Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ride to, and swim in Lake Cleveland

 This morning I got up at 5:30am and rode from Albion City Park to Mt. Harrison with my Uncle, Rob Boyd.  I asked Rob to go with me about three years ago and he was in to mountain biking and road biking.  It was tough for him.  However this past year he got into triathlons and got himself a sweet road bike.  Needless to say he's in much better shape than I am.
Panorama view from the first overlook

View of Lake Cleveland from the road winding up to Mt.
A couple times he went at his own pace and left me in his dust.  We made it to the top in less than 3 hours.  We took some pics and talked to the wildfire spotter who was manning the outlook.  This is the first time out of my 5th year of riding up there that anyone has been up there.  Also it's the first time that there hasn't been huge snow drifts on the road near the top.  The road was clear of snow the whole way to the top.

Panorama from Mt. Harrison Outlook.
On the way back we stopped at Lake Cleveland which is less than two miles from the top.  I did one lap.  The water was 67°F!  I was expecting it to be in the 50s.  It was very refreshing.  I was wishing I could stay for a lot more, but we had to get back to the reunion.  It took me 20 minutes to do one lap and it's a half mile around the perimeter.

Just as I got on my bike to head down the rest of the way I noticed my back tire had a flat.  Good thing I packed a spare tube and CO2 cartridge.  About 10 minutes later I was back on my way down the hill.  It's crazy going down.  Got up to 45 mph, and the road is pretty rough.  One spill, and I'm dead.  So I tried to maintain my speed at around 30mph max.  So fun!  Hoping to do it again next year.
Me and Rob at Lake Cleveland.

Total Distance: .50 miles in 20 minutes

Friday, June 28, 2013

Utah Lake Length route

This is the route James took last year:

                    Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyFitness
Not sure if I saw this article already or not, but it was a good reminder of a great swim that seems comparable to EC, Catalina, Bear Lake, GSL Blackrock to Whiterock, etc....

I'm thinking this may be my next big thing after Catalina before the season is over. We'll have to see though.  Lots of variables between now and September, but a vision has opened to my eyes.  Hoping the dice roll in my favor.

Preparing for serious butt kicking, literally.

Tomorrow morning I will embark on a bike ride that is a serious butt kicker, at least for me.  It's only a 26 mile ride, but the first half is brutal.  I havn't been on my bike in well over a year, so this will probably cripple me for Sunday.  I took my uncle Rob on this ride a few years ago and he had a heavy old mountain bike and I ended up leaving him.  But the past year he's been training on the bike and also bought a road bike, so he texted me about going up this year.

Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyFitness

He may just school me this time.  I'm hoping to instead of going all the way to the top, stopping at Lake Cleveland which is about a mile from the top.  Instead of biking all the way to the lookout, there is Lake Cleveland which is about a mile from the top.  It's a small lake that is close to the peak.  I'm planning n a mile swim there (water temp should be in the low 50's.  There's still snow up there).  Then ride back to Albion, which going back is super easy, but dangerous with the downhill grades.  Gotta be careful to take those corners slower, or you could end up as minced meat.

This morning I swam at NWRC,  Got in the pool on time for a change.  Did the following:

300 swim
200 paddles
100 kick
1000 - 2 x (25,50,75,100,100,75,50,25,25,50,75,100,100,75,50,25) all Free :15 ri
300 - 4 x 75's kick with fins
1500 - 5 x (200 pull, 100 buoy and ankle strap only, 50 back no legs)
600 - 4 x (75,50,25) first two kick with fins, second two weighted 25s

4,000 yards total in 1:20

Have to leave early from work so today's workout was cut short.  This weeks swim total is not up to par, but the cross training is going well.  Expect to pick it up next week including a decent swim on the 4th.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Joelle's first Pineview swim

Joelle, myself and Goody out for a swim
This morning I met with Joelle Beard and Goody at windsurfer beach at Pineview Reservoir.  The weather was perfect and the water was flat as glass.  We got in and did two laps of to the dam buoys to no wake buoys and back.  I gotta come up with a name for that route.  It's 2.40 miles if you don't backtrack at all.  I'm going to start referring to this as the "Goody Lap" since Pineview was once his beloved home.

Goody came along and he did one lap.  He's doing awesome considering just a few months ago he was just getting out of the hospital.  I took a few pics this morning.  I also found a floating Styrofoam takeaway container which I stowed on my SwimmerBuddy for proper disposal.

Shoulders felt great and swam strong the whole time.  Love swimming out there in the mornings!  Next time is on Monday.

Total: 4.97 miles in 2:20 including time for "waiting up"

Dam buoy line

Love the sunrise shots!

Panorama from southern tip

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Spousal support

Last night I stayed up later than I wanted helping Cathi put finishing touches on her article that she's writing.  She was asked to write an article of what its like suppo
Cathi's embrace is pure heaven, especially after the
long Bear Lake crossing.  
rting a swimmer from the perspective of a spouse.  She had come up with 4 pages of stuff, and I helped her whittle it down to just over 1 page.  She sure has a heart of gold!  I know that I wouldn't be where I am right now without her.  I feel so blessed.

