Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cold Showers have begun

This morning I went to SDRC.  I got there about 10 minutes after the pool opened and all the lanes in the north had one swimmer each.  I opted to swim with on of the regulars that I know is not uptight.  Earl, an older gentlemen who is usually there before the pool opens, just came in after I did.  He asked one guy that I've never seen before if he could share.  The guy looked over to the south end (which gets filled with High School kids at around 6am) and said, "There are lots of lanes over there", and pointing to the next lane over, "Or you could share with him".  I could only shake my head as I watched Earl move over one more lane and ask the next guy.  That kind of thing pisses me off.  These people who think they own a lane make me want to move over and start swimming with them just to stir up trouble.  I don't have a problem sharing a lane with up to 8 people.  It's part of swimming in a pool.  Sharing!  There's absolutely no reason to share a lane.

2000 free warmup
3000 - 2 x 1500's pull (second set transition to smaller paddles by 500)
3000 - 3 x 1000's (first kick with fins, 2nd rotate back/breast/free by 100, 3rd straight through)
2000 - 4 x 500's on 7:30 (ended up hitting 7:30 on all of them so no rest for the slow)
600 - 2 x (100 back/breast/free) easy

10,600 yards total in 3:00

I'm on day 2 of taking cold showers.  It has been surprisingly bearable and quite exhilarating.  It was a downer to take a cold one at SDRC when their showers are so nice.   The pressure is only good when you go hot. Oh well.

This afternoon Josh and I are doing a clinic at the GSL Marina.  I'm gonna get there a little early to do a Gridley Straight lap before it starts.


Regrouping at the buoys with the swimmers.
This afternoon I went out to the Marina and did one GS lap and then met up with a fairly big group of swimmers where Josh and I gave some tips on OW swimming and some info about the lake.  We then went out as a group out of the marina out to the white buoy north of the lookout point and then back.  GPS
for the afternoon (including GS lap earlier) came to 2.82 miles.  The water was pretty warm, with some cool spots.

It was fun meeting lots of new people.

OW total 2.82 miles in @ 1:40
Daily total:  8.84 miles

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Crystal Clear

Today breaks the record for the clearest water I've ever witnessed in the GSL.  About 80% of today's swim I could see the bottom.  From the extreme detail of the Tufa Reef to the mesmerizing sand dune bottom.  It was one of the fastest swims too because there was no wind and the surface was glass like.  I did two laps of Gridley Straight in 2:04 (4.09 miles).

There were a couple patches of brine shrimp eggs that I had to pass through.  When you first go through it, you're in a state of utter disgust, but just like most other unique characteristics of the Great Salt Lake, you get used to it and come to appreciate it in a twisted kind of way.
From GSL Qualifying Swim

The water temp this morning felt colder than the watch read: 63-64°F.  But it felt good.  Didn't feel any soreness at all from yesterday.  Which was surprising.  Swam strong the whole time.

Total: 4.09 miles in 2:04

Monday, May 28, 2012

Another English Channel Qualifier

Goody and I set out for our swim.
This morning I woke up naturally at 4:30am because I was excited for today's swim!  The plan was to meet Goody out at Pineview at 6:15am and do a long swim today.  I got all greased up ready to go and we got in just as the sun was coming up.  The was mist coming off the water.  There was no wind and it was a beautiful day!  The water felt cold, but I didn't take a temp reading because my watch thermometer takes a while to get an accurate reading.  Our plan was to do several laps of out to the Dam buoys and back.  I decided to wear a cap this time for a minimal amount of protection from the cold.

The mist was awesome!  Photo simply doesn't do the moment
Halfway to the buoys on the first lap I figured I had been in the water long enough to get an accurate reading on my watch.  It read 57.2°.  I took another reading on the way back and it was 57 again.  I broke the news to Goody hoping it wouldn't deter him.  And it didn't he continued to swim strong and in good spirits.  At the end of each lap I waited in the water while Goody got a refill on his bottle which I would stow for the turnaround point at the dam buoys.  We got back to another lap and the mist was gone, but the water was still cold.

I took another reading: 57 again.  I was smiling underwater because I didn't feel overly cool.  I was comfortable and felt like I could go on at this temp for hours.

Temp readings during the third lap averaged 58 degrees.  Still we swam strong and the sun was starting to make a difference.  No boats had appeared yet which was awesome.  There was a slight pickup of wind, but it was very minor and was just a easterly ripple coming from Ogden Canyon.  Not a big deal.

During the fourth lap the average reading was 59 degrees.  Goody wanted to try something on the last half of the fourth lap.  He had me stow his SSD behind my Swimming Buddy board.  He gave me a mission to just stay 10 feet off to his left with me staying at his hip.  This was practice for me pacing during Catalina.  This was difficult for a couple reasons:

1) I felt obligated to look off to my right more often than I would have.  I bilateral breathe and when I am forced to just do one side I can feel a slight strain.  Nothing major, it just feels goofy.

2) I had to remember to stay at the designated pace.

3) I had to sneeze once and when I did it, my scrunched up face allowed water in my goggles.  I had to stop real quick to drain it out and resume.  He noticed and stopped.  I sure hope he doesn't do that in Catalina.  If I happen to get water in my goggles while pacing, he should forget me.  I'm the one there trying to keep him on task and if he ends up stopping, to see why I'm not right there next to him, I would feel guilty for making him waste energy.

Almost done.  Last "Zag" before heading in to the finish.
After that fourth lap, Goody had some family obligations to attend to.  At that point it was 7.54 miles and time was: 4:50.  Average temp at that point was: 57.75°F.  Awesome swim!

I took off my cap at this point.  My last reading read just over 60° and that temp isn't really cold anymore.  I stowed the cap in my waterproof container, said Goodbye to my partner, and went for one more.  I realized that each lap was well under 2 miles per lap, so on the last lap I did lots of "zig zags" across to one side and to the other.  The boats were out and about now and I wasn't about to risk going out of the no wake zone just to get some extra distance.  The wind had picked up a little, but still not a big deal.  On the fifth lap, including all the zig zags, my total came to 10.1 miles and in 6:30.  The temp on that last lap averaged 61°.

