Saturday, December 31, 2011

My 2011 Swim Review

2011 has been quite an eventful year.  Very fitting given I have big plans for 2012.  Here's an extensive list of this year's highlights!

Swimming accomplishments
  1. Great Salt Lake English Channel Qualifying swim - 21.7 miles in 10:59
  2. Bear Lake Length swim - 19.8 miles in 11:13
  3. Deer Creek Open Water Marathon - 2nd place - 10 miles in 4:56
  4. Virtual Open Water Marathon race around Long Island - 1st place finish - 250 miles in 2 months and 1 day
  5. Literally gave 110% in my 1000 mile goal for the year, finishing the year with just over 1100 miles (13th place out of over 2,800 swimmers in USMS' 2011 GTD)
Open Water Education
  1. Attended the First Annual Open Water Safety Conference in San Francisco
  2. Subscribed to H2Open magazine, the worlds first Open Water Magazine.  Definitely worth it!
  3. Recertified in CPR/First Aid/Lifeguard Training
Furthering the sport
  1. Assisted Josh Green in directing the Great Salt Lake Open Water Marathon
  2. Donated several kayaks in raffles to promote open water swimming participation
  3. Helped conduct several open water clinics
  4. Created the Josh Green Virtual Open Water Race (which hopefully blossoms throughout the years)
  5. Organized and successfully held SDRC Swim Meet, and also funded and built
Great Salt Lake
  1. Became a member of FRIENDS, made this organization my charity of choice, and also donated large amounts of money/goods/services to this organization.  
  2. Attended several meetings regarding Great Salt Lake and issues threatening its future.
  3. Sent a letter to Army Corp of Engineers to make my voice heard in regards to reckless expansion of GSLM ponds.
  4. Organized a cleanup of Bountiful Lake and participated in a cleanup at Black Rock.
  5. Conducted lots of research and written articles on GSLOW history, including meeting Phyllis Spencer and family.
Winter Swimming
  1. Was introduced to winter swimming by the UtahOpenWater pioneer, Josh Green, on 24 February this year, and swam EVERY week from that point on in open water, cold or not.
  2. Created the Wasatch Front Polar Bear Club.  Which is an informal club (we don't take dues, or have any recognized "members".  Just a group of crazy cold water friends.
  3. Donated a significant chunk of change to Jack Bright to fund his very cool documentary on Winter Swimming which was successfully completed and released this year.  
New Friends and acquaintances
Last, but not least, I have made MANY new acquaintances and new friends this year:  

Last swim of the year

Six participants this week:
Gords, Jim, Goody, Dave, Tyson, Josh
This morning I went to pick up Michelle, but she was either gone, or not hearing me knock on the door or ring the doorbell.  I met Josh, Jim, Goody, Tyson, Dave at the marina.  Goody gave me a very cool new cap that said "Sub 0° Swimmer".  A little more manly than the candy can hat I've been wearing.  This morning it was really windy and there was some pretty decent chop outside the marina.  It's a good thing we swim inside the marina in the winter. I wouldn't want to swim into those cold waves.

Tyson and Dave are the two new guys for this week and I hope they had a good time.  I did my normal 250 yard swim out to the corner turn at the other end of the marina and back.  I had everything laid out perfectly so I was fully dressed in probably less than 90 seconds.  I have big boots that don't need tying, and I just slip into everything.  No zippers or buttons to deal with.

At the end it feels so good knowing in about 2 minutes
everything will be back to normal.  Well almost.
I got a response last night from Jack Bright concerning issues with cold hands.  He said that his swimmers often prep the hands with hand creme and then rub it in as well after the swim.  He also said, to pay special attention to your body and if it makes sense to cut back, do it!

This time the water on my thermometer came to 35.8°F.  Warmer than last Saturday by quite a bit.  We've a warm week.  My cold is also improving. I've never been a big fan of soup, but I think it is making a difference in my recovery.

This week when I got out my hands recovered very quickly due to the increased water temperature, plus I was really efficient getting back into warm clothes.  The wind chill was brutal!  Tyson asked me "What would you do if something happened out there, would someone be able to go out and get you?"  Josh probably would.  But I would never put myself in a situation where I would need help.  I've had plenty of experience swimming through cramps, and there's no way I can get hypothermia in 3 minutes in water that cold.  Experience with waters in the temp you start to learn what you can and can't do.  You stretch yourself and expand your limits, but not to a point where it's really dangerous.  Sure there's risk, but you keep it at a level where the odds of something really bad happening is extremely slim.
Rachele and Scott Kunz ran with Jacob and Cathi at the
New Year's Revolution Run at the Olympic Oval

Had a great time, and enjoyed the fact that I got to do an extreme event on New Years Eve which only took three minutes, and I get to go support Cathi and Jacob at the Olympic Oval.