This morning I went to NWRC and did my own thing.  I saw a workout on "Did You Swim Today" and followed it's pattern:

1000 free (naked)
100 back
200 IM
300 free
400 kick with fins
500 tempo trainer
600 finger paddles
700 freestyler paddles
800 agility paddles
900 large paddles
900 - 3 x 300's free desc
800 - 2 x 400's free strong
700 free
300 kick
200 IM
100 free

8,500 Yards total in 2:30

Monday, June 24, 2013

Swimming with Swim Smooth founder Paul Newsome

Adam, Goody, Josh, and Paul getting ready to start the swim.
Have you ever heard of Swim Smooth?  It's a great site and Paul Newsome is the creator and designer of the program.  He has worked out this program for helping swimmers better their efficiency in the water

I was most impressed when I heard that Paul won MIMS this last month.  It's one thing to be a coach, but its another to be a bad ass swimmer on top of it.  There are those who talk the talk, and there are those who walk the walk.  It's the walkers and not the talkers that I respect the most, and Paul is definitely a "walker" instead of just a "talker".

Josh told me Paul was planning on coming to Utah this last week, but his arrival was delayed a few days and he texted me that Paul was meeting at the GSL Marina at 3pm this afternoon, so I got off work early to meet out there.  Paul and his friend Adam were out there talking to Goody when I arrived.  It was pretty windy and it was coming from the west.   Goody gave me a neat gift:  His custom speedo that says "Catalina or bust".

After Paul and Adam applied some Lanolin, we all got in at the boat ramp.  I took a couple pics and followed them to the end of the marina.  We met up at the red buoy outside the marina and discussed the route we would take.  Paul opted for a mile swim down the deep reef channel to the third red buoy.

I swam alongside Paul to the third red buoy which was the turnaround point.  He swam within a foot away off to my right the whole time.  I'm not used to swimming side by side with someone that close especially when the chop is that rough.  It was a little unnerving, but we never collided.  It was fun cause we were stroke for stroke right there within a few inches of each other.  Come to find out, this is a technique that he encourages and apparently he was practicing it on me.  Check this out. I'm glad I didn't slow up or deviate my course.

We waited at the red buoy for Josh who was only behind us a few seconds.  Swimming from that buoy to the beach was crazy.  We were getting hit with wind and waves at our 1 o'clock.

Paul got his first taste of Utah's dead sea.
When we got back to silversands beach, Paul and I talked as we waded to the rocks.  He told me of his MIMS swim, and his group of swimmers from Perth, and briefly of his adventures over the past month traveling across the country meeting people and finding new places to swim.  What a wonderful holiday he is experiencing!

One thing he told me is that he got sick after MIMS with the pollution of the water.  He suggested that I talk to my doctor and get a prescription for antibiotics BEFORE the swim so that I have something in my body to fight those germs, before the race.  Sounds like some great advice!

He complimented me on my stroke and commented that I am in good condition for Catalina.  That meant a lot coming from someone who is an expert in the field.

He's off to San Francisco now and I suggested that he stop at Lake Tahoe on the way for a mid-day swim.  Being that this is his first time across the USA he definitely needs to stop there.  It was cool to see another outsider come in and take in the lake so openly.  With the wind it kept the brine flies away, so that was a major bonus.  There were some definite hot/cold spots out there in the water, and I got a few mouthfuls of water with that wind.  It was coming over the top of us and drops were getting lifted up off the surface of the white caps and down into our mouths.  It was awesome.  Probably the fastest swim from the marina opening along the deep reef channel.

Total: 1.25 miles in who knows how long.  Time flies when you're having fun.


 This morning was another breathtaking moment in Pineview.  The full moon was just setting on the southwest, and the sun was just rising in the northeast.  Just beautiful.

I was in the water at 6am sharp and did one full dam buoy route and then tacked on an additional buoy route.  The water temp on my watch read 67 and 68 degrees.

There were a three times when I nearly jumped out of the water and got a huge adrenaline rush.  The first time was when I was swimming along and my hand passed within just an inch or two of a fish.  It was only a small thing, probably 6 - 8 inches, but it wasn't something I was expecting and made my heart skip a beat or two.

The next couple times was when my hand passed through a couple of small bushes or tumbleweeds that were floating on the surface, again not something I was expecting and bam!  My heart pumped at doubletime for just a few seconds.

Other than that it was very non eventful.  I swam strong and didn't have any issues with soreness or tiredness.  The water was like glass and I was able to pull strong and on the last half mile was able to pour it on for a bit.

Last night Jacob made me take my first ice batch.  He sure is taking on the coaching role.  He sure will be disappointed if he doesn't end up making it on the boat in the Catalina crossing.  I think I'll do a role call on who has already bought airline tickets.  I have one crew member too many I think.   He put in only two ice buckets instead of the normal 6 or so.  The water temp got down to 65, and then stayed there.  I was in for about 15 minutes.  It was cake to be honest.

Total miles: 3.52 miles in 1:47

Tomorrow I'll do a longer pool set.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

One communication tip for the crew - YELL

Here's a video of Joe Locke's recent attempt to swim from the Farallon islands to Golden Gate a few weeks ago.  I was watching his spotGPS and was rooting for him the whole way.  I was disappointed for Joe when I saw that he was pulled.  He did a majority of it.  It was a valiant effort!