GPS said 10.1 miles once I stood up to get out.  But I forgot to
stop it after that, so the route shows my drive home.  Kind of
looks like my kid got a hold of the map and scribbled on it,
with the fifth "zig zag" lap.
Total Distance: 10.1 miles in 6:30 (including all the breaks) at average temp of 58.4°F.  That's considered an English Channel qualifier.  Except I did stand up a few times waiting for Goody to get refills and also held onto the board a few times while he got feeds at the dam buoy.  But as far as time in the water, it meets the 6 hour minimum and we were in water well under 61 degrees for most of the swim.   Shoulder blades got stiff at the end, but I felt like I could have kept on going and wasn't going to push it.  Josh and I are planning to do the Antelope to Black Rock swim this Saturday as a preview of what to expect next weekend.  Josh hasn't done it before and this is his chance to do it since being a Race Director kind of prevents us from doing it as well.

Another milestone was reached with this morning's swim:  Over 500 miles swam for 2012.  Well ahead of goal pace.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Blustery birthday bash!

Goody, Kim and I enjoying the rough conditions.
This morning I met Goody and Kim out at Pineview.  Today's my birthday, and I couldn't imagine celebrating it without a decent swim.

I was a little late getting out the door.  Cathi being the sweetheart that she is made me a delicious breakfast and I wanted to be appreciative and eat it all up.  When I drove into the parking lot at our small swimming beach.  Goody was already in the water and Kim was just heading down from the parking lot.  The forecast for today was supposed to bring us quite a storm around 11am and I got there at 10:30.

We got in and did a "Dam route".  A round trip of just under two miles (1.77 according to my GPS).  Going out was pretty nice and calm, but about 800 yards from the red buoy line by the dam and the wind picked up and Goody and Kim were able to catch up to me.  We talked for a second and I took a temperature reading with my watch.  It read 61.2°F.  We swam back and because we were now had a tailwind, I was able to get a really good time coming back.  I quickly ate one of my egg sandwiches which I stowed in my case and Kim got out while Goody and I did one more lap.  I wanted to get in about three laps today, but it didn't work out.

Goody and I decide not to risk getting fried by lightning.
Probably a good idea.  I'd like to at least make it to another
When we got about 1/2 way to the buoys we saw a storm surge coming very quickly in from the narrow Ogden Canyon.  It was quite the sight.  I was smiling.  I kind of like swimming in really crazy weather.  As long as there is no lightening I feel perfectly safe.  I imagine myself as a submarine that is immune to the crashing waves, where a boatsman would have to be concerned.

My Swimming Buddy board was really catching the wind and I was unable to keep up with Goody.  He stopped for me and we kept going a bit further.  I looked over and saw that he now was stopped.  He looked really concerned with the surge making its way even closer.  The wind was really building up.  I took another temp, just to see where we were at:  60.0°F.  I felt great.  I could have swam at that temp all day.  It was refreshing.

This GoPro image just doesn't capture the rough conditions,
or the fast moving nature of this storm surge.  It was very
He said that he heard thunder.  I always swim with ear plugs, so I end up saying "What?" too much when people talk to me when swimming.  Goody wanted to head back.  He promised Patricia that he would be smart in the water.  I reluctantly agreed and we started swimming back.  Once we got around the bend right before getting back to our starting point the waves died down a little and we made our way back to the beach.

We're planning to come back on Monday when the weather is supposed to be fantastic and all this stormy weather moved east.  I'm looking forward to doing a long swim on Monday.  Hoping for at least 5 dam routes, and some.   A minimum of 10 miles.

Total for today: 3.03 miles according to the GPS in 2:42

Friday, May 25, 2012

Brine Shrimp

Josh put together the design for this year's GSLOW race medals.  I think they look awesome.

This morning there were storm clouds so we only got to swim in the outdoor pool for about an hour and a half or so.

1500 free easy
500 - 4 x 125's free/kick/free/back/free on 1:50
Then moved to other pool and did:

1200M - 8 x 150 IM rolling pull (I ended up doing free on most of these since Kyle, Will and Randi were kicking my butt and I was lagging behind)
1000M - 4 x 250's (100 free, 50 back, 100 free)
700 kick with fins
850 pull
I hope this improves by tomorrow.  I'd like to swim Pineview
on my birthday.
After doing 800 yards and half way to the other side I heard a long whistle.  Apparently the guard heard some lightening and was kicking everyone out to swim inside if they wanted to.   And that's what I did.  So switching to SCY now....
2000 pull no strap paddles
500 freestyler paddles
500 free no equipment

 5000 yards + 3750 M = @9100 yards in 3:00

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Great EC practice this morning

I've never been to Dover or swam in the EC before, but I would imagine that this morning's swim had to have been decent practice for it.  It was quite windy this morning and I could see the white caps and waves from the frontage road.  Today's swim was gonna be with rough water.

I took my Swimming Buddy board, but left off the flag and the noodle.  It laid flat in the water and because of the low profile provided very little drag.  I would say even less drag than the SSD when it's just the board.  I put my drink and GPS and keys in the waterproof container.  The water felt cooler than last time.  When I got out of the marina and heading towards black rock the temp on my watch read 64°.

As I got nearer to Black rock the temperature was noticeably getting cooler.  When I arrived within 10 yards of the cement blocks at the shore of black rock.  I took another temp: 61°F.  I wasn't feeling cold, it felt comfortable and refreshing.  I noticed that my drink had floated off halfway to black rock.  So I'm going to get a small attachment at the top of the next water bottle, and attach it to the carabiner that I have attached to the board.  No more littering of the GSL with my stupid drinks!
Lots of gulls following me this morning

So today's swim didn't include any drink breaks, just swim!

Did two laps of Gridley Straight in 2:18.  Took some pics of the dozens of seagulls who just hovered above me heading into the wind.  It was cool how many there were.  With the temp and the 3 foot swells and chop I'd say today was some pretty good practice.  Felt great, and never got tired or thirsty despite the lack of any drink or nutrition.

Total: 4.15 miles in 2:18

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Feeling Lucky

I found out yesterday that my friends Bob Needham and Karen Rogers suffered much more than I did with the "spots" picked up from the Hidden Valley Lake.  Apparently its a reaction to a parasite that resulted in them needing antibiotics or something.  I haven't talked to them, just had information passed on to me.

