Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review of the new Syracuse RUSH Funplex

I learned about this new pool earlier this year, and it was completed a couple months ago.  I love that we have a pool in Syracuse now, and with MIMS completed, the next goal is to get my four youngest boys: Jonas (12), Isaac (10), Sam (9), and Oliver (7) aka "The Fantastic Four" in a state where they can vigorously pursue their swimming dreams.  I haven't been in a position to be a regular coach to them and I'm looking forward to working with them in the pool.

I took them yesterday to the pool, which also happened to be Sam's birthday.  We bought a family annual membership.  It cost $700.  ($400 for the first adult, $200 more for the second adult, and then $100 more for all children in the family)  Ouch!  A family membership at Layton Surf n' Swim for the size of our family cost under $500.  However, I'm fine paying a higher price, and here's why:


  • Only 5 minutes from my house.
  • The water temp was 82.0° (currently the coldest pool in Davis County, and WAY colder than Clearfield Aquatics which has the record for the hottest pool in Davis County)  Update: 3/8/2015 - Not anymore.  they've warmed things up.  As of June 2015, the water temp is 83.0°F.  Not too bad...  Anything higher and it would be too warm.
  • Brand new pool - VERY clean and modern.
  • The membership base is very low, so there was only one lap swimmer when we went, among 6 lanes
  • Opens at 5am (rather than NWRC's 6am opening) Update:  8/1/2014 - not anymore - they open at 6am now.
  • The water pressure and temperature of the showers is superior.  Update: Don't know what happened, but the showers aren't all that great anymore.
  • This particular thing doesn't really matter to me, but to my kids.  The slides and splash pad.  Three slides, with a big river and spash pad.  All inside so you don't get sunburned.  
  • The "walls" can be opened to allow lots of air to flow.  It'll never get stuffy in there.

Not so impressed:
  • The locker room layout sucks - no lockers, no benches, just plastic picnic chairs.  There are tiny lockers out in the pool area.  They don't seem to be very "membership friendly" based on the locker room.
  • Also in regards to the locker room, is that there is no barrier between the door going into the pool and the shower area.  If you happen to walk nude in the locker room between the showers and the changing area, there is a huge likelihood that someone is gonna get a clear view of your full monty if anyone opens that door.  But I'm a big believer in being modest and covering yourself even in the locker room, but still kinda has potential to be embarrassing.
  • The evening hours end at 7pm for private parties, so if you plan to swim laps, it better be before then.  Update: You can swim laps now at 7pm once the Blue Fins swim team is done.  However there are only two lanes and the rest of the pool is open, so you may get an occasional clueless person crossing your path.
  • No barcode on your membership card.  You have to manually show it to an employee, and then get a cheesy wristband put on, so the lifeguards know you're legit.  They know who I am now, so I don't even have to show my card, or wear a wristband.
  • They don't provide a poolside clock.  I had to buy my own, which I've practically donated to the facility.  I leave it there and don't care if anyone uses it, as long as they put it back.  But it would have been nice had they bought a real big clock and attached it to the wall.
However the benefits in my opinion greatly outweigh the points that can be improved on.  Some of those negative things I would expect would get worked out eventually, but being such a new facility, I'll cut them some slack on those. I'm extremely happy about the pool temp. That makes me want to shout from the rooftops how awesome this place is.  

After coaching the kids I swam 500 yards then took the kids and Cathi out for breakfast to celebrate Sam's birthday.  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Observer's point of view

Huge thanks to Capri Djatiasmoro for sharing her youtube videos of her perspective of the swim:
Lots of stuff to review:

  2. Macombs Dam Bridge - Yankee Stadium -
  3. Past Yankee stadium -
  4. Ibuprofen and Ho Ho rolls -
  5. Continuing North in the Harlem River -
  6. Ground water run-off in the Harlem River -
  7. Top of Manhattan - we had to hustle to the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge -
  8. Spuyten Duyvil into the Hudson River -
  9. At 5 hours 30 minutes … consistent, looking good and strong. Going South to the GWB:
  10. Strong West wind and chop all the way down the Hudson River -
  11. Getting close to the cruise ship terminals -
  12. Fast current - West wind and chop - cruise ship pulls out Terry was flooding in the back you can see he was sinking we lost him after this and then I was up front on the boat pointing you down the river -

My Manhattan Island Marathon Swim experience

Video Highlights:

Last night I was finally able to sleep a little after 11pm last night.  Not too bad considering the nerves.  Last night spend about 2 hours in the shower doing my traditional shaving routine.  Which I didn't do for EC or CC. On those the cool water I knew would be a factor. On this one though, it wouldn't.  In fact, speed was the factor.  So I shaved off my sideburns and I felt as slick as a whistle for today.  Got up at 4am and helped get Cathi and Lucy up and ready to go.  Then walked them to Pier 25 where the crew was meeting.