Jacob ran 19 miles this morning, and Cathi a full Marathon.  Jacob took first for the 17 and under division.  Cathi got in another marathon for the year, totalling 16 marathons for 2011.  Wow!

Now to take a little nap.

250 yard swim in 36­°F Water in 3:31

Friday, December 30, 2011


After hitting my initial target of 1000 miles for the year, I wanted to just hit 1100 by year end to symbolize that I gave 110% this year.  This morning was a huge struggle getting out of bed.  I hit the snooze button a few times. Cathi was trying to talk me into just sleeping in and taking a day off, but that would mean I'd have to kill it tomorrow, and I want to just take it easy after the polar bear swim and enjoy New Year's Eve as a rest day.

So I got up and was about 10 minutes late getting in the water, but still was able to put in a kick butt day:

12000 - 6 x 2000's free (even no equip, odd pull)
900 kick with fins
100 cooldown

13,000 yards total in 3:40

So my year end total is 1101 miles which is a total of 1,938,262 yards.  I think it's reasonable to go for 2 million yards next year which is 1136 miles.  That will definitely be a stretch.  It's been a hardcore year and it seems more and more difficult to top my own history, but I'm gonna keep trying.  Tomorrow's year end post will be a pretty good summary of the year with highlights.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

USMS - the Willy Wonka of adult swimming

My initial disgust has phased out, so I'm removing the contents of this venting post.

As for today's swim:  It sucked.

I was in the pool at 5:00am, but about 800 yards into my swim, my left elbow started to bug me which was a first.  I was feeling a little stiff still and these thoughts about today's subject were weighing down my mind.  Hopefully tomorrow I can start with a renewed purpose and really get back to it!

1000 free total in 15:10

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Should've known better

I stayed up too late last night trying to finish watching "Inception".  It's the first time I've been able to get past 10 minutes without falling asleep.  I wasn't terribly captivated, I just wanted to finish it to see what all the hype was about.  What a dumb movie, and I can't stand Leonardo DiCaprio. 

Because I stayed up later, it was difficult to roll out of bed this morning, but I did it.  Was 5 minutes late getting in the water.  Not too bad. 

Here's what I did:

2000 free
2000 pull
1000 kick with fins
2000 free
2000 pull
1600 - 8 x 200's alternate back/breast and free

10,600 yards total in 2:58

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Beta release for Swimsense

Last night I took the Beta release of the firmware upgrade for the Finis Swimsense.  That was a good move cause now I can configure the main screen to show any data that it captures.  So now the only thing I have showing on the screen while I swim is the running yards.  It's nice and big and easy to check just after pushing off the wall.  Such a cool little gadget!

Today's swim:

400 easy
1800 - 3 x 600's free on 9:00
2000 - 4 x 500's free on 7:30
2000 - 5 x 400's free on 6:00
1800 - 6 x 300's free on 4:30
1400 - 7 x 200's IM/free :30 ri
800 - 8 x 100's free on 1:45
400 easy

10,600 yards total in 3:00

Monday, December 26, 2011

Santa has lowered the naughty/nice standard

This year for Christmas Santa got be a new Finis Swimsense watch.  I asked for it after reading 10KMarathon Swim's review, not sure if Santa would really come through for me or not.  Well I ended up opening it yesterday morning.  This thing is awesome!  I especially love how it helps me by confirming my total yards completed.  This way if I lose track, I don't end up just doing penance, but just confirm on the watch.  Only thing is, the display is difficult to read and so it causes me to pause for a second underwater to check the total, but I only check it about once every 2000 yards or so.  It's right on.

The only time it messed up was when I was doing IM drills (one arm fly) and obviously it couldn't get a reading when I was doing my right arm.  So I ended up "tricking" it in order to get it to count.  I would do a one arm drill and then rotate to the other side every other stroke.  Today's workout was:

16000 - 4 x (2000 free, 2000 pull)
2000 free
2000 - 10 x 200's (odd IM drill, even free)

20,000 yards total in 5:13  (average 100 yd pace throughout the entire workout: 1:27)
Average stroke count per 25: 8

Here's a link to my data.

I assume the watch would be any good in open water, as I figure it relies on the configured pool distance and the sensing of a turn to really figure out how far you've gone.  I read some reviews yesterday and was concerned about the battery life.  But after spending over 5 hours in the water, it still had a half charge according to the battery icon on the display.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Swim

Merry Christmas everyone!  This morning I picked up Michelle Yan and we headed out to GSL Marina where we met up with Jim Hubbard, Josh, and Jim's friend Mike and his son Logan.

