4.5 Miles at Pineview with Goody

Goody texted me earlier this week when I was still in San Diego and asked if I wanted to do a longish swim at Pineview today.  It's been at least a month since I have been swimming with him and I wanted to get a longer swim in before Slam the Dam, so I told him I was in.

My wife dropped me off at Goody's house and then took the boys to the dinosaur park.  Goody showed me the awesome video that Gords took of him swimming to send to him new coach.  I need to get Gords to film me!  After a quick cleaning before Goody's realtor brought someone by to see his house, we were off to the lake.

The water was calm and a little chilly.  I lost my thermometer somewhere in Bear Lake so I couldn't take the temperature.  I would put it somewhere in the mid to upper 60's.  It took me a while to get used to the water temperature, but after a while I was good to go.

Goody took us along the "dam route" which follows the shore from the parking lot to the dam and back.  We stopped for some bars, gels and Gatorade before heading off again.  Next we did the "buoy route" which follows a line of white "no wake" buoys across the reservoir and back.  We stopped again for another quick gel and drink and then did the "dam route" again.  All together, we swam 4.5 miles and we both felt good about next week's race.

My arms felt like I was wearing those wrist weights for the first 2.5 miles or so.  I don't know if it was the gels finally kicking in or what, but after that point I was feeling better and pushed it a little faster to the dam and back.

A thought kept popping into my head while we were swimming, it went something like this:

"It would be really cool to swim across Bear Lake next summer.  I bet with almost a full year of training I could do it.  I need to find a training plan that I can stick to.  How many yards / miles a week do I need to be swimming to be prepared for a 20 mile swim?"

I told Sabrina about possibly trying the lengthwise Bear Lake swim next year and she was totally supportive.  The next step, I think is to talk to some people and put together a training plan to get me to where I need to be physically.  I am a little worried about the mental preparation.  This will be MUCH farther than I have ever tried to swim before.

Thanks Goody for a great swim!  As always, it was good to swim with you!


Afternoon Swim at GSL

After taking care of some post-vacation chores, I found myself free at about 3:00pm and decided to head down to GSL for a quick swim.  With the sun rising later and later, it was nice to be at the lake in the afternoon instead of in the morning.  There were only a couple people in the parking lot and a few sailboats and kayaks on the water.

The water is getting cooler and felt pretty nice.  There are also far fewer brine shrimp in the water than there were a couple weeks ago.  The surface of the water in the marina was covered in bugs and was kind of gross to swim through.  After I made it out into the open lake, it was much better.

It's been a while since I got a good swim in and I just wanted to take it easy today.  Halfway to Black Rock I saw a couple people riding a jet ski!  That's something I've never seen at the Great Salt Lake before.  They were riding in some pretty shallow water and I hope they were aware of the rocks.  It actually made me a little nervous the rest of the way to Black Rock and I kept stopping to make sure I knew where there were so I didn't get hit.  I never saw them again.

I finished the first mile in pretty good time and then headed back to the marina.  The second mile was a little slower, but still felt pretty good.  I decided to go around to the east side of the marina rather than swim through all the bugs again, and this ended up being a good decision.

It was a nice, relaxing swim and a good warm-up for tomorrow when I will be joining my friend Goody for a 4.5 mile swim at Pineview before Slam the Dam next week.

Beautiful (and a Little Creepy) Swim at La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove
I was on vacation in the Carlsbad / San Diego until yesterday.  One of the things that was on the top of my list to do while we were there was to swim at La Jolla Cove.  I have been following the La Jolla Cove Swim Club for a while now on Facebook and have always wanted to participate in one of their events, but it's never worked out.

On Tuesday, my brother Jake and I finally made it out to the cove to swim.  It was an overcast day, but the air temperature was perfect for me.  The water felt chilly at first, but was fine after getting in.  I had emailed Bob West, President of the La Jolla Cove Swim Club, the week before and he told me the water was about 65 degrees. 

There were quite a few seals (or sea lions, I'm not sure what the difference is...) and they made me a little nervous since I have heard about people being bitten by them.  Sometimes they were swimming withing 20 feet of us.

The water was beautifully clear and it was cool to be able to see the ocean floor and fish swimming around.  The orange Garibaldi, which is the symbol of the club, were easy to find among the stringy plants.

Apart from the seals, the thing that really freaked me out was the kelp.  I would be swimming along, minding my own business, when all of the sudden I would find myself tangled up in the stuff.  If I lifted my head to sight, I could spot the larger clusters and try to avoid them.  I was surprised at how rough some of the plants are, they actually scratched us a little swimming through them.

There were a bunch of other people out there swimming while we were there, but I didn't get a chance to talk to any of them.

After spending so much time in the Great Salt Lake, I was curious to see how ocean water compared.  I could hardly even tell that there was salt in the water until I got hit with a wave while breathing and took in a mouthful.

It was a little creepy, but I'm sure it was just because of my lack of ocean swimming.  I could get used to swimming in the cove every day.