My spots have slowly been fading away and they don't even itch anymore.  I never did get any of them on my face, neck or head.  Just back, arms and legs.  I'm feeling lucky about that.

The salt kind of burned each and every open "spot" on my
skin.  Is that a good thing? What ever it is, if it was alive,
it's surely dead by now.
This morning I showed up at the gate of the GSL marina just before the sun came up.  I tried the code on the gate.  It didn't work.  I tried a couple times including appending or prepending the asterisk or pound sign.  The code has been changed.  So while I waited for the light sensor to open the gate, I put my Swimming Buddy together and got all greased up and ready to go.  By the time I was ready, the gate slowly opened and I made my way to the marina.

The wind was present, but not crazy.  There were 1-2 foot swells and no boats were out.  I stowed my drink and GPS.  I got in and ended up doing 2 laps of the Gridley Straight.  The seagulls this morning will rather curious about my board and there were several dozen circling above me.  I wonder if I attached a Twinkee to the top of the noodle somehow what that would do.

I took the temp several times with my watch and it ranged from 69.2° to 70.6°.  The sun was out, but it was fairly well masked by white puffy clouds.  Not the prettiest or fairest morning,  kind of blah.  Kind of like how I felt.  Wasn't tired necessarily, just didn't have a lot of umph this morning.  Had a good time though and glad I came out.  Tonight I get to go support my kids (band concert, baseball games, etc).

Total distance: 4.15 miles in 2:20

I also noticed that Jamie is already planning to do another camp for 2013 at Lake Tahoe.  I'm totally in on that action!  Lake Tahoe is awesome.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Paddle Reviews

I know there are a ton of paddles reviews out there, but I got two new sets of paddles this weekend and now that I have 5 sets of various paddles, I figured I might as well throw out my two cents.  After today's masters workout, I did an experiment that hopefully demonstrates the amount of force the paddles make on each pull.  I did 200 meters of each paddle type with pull buoy and ankle strap (to completely eliminate kicking from the equation), swimming at about 50% of effort, and counted each arm stroke and noted the time.  Each paddle I'll rate on a 5 star system (5 being the best). Here are the results:

1) Large Tyr Hand Paddles (Black).   200M stroke count: 139 in 3:14
I've had these since High School and they have always been my favorite.  When the rubber straps got brittle and broke years ago I replaced it with a bungee cord and cut the ends off.  Lasts a lot longer.  These are my favorite because they provide the most pull and while many people complain of shoulder strain, I don't get the strain, I like the amount of power it makes my shoulders go through.  I also am forced to really hold a glide and do an effective catch and pull.  I tried finding these paddles online and could not find them by TYR, but found similar ones from Kiefer. Rating: 5 stars
Trying out the Freestyler paddles this morning at
SLC Sports Complex Outdoor 50 M pool.
2) Finis Freestyler Paddles (provided by Aquagear):  200M stroke count: 156 in 3:26

These are cool cause they're very narrow and don't put a great amount of strain on your shoulder.  They're quite narrow at the tip and for me my hand was a little large than the paddle at the finger tips, but not a big deal.  I liked the way they felt on entering the water.  They have a little fin on the bottom of the paddle to help keep the hand in a forward facing motion upon entering the water.  I liked these, and also liked the single strap for the middle finger so they are quick to get on and off.  After today's training session I'd have to give a rating of 4 stars.  Thanks to Aquagear for allowing me to try these out and provide some feedback!

Lynn Kubasek beautifully models the new
Agility Paddles provided by Finis at
Jamie's swim camp.
3) Finis Agility Paddles: 200 M stroke count:  148 in 3:26.

I got these from the Finis representatives at Jamie's Swim Camp.  These are really cool cause they don't have any straps at all.  You slide your thumb into the hole and your hand fits into a grove which keeps pressure on your hand the whole time.  I really liked these.  The pressure was evenly distributed on the hand and I liked that I didn't feel any pressure on my fingers because of absence of the strap.  As you can see my stroke count was relatively high compared to the freestyler.  Rating: 4 1/2 stars

4) Finger Paddles: 200M stroke count: 164 in 3:30.

I like these because they give you a slight feel that you are pulling, but the pull effect is felt just on the fingers.  It's barely a paddle.  These occasionally come off if you get a real ugly reentry, but it's rare enough to not be a big deal.  They're easy to get on/off because of the single strap.  Rating: 3 1/2 stars

4) PT paddles:  200M stroke count: 202 in 4:16.

These are great for drills, but they're not really paddles in the same sense as the others.  They're Anti - paddles.  They force you to really think about the mechanics of each and every movement in your stroke.  If you just swim with them and don't think, you'll hate them.  Which is probably why I don't like them too much.  I'm a little lazy mentally.  I know, that's not a good thing.  Rating: 2 1/2 stars

5) Baseline:  No paddles - 180 in 3:36

Occasionally Finis gives us a real flop, like the Aquatracker (which many of my friends have trouble with), or the fulcrum paddle, but the agility paddles I tried out today really strengthened my faith in their ability to come out with cutting edge stuff that doesn't suck.  And as far as the Aquatracker, I'm sure the next gen of it will be much better.

Today's workout:  1200 yards warmup
800 - 8 x 100's free/back/breast/drill
400 - 4 x 100's free/back/IM/breast
200 - 4 x 50's kick on :55

(2600 yards)
Then moved to 50 M pool and did:

100 easy
2800 - 4 x 7 x 100's - various pulling, kicking and stroke work.  I was lucky to just keep up, so I was all over the place.

Then did my own thing:

200 easy
1800 free
1200 - 6 x 200's pulling review with over a minute of rest between sets and to record stats.
800 - 2 x 400's with my two fav paddles
200 easy

7100 M + 2600 yards = 10,350 yards total

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day 4 of Jamie's Swim Camp

Goody and I slept in a little and started getting our things together.  Our plan was to meet up with Karen Rogers at her home in Truckee and go for a swim in Lake Tahoe.  If the water at Hidden Valley wasn't contaminated, and cooler we would have stayed.  But we got a text that poor Karen, was having issues with her skin as well.  In fact she said that her red bumps were turning into blisters and that she was feeling totally miserable.

