Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Causey Monster swim

In memory of Capt. Webb's finish of the English Channel, I decided to swim the perimeter of Causey Reservoir which resembles a Nessie looking monster.

I tried to get a group to go with me, but everyone had other things going on.  Because I had my swimmer buddy loaded up with a gatorade, and the water was flat as glass, I felt fine going solo on this swim.

I got up there later than I wanted and didn't start the swim till 6:30am and it took me 2:28 to finish the swim.  What the map doesn't show is the huge cliffs on both sides.  There were many times my GPS would vibrate because it lost connection.  So the map that Garmin came up with has zig zags all over the place.

There wasn't a single boat on the water and only a couple of fisherman over on the south end of the dam.  I had the entire place to myself!  The water was flat and I took several temp readings with my watch.  Water was 66°F.  Perfect!  As I was going along I couldn't help but look around as the view and the smell of the pine trees was amazing.  I could have kicked myself for not bringing my Ipod along in a waterproof case for taking a few pics during my swim!

Shoulder a little sore now, but not terrible.  What a fantastic swim!

Total: 4.51 miles in 2:28  Today I hit 9 million yards logged so far.  Only 20% of my lifetime goal.  Still have a long way to go!

Monday, August 24, 2015

More dangerous than Jellies or Sharks

Ever since February 2010, when I got my first and only ear infection, I've always worn ear plugs when I swim.  That painful experience made me realize that something as lame as an ear infection can potentially do more damage to my body that a random jelly encounter or shark attack, granted I'm not a regular ocean swimmer so that even reduces the chances.

I have tried a few different types of ear plugs, and the ear plugs I prefer are these.  I just keep them in my goggle box so I don't lose them.  They're pretty expensive, but worth it.  I also use these plugs for when I've attended crazy loud concerts, or even at scout camp to avoid hearing the boys' late night conversations through the tent walls, or my fellow leader's snoring.

AllEarPlugs.com (a UK based retailer), recently sent me a "Save Your Hearing" press release.  AllEarPlugs is all about hearing protection, not just related to swimming.  If I was a UK resident I would consider buying from them, but the shipping costs don't make sense for me to be a customer, but I do support ear protection awareness.  Check them out.

This morning's workout was all about IM.  Kirsten provided this morning's workout.  I swam with Seth in lane 6:

300 easy

400 IM
4 x 50's one arm fly on 1:00
100 dolphin kick

300 IM
6 x 50's backstroke on 1:00
100 back kick

200 IM
8 x 50's breast on 1:00
100 breast kick

100 IM
10 x 50's free on :50
100 free kick

200 hypoxic breathing (5 strokes)
200 easy

3,500 yards total

Celebrating the first World Marathon Swimming Day

Today, August 24th is the date Capt Matthew Webb started his swim across the English Channel in 1875, which was successfully completed the day after.

It is suggested that this grand, legendary day be considered as the first World Marathon Swimming Day, being a date we as marathon swimmers hold in high regard.

Next year I will prepare in advance and organize a community swim in Utah to properly respect this day with fellow local open water swimmers.  Until then, here is a short video of my English Channel swim.  The first swim that made my imagination explode with excitement:

Friday, August 21, 2015

It's not personal, it's just business

Yesterday Josh posted his thoughts on gps assisted goggles.  I thought it was well thought out and expressed and I agree.  I especially think his remark:

I think you are much better off spending your money on a good coach who can teach you how to correct and balance your stroke and help you with open water skills like sighting.  That is an investment that will last much longer than a pair of goggles, and will also help you to get faster by getting to the root of the problem and not just putting a bandaid on it.
I met one of the founders of iolite and he's a nice guy so it's nothing personal against him, but the product instead of making the athlete a better swimmer, gives them yet another crutch which in some cases can propel him ahead of another swimmer of the same skill level without really overcoming the weakness of failing to swim straight.

Last night I was in the dog-house with Cathi and ended up sleeping in my car at Jordanelle.  The plan was to swim with Chad this morning, but not so early, but since I made a bad move with my woman the swim was early.  We got up early (0350) and started our swim at 0430.  I swam 3 buoy laps (3 miles) and met up with Josh who swam one more lap with Chad and I.  The water was glass the whole time.

I was cold getting in.  The air temp was 55, but the water temp was 68.  The water felt practically warm and the first three laps each buoy seemed to come really fast.  I was surprised how "untired" I was.  However half way into the third 1 mile lap my shoulders were feeling a little sore so I figured I'd stop at 4 miles.