We stayed at the Sheraton Tribeca, which was only about a 12 minute walk from Pier 25.  I got this hotel as soon as I got accepted into the race thinking we needed something close, and that was the right move.  Low stress morning.  I met Phil Bowen, Suzanne's husband at the crew location.  Then I walked from there to South Cove.  It was a nice walk, about 3/4 mile or so.  

I was the first one there.  The volunteers were still setting up the tent.  I was about an hour early.  What else was I gonna do?  The hotel was the other direction and I figured I'd get to meet and talk with some other swimmers.  Met Javier Merida, a very successful swimmer from Spain who has swam the Strait of Gibralter and the English Channel.  

Other swimmers started to show up.  Mark Spratt, who swam the GSL 8 miler last year.  He sure is a nice guy.  Having him there made my nerves settle, cause he's so chatty and down to earth.  Some other swimmers you could tell were in the zone and didn't seem to want to be bothered, which is fine.  For me, this wasn't a huge competition.  I was gonna get smoked and knew it from the start.  My race was against the clock.
Cathi took this picture from the boat.  There was enough time
before the swim that the pilot took them
close to the Status of Liberty on a personal tour.

Some really cool people I got to know:  Ernie Hoftyzer from California, a local, Richard McKern from New Jersey, Ken Classen from Colorado who mentioned that he knew Will Reeves, Mark Smitherman and Chris Burke from Florida, and Charlotte Brynn who I met at Varne Ridge, two years ago.  It was actually quite calming and enjoyable talking with them all.  One thing that bothered me is that I didn't bring any kind of jacket.  I was just standing around in my shorts and shirt, and the breeze was a little cool for me.  I was even starting to shake to keep warm!  I was pretty self conscious about that.  Here I am among legendary swimmers and here, an ice miler, shivering in the NY breeze.  I was  nervous that I might get chilled in the water, but I had a realization in the back of my mind that the water wouldn't be as cold as the air temperature this morning (and it wasn't).

They started to check people in and I heard the main volunteer yelling out, "Have your arms exposed for body marking, and your ID ready!"  I was like oh crap.  I wasn't quite sure of the security of my belongings at the start, so I made sure to only bring my shoes, shirt and shorts.  Not even a towel, not to mention my ID.  So after Mark checked in, I tried to convince the volunteer that Mark would vouche for me which he kindly and vigorously attempted.  He brought up facebook on his phone and showed picture after picture of me.  She gave me crap saying "Oh that's a terrible picture, and that one too..."  Ha!

I got marked with an "18" on each arm, and put on my cap.  One thing I forgot to also bring, which was in Cathi's gear back was my grease.  But I wasn't too worried cause this was fresh water and the chaffing factor wasn't going to be a big issue.  Little did that logic hold up as I later found out.

They lined us up along the dock in numerical order.  They came through and accounted for everyone just before jumping in.  They stopped at Ernie who was wearing a Jammer and said he needed to wear a speedo.  I could see his panic and realized that he could use one of mine.  I wear two because my favorite speedo, the Salt Lake Open Water speedo (which I'm wearing to the left in the picture), is a little faded in the back.  To avoid any possible embarrassment I wear a black speedo underneath as insurance since it's not double lined in the back.  I went up and offered him my SLOW speedo.  He thought he'd just take scissors to his Jammer, but a couple of the other swimmers agreed with me that it probably would just be better to take the speedo even though it would be a little small for him.  He went for it and wore my SLOW speedo, and ended up taking 10th place after it was all said and done.

I was last to jump in for the start, being number 18.  They took some pictures and then counted us down.  I quickly found my Kayaker, Terry O'Malley who would be by my side the entire swim.  We started south along the Battery to where it turns up the East River.  My first impression of the water was about what I expected.  There was a small amount of debris (Water bottle, a empty doritos bag, small pieces of wood), but nothing terrible. It actually reminded me a lot of Bountiful Lake, so in that sense it was a good place to swim. 