So we agreed to go anyway and swim in Lake Tahoe and camp or something.  We said our goodbyes to all of our new friends and took off.  We stopped at the Walmart to see if we could find a new "Wilson" that had a yellow stripe.  No luck.  In fact I couldn't even find anything online that looked like the original one.  

We got to Commons Beach and I ran back to the car to put our bags in there safely.  Goody was already in the water and swam out to the end of a pier and I tried to catch up.  We met back up and then swam to the other pier.  The water temp on my watch varied between 54 and 56.  It felt very cold, but not unbearable.  I ended up doing a couple pier laps and my GPS read 1.75 miles upon getting out.  

The water was so clear and looked so awesome underwater.  I though Bear Lake was awesome for that, but Lake Tahoe is way more clear and blue.  So pretty.   We had quite a group of spectators collect when we got out and an older woman came up and asked us if we were training for anything.  She could tell we were quite cold and said she didn't want to hold us up, but that she thought it was really great that we were able to go out there without wetsuits and do what we did.  It was kind of a short swim, but not too bad considering the colder temp and that we had been baking in 70+ water all week long.  We really need to get some cooler swims when we get back home!

We saw bear boxes all over, so we decided not to camp, but head to Reno and find a casino that had decent hotel rates.  The massage that I was supposed to get, and for which I had budgeted, never happened.  So I had $60 extra that I had so we decided to stay at Circus Circus in Reno.  We went to the buffet and I picked out on all sorts of great stuff.  I won a free $2 casino card at the Buffet.  I'm not a gambler, but it was kind of fun playing with it.  I didn't last long.  I won up to $3.75 and  then kept going, and lost it all.  Oh well.  I didn't end up with anything, which is how my last experience was when I first (and last time) gambled with my own money.  I'd never gamble with my own money.  Even if it's a small amount, it could get pretty addicting, and I already have tons of other addictions.  I don't need more.  
Total distance: 1.75 miles in 1:22

I had such a fun time at Jamie's Swim camp!  I met so many cool people.  I've been around lots of people in other sports:  Powerlifting, Table Tennis.  And I have never met a more accepting and approachable group of people than with Open Water Swimming.  There wasn't a single person at camp that had a bloated ego, that I could tell.  Everyone was down to earth.    The parasitic water and the warmer water temp was probably the most disappointing thing, but meeting all these classy swimmers made it all totally worth it!

Here's a video summary of the entire trip:

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day 3 of Jamie's Swim Camp

This morning the entire group of swimmers caravaned over to Clearlake.  I was thrilled because I passed up the opportunity to go back to Hidden Valley Lake in the early morning due to the itchies (which I now am informed from another swimmer who left home early, and went to the Dr's and was given a prednisone shot after being told that it was an allergic reaction to some bird parasites).  How much of that is actually true or pure here say is up for debate.  But it's definitely not a fun feeling.  I look like I have chicken pox and feel like I've rolled around in poison ivy.

When we got there we quickly signed waivers and got ready to go.  Apparently there was only one boat so the fast swimmers were supposed to start and the slow swimmers were supposed to get on the boat.  I brought along my Swimming Buddy so I could get a GPS reading and also stash my feeds.  There wasn't much of a debriefing at all as far as the format of the swim so I was very much confused.

Half the people were on the boat and getting their gear together and half were on the dock.  And then Vito's dog was causing a scene and chasing geese, and also jumping in the water following Vito on his swim.  It was quite chaotic to say the least.  But I sensed some frustration from Jamie and he told us all to just get in the water and get going, so I hustled as fast as I could, and got my stupid board assembled and loaded up, but I was already behind and the fast people already had a 100 yard head start on me.  After swimming for about 15 minutes, Jamie pulled up along side and asked if he could stow the board.  I said "Sure".  There goes my GPS data, and my feeds.  I'll just have trust that the support boat will be nearby to offer me my feeds.  

I caught up with Vito, and Cathy and Goody  after swimming side by side with them I pulled ahead a little, but the noticed that Jamie was picking up the back of the pack and then he dropped us off ahead of the pack and told us to continue swimming along shore and around the bend and to stay within 100 yards of shore.  We did that.  We swam and swam and I took a water temp with my watch: 72 degrees.  Still very warm and quite comfortable.  We caught up with Lisa and Lexie.  We all grouped up and Lexie and Lisa said they were hungry and wanted a feed so they swam towards the boat.

Lynn Kubasek, Lisa, Jamie and Andrew having some lunch
Goody, Cathi and I still wanted more so we kept going along the white buoys until we got to the white pier that we agreed upon as our stopping point.  When we got there we noticed that the boat wasn't getting any closer, in fact, it looked smaller than before.  So we decided to head back towards the boat and see what the deal was.  Were we heading back?  Were they waiting for us to return?  We swam towards the boat and noticed it continued to get smaller and smaller.  I couldn't believe it.  They were leaving us.  I was feeling fine.  I wasn't really terribly tired and my watch showed that we were in the water for an hour and a half.  Roughly three miles, minus the short "boost" when we were on the boat to get past the fast swimmers (Jen Schumacher, Steven Munatones, Rob D, and Evan Morrison.

I was actually looking forward to swimming back to the boat ramp, unassisted, and without worrying about whether I'm holding up the group.  I noticed that when I swam about 100 yards I'd look behind me on a breath, and Goody and Cathi were stopped talking.  I stopped and watched, they were chatting, so I swam back to find out what the problem was.  They were pretty annoyed at the thought of being left behind, and I would agree, however, I didn't feel like our lives were in danger and figured worst case scenario, we just swim back to the marina and get the car.  Cathy said she wasn't sure she really should be putting alot more stress on her ankle and was frustrated that she couldn't get in the boat.  Her ankle was giving her trouble and wasn't able to swim much on it.  So I had two decisions at this point.