I measured the water at 32.0° exactly, Jim had his measure 33 and Josh's read 34.  So I'll go with the average temp of 33°F (0.5°C).  It was definitely colder than it was in the afternoon two days ago.  Getting in was a little tougher but once I got immersed, I couldn't tell much of a difference.  This time I modified my normal lap.  Instead of swimming to the marina opening, I swam to the other side of the marina at the corner of the turn.  A total distance according to as 0.15 mile (a little over 250 yards).  Completed in 3:21

Panoramic view with me swimming towards the marina opening.
photo courtesy Jim Hubbard

Josh, Jim and Michelle, Mike and Logan got in and enjoyed the experience of the cold water. 
This was Michelle's and Mike's first time doing a winter swim with us.  I'm sure an experience never to forget!  Michelle mentioned that when she got out she looked all red like she was wearing a Santa Suit.  Ho! Ho! Ho!
Mike and son Logan, Gords, Josh, Jim and Michelle
All participate in the Christmas Eve Winter Swim at GSL
Water Temp - 33°F
photo courtesy Jim Hubbard

Michelle brought some warm soup and some breakfast burritos which hit the spot.  I wasn't able to partake until I could actually feel my hands.  I was shaking so much in the car, I was worried I'd spill it all over me.  The neoprene cap sure is a life saver.  Literally.  I was reading LoneSwimmer's blog post yesterday.  All of the info was stuff I heard before, except for the term AFTER DROP.  That sounds scary. 

Mmmmerry  Cccccchristmas! photo courtesy Jim Hubbard
To be honest, I don't notice the hyperventillating effect upon entering the water.  I'm able to slow down my stroke and breathe alternately.  I think I've gotten used to it.  However one thing that I don't think I can control is the numbness in my fingertips that remain numb for nearly a full day AFTER I get out.  That part sucks the most. If it was legal to wear neoprene gloves, I'd do this everyday.

One quote that a czech winter swimmer said in Jack Bright's documentary that particularly struck me this week was:   
"It's simple.  The human being tends to be lazy.  But with winter swimming, you have to face this weakness and overcome yourself and your own laziness."
True indeed.  That's EXACTLY why I do this.  It's overkill to train for the EC in this.  I do it to face weakness and overcome laziness, and enjoy the company of good friends.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Starting my own adventure beard

I'd love to grow myself a
"Lorenzo Snow" beard.
But Cathi would throw a fit!
My friend Rob Dumouchel is well known for his swimming with his "Adventure Beard".  I have been annoyed lately with the small amount of chaffing (even in the pool) when not shaving the day of long swims, and have to deal with a very small raw area on my right shoulder.  Plus, I like the look of beards, and to be honest have been coveting my friend Goody with his cool looking beard.  So I went out a few weeks back and bought a purple 5o'clock shadow.  But I feel like a complete dork when wearing it in public, so I have broken down and started growing my own adventure beard.

Perhaps it'll get the ball rolling a little faster on getting me released from Scoutmaster.

This morning's swim was awesome:
100 easy
5000 - 10 x 500's free on 7:30
4000 - 10 x 400's
First 5 free on 6:00, second 5 - 200 free/IM (:30 ri)
3000 - 10 x 300's free first 5 no equipment, second 5 pull

400 - 200 free/200 IM
100 IM fast
50 grandpa

12,650 yards total in 3:20

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Coldest swim yet - 350 yards in 35.0°

GSL Marina in December after sunset.  Pretty!
photo courtesy Jim Hubbard
Love how I'm setting new PR's every week.  This week the temp dropped 1.2°F down to 35.0°F which is 1.67°C.  I got my folks to come along with a couple nephews and a niece.

Met Josh, and Jim at the Marina.  Got a cool space tarp from Josh for Christmas.  Good for reheating.

Getting in for the swim is always easy.  This time after the swim I got dressed and slowly made my way to the car.  I got the shakes and finger crushing until we got to the airport.  Tough one today.  Did the full 350 yards and did it in 4:46 according to my stopwatch.

350 yards total in 4:46

Here's video:

Thanks to Jim for some pretty cool pics:

Getting ready
photo courtesy Jim Hubbard
Call search and rescue if I'm not back in 10 minutes
photo courtesy Jim Hubbard

Life's a bear.  Dive right in.
photo courtesy Jim Hubbard

Salt?  That's the least of my worries.
photo courtesy Jim Hubbard

Mail from the King

Kevin Murphy -
King of the English Channel
Yesterday I got an email from Kevin Murphy, King of the English Channel.  He's the Honorary Secretary of the CS&PF.  He sent me the Application form for doing a solo swim as well as the medical form.  It was awesome getting a personal email from him.  I kinda felt like I was getting a letter back from Santa Klaus.  Sure he was just conducting CS&PF business, and it may have even been a form letter, but he actually hit "Send" to my email address.  How sweet is that?!

This morning I woke up at 0345 with a slight headache deep inside my brain.  It was about a 4 on the pain scale.  But I took some Ibuprofen and got my butt out of bed and on the way to the pool.