And we're off!  - pic taken by David Barra
The start was a little congested, but after about 5 minutes and we got to the ferries, it spread out pretty good.  There were times along the east river that I passed people, and then got passed by those same people.  I had dark goggles on to protect my eyes from the sun.  It was partly cloudy all day and didn't have any rain to deal with.  I could tell I was going back and forth with Mark, but didn't recognize anyone else with their caps on, nor was I terribly concerned about my placement.  Just my time.

Took my first feed one hour into it.  Vitargo.  That stuff rocks!  Got pumped and was able to pick up the pace a bit.  Going up the east river was fast.  The shoreline was moving right along as if I was on one of those airport walkways and you feel like you are flying!  I'd take a breath to my left and see a building at my 9 o'clock, then I'd take three strokes, breathe to my left, three more strokes and breathe to my left and that building was already ]at my 8 o'clock.  It was awesome!

Near the top of the east river however, the current seemed to slow and that effect of moving fast along, was gone. It almost seemed as if I was swimming in still water.  That last 30 minutes at Hell's Gate seemed to take forever!  Once I got into the Harlem, things picked back up again which was a relief.  In fact the water was much flatter in the Harlem.  The taste of the water in the east river reminded me of diesel fuel.  Don't get me wrong, I wasn't trying to taste the water, but inevitably it will get in your mouth.  However in the Harlem, that strong taste subsided to a neutral taste.  

I kept wanting to yell out "Hey Hey Hey!"
like Fat Albert,  to lighten the mood for
the crew during one of the feeds, but that
show isn't based on NYC.  But it seemed to fit.
The Harlem river portion of the swim was my absolute favorite.  It was much calmer, I was able to stretch out my stroke and get a good feel for the water.  I knew that I was a little more than a quarter of the way through once I got into the Harlem.  My right shoulder was really getting chaffed up. I yelled out to Terry to get the grease for the next feed so I could dab some on.  On the next feed he handed me the bag and I opened it and dabbed some along my shoulder and jawbone.  Duh, I forgot to do the left side too!  So on the next feed I did the same thing to my left side.  I was getting ripped up with my whisker which already had started to make my shoulders go raw with the rubbing.  

At one point along the Hudson, Terry kept waving at me to move closer away from the left side of the river along the wall.  He occasionally would point to something and then yell, but with my ear plugs couldn't hear a thing.  I had to lift my head stop momentarily and yell back "What?"  He said, Come close, there's sewage coming in. I looked at the wall and up ahead a there was a pipe about the diameter of a basketball releasing "water" into the river.  When I'd swim by it I made sure to keep extra tight lipped.  Didn't notice anything except a quick drop in water temp.  That only happened twice I think.  Not a big deal.  

The "C Rock" for Columbia University
The feeds went well and pretty quick.  I mostly ate either a banana which went down really fast!  I made about 8 half sliced peanut butter and Jam sandwiches the night before.  Those weren't as fast going down, but were so GOOD and hit the spot!  I loved those!  I had a buzz bite at halfway, had a few Little Debbies, and either Gatorade or my Vitargo/Creatine mix with water.  

George Washington Bridge in
the background with the NJ
shoreline along the
Once I got to Spuytin Duyvil the Hudson clearly was in charge. It went from pretty flat to crazy choppy.  At first I thought it would be temporary because of where we were on the river where the Harlem comes in to the Hudson, but that chop stayed with me the rest of the whole race!  I was in for a LONG half of the race.  I remember reading someone's blog
post on their MIMS where they said something about expecting the swim to George Washington Bridge to take a long time.  It did.  It's such a huge bridge that you don't think it's that far, but it is.  The water chop was really wearing me down.  My shoulder's were fried and I was tired.  Once we got past the bridge, I was hoping that it would calm down just a little cause the river widens just a little.  But it stayed as crazy as before.  This reminded me of the first two hours of my Catalina swim where I got seasick.  I just watched some video and man the chop there looks like nothing!  When you're in the water swimming in that crap it seems many times worse!

I never got sick to my stomach on this swim, but was sick (annoyed) of the chop!  That Hudson portion for me was a real downer.  I was slowing down, and spent.  Once we finally got close to the start of the piers (about 4-5 miles from the finish), I head Terry yell out something like "get pulled".  WHAT!  I knew I was slowing up, but to risk getting pulled because of my speed?  The time to get pulled is at a 9:30 pace.  I went into panic mode and swam like there was no tomorrow.  Even the crew on the boat were all out standing up and waving at me like there was a shark on my feet.  I was FREAKING OUT!