  1. Leave our little group behind and try to catch up with the group, which at this point, I couldn't even see the boat, and there was no way I could do it.  I'm just not that fast.  
  2. Stay with them and either encourage them to keep swimming or try to find help.  
Renactment of actual event.
I figured it would be a wiser decision to stick together.  I was disappointed as I really wanted to get in a long swim today, so this really put a big damper on the day.  After reasoning with each other and throwing out options, we decided to just swim off to shore and hit the road which was right off the shore and try to hitch a ride back to the marina.  This put me WAY out of my comfort zone.  I was wearing a Rob Aquatics speedo and since I left my car keys on my tire, I would be the one to hitch a ride back and get my car and come back to get them.  So here were were all three of us on the side of the highway, in speedos, trying to stop cars speeding by.  Some people honked their horns and yelled out "Looking good!"  and laughing.  I felt like a total idiot.  After a few minutes, we ended up finding a middle aged hippie couple that were like 'Right on!  We'll get you to your car man!"  So I hopped in back and rode back to my car and drove back to get them.  Goody and Cathy were both a little pissed off to say the least.  

Would you stop or keep going?
On the way back to the marina, we spotted Jamie speeding as fast as he could in the boat back towards where we got out.  There was nobody in the boat so we figured everyone was back at the marina waiting.  We got there and Suzie Dods was the first person to come and sincerely try to see what my condition was. She is such a sweetheart.  I told her I was totally fine.  Rob made me laugh when he said that he really enjoyed the fact that I had to hitch hike in his Rob Aquatics Speedo.  

I honestly was not upset at all.  Actually I was more disappointed than angry.  With Steven in our group and host of the Open Water Safety Conference, I was a little embarrassed, as this situation very well could have been avoided with better planning, and communication.  There was something to learn from this, and while it's inappropriate to point fingers, it is important to actually debrief and come to a conclusion on what could have been done differently to prevent something like that in the future.  A couple of things I would suggest:

  1. Increased communication: I had no idea of the format of the swim, where we were going, how long we were supposed to swim, how often the boat would be by to offer a feeding or a drink.  Who my "buddy" was... etc...
  2. Jen and Jamie enjoy some conversation after lunch.
  3. There should have been at least one more boat.  When you have such a large group (I think it was about 20 swimmers for a 10 person boat), such widely varied swimming speeds, its difficult to maintain visuals on all of them, and nobody was told to "accordion swim".  Just to stay close to shore and keep an eye on the boat and to "wait up" if we were too far from the boat.  But not really how "too far" is.  
If I had my Swimming buddy with me in the first place, I would have had the hydration that Goody and Cathy were so desperate for.  So perhaps that thing wasn't quite the hindrance as it was at first.  

Any way when we got back to the cottage, it was still early in the afternoon and we had a very delicious sandwich and I tried to re-hydrate.  I downed 4 x 16 ounce orange Gatorades.  I was totally exhausted.  Not all from swimming, but from being in the sun so long.  The sun really takes it out of you!

I had some great conversation with Jen Schumacher, Evan Morrison, Cathy.  Lots of subjects, and it really made me think.  I had to say goodbye to Karen who was going home to Truckee, and Suzie who has been such a great person to hang out with.

Goody HATED Vito's "Luigi".  He was quite the
undisciplined problem child eating people's food
and a frustration during the Clearlake swim.  Poor Lynn got
a bruise being pulled into the boat railing trying to contain
him from jumping out of the boat after Vito.  
I was so tired, and still very itchy!  I was hoping to get in at least one more lap for the day, but I was just so tired at the end of the day and feeling itchy that I decided to go to bed instead.  

I know I shouldn't have favorites, but I'd have to say that Lynn Kubasek sure is on my top ten list of favorite people at camp.  She is so upbeat and happy, that is such a great attribute!

Estimated Distance: 4 miles

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 2 of Jamie's Swim Camp

Watching the sun come up while swimming is a real treat.
Goody and I got up at 5:15 and went down to the lake for an early swim and enjoy the sunrise while swimming.  The first 3 laps were nice, but then I started to get an itch in the middle of my back.  Then, on my arms, then on my legs, and I realized that something was wrong with the water.  We must have been in the water not long enough yesterday to feel it, but today it was definitely an issue.  I planned on doing 6 laps this morning and ended up doing 7.  Did it in 4:05.

Went back to the cottage, got showered up, and changed and applied aloe, but its still an issue.  An exercise in mental toughness!

While the swim was nice,  the itchies afterwards were very uncomfortable.  Jamie went down afterwards with some girls and the wind had picked up and there were some small ripples (much like yesterday), and he didn't feel anything.

Distance in the morning:  7 miles in 4:05 in 73°f.

I picked up some anti itch spray and that stuff rocks.  Definitely going for a swim later this afternoon.   I just got back from taking Jamie to pick up some ice.  Man I'm on top of the world!


For the afternoon swim a bunch of us went at the same time.  Lynn Kubasek has this Wilson ball that she found a while ago that she put in goggles.  Everyone said you should bring him for a swim!  So I took him for a ride on my Swim Buddy.  Only thing is, about half way through my second lap I looked back and he was gone!  I looked all over and he was nowhere to be found.  I caught up with the two girls that sped by me earler and asked them if they saw it and they did not.  So he had to have jumped ship on the eastern side of the lake.  I saw him in the reeds along the shore.  I went over and got him, except I looked closer and while this definitely was a Wilson Volleyball that had obviously been neglected and lost, it was NOT the same Wilson.  I thought for a second.  Maybe this was him?  Cause what are the odds that another Wilson ball would be stranded on the shoreline.

I saw Lynn round a buoy and I caught up with her cause she was doing backstroke and looked back at me. She was trying to look around me and see her Wilson.  She stopped and had a concerned look on her face. I got a sick knot in my stomach and said, "Is this your Wilson".  She said, "No my Wilson has a yellow stripe, not this red and blue"  I explained what had happened and where I looked and we put our swim aside to perform a search and rescue.  I looked for about an hour overall, and half of the entire shoreline of the lake.  He was gone.  I did two more laps to get a total of 4 (and some including the search and rescue shoreline swimming).

I was ticked cause I wanted to get 5 laps and only got 4.  Anyway I'll have to get up early again tomorrow and get in a good morning swim.

Total for the day:  12.7 miles (11 laps )

I am so tired!  I'm going to bed early so I can have a comparable swim tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 1 of Jamie's Swim Camp

Finally getting to meet two of my open water heroes.  So happy!
Work up this morning at 4am and drove with Goody to Jamie's summer cottage today.  Got there at around 5pm and met Jamie Patrick (Double Tahoe and future Tahoe 360 swimmer, and World Open Water Male Swimmer of the year 2011) and Karen Rogers (Ice Swimmer Association Club member).  We chatted for about a few minutes, Goody and I setup the tent.  And then we all went down to the lake to do a swim.  They introduced us to the lake, did a crossing and left Goody and I to do a lap while they swam back and ordered pizza.

