Friday, November 30, 2012


This afternoon I stopped at SDRC and realized heading in that the pool was probably closed to the public and full of kids either doing lessons or on swim team.  I was right.  However there were three lanes that were empty and I was wondering why.  I asked the lifeguard if they were available and she said probably so and to ask the head guard who was doing lessons.  I asked him and he said sure.  I went back to the locker room and got changed.  When I got back I got in one of the lanes and right behind me were about 10 little kids and they took all three lanes and started swimming.

The coach arrived there giving out orders on the other side of the pool.  I stood there playing with my goggles watching.  10 swimmers, 3 lanes?  Really?  I got out and looked over the other areas of the pool for any open spots there were none.  I think she was watching me.  I started slowly to head towards my bag and tried to look disappointed and pathetic.  She waved at me and walked over telling me that that she normally has 18 swimmers and take all three lanes, but that she would consolidate the 10 swimmers into two lanes and that I could take the one.

What Mercy!  I was very grateful for this kind act.

I did:

1500 - 3 x 500's (400 breast, 100 kick)
1500 - 3 x 500's (400 kick with fins, 100 breast)
200 - 100 breast, 100 free
3200 yards total in 1:05

Yes I actually did normal freestyle on the last 100.  It was nice and easy.  Without hard pulling on either side.  It felt great and I am so looking forward to increasing that distance.

Looking forward to tomorrow where I plan to swim 5000 yards in the morning and then around 600 yards tomorrow afternoon in the GSL.  I'm  going to up my exposure just a little and going for 20 minutes.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I'm in the right sport

Last night I attended a wedding reception and caught up with my old friend Bryan Child.  This guy was into triathlons the same time I was about 5 years ago or so.  He told me he's reverted to strictly cycling, and man he has gone far with it.  He's done Lotoja for the past three years, and last year he took 2nd by a fraction of a second, and the year before he took 6th.  He's hardcore biking.

As we were talking I realized that swimming is one of the least expensive sports to be in.  Serious cyclists spend several thousands each year, and serious runners spend several hundreds.  I probably spend about $100 per year.  I have several PBT speedos that are more than two years old and haven't faded in the slightest.  Goggles are probably my biggest expense as I go through a new pair in about 5 months.  I told Cathi she's lucky I'm not into cycling, or golf or something that takes tons of money.

After Bryan and I were talking for a bit, he told me he was down in Arizona this past year for a ride and some fellow cyclist asked after learning he was from Utah,  "Hey, do you know any swimmers up there named Goody?"  He thought for a second,  "You mean Gordy?" (Which I NEVER go by and can't stand when people take it upon themselves to call me)  The Arizona guy responded,  "No, I think it's Goody".  Bryan wasn't sure if this was a new nickname I was using or not.

I told him that he wasn't referring to me, but my training partner.  Small world.  Speaking of Goody, he's going through a tough time right now.  He's going in for chemotherapy soon.  He's a tough dude and while it won't be fun, he knows how to deal with tough situations and will get through it.

Today's swim was pretty good:

2000 - 4 x 500's (400 breast, 100 kick)
1000 - 2 x 500's (400 kick with fins, 100 breast/one arm fly)

3000 yards total in 1:10

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Left arm preview

Today near the end of my workout, I was doing one arm fly and decided I'd just give my left arm just a little test.  It passed with flying colors.  

3000 - 6 x 500's
First three sets: 400 Breast, 100 kick no fins  Second three sets: 400 kick w/ fins, 100 breast
600 - 200 one arm fly (175 right arm, 25 left), 200 breast,  200 one arm fly (175 right arm, 25 left)

Arms felt good and enjoyed today's workout.  Went by really fast (it seemed)

3600 yards total in 1:15


Saturday, November 24, 2012

White Saturday Swim

This afternoon I brought Cathi, and some of my kids to the White Saturday Swim we had set up at the Great Salt Lake Marina.  I brought a one burner stove and started boiling some water for hot chocolate.  Goody arrived and soon we had a group of 11 swimmers!  The thermometer Jim brought said 50 something.