I put my face in and would try to exhale completely before breathing.  I have a tendency to stick to single sided breathing when I speed up and that doesn't really allow me to exhale properly and then I hyperventilate.  So while I tried to speed up, I tried bilateral breathing. It was very unnerving the last 4 miles realizing I was at risk of getting pulled.  I looked forward once and saw a humongous cruise ship pull out of one of the piers and pull forward.  It was far enough ahead that it was done pulling out and making it's turn to starboard and forward motion.  

Then I noticed Terry was WAY off to my left about 50 yards. I thought "CRAP!" and started to change course towards him.  Then Cathi and the motor crew intercepted me and yelled "NO!!!  Keep going and pointed south towards the statue of liberty which was still just a tiny little spire on the horizon.  Terry was gone and I had no idea why.  I used the motor boat crew for the rest of the swim which was about 4 miles.  My observer, Capri was right on the bow of the boat with her arm extended way out front for me to use as a pointer of where I needed to go.  

Occasionally they would wave me in more, and wave me to go faster.  That last 4 miles I was sprinting the whole DANG RACE!  I was not having fun.  I was not enjoying the sights, cause my mind was so focused on that triple crown.  I thought about how sad and disappointed I would be if I didn't make it.  Especially if I was so much slower than my goal (7:57 compared to the 9:30 cutoff).  This is the only big swim where there is a cutoff.  With English Channel and Catalina, you don't have to go fast. There is no cutoff.  You just swim at your own pace and it doesn't matter (unless you go so slow that you get hypothermia and get pulled for safety reasons).

Then I saw Cathi and Capri on my right side all pointing to me to look left.  There I saw we were at Pier 25 and a ton of people lined up along the end waving and cheering.  I couldn't make out any details, but I knew my parents were there proud as ever.  I saw one guy about 25 yards ahead and the crew were going nuts motioning for me to swim faster.  I went from 100% to 110% and I heard Scotty inside my head, "Capn!  The engines can't take it anymore!  They're gonna blow!"  But I only had another 400 yards or so.  I saw two big orange buoys along the wall and I was catching this guy!  

I passed him about 10 yards before getting to the buoy reached out and tagged it.  Then I heard everyone above me along the railing yell out "No! Keep going!!!! The finish is around the corner!"  So I quickly started back up to round the bend, but the guy I passed was already up there.  Oh well!  I had to smile about that.  Again, I didn't really care about my placement, but it sure was fun to give the crowd something really close to see."  When you have such a long race with such few swimmers, it often doesn't make for a nail biter finish with people close together.  Sometimes there are really close ones, but it's not common.

They had staff to help us out of the water, and found that the guy I was close with was Mark Smitherman, from Florida.  Shook his hand there as we sat next to each other at the finish.

After I got out, David Berra was there and took my picture.  Found out my time was 8:10:56.  What the
13th place finisher of MIMS 2014 - yours truly
crap!  I thought I was gonna get pulled for being too close to the 9:30 mark!  I found out later in the day that the reference to "getting pulled" was due to the cruise ship.  Some of the swimmers were right in it's path and ended up having to get on the boat, where they took a GPS coordinate.  Then after the cruise ship pulled out, went back to that point where they would resume the swim.  All being completely legal and not a disqualifying event.  I had no idea they were referring to the cruise ship.  And all that excitement from the crew was simply in reference to other swimmers.  They wanted me to catch up to other swimmers.  

Pretty sweet finishing trophy!
I was like "Oh my gosh!  I busted my butt for that!!!?"  I didn't care about passing anybody really.  And the reason Terry had to leave.  His kayak was filling up with water and he wasn't able to bale any of it and had to get to shore to get the inside of his boat emptied out.  When I got out and was walking up to the nutrition tent, he yelled out to me "Great job Gordon!" and I saw him give me a thumbs up as he just arrived as I finished.  

So in actuality that last 4 miles was done under a dead sprint not because I was at risk of hitting the deadline, but because they wanted me to go faster to pass other swimmers, and I misunderstood (thanks to my stupid earplugs).  And that cruise ship situation never really affected me.  So I guess the swim for me was most enjoyable in the Harlem, but that Hudson portion, I was "Swimming Scared".  Not a fun moment. 