Did a shortened version of Tuesday's workout:

3000 free
2000 pull
At this point my headache was actually just a cloud on the inside of my head.    I could barely feel it, but it wasn't completely gone.
1000 kick with fins
1000 free
I was planning to repeat the 3000 free/2000 pull at this point, but only got in 1000 free before I could feel my headache building back up, and also I started to feel nauseous.  Kind of like being motion sick.  I called it a day at this point and went in to work.
7000 yards total in 2:00

Looking forward to tonight's Polar Bear Swim.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lewis Pugh, the Kobe of OWS

I found this interview with Lewis Pugh.  The interview kinda bugged me.  Sure he's awesome.  But his head size matches.  He's the Kobe Bryant of open water swimming.  Can't deny his pure talent, but the way he chews his gum is annoying.

This morning's swim felt great.  Took yesterday off due to a lack of sleep and a need to rest the shoulder just a bit more.  I did some dryland training yesterday afternoon and that really helped it.

3000 yards free
2000 pull
1000 kick with fins

3000 yards free
2000 pull

11,000 yards total in 3:02

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas party swim

This morning I got to the Gene Fullmer Fitness and Recreation Center at 7am.  There were only two lanes setup and both had one swimmer in them.  I asked the guard about the other part of the pool and whether a water aerobics class was expected anytime in the morning.  Kind of a dumb question.  Of course there was.  So I ended up getting in a lane with another swimmer.

He looked good and relaxed but not necessarily all that fast.  Once I got in and started my warmup set, I noticed he was gaining on me.  I got suspicious and took a closer look at this guy.  It was James Jonsson!  He went like probably 3000 straight before he stopped doing flipturns and got a drink.  I took the opportunity to stop and say hello and we talked briefly about Utah Lake.  This is the pool he typically swims at and it was a coincidence that we ran into each other.  I could barely hang with him when I was pulling.  He's a total stud.  James is a legend in Utah for his open water records and all of them fast!

Here's today's whole workout:

2000 free
2000 pull
1000 kick with fins

Then Goody showed up and we did:
200 easy
1000 - 10 x 100's on 2:00 holding 1:16-1:18 on all of them.

Then Rachel showed up with the rest of the group, and we did:

350 yards easy

Christmas Swimfest group after our swim.  Thanks to Rachel
for all the cool matching peppermint caps!  
Then Erin showed up and gave us the following workout:

400 - 2 x 200's free on 3:30
450 - 3 x 150 IM's (no free)
200 kick with fins in under four minutes

Then we did a couple of relays which was only an additional 100 yards

Today's total:  7800 yards total

Then we all went down the slide.  Rachel gave everyone these cool peppermint silicon caps.  I was amazed how thick it was and am excited to try it at GSL next week.  They're thick and probably better than wearing two latex caps.

Then Goody and I went to Golden Corral.  Unfortunately the address that I had was not the right one, but at least Goody, myself, Heidi, and Michelle got to eat together and chat about all the different adventure swims we'd like to do, etc...  It was alot of fun and I'm very eager to get Michelle on board with some open water swims in the GSL over the winter.  She sounds enthusiastic about swimming open water and would enjoy getting another regular into our small group.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The power of Chocolate

Last night after the polar bear swim, I picked up Cathi at the Salt Lake frontrunner station and we went to my company's party.  They had some delicious shrimp cocktail, but the thing I loved most was all the different dark chocolates.  I had like two plates of different kinds.  My favorite were the organic truffles.  They weren't sweet, but so delicious.  I felt justified eating all those chocolates because 5 minutes in sub 4° water equals around 2000 calories.  Yeah right!

Anyway this morning's swim was fantastic.  I was powering through it the whole time.  Had tons of energy and was going at a decent pace.  Thank you dark chocolate!

8000 - 2 x (2000 free, 2000 pull)
1000 kick with fins
2100 free
500 - 5 x 100's free on 1:30 nice and easy strokes (got all on 1:22)

10,600 yards total in 3:02

Still on a high from yesterday's polar bear.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Anything below 4° is Icy Wota

My all time favorite quote from Jack Bright's "Winter Swimming", is when he is interviewed before a cold water race and he says, "Anything below 4 degrees is Icy Water.  Anything below 4 degrees is extreme".  I love how he says "water".  It sounds like "Woah-ta".  The accent is awesome.

Josh and Jim get ready for the shock of "icy water".
Jim's wife in the background videoing us cookoos.
Anyway tonight's cold water swim was "Extreme".  I'm psyched cause the recovery afterwards this time around was totally different than last week's.  I took a temp before the swim this time so I could know what I was getting into.  Last week's temp was 37.8 and this week it came to 37.2° (Which converts to 2.8°C).