Goody gave everyone a little safety briefing and we all lined up for a quick picture and got in for the swim.  I did some sidestroke to other side of the marina.  We had a SUP support from Trixie from Park City.  It was nice to have her there to help keep an eye on everyone.

Swam breaststroke back and I was on track for a 15 minute swim.  Got out at 16 minutes.  I took a temp with my watch and it read 48.0f.

Goody was there to help encourage people and act as coach in overseeing the safety of everyone there.  It was very nice to have such a great turnout!  In fact six new swimmers earned caps.  They stayed in for 10 minutes.

We had quite a bit of pie and hot chocolate available for everyone.   What a fun afternoon!

400 yards in 16 minutes

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Returning to SDRC

Yesterday I met with my Physcial Therapist, Grayson Doar and she immediately asked me "Are you swimming yet?"  which I took as a test to see if would be upfront and honest given that I have been told NOT to swim yet.  I had to come clean and I told her, "Just a little breast stroke nice and easy.  I'm not doing any freestyle yet".  She didn't chastise me, but said that she would try to get word from Dr. Gardiner if I can start some overhand stroke at the early end of the range for "light exercise" which would be mid December.  I was thrilled!

She gave me a more intense set of exercises to work on the next couple weeks and suggested that I spent some time on a upper body bike.  The way I see it, breast stroke does the same motion as the upper body bikes so I'm considering that the go ahead to do some breast stroke on a regular basis.

So this morning I went to the SDRC and as soon as I got in the pool area Kris Edwards yells out "Gordon!  Come join me."  She was in one of the two fast lanes and had the lane all to herself.  I told her I wouldn't be able to follow the prescribed workout and was limited to breast stroke.  They were doing IM work, so I did one arm fly/back/free and both hand on breast.  Put on fins so I wouldn't get lapped.  It was fun!

Did 900 yards before time ran out (I got there much later than the official start of the workout), and moved to the north side and did 900 more yard including kickboard work.  Shoulder didn't give me any crap and I wasn't winded.  So looking forward to this on a regular basis!

Total Distance: 1800 yards

Oh, and I finally hit my 700 miles modified yearly goal (thanks to the shoulder surgery).  I'm going to remodify it and see if I can hit 730 for the year.

Half nuts

This evening at the normal WFPBC meeting time at GSL Marina, Josh suggested a pretty insightful motto for  the New Years Race:  "You gotta be half nuts to do this!"  It's true.  Just before getting in (with Jim and Josh), Josh jokingly said, "I sometimes wonder why I do this."  I'm sure I'll be thinking that later in the season when it's below 40 degrees, but now the water temp is still high enough that yeah it's cool, but nothing that I get nervous over.  Yet....

I felt like I had to respond to Josh's rhetorical statement, "It's mental conditioning."  Training the mind and body that your will is WAY stronger than your weakness and laziness.  It's exactly what one of the Czech swimmers in Jack Bright's DVD says.  Here's just a little clip of that documentary (which I would highly suggest to anyone interested in Winter Swimming.  You can buy the DVD here).  Jack Bright is one of the world's experts on the subject.  (On this video clip, maximize the view so you can read the English subtitles.)

I got in and did a relatively brisk breaststroke to the other side of the marina.  Halfway there I actually didn't feel cold, not even all that numb.  I could tell that the briskness of my stroke was actually generating a little heat.  I was breathing rhythmically and going fairly strong.  When I got to the other side I looked at my watch: 5 minutes.  Then I swam slowly back to Josh and Jim who also were swimming an easy breaststroke.  Talked with Josh as we swam easily back to the ramp.  I told him that I am still not comfortable taking cold showers.  I tried it for about a week at Goody's persistent challenging, but realized that I much prefer nice warm steamy showers.  Sure I love swimming in cold water, but warm showers are too awesome.

When we got back to the boat ramp my watch wasn't quite at 15 minutes yet so I just stood there for another minute until it read 15.  Took a temp just before getting out and it read 48.8° and Jim's read 49°.