I'm getting really excited for Chad's swim.  Yesterday I put together this contest to generate a little support from the online community.  It's always nice when people recognize an athletic achievement in the making.  Observing the effort that Chad has put into his training has been inspirational and he deserves a little attention as a role model of dreaming big, putting in the hard work and making his dreams come true.

Total: 4 miles in 2:17:38 (a good 10 minutes of socializing with Chad and Josh)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Swim in Bennett Lake, Alaska

This morning Cathi and I boarded a train in Skagway to go up White Pass to Bennett Lake, where many people went to for during the Alaska Gold Rush in 1849.  I picked this excursion because it was the only place where I was confident that I could swim without boats, and without being told I couldn't swim there.

The ride on the train was fun.  It was rainy and cold on the way up there.  When we arrived they invited everyone in to the replica train station where they served lunch.  The stop was only for one hour and I didn't want to risk getting in my swim up there which I had been dreaming about.  I had my suit already on under my clothes.  So while everyone else was getting lunch we walked around behind the train over to the shore where I quickly stripped off my clothes, blew up my SSD and put my GPS in there.

Here's the course I took:

As I was wading in at about waist level I stopped for a quick pee.  Just then the conductor of the train yelled out from one of the train platforms, I couldn't hear, but Cathi who was right there on the shoreline yelled something back. I quickly started swimming hoping he didn't yell something like "Hey get out of there you can't be in there!"  I heard her yell and point to the old disintegrating dock about 200 yards or so away telling him I was just swimming along shore and meeting here at that point, where I would swim back.  I saw her on the shore following along and taking pictures.

I saw an old rusty flat shovel underwater (with the handle broken off).  I wonder if that shovel was from the Gold Rush days.  I do remember the guide on the train saying that if we saw anything on shoreline to leave it.  Taking anything from the land that could be considered a antique from that timeline is illegal.

The water was 51 degrees according to my watch.  I felt great!  I returned and told Cathi I'd swim the other direction for another 200 yards or so and come back.  The water went from crystal clear to a little cloudy so I turned back and then repeated that course to the old dock and back.  My stopwatch read 21 minutes 10 seconds and GPS read .69 miles.

I felt fine getting out and getting my clothes on.  But by the time I got back on the train (only about 10 minutes before the rest of the entire group of tourists, I was into some heavy shaking.  The recovery was quite dramatic.  My breathing was quick and shivering was moderate.  By the time people started to board it was at a fairly concealable level.

Cathi asked the tour guide if she has seen anyone swimming there before during her seasons of taking people up there.  She said, "I've seen people kayak, but today was the first time seeing anyone swim in the lake."  I was pretty surprised.  It's such a pretty place.  It was definitely the highlight of my entire Alaskan Cruise.  You can get more details of the trip here ->  http://gridleyvacations.blogspot.com/2015/08/alaskan-cruise.html

Getting ready.  

The view of our train, with the red train station in the background.  
Cloudy day.  Air temp was about as cold as the water. (51°F)
Turn around point at the old dock.

What an adventure!

Total: .69 miles in 21:10 in 51°F in breathtaking area in the remote area of Alaska.  Can't get to this part of the lake except by White Pass Train.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Goody's Lake Tahoe Crossing

Early on Wednesday morning Joelle and I took a road trip to Jamie Patrick's cabin in Truckee where Goody was already there waiting for us to accompany him on his big swim for 2015:  A 21 mile length crossing of Lake Tahoe from Camp Richardson Beach to Hyatt Beach on the north:

We met with him and talked for only about 2 hours before Jamie arrived from San Francisco and we took off to go get the boat and start the swim.

We were able to get the boat put in about half way down on the eastern side and it took about an hour to get to the south end.  Goody read his instructions to us which we already were very familiar with, and Jamie reviewed the very basic rules.

Only one suit, goggles, grease, camp.  Don't tough the boat or anyone.  Support swimmer up to one hour.  Start on dry land, finish on dry land.

We arrived where Goody greased up and got in for his swim.

When we began there was a pretty crazy boat presence so we made sure to stay close to him and since the boat didn't have a swimmer flag onboard, we improvised and used my red jacket as a flag dangling from a pole which we held up.

It was fairly choppy and windy near the start, but going in the northerly direction.  I got in for an hour after a couple hours of him already swimming.  The water was so blue!  I've swam in Tahoe before, but only about 100 yards from shore.  Never in the deep like this. It was awesome!  I'm so excited to do this swim myself next year.