Anyway I met Josh and Jim Hubbard at the marina at 4:30pm.  We talked for a bit and then I got in and did a lap just like last week.  That's my baseline (350 yards).  I really want to stick with that distance as long as safely possible.  When I got in it was about the same as last week.  When I got halfway there I didn't have any "Sticking" like last time and although my feet and hands hurt like last time, it was not as severe.  I was also able to really focus on my hands pulling the water.  Not focusing on the pain, but on feeling the water from a position of pulling it.

The clouds and haze over the lake for today's swim made
it seem like it was colder than it really was.  I loved it!
When I got back to the ramp my goggles had fogged up at that point, but I could tell someone was in the water close to me.  So I swam breaststroke and saw that Jim was in the water.  We did breaststroke back to where we could stand up and got out.  My watch read 5:05 from the time I entered/exited the water.  I slowly got dried off and layered back up.  Instead of rushing off to the warm car, I stuck around and chatted it up with Jim and Josh.  I think that made the difference this time.  Instead of going from super cold to super warm, my body recovered much less painfully.  Sure I was shivering, but the crushing pain in my hands never happened.

I tried to give $10 to Jim, although I would hardly consider him a newbie.  He's been out to Bountiful Lake with us at the start of this season's cold water swim, and he's been out before.  He wouldn't take the cash, so the challenge is still out there Kate!  I guarantee the rush after a cold water swim is better than any Christmas lights you'll ever see.

Anyway both the swim AND the recover this time for me was MUCH easier than last week and it was half a degree cooler.  I'm very happy.  Planning to go twice next week:  Thursday afternoon as normal AND a Christmas eve morning swim.

Sleep deprived

This morning I definitely felt sleep deprived, but I got up anyway.  Every weekday I'm getting an average of 6.5 hours of sleep.  Last night I only got 5.  I love Sundays to catch up.  Today's swim was cut short cause I need to get off work early for a swim in GSL.  Here's today's workout:

2 x (2500 yards free, 500 (300 back, 200 IM))
1000 free

7000 yards total in 1:55

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I'm not a good person

I'm too damn competitive, or proud.  One of those two or a combination of them.  Today near the start of my workout some guy got in the lane next to me and started sprinting out sets of 100 yards on like 3 minutes.  He was going fast, but he was passing me like I was Grandpa swimming.  Granted I was just swimming through and flipturning and not resting, but it was bugging me, so I picked it up.  Especially when he'd start 5 yards behind me.  He was in the lane next to me, but I wouldn't let him pass me up.  That's only a fast hundred, then I can pull back to my normal pace while he rests for two minutes and then pick it back up again.  I kind of felt like a jerk after he got out after doing maybe 1000 yards.  Hope that was his planned distance and didn't leave feeling demoralized.  Thought to myself this saying that Cathi and I sometimes admit to each other when we've done something wrong: "I'm not a good person."

Today's workout was wonderful:

2000 free
2000 pull
1000 kick
1000 free
1000 - 900 free, 100 IM
1000 - 800 free, 200 IM
1000 - 700 pull, 300 back
1000 - 3 x 200 free fast on 3:00 (banked :20), 2 x 200 IM's no rest
500 - 5 x 100's descending :30 ri (1:25, 1:19, 1:14, 1:08, 1:04)
Took an extra minute before the last set.  The 4th set on the last 50 my right calf was completely useless as it was totally cramped up.  Kept on swimming though and was happy to get a 1:08 on it. Then on the last 100 my left calf cramped up on the last 25.  Awesome sprinting set!  Love to get some decent speed at the end of a long workout!
100 free/back

10,600 yards total in 2:53

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Giving myself a birthday gift - Jamie Patrick's Swim camp

OK, so I'm shaking right now I'm so excited!  I got an invite from Jamie Patrick to attend this camp in northern California in May.  My birthday is the week after this camp, so I am going to count this as my birthday present to myself.  When I first heard about this, I seriously thought it was a typo on how much it costs:  $15/day including a place to stay and catered dinner.  I thought Steven Munatones left off a zero or something.  Too good to be true!

Three days of long swims with some seriously experienced marathon swimmers?  For instance: Jamie Patrick (of course), Darren Miller, JC Malick, Karen Rogers, Samantha Sweet, and maybe even Anne Cleveland will show up!  Oh man I feel like I just won a trip to Hawaii, I'm so excited!

The only tough part is making sure I don't take any PTO between now and then cause I'm really scraping the bottom of my PTO balance to attend this as well as go to England for two weeks in August.

The worst bad habit a marathon swimmer could pick up: Giving up

I read somewhere yesterday or late last week someone write something like, "You shouldn't swim fatigued.  You should stop, because your form breaks down and you simply are picking up bad habits."  I tried finding where I read that this morning, but couldn't locate it.

I thought about this during the last part of today's swim because I was particularly tired.  I agree swimming fatigued is where your form will break down, but just giving up and getting out of the pool cause your tired is a bad idea for a marathon swimmer.  If you quit your workout every time your got fatigued, what the heck would you do in the middle of the channel?