Jim stayed in for 21 minutes.  Awesome!

Total Distance: @430 yards

I'm a little worried about the New Years Race.  Proper preparation for a winter race involves hardening.  This cannot be accomplished in a single session, or possibly even a handful.  Those best prepared for a winter race start training in October when the water is still in the 50's and progressively makes its way down to the mid 30's.  Going straight into a winter race without hardening not only will result in a poor performance in the race, but can be dangerous on the heart.  With that, I'm contemplating still doing the race, but not taking money or providing shirts etc... That way I don't have to actually have a permit and go through all the red tape of getting EMTs, etc...

We just don't have enough participants yet to really put an event together that isn't just the normal "half nuts" guys.

If you're reading this and seriously contemplating the WFPBC race please let me know!  I don't have a solid committed count yet.  I'm guess it's at around 4 or 5, and if we don't get at least 8, I'm not going to pursue it as an official event.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sue earns a WFPBC Cap

Today Cathi and I drove out to the GSL Marina with my two youngest boys, Oliver and Sam.  We met with Sue Frehse and her husband Todd.  Sue has been eager to join us in our cold water swims, but she is unable to on Tuesday evenings because she is a very dedicated youth swim coach.  So I suggested that we meet up this afternoon during a time that was convenient for her. 

When we got to the dock there were a few duck hunter boats that were coming in, so we had to stay out of their way.  This was Sue's first sub 50 swim and she seemed just a little nervous.  I encouraged her: "It's all mental".  Some would rephrase it as "You guys are mental!"

It felt a little warmer than Tuesday.  It was, by only one degree.  It came to 47f even (8deg c). 

We swam out to the far end of the marina and back and it was quite pleasant.  It wasn't nearly as painful as last time. And I rotated a couple time onto my back and did some elementary backstroke, and then some sidestroke.  I can't wait to swim front crawl!

Sue earns her cap and makes it look rather easy!
When we got back I stopped my watch 13:09.  Sue has a watch that also takes the temp.  Her watch read 46.9 f.  Cathi took a nice picture of us coming in with snow up on the mountains.  It was a nice swim and the recovery was easier this time too.

So with that temp/time in the water, Sue officially earned her WFPBC cap!  First one this year.  Will have to get Goody to give her one.  Planning to swim again on Tuesday and then next Saturday as well. Hoping to get a large group for next Saturday with the long Thanksgiving weekend.  

Oliver, me and Sam hanging out at the GSL Marina.
The boys enjoyed climbing the rocks and drinking some of my hot chocolate that I brought along to warm up after wards.

I also ordered the shirts for the New Years Race.  I just need to know a quantity.  I'm a little concerned that we won't get the full 16 swimmers that I was hoping for!  Really need to get the marketing machine going!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

English Channel Ratification

Man!  I have been waiting for this year's OW season to end just so I could get my certificate in the mail.  Not only did I get that, but I got the notes that Sam took, and all the coordinates, and stats that I love (Stroke per minute, water temp, duration of feeds, wave height, etc.)  When you pay for an English Channel Crossing.  You get your money's worth!

Congratulatory letter from Kevin Murphy:

Official certificate:

The Certificate

President is Nick Adams, 
Chairman is Michael Orem, 
Honorable Secretary is Kevin Murphy (King of the Channel)

Observer's Log:

Notes that the observer took (Sam Weatherall):


Pg 2 of Sam's Notes

Finally the Observer's Report and ratification.

Shoulder update:  Met with Dr. Gardiner today and he was very pleased with my range of motion and cautioned me to not get too excited and disobey orders and begin activity.  I don't plan to do any freestyle, but I will continue with very easy breaststroke in the short swims in the Great Salt Lake with the WFPBC.