The wind calmed down, and changed directions half way into the night to a nearly easterly direction.  But nothing major.  Goody appeared tired and his stroke was degrading.  He requested a pace swimmer, so I got in for him even though it was dark and I could barely see him through my somewhat foggy goggles.

After an hour of night swimming with him, I got out and piloted for about a half hour while Jamie tried to get some sleep.  It was a long night for everyone.

When the sun came up it seemed to cheer him up.  He really liked the feeds when they were warmed up, so we did our best to heat up some water using body heat since we didn't have any warm water on board.

As we neared the finish we were concerned about his pace, it was abnormally slow for him, however he was still making progress, and didn't appear to be hypothermic, so on we went.

When we got within about 300 yard or so from shore I jumped in with the Go Pro, but it's a new goPro so I wasn't as familiar with the display and screwed up the recording, but Joelle did capture some video on my camera from the boat.

I was so proud of him for sticking with it and not giving up even though he felt like crap most of the swim.  He broke down at the finish and said he would have touched the boat and given in to his temptation to give up had I not supported him in the water.  Man, I'm glad I came.  What a stud for making it from start to finish!
Getting ready to start

All greased up, and putting ear plugs in.

At Camp Richardson beach.  We took great caution to watch
him the first mile out where there was significant boat traffic.

Pace swimming with Goody about 2 hours into it.

Joelle pace swims for half an hour the next morning.

Notice that it calmed down pretty good near the end.  Almost
glasslike conditions.

Just beautiful

The crew with the man himself.

Here's the video highlights I put together for him:

Total yards that I swam (estimated): 
1.5 miles for 2 hours  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Trying to not be a bottleneck

This morning I swam with SDM.   I swam with a new swimmer, Josh, and with Anna Marie.   Kirsten coached and gave this workout:

400 Swim
300 Pull
200 kick

12 x 50's IM order - 4 x (kick, drill, swim) on 1:00

6 x 150's free (3 @ 2:30, 3 @ 2:20)

4 x 50's on 1:00 25 kick/drill

4 x 150's pull on 2:00 (:08 rest)

Got out at this point and moved to the north end of the pool since out time was up and finished with:

4 x 50's @ 1:00 (25 fast, 25 easy)

200 cooldown

3,600 yards total

I went first on all the sets.  Tried to keep Anna Marie off my toes which was tough since except for the kicking sets, she swam the whole thing with paddles.  Pulling should be just a portion of the workout, not the whole thing.  It becomes a crutch, and has the potential for injury.

Last swim before Tahoe.  Best of luck Goody!  You can follow his progress on his spotGPS page starting Wednesday night around 8pm.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Blue Moon swim at Jordanelle

Last night I took Oliver, Sam and Jonas up to Jordanelle for the SLOW club's Blue Moon swim at 10pm.  I had Jonas patrol with the kayak as there were 13 swimmers and several that we new to swimming at night.  It was a lot of fun.  I used a blow up killer whale as a SSD and was extremely surprise at how little drag it was.  Just like a Swimmer Buddy.  Not even noticeable.

By the way I got some much needed replacement parts for my swimmer buddy sent to me in the mail so now I have that option available to me now.

We all swam the one mile course at Jordanelle and played a little before I got in the kayak and paddled the 1.8 miles back to camp.

In the morning I slept in till 8:30am.  Oliver was squishing me in my sleeping bag.  Not the best night's sleep, but restful.  It felt really good to sleep until the sun warmed the tent.

Chad and I got everyone preped for a swim this morning north of the marina.  We stayed along the shoreline with the two kayaks paddling alongside.  About 1 mile into the swim I got a cramp in my left calf muscle very low, almost down into my achilles tendon.  It was very painful and I couldn't get it to subside myself.  I lifted my leg up on to the side of the kayak and tried to get Sam to massage it out, but he was making very little difference and it was still as tight as ever.

It got to the point where I was moaning in pain.  Then Chad realized I was missing from his side and he swam back and massaged it out.  It took at least a minute and it finally relaxed and I was able to resume.

We continued to swim around the shoreline, in and out of various coves till we hit 2 miles and then swam back.  When we finished I was spent.  Garmin GPS read 3.86 miles when we finished.   Got lots of sun.

Total 4.86 miles Friday night/Saturday morning