Here's the video:

One thing that stood out to me had nothing to do with swimming, but communication.  I'm not sure if Joe is wearing ear plugs, I sure do.  Notice how many times he asks for Vito to repeat what was said.  For me that would be frustrating.  Frustration and wasted time: two things that shouldn't happen during a swim where every second counts.  It reminded me of a similar situation in England last year.  Cathi was trying to tell me something, and I couldn't hear what she was saying.  Here's what I wrote:  

"After Josh got out I kept on going and at some point during a feed Cathi tried telling me something.With my ear plugs I couldn't hear, so I yelled out "Speak up!!!"  She jumped.  She yelled back....[the statement]"
If you are on my crew, I need you to YELL,  I'll get pissed off if I constantly have to ask for a repeat.  It's just a matter of volume, not emotion.  So it won't hurt my feelings, in fact it'll show me that your words are important enough to come from your gut.  

Don't mind me, I'm fine

This morning I met Annie at 5:45am at Pineview's Windsurfer beach.  We did a lap together just as the sun was coming up over the east.  The full lap is just under 2.5 miles, so I backtrack just a bit to get that 2.5 miles in there per lap.  The water felt just a touch colder than earlier this week.  When I got to the dam buoys my watch said it was 66 degrees.  The water was flat and calm.

Annie swimming into the turn at the dam buoys.
Annie told me at the dam buoys that she would join me for one lap and had to get on after that.  We swam along the southern side to the no wake buoys and then along that line back to the north side, then back to the start.  I got out and had to use the men's room real quick.  Then got back in for three more laps.  Annie introduced me to a couple of other guys in wetsuits that were there at the beach.   Talked with Matt for a few minutes and I was starting to get cold so I went on to my next lap.  The second and third laps were nice and more and more boats and recreational SUP and fisherman also grew in numbers.

But on that fourth and final lap the wind really picked up from the east.  It was c
I love watching the sun come up
from within the water.  
oming up the canyon from Ogden fairly strong.  Got some white caps and the boats and all the SUP and fishermen started to head out.  It was just me and a few far away water ski boats, without water skiers.  It was too windy.  Heading into the dam was tough and a little frustrating.  I was getting a little ticked off getting mouthfuls of water instead of air and near the end was sprinting just so I could get to the dam buoy line and then get a free ride along the southern side.

When I got there at the very southwestern corner of my route I took a quick break for a feed and take a picture.  Just when I was about to start up again I noticed some dude up on the road watching me.  I'm sure he was watching to see if I was struggling.  I wanted to yell out "Hey!  Are you OK?!  Do you need some help!"  But figured that would be a bit too cheeky.

Chop always seems to look quite wimpy in pictures.
The last lap was awesome I got a new burst of energy with the waves.  It seemed to give me a surge rather than a drain on my energy.  It made it more entertaining, that's for sure.  The swim along the sourthern side heading east was with the wind and the waves, it was quite a fast finish.  Then when I started heading back north along the buoys I was getting hit at my 9 o'clock.  I noticed a couple of boats slowly circling me watching.  Another group of people making sure that I'm safe.  Thank you!  There was a guy who drowned out here very close to shore and that already hit the average quota of drownings for the year in Pineview.  One more, and they're double the average.  I wanted to stop and reassure them, "Don't mind me, I'm fine."  But figured if I just kept swimming they'd notice that I wasn't struggling and rather enjoying it.  At the end, my GPS read 9.93 miles, so I back tracked for a couple minutes, and then swam back.  10.0 miles exactly.  My time was 5:40, but about 15 minutes of that was on the John and talking to Matt and Annie.  So not too bad on the time.  I was glad to be done, but had more in the tank which is a great feeling!
There were some wind surfers, SUPers,
fishermen, and lots of boats out
there during my third lap, but
on that fourth one, you can see it
pretty much died down to just
a couple boats and some chatterboxes
enjoying the sun in their beach chairs.

SpotGPS takes waypoints
every 10 minutes.
It appears that I took different
 routes almost every lap,
but not so.  The interval is too
 long for decent accuracy.
But you get the gist.  
I feel like I'm ready for Catalina.  Sure it'll be tougher than the EC.  But I think I can take it.  The sun was out in full force today and that felt great.  The water temp reading I got as I got out was 69.8 degrees so it warmed up a few.  Felt wonderful.

Total: 10 miles in 5:40

Friday, June 21, 2013

No more tears

This morning I used my special antifog spray that I mixed up.  Again, thanks to Open Water Chicago blog for the recipe.  Man that works even better than the Jaws Spit antifogger that I buy, and at a 10th of the price.  My little 3 ounce bottle will last me forever.  My goggles didn't even come close to fogging up the entire swim.

I was about 30 minutes late this morning, so I worked into where James and Paul were at, and stayed after to pick back up from the beginning, and then added a little more to get my goal for the day.  Here's what I did:

600 warmup - 400 free, 200 kick
500 - 200 pull, 200 buoy only, 100 - 4 x 25's fast on :30
400 - 4 x 100 IMs broken up by 50s
Then went back and did the prescribed workout from the board:
600 - 8 x 75's free/stroke/free on 1:15
1500 - 3 x (200 pull, 200 buoy only, 4 x 25's fast on :30)
200 kick with fins
200 IM
100 easy

4,100 yards total in 1:10

My Mom at the NWRC pool walking against the current.
Just as I was packing up my stuff I heard someone call my name from the other pool.  I looked over and my Mom was walking against the current in the winding river with all the other old ladies.  She was smiling real big and waved at me.