When they got back we ate dinner and chatted for quite some time.  Karen is such a sweetheart and is such good friends with Jamie.  I could tell they are a really good team.

Tonight's swim.
Jamie was so down to earth and generous.  It's so neat to find someone so successful in so many ways that doesn't have an ego.  I was already having a complete ball!  Then Lynn Kubasek drove up with Lisa Nordholm, and Sherie (don't recall last name), and Bob Needham.  I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and could have stayed up all listening to them and hearing the stories, but Goody and I have to get up early in the morning to take advantage of the cooler temperature water and enjoy the sun coming up.

Looks like one lap of the lake from the four buoys to each other is exactly one mile,  If you add a swim out to the buoy from the ramp it adds about an additional .2 miles.  So tomorrow morning I'm aiming for 6 laps of the buoys for a total of 6.2 miles and then an additional 5 more in the afternoon.  I'll take the GPS with me tomorrow for sure.  So watch here.

I am just so grateful for this opportunity to rub shoulders with such people!  And if Jamie wouldn't have put this thing together, this large group of people would still be strangers.  He's essentially just done an inhuman feat: shrunk the world.  We now can say, yeah, I know him, I spent a day swimming with him.  What a priceless treasure!

Total distance: 1.2 miles

Monday, May 14, 2012

Last pool swim before Jamie's camp

To say I'm excited for this week's swim camp is an understatement.  This morning I was up bright and early and was in the pool a little earlier than usual.  Did 1500 yards warmup, then joined Masters:
Thu, Fri & Sat I'll be swimming in Hidden Valley
Lake.  Shooting for 12 miles per day.  One lap
around the lake is 1.2 miles

1000 - 10 x 50's odd free drill, even stroke drill on :50

Then moved to the outdoor 50M pool and did:

1800 - 3 x (4 x 50's on :50, 2 x 100's on 1:30, 1 x 200 on 3:00) pull
500 - 10 x 50's kick on 1:15
500 - 10 x 50's free desc breathing 18 -> 8 per 50
Then did my own thing:
900 finger paddles
2000 pull
2000 - 20 x 100's free on 1:55
300 back/breast/free easy

2500 yds + 8000 M (8750 yds) = 11,250 yards total in 3:30

I'm hoping to pick up the SpotGPS from Josh tomorrow and get it setup for people to follow.

Here's the link to the shared page, but it won't be active until Thursday:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Night Swimming

Goody picket me up at 7:30pm and we drove down to the GSL Marina for a night swim.  I would have preferred to go to Antelope Island, but Dave Shearer hinted to Goody that he'd prefer our first night swim to be down there.  So we went down there.  I was supposed to bring a high powered flashlight, but I forgot and we were already 10 minutes from my house so we decided to just bag it and hope that we wouldn't really need it.  Fortunately we didn't.

When we got there we checked in with Dave.  He asked if we knew a swimmer with a camo truck.  We didn't.  He said that someone with a camo truck came into the marina early in the morning and swam out of the marina without a friend, and without an SSD and almost got hit by a sailboat.  Not good.  If an accident happens, Dave would probably prohibit swimming in the marina.  Have I swam alone, have I swam without an SSD?  Yes.  So I'm not much of a perfect example.  But 95% of the time I'm with someone and/or wearing a SSD or Swimming Buddy.

Anyway,  Goody and waiting till around 9:15 and set out for Black Rock.  He swam first.  I paddled to the right of him and although there was no moon at all tonight, the lights from the Kennecott plant on the other side of I-80 had blazing lights that reflected over to the lake and I could see as well as if there was a full moon.  We swam towards black rock and although I couldn't see it, I could see the "Gap" in the red tail lights of the cars heading towards Stansbury Park.  That "gap" was where the lights were unseen as they were behind black rock.  We got within 200 yards of blackrock and my GPS read 1.02 miles.  Goody took a feeding and we turned around.  Occasionally he would do some breaststroke, and would also tell me that there were some serious cold patches that he had to swim through.

When we got back to the marina, he got dried off, clothed and we switched.  My clear goggles that I picked up at Big 5 on the way in sucked bigtime.  They leaked within a few seconds.  Foam padding goggles suck!  I switched to my charcoal ones that I didn't want to use.  "I wear my sunglasses at night".  Anyway, at least they didn't leak and I could still see bright lights, and barely see the green glowsticks that were tied to the kayak.  The swim out to black rock was awesome.  The first 2-3 inches of water was cold (probably around 66f), but below that, much warmer.  There was no wind at all and it was like glass on the lake.  Awesome for a night swim.  I swam strong, yet relaxed.  Goody said my stroke count was averaging around 63 spm.  I moved the glowstick from the back of my goggles to inside my wrist watch, which I liked much better.  To see the bioluminescence of the glow stick was quite fun especially since I couldn't see much light at all otherwise with my stupid dark goggles.

Swam back and this time it was easier to sight as there was a huge glaring light at the mouth of the marina.  When we got back it was a little after 11:30 and I called home to make sure everyone was in bed and they knew I was on my way.

What a fun evening!  Definitely want to do it again.  Next time Antelope Island Marina though.

Total Distance: 2.0 miles in 58 minutes

Friday, May 11, 2012

New toy - the Swimmer Buddy

My in-laws gave me the best birthday present ever.  I told Cathi about a month ago about the Swimmer Buddy I saw in Swimmer Magazine.  Which is basically a commercialized version of Rob D's Frankenfish.  I dreamed of super quick feeds, and a very cool way to take video while swimming that didn't involve strapping the GoPro to my noggin.

Goody and I chatting just before getting in at the
Antelope Island Marina boat ramp.
Well my sweet in-laws got this for my birthday, (which we celebrated last week, but isn't until later this month). I was so happy!  This afternoon I met Goody out at Antelope Island Marina and this was the maiden voyage.  My initial impression with it was fantastic.  Sure it has slightly more drag than a SSD (Which has gone through too many names), but it allows me to put my stuff in a waterproof container and get easy access to it.  I put my GPS in there, my car keys, a couple cereal bars and an extra pair of goggles.  Then I strapped the GPS to the front of the noodle that goes across the top.  

