strong.  Leave it all out on the water, don't exit the water wondering, what if I had just pushed it a little harder?  Staggered the swimmers so that they were trying to catch the person just ahead of them.  Adds a level of friendly competition to not get passed.  
@0.8-1.0 miles total

Monday, August 1, 2011

Tooele Transcript - July 22, 1958

I found this page a while back about a race in 1958 that was documented in the Tooele Transcript.  I got a hold of Missy Bird, Copy Editor and Sports Writer for Tooele Transcript and she found the article for me, scanned it and sent it to me.  Very cool stuff!  On a personal note, I went and saw the Doc today.  I've got walking pnemonia.  Taking three days of antibiotics and I should be pretty close to normal.  Can't wait.  I feel like I've been ran over by a car.

Here's the article:

The Tooele Bulletin - Tooele Utah   Tuesday, July 22, 1958
 Toshio Imai, Barbara Harker Win Great Salt Lake Swim Race  Records Shattered in Choppy Brine
Apparently getting inspiration from his island starting point, Toshio Imai, made like an antelope, Saturday afternoon, to win the Great Salt Lake swimming race from Antelope Island to Saltair in the record-shattering time of one hour, 45 minutes, and 23 seconds.
GREASED-UP AND READY TO GO - Seven Swimmers entered the Great Salt
Lake Antelope Island to Saltair race, Saturday, and all seven completed
the race. Shown above, getting ready to leave the boat and begin the race
are L to R – Art Magill, Magna; John Bryan, Tooele; Martha Ann Welch, Tooele;
Barbara Harker, Tooele; Gerry Hendrickson, Deseret Gym and Toshio Imai,
Tooele. Revell George of Tooele decided at the last minute to enter the race,
as he originally went along just for the ride. 
Fast developing into one of the Intermountain West's greatest swimmers, the 17-year-old Imai, who represented Tooele Swim Club broke the two hours, nine minutes, 53 seconds record set last year for the five-mile 100-yard course, by his former teammate, Jerry Chadwick, who did not compete, this year.
Over-shadowed by the record race of Imai's, but just as remarkable, was the competition provided by the three girls who entered the race. A penalty of 15 minutes was given the girls – Barbara Harker, 14, and Martha Ann Welch, 11 of Tooele and Gerry Hendricks, 15, of Deseret Gym, because they started the race approximately one-half mile from the shores of Antelope Island where the boys started.
Even with the 15-minute penalty, Harker turned in the time of two hours, 17 minutes and 18 seconds to win the girls' division. She was followed by Hendricks, with a corrected time of two hours, 24 minutes flat. Little Martha Ann Welch proved that she had what it takes by swimming the entire race and finishing with a time of two hours, 34 minutes.
John Bryan of Tooele finished second to Imai, and Art Magill of Magna finished third, just 131 seconds behind Bryan. Both broke Chadwick's record, with Bryan clocking 2:03:07 and Magill 2:03:20.
Revel George, of Tooele, who originally went along just for the ride, decided at the last minute to swim the race, and finished fourth in the men's division, clocked at a time of two hours, 28 minutes.
Imai literally sprinted the whole distance, doing a modified version of the Australian crawl, and only stopped twice, for water, and an eye washout. He also was the only one who didn't wear goggles.
DIZZY AND ALMOST OUT ON HIS FEET, Toshio Imai is helped at the end of the race by his Coach, Leigh Pratt, who helpfully splashes fresh water into his face to wash the crusted salt off.
Since the Great Salt Lake race was revived in 1956, Tooele swimmers have completely dominated the event. Chadwick won the event in 1956 and 1957, with Imai second both of those years. Bryan, who finished second this year, was third last year.
SWIMMERS FROM TOOELE dominated the Great Salt Lake Swim, Saturday, L to R – John Bryan finished second in the men's division, Toshio Imai finished first in record time, and Barbara Harker finished first in the girls' division.
The contestants, officials, and other members of the swimming party were transported to the island from the Salt Lake boat harbor, and followed the race in five boats. Three were furnished by Sea Scout troops 550, 398 and 236, skippered by Don Kleinman, B. W. Dille and Jim Jones.
Also furnishing boats were E. C. Kimball, whose craft was skippered by Jack Reynolds of Salt Lake City and Pete Ecker, president of the Intermountain AAU, who piloted his own boat. After the race, contestants and officials were feted at an awards dinner at Saltair, where Mr. Ecker presented first and second place boys and first and second place girls with trophies.
The Great Salt Lake race is one of the most unique and difficult swimming races held anywhere in the world. Because of the 27 per cent salt content, it is almost impossible to use the feet – so modified swimming strokes have to be used. The salt also causes severe burning to the eyes, nose, and throat, making the water that much more difficult to swim thru.
Another unique aspect of the race is that contestants are actually dried out by swimming in the brine, and need large quantities of fresh water.
Because of the extreme difficulties encountered. No woman has ever competed in the race until Martha Ann Welch, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank B. Welch, and Barbara Harker, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Harker decided to brave the course, this year. They were joined by Gerry Hendrickson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bud C. Hendrickson of Granger.
Martha, who is 11 years old; Barbara, 14, and Gerry, 15, all finished the race in good time – a fete that a lot of older more experiences men swimmers haven't been able to accomplish.
Imai was recently awarded a scholarship to Michigan state college, where he will join his former teammate and former record-holder, Jerry Chadwick, on the Michigan State swimming team.
PETITE MARILYN KIMBALL hands a cup of cool water to Toshio Imai at one of the two stops he made during a record-setting swim on Great Salt Lake, Saturday.
The race was under the auspices of the Intermountain AAU and Saltair Co., and was run off as one of Salt Lake City's Days of '57 events.
The race was started by co-chairman Leigh Pratt on Antelope Island, at 2:51 p.m. Pratt and the four men contestants had to wade into the short about one-half mile because of shallow water, and then the first part of the race was by foot out to the deeper water.
Co-chairman Pratt of Tooele and Mel Denhalter of Salt Lake, both Intermountain AAU officials, reported that a move was underfoot to hold next year's race in the early morning, to provide calmer water and cooler weather. This year's event was held in choppy water, with a brisk breeze.

I was hoping to get a hold of Mr Imao, but unfortunately he passed away last year.  Here is his obituary.