Instead, you need to quit whining mentally about how tired you are and focus mentally on each and every movement, staying relaxed and "feeling" and watching each stroke to avoid breakdown of good form.
It is important to learn how to push through the fatigue and to keep going with the best form as possible.  The worst habit you could create is to just give up.

Today's swim was a focus on form and using NO EQUIPMENT:

5 x (2000 free, 100 back)
100 free strong

10,600 yards total in 2:56

Monday, December 12, 2011

Observing the day of rest

Last night Cathi was doing research on some marathons she might want to run in 2013, and it's very disappointing to see a majority held on Sunday.  I'm glad she's made up her mind that doing Sunday marathons aren't an option, instead of justifying herself through and going anyway.  She's an inspiration to me.

This morning's swim was as perfect as you could get in a pool. I felt strong and my stroke was on right from the start and held the entire time.

2000 free
2000 pull
1000 kick
2000 free
2000 pull
1000 - 10 x 100's free on 1:25 (banked :10)
600 - 200 IM easy, 200 build (2:25), 200 IM easy

10,600 yards total in 2:56

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Another milestone reached - 4 million yards in a pool

Today I passed the 4 million yards in a pool mark.  Every single yard of that 4 million is logged here.  It does NOT include open water swims, just pool workouts.

Today's workout was at Layton Surf N' Swim since Cathi agreed to meet me there by running there.  I was in the water at 0720 and quickly remembered why I quit swimming there.  It was 85°F.  The water is clean and I really dig the ultraviolet underwater lights, but it's just to dang hot for lap swimming in.

2000 free
2000 pull
2000 free
2000 pull
1000 kick
1000 - 5 x 200's stroke
2300 free

Cathi finally showed up and I just Grandpa swam with her.  (Various breast, free, back and one armed fly sets)
This was her first time doing laps in about three years.  So she didn't have to do much to get out of breath.  Weird cause I couldn't run with her, she's too in shape for me.

1300 yards

13,600 yards total

Friday, December 9, 2011

Too many dudes

Just like most pools around the country, at 0500 those that show up are pretty regular.  There are people who show up just about every day at that hour.  It's their routine.   I guess I'm one of them.  Makes me feel old.  But most of them only last about 20-45 minutes then typically the triathloners start to show up.  I don't like it when the pool is filled with nothing but dudes.  Sometimes that happens, and it reminds me of the Flight of the Conchord's "Too many dicks on the dance floor".  Not the most uplifiting song, but kinda funny.

I still feel a little pumped up from yesterday's cold water swim.  Today's workout was much better than yesterday:

2000 free
2000 pull
2000 free
2000 pull
1000 free
500 - 5 x 100's on 1:30 (banked :20)
500 kick with fins
200 IM
200 free (got 2:30)
200 IM easy

10,600 yards total in 2:58

Tomorrow is another major milestone.  Tomorrow I will have logged over 4 million yards. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Double bagging it

Today's Polar Bear Swim involved wearing two latex caps instead of one.  That was a good decision as I didn't get a brain freeze at all this time.  The water on my digital thermometer after the swim showed 37.8° (3.2°C).

The GSL Marina looks awesome at sunset.

Today I met Josh at the marina at 4:15pm and we went down to the ramp and got all set up.  Neither of us heard from anyone else and waited 10 more minutes talking, until it was 4:30pm so we figured that was it.  The sun was nearly at the horizon.  I paused for a quick moment to mentally prepare and waded in and immediately started my swim for a full lap of the marina opening and back.  A distance of 350 yards (1/5th of a mile).  

When I turned around to come back I started to feel like I was holding a brick in each hand, and also a brick was strapped to the soles of each foot.  Then they started to feel "dead.  Couldn't feel them anymore.  But my brain knew which way to move my arms even though I couldn't really feel them.  I knew each pull actually was making me go forward even though I couldn't feel the water on my hands and forearms to really verify that.  

Finally made it back to the ramp and stopped my watch: 4:45.  I reached over to where I had my thermometer and took a quick reading before getting out.  37.8°F.  Josh took a reading from his mercury thermometer and it was just below 40.  So somewhere between there.  I feel like a girly man only being in the water 5 minutes and calling it good.  The real winter swimmers in the Czech Republic are in the icy water from 10 to 22 minutes.  

Once we got out, Goody pulled up.  Dang!  I'm sure he was disappointed we already went.  He said that from now on that he'll let us know when he is NOT coming.  I typically put in a 15 minute buffer.  Plan to meet at 4:15pm and in the water at 4:30pm.  If you pull up at 4:30, sure we'll wait.  But no sign at 4:30pm and time's a wasting, we're going in.  We're getting cold just standing in the cold 30° breeze.   If we plan on 4:30, it ends up being 4:45, and the sun is practically down then.  About a month after the winter solstice, we can start meeting later.  The water's cold enough when the sun is still up.  It's mentally brutal as it is to do a lap in that cold water, I don't want to put darkness on top of that.   