It took fantastic pics and video, although with any picture I take, the media just seems to never capture the true roughness of the water.

When we got in Goody took a temp and he read 55f?  It definitely did not feel that cold.  But it felt much colder than Tuesday's swim.  Once we swam for 30 minutes, I stopped took a quick feed and was ready to go in less than 30 seconds.  It was awesome.  No fumbling with opening the SSD, just reached under the netting for my drink, pulled it out and bam!  Goody was only behind me about 20 yards, and while he got his drink I took a temp with my watch - 66.2f.  I also remembered how my expensive GPS unit died last year right before the GSLOW race due to prolonged exposure to water, so I put the GPS which I had dangling from the noodle in my waterproof container.

The wind was coming from the northwest and we were heading right into it.  The drag wasn't terribly annoying and I liked how the tether to my belt wasn't on a sliding contraption.  That was one of the biggest peeves I had with the SSD.  It would slide to one side and I had to make a quick adjustment while swimming to get it centered.  However, with the Swimmer buddy, the line goes back past my feet and sometimes when I'd kick during my rotation, my feet would feel the line.  So it prevented me from really kicking hard to avoid wrapping my feet around the cord.  Not a huge deal, especially in the GSL when I normally hardly kick at all.

At each 30 minute interval we'd stop for a quick feed.  After going for 1:20 northwest towards Fremont Island, we turned around and headed back.  This time we were going with the wind and the waves.  It went much faster this time.  The USA flag which I had posted at the back of my Swimmer Buddy occasionally acted like a sail and at the top of a really big wave would cause the thing to flip.  I had attached my waterproof container to the netting system with a keychain so I knew that would get separated, and when I flipped it back over both the drink and the container were still held within the bungee netting.  Goody was entertained with the flipping.  As the wind continued to grow and the waves getting more dramatic, the flipping was happening more frequently too.  With my drink nearly gone there was hardly any weight on the thing so Goody attached his SSD belt to the back of the noodle and let it drag behind to weigh it down.  That helped, but it flipped one more time going back and I realized that the wet flag was really causing the problem with the wind, so I quickly pulled it out and slid it under the netting.  No more flipping after that.  I took another reading on the way back and it read 64f.

When we got back to the marina, with the lack of waves we both really poured it on for a sprint to the finish.  It was a good day and the GPS read 4.15 miles at the end.  We were greeted by a motorcycle guy who asked us a few questions.  He must have thought we were nuts, both of us swimming that far in the waves, and walking up the ramp spitting in vain to get that salty taste out of our mouths.

Goody opened up his SSD and found that his phone which he had in two ziplock bags had taken on water, and it was dead.  I told him about the rice immersion trick which worked for me a couple times before with wet electronics.  Crossing my fingers for him that it works.

Even though it was about a mile short of what I wanted, I was pleased with today's swim.  It felt more English Channel like with the cooler temp, and the crazy waves and wind.  Not a bad afternoon.

Total distance: 4.15 miles in 2:30

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Late, but not out

Slept in, so I got to the pool late and missed all of the warmup except for a quick 100:

100 free
150 - 2 x 75's drill (was supposed to do 4 but had to ask Dennis about sponsoring GSLOW and DC)
2400 - 6 x (200 free strong, 100 IM, 2 x 50's breast kick)

Moved to LC Meter pool and did:
1200 - 8 x 150's middle 50 back (pull)
Then did my own thing
1500 pull
2000 finger paddles
600 kick with fins
400 IM
1500 free

7200 M + 2650 Y = @10,525 yards total in 3:15  
Some shoulder fatigue today, no pain, just tired. 
The outdoor pool felt really good.  Much cooler than Monday.  Didn't take a temp though.  I had my swimsense on.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Afternoon swims are about to end

Second stop at Blackrock
Tonight I met Goody, Chad and Josh at the marina and was ready to get in a 4:40pm.  We all got in and Chad, Goody and I swam out to Blackrock and back.  I was feeling strong and did it at a decent pace.  At each stop I would hurry and get my drink, get back to swimming, and then start up again with them once they got their drinks.

View from Silversands beach.
Did two laps of the straight and then did an extra double buoy loop (that route adds and extra 1.5 miles to the course).  I was in a race against the sun.  It was dropping fast.  Ended up beating it by like 40 minutes.

I took three reading throughout my swim.  The water ranged from 68 to 71 degrees depending on where I was with the cold spots, and the warm surface of the water.  Swimming in 68 is just too warm to really be good training for channel conditions.  Today's swim made me come to a conclusion:   After this week, I'm planning to swim T/Th mornings at the marina just as the sun comes up.  I'm hoping that the cool nights drops the water temp a few degrees and I'm able to swim in water that is below 65.

GPS track of this evening's swim.  
After recently reading this blog post from Mark Robson, the English Channel temperatures this year, are quite a bit chillier than past years.  I may not be swimming in water that is 60 degrees or higher.  When I felt the cooler water about 2 feet deep, or when passing behind the wake of a sailboat, I welcomed the cooler water which probably would have registered as 65f.  Come June/July, I'm going to have to do some consistent training swims in Pineview instead of GSL.  And also lots of bear lake weekends.  And just to be sure, cold showers, which I hate!

Finished at Silversands beach and stopped my GPS and it read 5.58 miles, and my watch stopped at 2:49.  not too shabby considering about 5 minutes of that was "frolicking", as Goody put it.

Total: 5.58 miles in 2:49

Monday, May 7, 2012

New Life

I love watching the sun come up in the morning!  Felt like
I was swimming open water when I swim in this pool.
Today I had a wonderful experience in the pool.  Felt symbolic of a new life in aquatics for me.  After the first half of my workout (once the 50M pool opened), the masters group moved to that pool.  At first I was kind of disgusted because there were tons of leaves and pits of trash in the pool, but then I felt a little at home (as if I was swimming in Bountiful Lake).  The wind picked up and while I didn't have to deal with chop and waves, the wind was fairly strong and felt great on my arms when they were out of the water during the recovery.  So that kind of encouraged a long stroke so that I could exaggerate my recovery to feel the cool wind on my arms.  The swim in the 50M pool today went by so fast!  I was sad once 8:30 came around and I had to get out!