My parents both are are dry land people and never get in the water.  I've only seen my Dad in a pool once before in my entire life!  And this was probably my second time with my Mom.  If I didn't look so much like my uncles I would suspect I was adopted.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

No coach

Today I swam at SLC Sports Complex as normal, but Wes was absent.  So our lane was just led by Alex who is super fast.  I didn't even get word on what we were doing since he was first in the lane and I was last and he would start about 2 seconds after I arrived.  But I kept track of what we were doing:

I got there at 6am and did my own thing for the first hour:

3000 M - 1000 free, 500 kick, 1000 pull, 500 stroke
700 warmup with the group
800 - 400 free strong, 400 free pull
600 - 300 free pull, 300 free no equipment
400 - 200 strong, 200 strong
200 - 100 spring, 100 easy
600 - 4 x 150's free
300 kick with fins
100 easy

Then did my own thing for frosting:

300 stroke
500 pull
300 finger paddles
200 free

By this time I had completely used up my energy stores and hit my goal of 8000 M.  If I were to do more than this I would need to include feeds in my workout.  Instead all I had was a 20 oz gatorade.

8,000 M in 2:30

On my way to work I stopped at the drug store and got some baby shampoo and a spray bottle.  I made a solution I sprayed it in my old crappy foggy goggles.  Hoping that tomorrows swim is clearer.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


My preferred defogging resource.
It's about to be challenged with
a new self made solution.
I provided a small bottle of spit for the swimmers at the recent Great Salt Lake Open Water Marathon at an aid station, and that was my last bottle so this morning I didn't have some when I needed it.  I usually use a spray called "Spit".  And it is usually much better than real spit.  Cause real spit only lasts as a defogger for a minute or two.  The spray would work best if I spray it on after each swim session, but it's been several sessions since I last used it and my goggles are fogging up pretty bad, which can be pretty disconcerting when your swimming at dawn and there isn't much light to begin with.  Plus I don't usually swim with clear goggles, but rather the dark ones.

I found this webpage which claims to show me how to make my own spray that works much better and is cheaper.  I'm all about that!  I'm going to give it a try and I'll post a review.

This morning I did a Dam-Buoy route at Pineview and the goggle fogging was a real pain in the butt.  My triceps felt pretty stiff.  Last night I did a kick butt tricep/shoulder weight training workout, and man today's swim was just what the doctor ordered in getting them stretched out.  This morning it was just me, and NO boats, no other swimmers.  Felt very lonely.

Total: 2.52 miles in 1:21

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pineview swim

This morning I drove out to Pineview.  Last week's TV interview with a Weber county deputy who reported on a drowning there, he said the water temp was around 55 degrees.  That kinda freaked me out.  I put off swimming there until today and that was a mistake!

The air temp when I arrived showed as 47 degrees.  I saw a couple of wetsuited swimmers at the far end of the buoy route on the southern end.  I got ready and put on my silicon cap thinking I would need the warmth.  When I got in, it was perfect!  It wasn't really even cold.

After a buoy route (which is nearly 1 mile exactly), I took a temp and it read 69 degrees.  I could've swam at that temp all day.  It was lovely.  I did one more lap.  I can definitely tell the difference in my body position in fresh water vs. GSL.  It's pretty dramatic.  I feel heavier and more sluggish in freshwater.  It takes quite a bit more effort.

Total: 1.99 miles in 1:01

Also I found out that these cowardly punks finally got sentenced in the hit and run boating accident at Pineview from a couple years back.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Daily Dose of Sodium

This weekend I REALLY felt like a slacker.  Last week I did less than half of my required workouts.  I slept in for two days that I didn't plan for and Saturday spent time with my kids and preparing nice things for Becky's arrival at the GSL Marina.  So this week it's time to step it up!!!!

By the way, Becky arrived Saturday afternoon in good time, and Fox13 news showed up to give her an interview.  Here's the clip that was on TV last night:

This morning I got the marina at 0600 and did a extra wide Double Horned Loop.  The temp was good, probably around 70.  I had a lingering canker sore in my mouth from last Wednesday, so I wasn't terribly disappointed about missing a GSL swim last Saturday, but I need to get in on Wednesday, and that will probably be my last GSL swim until after Catalina.  From here on out, I'm doing Pineview.

Jacob last night was nagging me about taking ice baths.  He has a bunch of buckets in the freezer and is eager to see me squeal like a girl. Since when did he take on the role of being my coach?  He's sure a pushy thing.  I told him I'd start on Monday.  Looks like tonight, I'm in for it.