Anyway I felt bad for him and said "You're up bro!".  He was a good sport and quickly changed and got in for his swim.  We cheered for him and took pics.  I really envy his full beard.  It looks so good.  Can't wait to get released from my Scoutmaster position so I can grow one out.  I literally look like a shaved fat polar bear.  I'd like a little facial fur to cover up my bioprene neck.  

I enjoy listening to Jack Bright's documentary, Winter Swimming, on the way home after each icy swim.  I converted the DVD to mp4 and put on my ipod so that I can take it with me.  Today Jack's quote is:
"Perhaps what makes this activity immediately enjoyable and gratifying is the release of endorphines a short time after exiting the water.  A true natural high."
I'm here to tell you, that this is very true, EXCEPT it doesn't come until after the recover stage is over.  During recover stage I'm not a very positive person.  I'm in my car moaning in pain, shaking and mourning over the feeling of having my hands and toes ran over by a steamroller, or crushed in a press.  They don't look discolored, but they feel like they're about to fall off.  I'd rather throw up than go through that crushing feeling.  And today was the worst recovery I've ever experienced.  I'm just so glad that nobody else is in the car with me, cause I'm a total baby.

This season it's only been Josh, Jake, Goody, myself and one appearance from Matt Gerrish.  It would really be nice to expand our numbers.  So this next week I'm offering (bribing) $10 to any new person who's not joined us before to at minimum get in up to their neck in the water without a wetsuit and immediately get out if they desire.  Anybody else in the club want to join me by throwing a little green in the pot?  Although we would love an additional regular, we don't expect it.  But it sure would be nice to have a special appearance by a newbie to get a good laugh and take some pics.  You actually will enjoy it.  The recovery stage after a quick "plop" is minimal.

Short one

This morning I had to get to work early, because I'm leaving early in order to get in a short swim at GSL before sunset.  So here's this morning's shortened workout:

1000 free
500 - 5 x 100's free on 1:30 (all at 1:21-1:24)
400 - 2 x 200's free strong on 2:45 (2:33, 2:35)
300 - 100 back/free/back recovery
200 - 200 fast (2:24) 1:00 rest
100 sprint (1:05)

2000 pull
1000 kick
1000 cooldown

6500 yards total in 2:02

Good workout.  Dryland training this afternoon.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Achieving my new year's resolution with 24 days to spare

On the last day of 2010, I set a goal to swim 1000 miles this year.  Today I hit it, and became the 14th person to join the USMS 1000 club for 2011.

To put that achievement in perspective:
If you're a runner, it's like running 4,000 miles in a year.
If you're a cyclist, it's like riding 10,000 miles in a year.
If you're a coach potato, it's like watching TV for 24 full days and nights in a year.

Setting goals is a passion of mine.  It's what gets me out of bed.  I usually am juggling about 3-4 swimming goals at a time.  What is your biggest swimming or fitness related goal of the year?  You almost there, or did you already achieve it?

Today's workout was:

1000 free
1000 - 900 channel pace(CP), 100 IM
1000 - 800 CP, 200 IM
1000 - 700 CP, 300 IM
1000 - 600 CP, 400 IM
500 free strong (6:29)
1000 - 400 CP, 600 (6 x 100's free on 1:30)
1000 - 300 CP, 700 (7 x 100's free on 1:30)
1000 - 200 CP, 800 (8 x 100's free on 1:30 (banked :15))
1000 - 100 free easy, 900 (9 x 100's IM/free on 1:45/1:30)

9,500 yards total in 2:42

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dropping back to a healthy level

When I was swimming 7-8 miles 5-6 days a week in order to win the Long Island Virtual Open Water Race, I was totally spent the rest of the day.  I'd be sleepy, sore, and needed to ice my shoulders, and take ibuprofen 2-3 times a day.  So now that the race is finally over (Whew!), I'm dropping back just a bit.  And today was awesome!  After the workout, I wasn't sore, or achy, I wasn't so ravenous that I felt like eating a small child.  I felt healthy.  So I'm sticking with 6 miles (10,600 yards) or less for a normal day.  Here's today's workout:

2000 free
1500 pull
500 kick
2000 free
1000 pull
1000 - 5 x 200's odd IM, even back, free fast!  (2:27)
2000 free
400 kick
200 IM

10,600 yards total in 2:52

My shoulder is feeling so great!  No aches or pains whatsoever.  I'll hit my year end goal by end of workout tomorrow.  1000 miles.