Started out in the 25Y pool with:
400 free, then joined Kyle and the other group of Masters:
600 Warmup
900 - 12 x 75's drill IM by 75
500 - 10 x 50's kick with fins on :55
1800 - 9 x 200's free to back by 25 each set (pull) on 2:50
(4200 yards)
Then moved to the 50 M pool and did:
1000 - 10 x 100's on 1:30
Then did my own thing:
2000 pull
2000 finger paddles
1000 free
300 - 100 back/breast/free easy

6300 Meters + 4200 yards = @11,090 yards in 3:10

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Thankful tongue

My tongue the 24 hours has still been extremely numb and the inside of my lips have been peeling pretty bad, so I figured I'd let them rest a bit and get back to the GSL on Tuesday.  So today's swim was in a pool.  I could have opted for Bountiful Lake, but after reading an article in H2Open about Weil's disease, I figured I'd try to avoid that place when possible.  So this morning I opted for the clean and clear chlorinated water of the SDRC.  That was a good choice and my tongue was ever so grateful!

Today I did:
1000 free warmup
2000 pull
1000 - 10 x 100's odd IM, even free on 1:40
2000 finger paddles
1000 kick with fins
1000 free easy
2000 paddles
1000 - 500 free, 500 back
2000 finger paddles
1000 free strong
100 - 50 back, 50 breast

14,100 yards total in 4:02 (The same time that Cathi took this morning in the Provo marathon)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Chat with Will

Did 1000 yards before masters:

600 warmup
600 - 12 x 50's kick/drill/swim IM Order
1000 - 8 x 125's 1st and 5th length, no kick on 1:50
1000 - 10 x (50 fast, 2 x 25's easy) free
800  pull
I started to do my add-ons, but Will had some interesting thoughts on the GSL race and talked about how to promote it better.   Some swimmers were giving us the evil eye for chatting and not swimming.  I finally got to my add on stuff, but got to worrying about something left undone at work and cut it short to get a jump on the day.

1550 finger paddles

6,550 yards total

Hoping to get off at a decent time and doing a short one at SDRC on the way home to make up for this morning.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fun afternoon GSL Swim

I had a work deadline that I needed to work on this morning so I was at my desk at 5am instead of in the pool.

I did get the work done and the deadline was met with a few hours to spare so I got the OK to get off early.  I was in the water at the marina at 3:25pm and swam out and around the buoys.  On the way back I was wondering if I locked my car or not so I went around and got out at the silver sands rock path. My GPS said 1 mile exactly.

I checked my car and yes I did lock it.  I then went back down the boat ramp and reset my GPS and swam out to find Goody at the marina opening.  He said his goggles were giving him crap so we swam back to the ramp and he switched them out while I did another lap within the marina.

Then we swam out to Blackrock and back.  The water was so clear!  I got see the bottom and it was so fun to see!  Up till now this year in the GSL it has been murky and ony about 20 inches of visibility, but today it was like 10 feet of visibility in many places.

On my way back to the boat ramp, I met with Jim, and then Etsuko.  She even was wearing a Got Salt suit!  I was very pleased to see that!  I then met Levi, who is swimming the Antelope Island to Black Rock race.  The water temp with my watch on the surface read 66f and the digital them read 64 about 12 inches below the surface (where your body feels it the most).  Never felt cold during this swim, and I really enjoyed the movement of the water today.  It was some decent swells and not much in chop or in wind.  Definitely not flat though.

I took lots of pics with my GoPro.  Over 1000 as a matter of fact.  But here are just a handful of my favs.  I had to hurry to go to my son's school performance so I took a shower at the marina which I never do.  I was in there and realized there was no soap so I went out to get some from the dispenser and locked myself out with the hot water running and all my clothes and car keys in there.  Luckily I still had my speedo on and hurried off to track down Dave to get back in.  I must have looked real dumb running around in my "Rob Aquatics" speedo in the parking lot trying to get back in as quick as possible.

Total: 3.5 miles in 1:50

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

4 miles in the morning, 4 miles at night

Left foot, Left foot, Left foot, Right!

This afternoon I picked up Michelle downtown and we met Goody, Chad, and Josh out at the Marina.  Josh and Michelle opted for some buoy laps around the marina, while Chad, Goody and I did the Gridley Straight.  The wind and waves were coming fairly strong from the northeast.  Swimming out to Black Rock was awesome.  Got pushed the whole way, but coming back was quite the adventure.

Tongue numbness and salt burn
After one lap, Goody and I continued for another one while Chad did more around the Marina.  One thing that is getting tough is after I open my bag and get my drink and put it back, I'm ready to go, but I've been waiting to regroup.  From now on, after I get my drink, I'll swim out to them, swim back to the rendezvous point, and then start to swim back out while they get their drinks, and then back again once they start.  I gotta keep moving.  No wonder EC feeds are encouraged to be 1 minute or less.  It doesn't take long for the body to cool down.

At the end of the swim, my GPS read 4.1 miles.  Time: 2:25 including the three breaks and regrouping at mile points.

Because of all the wave action going on, I got more water than normal in my mouth.  My tongue took a beating.  Good thing next GSL swim is two days away.   I gave a French tourist at the marina a GSLOW magnet for a free souvenir.  She said, "Merci!"

The difference between Pineview and Bear Lake

This morning I opted to swim at SDRC since I needed to get my tires rotated this morning after my swim.  It was so refreshing to swim there for a couple reasons:

  1. My favorite shower in the world.  
  2. The water at SDRC is clear, relatively cool (81°F), and blue.  The water at Steiner lately has been cloudy, warm, and murky.  
The difference in pools at SLCSC and SDRC is like the difference between Pineview and Bear Lake.  Not that pineview is bad, but Bear Lake is awesome.  No wonder it's slightly more expensive at SDRC.  But my opinion will probably change next week once the 50M pool opens up.
Today I did:

2000 free 
2000 pull
1000 finger paddles
1000 kick with fins
1000 free
100 back/breast

7,100 yards total in 2:10

Looking forward to a 2-4 mile swim at GSL this afternoon.