Me and Terry, my awesome
Now that it's all over I look back and have fond memories, but man that was tough!  For me tougher than the other two, English Channel and Catalina.  That Hudson River was a killer!  The chop was insane and it covers about 45% of the course!  As far as the water quality.  It was fine.  The only taste I got out of it was diesel fuel, both in the East River and Hudson.  With all the chop I did end up accidentally swallowing I estimate about a quart of water.  I haven't got sick at all, and I feel wonderful.
I'm so thankful for my kayaker, Terry, and my crew, Cathi and Lucy.  My observer Capri, joked that she had never seen anyone swim and eat that much food.  I guess I ate quite a bit more than she had ever seen.  When your body is a machine you need to fuel it!  I smiled thinking that I was considered to having a picnic out in the river.  Also grateful for my my pilot Phil, whom I never did get to meet or shake hands with!  Cathi was able to represent me in thanking him, but I'm extremely grateful for his service.  We had to rush out early from the awards dinner because of our shuttle leaving at 8pm at 39th and 9th.  So I unfortunately didn't get a chance to get to go around and congratulate and talk with many of the other swimmers.  All in all it was a great time, and I finally am able to mark that Triple Crown goal off my list.  Officially the 84th person in history to complete it.  

Finally, my apologies to any New Yorkers that may have been offended at the pre-race media report that went out prior to the race where they emphasized the dirty water around Manhattan.  Myth and legend unfortunately often trumps the reality and truth, which is definitely the case here.  Other than the diesel taste, the water itself was about 3 feet in visibility and only about 8 times did I actually see any garbage in the water.  Considering the vast distance covered, that's exceptional!  If I were a New Yorker, I would definitely be buddies with all you here swimming along side you in your beloved water!

Big thanks to Morty and his huge team of volunteers, this whole organization really had their act together and I would highly recommend any race NYCSWIM puts together for any swimmer.  It was a wonderful experience and quite the change from last year according to the reports I had read of last year's race.  Well done you guys!

Here is a copy of my observer's report (Capri Djatiasmoro):

Terry took a lot of video with his camera.  Here is the first 30 minutes of the swim.  Note that the earplugs I wear are extremely good at keeping water out of my ears, as well as sound.  So I didn't hear him at all.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

MIMS Tracking Page

Here is the tracking map: 

Cathi forgot to start the tracker until half way up the East River.  Sorry friends!  Thankful for folks who called to ask
her to get that tracker turned on!

How far is it?

Circumnavigation of Manhattan Island for this race starts at the south end at Battery Park, and heads counter clockwise.  Starting with the East River, up to the Harlem River, continuing up near the northern end of the island, and then down the Hudson River southerly back to Battery Park.  
The total distance is approximately 28.5 miles.  However this is a swim that is current assisted.  So the swim cannot be compared to a 28.5 mile swim in a lake with no current.  The race is timed to use the tide and currents to the advantage of the swimmer. 

How much did it cost?

  • Swim: When I submitted my application, NYCSwim requires full payment up front.  It was $2,550.
  • Airfare: I paid for Cathi, Lucy and myself to fly from SLC to Newark, NJ: $432 per round trip ticket
  • Hotel: One night in Manhattan:  $329, One night in Newark: a little over $100

What did you have to do to qualify to enter this race?

Given the demand by many marathon swimmers worldwide, and the lack of opportunities to swim this race, as well as to ensure that all swimmers are experienced and will be safe, this race requires participants to qualify.  In my case, the English Channel and Catalina Channel crossings both satisfied the qualification.  It isn't required to have already swum EC or CC, but it certainly make a statement.

What was the water quality like?

From the first moment I jumped in at the start, the water tasted a little like diesel fuel.  It resumed all the way up the East River, but in the Harlem it seemed to dissipate to an almost neutral taste.  Then in the Harlem it resumed back to a diesel taste.
The water was so rough in the Hudson that I ended up drinking probably a quart of river water accidentally.  I had a little sore throat that night, but the next day was fine.  Never got sick at all. There was some rain the day before, and had received a last minute email from NYCSwim announcing that the water quality was just beyond the threshold of what is normal and that the quality was compromised, saying that we had an opportunity to back out if we wanted.  Heck NO!  I'm all in baby!  
The water quality was just fine.  I wouldn't hesitate to swim there on a regular basis if this were my turf. 

How did it compare to English Channel or Catalina Channel?