Next swim:  Saturday afternoon at 3pm with Sue and Kate.  Expecting it to be around 6°C (44f)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

First painful swim this season

This evening I met Jim at the Marina and it was just him and myself.  Just before we got in Jim said he already took a temp and it read 46°F. (7.7° C)  It actually wasn't that bad getting in.  Swam easy breast stroke to the far end of the marina.  On the way back I started shivering.  I don't recall doing that WHILE I'm swimming.  Granted, I've never swam heads up breaststroke before in water this cold.  It's always been front crawl with my face in, and going as fast as I can.

Jim and I right before getting in.  Love the snow
on the mountains!  Finally a REAL polar bear swim this
I got the muscle twinges where it feels like your muscles are literally freezing and not firing properly.  Kind of a strange feeling.  When we got back I looked at my watch and we got out exactly at 15 minutes.  I took a temp with my watch and it read 45.4°F (7.5°C).  I saw Dave Shearer drive down the ramp and watch us get out.  Jim graciously shared a gallon of his warm water that he had.  It was nice.  On the way up the ramp, my lower back was cramping up.  Not sure if it's a muscle thing or what.  Swimming breaststroke is not my favorite thing in the world.  But I'll take it over not swimming at all.

Finger pain wasn't bad.  It was the lower back that was rough.  Sat in my warmed up car and shivered for a good 10 minutes.  Was light headed too.   Once it gets this cold, and colder, it only gets more difficult.  But I love it!  Planning to go back on Saturday at noon.

Total Distance: 400 yards in 15 minutes

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Week 2 of WFPBC in GSL

Yeah, I voted.
Met Goody, Josh, Jim, Chad at GSL marina for week 2.  The water on Goody, Josh and Jim's thermometer read 57°.  While my new infrared laser gun read 48-52°.  Definitely needs calibration!

The water felt fine.  We swam out to the end of the marina opening and back.  About 400 yards.  There were three sculling boats filled with high school students that we moved around. The water actually felt really nice.  I wasn't cold until I got out.  Then I started to shiver a little.  Not bad though. Was in the water for 22:45. Cathi came out to support.  Kind of silly at this temperature.

Today in DNOWS, it was announced that a documentary on Open Water Swimming is being produced and needs funding.  I jumped on that.  Please take a look and consider donating even just a little:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

First day of winter swimming

I'm still alive.  Per doctors orders, I'm not allowed to swim.  Recovery from the Rotator Cuff surgery is going  very well.  I am doing physical therapy which involves lots of stretching.  No lifting and no swimming.  However, I'm certainly allowed to soak, and I can definitely handle that!  Especially with my good friends in water that many would consider "nuts" to be immersed in.

I met up with Josh, and Goody on the first day of the winter swimming season out at the Great Salt Lake Marina.  It's also the first day of the official club status of Salt Lake Open Water(SLOW), a United States Masters club.  The Wasatch Front Polar Bear Club is really just SLOW during the winter.  We require all of those who swim to be registered with United States Masters.   As of today (only two days into the 2013 season), we already have 8 members.  That's awesome!

I took some pics of Goody.  This dude is bound and determined
to earn his way into the Ice Swimming Association.  I'll be
there with a towel and cup of hot chocolate at the
 boat ramp for him.  My money is that he makes it.  
After we were in the water for about 10 minutes, we noticed a swimmer walking down the ramp towards us.  We met Miles Pomeroy, who joined us in the water.  We chatted for quite a while in the water.  I LOVE the Great Salt Lake!  You don't have to tread water at all and can just sit in the water and enjoy the coolness.  I forgot to bring my new laser gun that takes temp, but Josh had his thermometer and it read 52°F.

I have discussed a race with Dave Shearer, the Harbormaster for the Great Salt Lake Marina, and have started the paperwork for doing an event on New Years Day.  Once it gets completely approved we'll really start to promote it.  We've already got some good safety coverage planned, and the logistics should make it extremely safe even though the average Snuggie loving ignoramus would argue otherwise.

After about 20 minutes Josh and I got out and I had to get home for a nice date night with Cathi.  Looking forward to next week!  Also, the South Davis Masters Swim Meet is next weekend.  I'm in charge of that so it's gonna be crazy busy.