Total: 4.92 miles in 2:21

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Becky's homecoming

This morning I got to NWRC and did Andy's workout:

1000 - 400 free, 4 x 100's free, 4 x 50's alt free/kick
1,200 - 4 x 300's pull - free, build, free, neg split on 4:00
800 - 4 x 200's - free, free/drill/free/drill by 50 repeat x 2
400 - 4 x 100's free pull strong
200 - 4 x 50's sprint on 1:00
200 easy

3,800 yards total in 1:10

Afterwards I went to the art sore and got some foam core and applied the map that I plotted based on her spot GPS.  I took the kids to the Sail-fest where Ron gave Oliver, Sam, Isaac, Jonas and myself out on his sailboat.  It was a blast.  Ron had me at the helm for most of the time.  It was pretty cool.  So many terms that I didn't have a clue about, but I was learning.  Pretty cool that you travel on water using wind power.  Wish we could do that on the road!

Becky is interviewed by Fox13 while Lindsay films for her
documentary which she is hoping to be completed later
at the end of this summer. 
When I got back Cathi was already there from arriving after running her marathon.  I transferred the tired kids to her and stayed to watch Becky arrive.  But by the time I had got to my car, and finished getting
everything ready, she was already at the boat ramp.  Fox 13 showed up and gave her an interview.  It will be on the news on Sunday, June 16th.  She gave a great interview and I was loving that she was wearing the "Got Salt" shirt that I gave her last night out on Antelope Island.

What I don't get is that nobody has never kayaked even one full length, and she did a double.  That's like Capt Webb, turning around at France and swimming back.  After he did his single EC crossing, it took 86 years for the first double crossing to be completed.    So the concept of doubling up on a world record at the same time is completely over the top!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

First swim in pink lemonade

Jonas had a ball on this Dad/Son
History of the railroad causeway that caused the Great Salt Lake to really seem like conjoined twins, but one being disturbingly strange.

This morning I got a text from Becky that she is planning to be at the Spiral Jetty this evening.  She told me she was craving root beer so I made a plan to meet her there with a large root beer float.  I called Cathi to get the "Go" for the plan.  She was on-board as long as I took Jonas for some Dad bonding time.  Great idea.

So I got off work at 4pm and stopped by to pick up Jonas and the spoils for Becky.  I could tell throughout the day that meeting at the Spiral Jetty was in jeopardy because it was still a ways away for her to be there at 8pm.  The spotGPS page I was getting on my cell, but it was extremely slow and for some reason wasn't updating every 10 minutes like it's supposed to.  I didn't see any accessible roads near the shoreline that would take me close to her so I went to the Spiral Jetty anyway hoping for the best and that she still might be able to make up some time.

One small step for Gords, a giant leap
for GSL swimmers
But when I got there I could tell that with the strong wind in the wrong direction, that it was probably not going to work out.  So I stripped down to my suit and got in and for a test swim.  I could see from a distance arriving the pink hue to the color.  It was VERY creepy to see.  When we got up close to the water, it was even more creepy.  You could see rocks, but they were covered in salt.  It really was like looking at water that might more resemble a lake on Mars or some other strange planet.  This was not the home planet I am used to.  I dipped my hand down and scooped up a handful of water.  Put it to my mouth and tasted the water.  It wasn't as toxic as I thought it was going to be.  It had a smoother salty taste to it.

I waded out to the very center of the spiral jetty and had Jonas take a few pictures.  Then I went to the outside edge towards the lake and with the storm front coming in, the waves were very intimidating.  The vastness of the lake was overwhelming.  I waded out about 50 yards and the water was up to mid thigh.  The temperature was warm.  Probably high 70s.  I knelt down and started to swim freestyle with my face in. I couldn't see underwater very far, only about a foot.   Couldn't see my hands.  Even though I swim like I normally do in the GSL, the "fumes" of the salt still made it into my nose and seemed to make it down my throat even though I did not take in any water.  It was extremely toxic.  It reminded me of when I was a stupid teenager and opened a container of pure hydrochloric acid and took a sniff.  It nearly made me pass out.  I tried to focus and just deal with it, but I only made about a dozen strokes and it was just too much.

I am probably one of the last people to call the GSL "non-swimmable", but the north arm, I dare say you would literally have to be a superhero to swim in there more than a mile all freestyle.  I converted to breaststroke, and that was just fine, but I'm not a breaststroker, and definitely not a long distance breast stroker.  Capt Matthew Webb would have totally kicked butt on a swim here.  If I were to plan a swim up here I would really need to brush up on my breaststroke.

After my swim I got out and setup a quick little base where we got some water starting to boil with my single burner propane stove.  I brought along a few freeze dried dinners (which are so delicious).  While that was boiling Jonas and I tried to locate Becky's cache and stick in our goodies for her, but we were unable to find it.  We did happen to find:

  • a black widow spider web
  • A 4 foot garter snake
  • A 1 foot rattlesnake
  • A red ant hill with hundred of large red ants
  • about a dozen rabbits
  • a coyote
It was getting dark fast, and the storm had moved around west of us and was now to our north.  The wind direction changed from a southwesterly wind to a northeasterly wind.  A direction that would actually benefit Becky's travel direction.  We lit a propane lantern and ate our dinners at the makeshift firepit near the base of the spiral jetty.  We found some rocks and made our own little cache for Becky.  I inscribed her name in the firm sand near the firepit.  I sent her a text describing the location of the cache, but I'm worried that she won't see it because the lack of cell service.  My text was just queued and was sent as soon as we started making our way home.  Makes me sad that our cache will probably go unopened by her, and probably discovered by some unsuspecting tourist. 
While I was looking out and hearing the rumbling of the waves coming in with the high winds, it sounded just like the ocean.  I had Jonas with me, and that was comforting, but if I was out here by myself that would conjure up very insecure feelings of loneliness I think.  Becky must be extremely comfortable with solitude.  What she is doing takes a superhuman amount of bravery.  The lake can be extremely aggressive and unforgiving and while she is smartly staying relatively close to the shoreline, it can still be quite daunting to be out there.  I can only imagine the amount of strength she must possess.  