For reference, here are my Catalina Channel FAQ and English Channel FAQ pages.  I will provide an update here once I swim MIMS.  But keep in mind that the same swim course is difference one day to the next, so when I compare my swims, it's from my own perspective on the given days I swam.  They likely would all be completely different had I swam them on different days.
The wind picked up pretty strong in the Hudson, and it was ROUGH.  The whole distance down the Hudson for me was simply humbling.  3.5 hours of getting the crap beat out of me and rushing to the finish due to a miscommunication between me and my crew and I was swimming scared.  Due to my experience in the Hudson, MIMS was the toughest swim for me than both the English Channel and Catalina Channel.  Read my detailed MIMS report for more information.   

Why is MIMS doing three fields of swimmers instead of just one like years past?

Being a race director myself I totally understand the complexities of organizing a race (not that any of the Utah races pale in comparison to the complexity of MIMS, I can only imagine the overwhelming nature of organizing and executing something like this), the number of volunteers needed for a very large field of swimmers is just not available.  From online meetings with NYCSwim, it was revealed that this will be the last year that this will be a race with more than 5 swimmers.  The future of MIMS is headed in the direction of providing solos like EC and CC.  No more humongous fields of swimmers in a race format.  
Which doesn't bother me in the slightest.  In marathon swimming a majority of swimmers care very little on how fast they went.  If they went fast, great, that's a bonus, but the big thing is to finish.  

What's next for you?

For now, I'm focused on being a coach for my kids.  They've been neglected as potential swimmers and I am determined to change that.  I will be coaching them early in the mornings and helping them to get to the point where they can decide whether to pursue swimming in a serious and competitive manner, or be satisfied with just being able to get across to the other side of the pool.  
I also hope to be the best support I can be for Chad Starks, who is planning to swim the English Channel July 2015.  I'm looking forward to being on his crew and helping him conquer the channel and live his own dreams.   Also supporting Michele Poole in her Anacapa Crossing in September 2014.
Some other swims that I have on my bucket list that I'd like to swim (in no particular order), starting in 2016:
  • Lake Tahoe Length Solo
  • 2nd Ice Mile (2015 attempt?)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Getting a send off from my GSL

This morning I met Goody, Lisa and Liz out at the Marina at 0600.  Lisa and I swam a horned Gridley Strait.  The water was pure glass.  Not even a ripple.  It was awesome.  I could see the bottom clearly about half the time.   By far my favorite training swim this year.

A little worried about my shoulder.  It's not a muscle or tendon.  I went to see Dr. Richards for it a few months back and he said I have a bony end on my Clavical that is enlarged and needs to be shaved off.  It's not a big surgery, he said he had it done on himself.  It's getting painful again.  I have an appointment to see him tomorrow morning.  It's just too painful now and I only put 1 1/2 hours on it this morning. This will be my last BIG swim of the year, and the rest of the swims this year are frosting.  I'm probably gonna need a cortizone shot for the time being, but when I get back I'm gonna need that surgery to shave that thing down.

This morning I realized this is my last swim until MIMS.  This evening I have a couple of online webinars with NYCSwim to go over some race information and procedures.  Looking forward to that.

Total: 3.1 miles in 1:31

Monday, June 9, 2014

Reasoning with an angry bear

This morning I didn't swim cause I was coaching South Davis Masters, but I had a situation that I just have to blog (I'll swim at Bountiful Lake on the way home).

I was about 15 minutes into the workout with my swimmers when an old muscley guy was standing next to lane 1 looking like he was about to get in.  I came over and said, "Hey, how are you.  Are you here to join the Masters group?"

He kinda went off.  He shook his head and looked at me gruffly and said, "You know, I had surgery a few months ago and I'm just trying to get back into shape, and you guys are constantly kicking me out.  When it comes to anyone just coming in to swim a few laps, this place sucks!  I don't mean to take it out on you, but this place is just awful."

I smiled and said, "You know, I agree with you.  This pool is highly overbooked,  but if you're looking for a way to get back in to shape, with some friendly guidance and encouragement, that's what Masters is all about."

He said, "So what is this Masters thing?  I'm just an old guy and can't swim fast at all."  I told him Masters simply means its for anyone 18 years or older and that we have all sorts of levels of swimmers and lane 1 would be perfect for him to swim in.  He said, "Is there a an extra fee to swim Masters?"  I said "Technically, Yes, but just give it a try for a few times and see if it works for you.  We can help you overcome some of those injuries and help you get more efficient and stronger in the water."