Oh yeah,  Goody last week introduced me to this guitarist that I honestly had never even heard of.  Apparently I'm ignorant of significant artists out there.  Buckethead is amazing!  What a fantastic discovery.  So I've treated myself to playing back this song in my head while I swam today.
Great stuff!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

150 yards in 33.9°F water

I planned on going just for a cold water swim right before sundown at Antelope Island Marina.  Cathi ran a few errands for Christmas shopping, but at 4pm she was still not back.  So I took Oliver, my 4 year old.  I parked the car on the boat ramp parallel to the water (so if my brakes went out it wouldn't roll down into the water).  I left the car running with the heat going full blast.  Oliver was content to just sit in his seat playing games on my Ipod.  I said, "Oli, I'll be back in about 4 minutes.  Stay here and just play your game."

I was already in my speedo and applied some channel grease to my shoulders and put on my cap, goggles, ear plugs and walked quickly down the ramp to the water's edge and got in.  The water felt even colder than Thursday.  I didn't put in a thermometer yet.  I just put it on the ramp to take a reading when I got back.

I waded up to my waist and then dove in and started to swim.  I was heading towards the marina opening and made it out about 150 yards.  The bottom of my feet were killing me.  Everything was on fire, but the bottom of my feet were intense!  I turned around at that point and swam back.  It's one thing to swim alone, but swim alone in water that is icy?  You have to be very in tune with your limitations.  I didn't want to push it.  I swam back and hit stop on my watch.  Only 2:33.  Boo.  I had to take a quick temp.  I was convinced that it was sub 40.  My digital thermometer said 33.9°F.  What the heck!  It snowed this morning and we had a brisk wind from the west, but I didn't think it would be low 30's.  That was amazing!

I could have gone longer, but was happy with a solo for that amount of time.  It's only gonna get colder baby! Got to do twice a week in hopes that its not so tough each time.  The body has to acclimatize!

It was funny.  On the way back home.  Oliver actually stopped playing his game to watch me shake and shiver.  He was looking at me in this really puzzled and concerned look.  "Dad, are you cold?"  "Yeah, just a little buddy."

@ 150 yards in 2:33

Thursday, December 1, 2011

300 yards in 41° water

This week Josh brought his wife Sabrina and their two boys.  I love seeing kids watch their Dads do crazy stuff, especially when their young.  It really burns in to their minds that their Dad has character instead of a Dad who sits in front of the TV in the recliner watching football while reading the paper.  How boring.

Josh asked me what my goal was and I said, 'Just one lap'.  I felt like bailing today after my long 17 mile swim in the morning, but knew that I really needed the cold water exposure.  Once a week is a bear minimum (pun intended).  So today was less about how far or how long I was in, just that I got in.  So one lap is about 350 yards and that would take about 5 minutes.  That's good enough.

Josh was first to get in and started.  I LOVE IT WHEN SOMEONE ELSE TAKES THE LEAD.  I was a few seconds behind him.  The water burned instantly on contact.  It got colder.

The great thing is that all the knots in my back and neck from my swim earlier, were instantly gone.  Talk about effective therapy!  When I got to the end of the marina Josh was on his way back.  He started doing some heads out breaststroke.  I cut that lap just a little short so I could swam side by side with him.  When we got back I asked Sabrina to throw me my digital thermometer so I can take a reading.   It read 41° F.  I switched it to Celcius and it read 5°C exactly.  Wow!  That's the temp it needs to be to be included in the Ice Swimming Association.  Now if I can just do that lap 5 times.  Yeah right!

However I was glad that this time the one lap didn't totally demoralize me like last week.  I felt like last week was tougher.  Now if we can just maintain the one lap as it gets colder, that would be awesome.  After I got out I said goodbye and jogged up to the car and did my post cold water swim routine in the car then drove off to my parents house for a nice shower.

Then went off to see a special screening of a new documentary with Josh and Goody called Evaporating Shorelines.

When my head hit the pillow, I was out!  What a day!

Just completed swimming around Long Island, NY

Today I took PTO so that I could do a blitz on the 250 mile swim.  I needed 29,500 yards and did 30,000.  Started out at SDRC at 0500 and swam the first 7900 yards when all of a sudden the lights went out.   It was really windy outside and the lights were flickering all morning.  So the lifeguards kicked us out.  When I got in my car, the lights went back on and they opened up the pool again, so I resumed my workout, and then at 9800 yards they went out again.  So I decided to just go to Northwest Recreation Center.

This is my second time there and I was pleased with this place.  The water temp was 82.7 and I was the only one there (besides the lifeguard) for like 5 hours.  Here's the details of today's workout:

8000 - 4 x 2000's free (even no equip, odd pull)
rest, get something to eat and back in the water in 5 minutes.
6000 - 3 x 2000's free (even no equip, odd pull)
1000 kick with fins
Do the above workout all over again to get:
30,000 yards total in 9:40 including the drive over to NWRC and also the wasted time at SDRC.

Submitted my VirtualOpenWaterRace Spreadsheet to Karen Reeder.