About 9:45 we collected our stuff and walked by lantern light back to the car.  I took another look back to see if any light out there was on the water, and there was none.  I was sad to leave.  I wished I had a tent and the day off work so that I might be able to stay, but Jonas had school as well.  

On the way home the GPS was telling us to take a shortcut and I didn't realize that it was not the same way we came.  We came to a locked gate.  I was confused why someone would lock a gate that was previously open.  We back tracked and the GPS told us to try a different way, another locked gate.  I started to panic a little inside.  We backtracked even further and finally the GPS took us to the road we came in on.  Whew! I thought we would be spending the night in the car waiting for some rancher to come unlock the gate.  

Finally drove into the driveway at home at 11:45pm.  What an adventure!  

I walked in the bathroom and looked in the mirror.  I looked like the sandman.  I had salt all over my face.  The water on the north arm is much more fine.  The salt is less abrasive and smooth, however in much greater concentration.  It's also extremely deceptive.  The smell of the intense salt goes unnoticed by me.  With my nose surgery from several years back my sense of smell is MUCH less than the average person.  I didn't notice any difference in the smell of the air than at the south end.  That pink water though is just so strange.  I definitely want to come back and give it another try when I have more time, and a kayak to paddle with me, and when the water and wind is calmer. 

Here are all the pics from our visit.

Total: 50 yards in about 2 minutes.  Wow!  Like swimming in acid.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


300 miles in the Great Salt Lake.  That's 40% of ALL may open water mileage.
This morning I met Goody at the GSL Marina for a swim. The water was glasslike and the water felt great.  I estimate that it was right around 70 degrees.

Swam a double horned loop with more emphasis on going north and went around the G11 buoy about 1/2 mile north of the marina, then headed to black rock.  

The water was very clear and I was extremely entertained and mesmerized by the tufa rock on the lake bottom.  It is so cool to see.  Of the entire population in the world only a handful of people really get to enjoy this.  Not even the sail boat enthusiasts that come out here.  You have to put your head in the water and swim.  It's really awesome.  But you have to come out on a smooth day or you can't see it.

Today was a huge personal milestone.  I finally hit the 300th mile in the Great Salt Lake.  That consists of 123 individual swims ranging from a couple hundred yards to 21 miles.  40% of all my open water mileage has been done in the Great Salt Lake.  All my stats I've tracked on where, when and how far, is found here.

My friend Becky Richins reached the north end of the GSL last night in her kayak.  She is making history.  I was thinking about how my tongue reacts to the lake water with only 4 miles of swimming, and I suggested this idea to Cathi.  When I do my own gsladventure, I might be able to avoid getting any water in my mouth if I use a high quality snorkel.  But she countered that it was against EC rules, and that most marathon swimmers would discount the feat.  What a smart woman I have?  I never would have pinned her as being an open water purist.  She said, "You just need to figure out a way to make it work without compromising the standards.  Try vaseline in your mouth, or rinsing with something, or even just acclimatizing your mouth, but no aids, that would invalidate your accomplishments"  Holy crap, what a slave driver coach I've got!

Total: 4.6 miles in 2:15

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Canary in a coal mine

I've noticed that during stressful events in my life, that leading up to something big, or just completing something big that I get a cold sore.  My mom tells me that they're stress related.  Well I got one started and man does it hurt.  When I feel one coming on I overload on L-Lysine supplements.  If I don't they last a couple weeks, but with the early detection and supplements they last about half that time.  I figure the stress of organizing the race was too much for my body and its retaliating.  
This morning's swim was cut short.  Swam at SDRC:

2000 free
1000 - 5 x 200's odd IM, even kick no fins
2000 pull - using the crappy equipment SDRC provides
300 - 100 easy, 200 IM

5,300 yards total in 1:30

Monday, June 10, 2013

Kindred Spirit

"I'd rather be crazy, than stupid" - she
must be told she's crazy alot.  I get
that too.
This morning I got to the GSL marina at 6:40am and was did a full Double Horned loop from the marina to Blackrock.

I saw Becky's truck parked at the marina and thought of her trek all morning during my swim.  She is making fantastic progress and should be able to get to Spring Bay by tomorrow I'm guessing.  Here's her GPS tracking site:

 The water this morning was glassy and the temp was good.  No more swimming there for me in the afternoon.  I didn't take a temp, but it felt like it was right around 72.  Also last night I stayed up to watch Adam's report on Talkin' Sports.  It turned out well:

The magesty of swimming in the GSL really happens during
sunrise and sunset.  Middle of the day swims are kinda
'Blah", but when the sun comes up, or goes down
and the water temp isn't too warm,  It's heaven!
Part 1:
Part 2:

And again this morning I woke to an email from Simon Griffiths, Managing Editor for H2Open who wanted to write up an article on swimming in the Great Salt Lake and on open water swimming in Utah.  So stoked with this flood of media attention lately.  It's pretty gratifying.