It was like melting butter.  He apologized and said, "OK, what do you want me to do?"  I sent him off on a warmup of his favorite strokes.  He did sidestroke, some sort of breast stroke and then front crawl.  I gave him a couple pointers to help him, cause he was out of breath.  Told him to make sure to exhale completely underwater, and after he tried that he agreed that made a big difference.

I encouraged him to come again, and I'm pretty sure he will.  Once he finds value in the group, and get him introduced to other swimmers, I bet he'll be hooked.  He told me was a fighter and wasn't about to give in to age, with a walker and everything.  I loved it.  Gave him a fist bump and I bet he'll be excited for Wednesday.  He apologized for his gruff behavior, and told him I'd been in his shoes.  Sometimes you just want to swim, and the facility has the lanes overbooked making it difficult for people to just come in and get their workout in.   He complained that the "VA lap pool was too dang hot.  Like a jacuzzi." and that this pool was a decent temperature.

Kindred spirit this man.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Another two laps in Bountiful Lake

On the way home from work I stopped at Bountiful Lake and swam two full laps around the perimeter with my Swimmer Buddy with GPS in tow.

2.20 miles in 1:05

Getting excited for MIMS

2014 Josh Green Open Water Race

I mentioned to Josh a few weeks ago, that it would be nice if someone hosted a race out at Bountiful Lake, and before I knew it he had a facebook event with a date to run an informal race where people just come out and race the loop around the two islands.

Thing is, Josh and Sabrina had a surprise arrival from Porter and he was unable to come since he was in the hospital with Sabrina.  So I helped organize it.

We had 13 people race:  Me, Sarah, Chad, Joelle, Liz, Jake, Sam, Michael, Martie, Jill, Catherine, Esther, and Rachelle.  I was REALLY hoping Wes would show up.  In fact I was counting on it.  It's lame that when we have a race like this and we can't get a really fast swimmer out here.  I can think of about 10 local guys that could easily beat the record.

Kelley showed up and set up the timing equipment and we got that all settled.  Earlier in the day I got a call from Bailey, a Fox13 reporter.  She wanted to meet Joelle and me out there to talk about MIMS.  I was hoping to get some exposure for the GSLOW race, and even for this race.  We answered questions about all of it, but the final result was basically about MIMS.

We started the race about 10 feet from the water's edge, cause to rush into the water from the boat ramp is a little dangerous.  It's not the easiest place to enter the water with all the large boulders.  We started off and I wanted to see if I could break the record I set last spring: 17:22.  I didn't even bother with bilateral breathing. I was in a dead sprint for what felt like the whole swim.

It seemed to take longer to do the lap, just cause I was hurting and wanted it to be over.  My body wasn't achy, I was just pushing it way harder than I like. When I got out, I stopped my watch and Kelley's time confirmed it, I had just broke the record by 20 seconds: 17:02.

Pretty dang cool.  I'd love to get under 17 minutes next time.  Or better yet, get either Will Reeves, James Jonsson, Wes Johnson, Matt Chamberlain, or Dennis Tesch out there to kick my trash. I would gladly hand over the trophy.

When I got out I looked back and there was another swimmer less than 100 yards back.  I assumed it was Sam, but when they got closer, it was Sarah.  What the heck!  I'm thinking she may win first place in the GSLOW race this weekend!  She got 17:55

She jokingly asked about a female trophy.  Well, now that there is actually more than just 2 or 3 people to actually participate in this thing, when I got home I went online and ordered a trophy for the female record holder.  Hoping it gets here before I leave for NYC, so I can hand it over.  Her 3 year old is pretty concerned about her mom's swimming legitimacy without some bling.

Here's the official results.

I went to the hospital to pick up something for the race this Saturday and Josh gave me a belated birthday present.  Paul Newsome and Adam Young's Swim Smooth book.  I looked through it. What a treasure of swimming information.  Looking forward to tearing into that awesome resource.

Here's the news story that showed from Fox 13:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Kirsten's IM Workout

You know your race is soon,
when you'll be done before the milk expires.
This morning I got in 1800 yards before masters, and then did Kirsten's workout:

200 free
100 back drill

400 IM
6 x 100's pull on 1:30 (got 1:07 on all)
300 IM
4 x 75's breast
200 IM
6 x 50's back
100 IM
6 x 25's one arm fly

400 kick
100 easy
2 x 100's strong on 1:22 (1:15)
50 easy

5,200 yards total