I was planning to swim in Pineview this morning.  Last night I looked for a current water temp reading cause I don't want to mess with temps less than 60 and wanted a 4 mile swim this morning.  I was going to go and hope for the best, but then I found out that someone drowned in Pineview yesterday, and during the interview with search and rescue, they gave the water temp at 56°.  Yeah, I think I'll hold off swimming there for decent training for another week or two, especially for morning swims.

By the way, when you swim open water, please know your limitations.  This guy was swimming with friends which was great, but he went too far, and wasn't able to get back and went under.  Again, a Safe Swimmer buoy or a Swimmer Buddy sure gives you so much protection.

I was pondering during my swim how well my shoulders have held up since my surgery.  They are stronger than ever and don't give me any trouble.  So grateful for that.  Good times.  Planning to go back out there Wednesday morning.

Today's swim according to my GPS was 4.3 miles in 2:03.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Results of the Great Salt Lake Open Water Marathon

I feel like such a slacker this week.  I've been so involved in organization and last minute To-Dos that my swim training this week has been less than ideal.  However, my body aches and sleep deprivation have reminded me that it still has been no picnic.

On Saturday morning I was up at 4:30 and got the kids in the car and drove the marina.  I setup the tent and the check-in booth and got all the kayaks laid out and helped Josh get the 8 milers taken care of.  There was one cancellation at the last minute so there were a total of 12 swimmers.  I got my brother, Russell, to drive the huge trailer.

While the 8 milers were about to leave, my new found friend, Becky Richins was at the boat ramp about to leave on her own adventure: a double crossing of the Great Salt Lake length in a kayak.  She is a dreamer like me and I admire that.  I gave her the spotGPS and her tracking can be found here.   She's doing awesome!

Once the 8 milers left the 1 milers started checking in.  We had out raffle, and Henry Hudson won!  We had our safety crew meeting and we got them out in the water.  Then we had our swimmers safety meeting and got them out on the water.  Since the water level was so much lower than the past two years, we had to pull the course back a little to make it a legitimate one mile.  I put the buoys in on Friday evening and measured the course with my GPS.  I  had the "finish" of the swim at about 300 yards away from the waters edge.  I didn't want it to be a one mile total with only 70 percent of it actually swimming.  So the time for the one mile this year is not really comparable with last year.  We need to figure out how to get the finish line to be in the water for the one mile cause it really should be a one mile timed swim, not a one mile swim and then a long wade in the water while the clock is still ticking.

I had the swimmers get in the water on the east side of the marina by Silversands beach.  Many of them took their sweet time getting in the water even though I gave them plenty of time to get to the red buoy just north of the observation deck.  I gave them a 10 minute heads up, then a 5 minute heads up, 4,3,2,1 and then a 10 second count down, and there were still a couple swimmers very slowly making their way to the red buoy.  I wasn't about to wait another minute.  They were given plenty of warning and chance to get to the buoy on time.  I had the dozen or so people watching at the start yell out the count down from 10.  They all took off and I jumped in a kayak to help support.

There was one swimmer who was pulled from the course.  That was a first time that's happened.  Typically in the one mile event everyone who started finished.

Anyway, it's a level playing field for the entire field of swimmers, by year.  You just can't really compare year to year in any reliable way.  The ONLY thing that went less than ideally, was the lack of an organized awards ceremony.  I ended up giving the awards to the winners back at the marina, rather than at the finish.  I was unable to do this because I was in charge of safety and we still had people in the water.  I was unable to be at the end and cheer for people when I was in the water supporting the last of the pack.

I got my sister to help shuttle people back to the marina which was good.  Then I went to Blackrock to get one of the kayaks and start getting the two buoys out of the water.  One of the swimmers showed up and reported in.  He was about 4 miles into his swim when he ingested too much water and was throwing up.  He called Dave Shearer and got picked up.  So the field was down to 12 swimmers.

Traditional pickled tongue pic.  Winner:
Micki Poole
On my way back to the marina with the buoys, I noticed a few of the 8 milers coming in.  They were ahead of schedule.  When I got the buoys out and back to Blackrock I found out that Will Reeves won and came in at 3:10:10!  That is an amazing time!  Annie came in second place with 3:36:44.  That is the fastest time ever by a female swimmer.  Congratulations Annie!

After they all came in we went through the process of getting them and their kayaks all transported over to the Marina.  What a long day!

Here's the results, and some pics for the one-mile, and for the 8 mile.   Now back to focusing on my own training.  Tomorrow I'm heading to Pineview in the morning.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

8 lakes - Josh's invitation to join quest

This afternoon Josh invited a group of us to join him on a quest to swim in 8 lakes along the Wasatch back. One mile in each lake then move on to the next.  8 miles swimming straight would take like 4-5 hours.  But getting out and driving to the next one?  This is gonna take all day!  I freaking love it!  I'd love it even more if we could get enough people to split it into two vans and turn it into a Ragnar type competition.

Tonight I met Josh and a small group of swimmers at the GSL Marina for a free clinic.  We swam out to the red eastern buoy and back.  One mile.  The water was like a hot tub.  The brine flies are hatching.  Good think the race is this weekend, cause after that, I'm out until fall.  Pineview here I come!  That's when it really starts to sink in that Catalina is right around the corner.

Photo by Mark Spratt

Saw the garter snake again along the path going down into the water.  The KUTV guy who came almost died.  He didn't see it until he was almost right on top of it, and at the same time someone said, "Rattlesnake".   He freaked.  It was awesome.  I'm going to name this snake "Pepper".  Seems like he may be a regular.  Seen him twice in less than a week.  

I can't wait for this week to be over.  Organizing a race is stressful!  And realizing that odds are that someone is probably gonna walk away pissed over something doesn't sit well with me, so I do my best to make EVERYONE happy.  That's the goal, but its a never ending battle.

All Things Considered

So tomorrow (Friday June 7th), my friends and I will be on NPR's All Things Considered.  If you're in Utah, It airs on KUER 90.1.  Otherwise you can listen to it online probably on Saturday since they're about a day behind getting the program online.  Should be pretty good.

This morning I swam Wes' workout.  My legs are sore from a killer lifting session a couple days back.  Ouch.

700 warmup
300 pull
300 - 2 x 150's kick
300 - 3 x 100's fast on 1:40

300 Free strong
300 - 2 x 150's IM, No free
300 - 3 x 100's FAST on 1:35

300 Free strong
300 - 2 x 150's Free easy
300 - 3 x 100's Desc 1-3 on 1:30

300 warmdown

3,700 meters in 1:10

Tonight is the GSL clinic.  Hoping to get in two miles there.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Got to Chattin'

This morning I went to NWRC cause I wanted to start earlier.  Did 2000 yards before masters started at 6am then did Coach Craig's workout:

400 warmup
600 - 12 x 50's desc 1-4 on :40
400 - 8 x 50's kick/free on :50
2000 - 4 x ( 4 x 200 pull on 2:30, 4 x 150's fly/back/breast on 2:20, 4 x 100's pull on 1:10, 4 x 50's free fast no equipment on :35)

Then did:

600 kick with fins
2000 agility paddles

Wanted to get in 10K today, but didn't have time as I spent too much of it talking with Kevin, Scott, Jeff and a little with Josh Eaton.  I think Kevin might come out to the GSL one mile.  Crossing my fingers.

8,000 yards total in 2:30

Monday, June 3, 2013

10 weeks

Yesterday I was thinking, and I only have 10 weeks before we'll be in California gearing up for the Catalina swim.  I'm getting excited!

This morning I came up with this workout since Andy is gone:

500 warmup
1200 - 6 x 200's desc 1-3
400 fins
1600 - 4 x 400's pull desc 1-3
1200 - 4 x 300's free/back by 100
1000 - 10 x 100's drill free on 1:30
1000 - 5 x 200's pull on 2:30
800 - 4 x 200's free/IM
300 warmdown

8,000 yards total in 2:10

Saturday, June 1, 2013

What an eventful morning!

This morning I got to the pool knowing it would be cut short with the facility holding it's Splash and Dash event.  I ended up doing:

2000 - 10 x 200's free, kick, IM, pull large paddles, free, agility paddles, kick, IM, free, back

Just before getting out, I asked James if he wanted video of his stroke and then he took some of my stroke.  Oh my I had no idea that my catch was so non existent!  I'm going to have to work on that.

Then met Annie at the marina and we did a Double Horned Straight.

I went down the ramp to put up the flag.  Annie waited at the top of the ramp cause we were going to get in on the other side down at the end of the walkway to Silversands beach.  She pointed out a snake that kinda scared her.  It was a three and a half foot garter snake.  Pretty good sized little guy.  I like snakes, mostly cause I really enjoyed Steve Irwin.  That guy was my hero.  Here's a funny little clip of Irwin:

Probably one meter long water snake at the marina.
We waded out about a hundred yards to mid thigh level and took off to the red buoy.  The water was barely rippling and the sky was completely clear and blue.  Perfect day!

I took three readings with my watch throughout the swim: 67, 70 and 68.  I was annoyed with my shivering.  I didn't feel cold, but when we took a drink break at black rock I noticed that I was shivering slightly!  How embarrassing!

When we got back my GPS read 4.09 miles and my watch stopped at 2:01 including drink breaks and stopping once to get that one stupid drop of salt water out of my goggles.

I noticed a kayaker at the boat ramp.  I went down to retrieve the posted swimmer flag and asked her if she would be willing to come out and help kayak next week.  She said that she couldn't and that she was starting hew own adventure across the lake.  The lightbulb went off for me cause I had a conversation via email earlier this week with a Rebecca Richins.  She is a hardcord kayaker that is attempting a double length crossing of the Great Salt Lake.  What a coincidence that she would be here this morning.  We talked for a good bit and her friend was there taking video.  She is producing a documentary of Rebecca's adventure.  During our conversation she was intrigued and asked me some questions.

I'm especially interested in Rebecca's journey.  I told her a bit about Fremont Island and about the story of John Baptiste.  She hadn't heard of "Redemption" so I stopped by at Seagull book on the way home and picked one up for her.  I know she'd really like it. I'm eager to talk with her again.  

Total for the day: 2000 sc yards and 4.09 miles open water