Pre-Slam the Dam Dinner for Utah Swimmers

Slam the Dam is coming up pretty quick (you can still register for some events) and I know there are a lot of Utah swimmers who are making the trip.  Last year a group of us got together for dinner the night before and we would like to do the same this year.  If you will be making the trip and are interested in joining us, please leave a comment below or email Heidi.  We need to get a head count and are also looking for suggestions on where to eat.  Last year we ate at The Cheesecake Factory in Henderson and it seemed to work out well.

If you are looking for a ride, kayak, paddler, etc.  You best option would be to post what you are looking for on the Utah Open Water Facebook Page.

Hope to see you there!

US Open Water Swimming - Virtual Swim

It's time for US Open Water Swimming's Virtual Swim. The contest runs from October through March and is a good way to stay motivated and keep training during the winter months. You can get more information and register by clicking here. Fellow Utah swimmer Gordon Gridley was the big winner of the 250 mile swim last year.

Here is a summary of the event taken from the website:

When: October 1st 2011 - March 31st 2012
Entry Chairman: Karen Reeder
Email: dksreeder@skybeam.com Enter online at: https://www.clubassistant.com/club/clinics/reserve.cfm?c=1219&cid=52270 Website: http://usopenwaterswimming.org/

Eligibility: Open to anyone who swims! Sign up before October 1st!

Categories: Each person picks ONE of 5 goal distances to complete within the 6 month time-frame. After sign up, the swimmer will receive a swim log form to keep track of their yardage. Distance categories are listed below. Swimming anywhere, open water or pools counts for yardage. Distances swum in meters can be converted to yards at http://www.calculateme.com/Length/index.htm

1) 50 miles Lake Chelan, Washington - 88,000 yards: averaging 3,382 yards per week

2) 100 miles, Key Largo to Key West, Florida -176,000 yards: averaging 6765 yards per week

3) 150 miles, Malibu to La Jolla, California - 264,000 yards: averaging 10,150 yards per week

4) 200 miles, Lake Oahe, North and South Dakota - 352,000 yards: averaging 13,530 yards per week

5) 250 Miles, Around Long Island, New York - 440,000 yards: averaging 16,712 yards per week

Awards: The person that completes the distance and submits their swim log FIRST will receive a $40 gift certificate from Kiefer Swim Shop and Kiefer gift certificates will be awarded for 2nd - 5th place in each category. More prizes may be added depending upon participation levels for each category. A prize winners’ mileage CANNOT BE higher than the average for the next higher distance category. If you are unsure about which category to choose, contact the entry chairman.

Entry Fees: Basic Entry: $15.00

Premier Entry: $75.00 - Premier swimmers will receive 26 workouts, 1 for each week to assist them their training. Workout sample is shown below

T-Shirts: $20.00 which includes shipping within the U.S. White T-Shirts will have on the back “50 Mile Swim, Lake Chelan Washington, (for example) based upon the swimmers’ sign-up category.

Workout Sample: There will be three categories for each workout. Category A will be approximately 1300-1700 yards, category B about 2200-2700 yards and category C 3500-4000 yards.

A) 200 swim warm-up choice

300 swim @:20 rest, 2 x 50 – 1 easy/1 fast @:15 rest

200 swim @:20 rest, 4 x 50 – 1 easy/1 fast @:15 rest

100 swim @:20 rest, 6 x 50 – 1 easy/1 fast @:15 rest

100 warm-down

1500 yards

B) Warm-up 200 swim, 100 kick, 200 pull

400 swim @:15 rest, 2 x 50 – 1 easy/1 fast @:15 rest

300 swim @:15 rest, 4 x 50 – 1 easy/1fast @:15 rest

200 swim @:15 rest, 4 x 50 – 1 easy/1 fast @:15 rest

100 swim @:15 rest, 2 x 50 – 1 easy/1 fast @:15 rest

200 warm-down

2300 yards

C) Warm-up 200 swim, 200 kick, 200 pull

500 swim @:15 rest, 2 x 50 – 1 easy/fast @:15 rest

400 swim @:15 rest, 4 x 50 – 1 easy/1 fast @:15 rest

300 swim @:15 rest, 6 x 50 – 1 easy/1fast @:15 rest

200 swim @:15 rest, 8 x 50 – 1 easy/1 fast @:15 rest

100 swim @:15 rest, 10 x 50 – 1 easy/1 fast @:15 rest

Warm-down 200 swim choice

3800 yards

More about the Swims:

Lake Chelan– This is the 3rd deepest lake in the United States with a maximum depth of 1486 feet. The swimmer begins in the city of Chelan and heads northwest until reaching the end of the lake to complete 50 miles.

Florida Keys – The swimmer begins at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and heads south and west along the Florida Keys. The swimmer will pass Key Largo, Islamorada, Duck Key, Marathon, and Big Pine Key before finishing the 100 mile swim in Key West.

Malibu to La Jolla: This swim begins in Malibu, California and the swimmer will take a “scenic route” to La Jolla near San Diego. The swimmer will head south towards Catalina Island, swim around it to the south side. Next, the swimmer will head southward to the east side of San Clemente Island. After reaching San Clemente Island the swimmer will turn east towards San Diego, finishing at La Jolla Cove for 150 miles.

Lake Oahe: This lake is the 4th largest reservoir by volume in the US. This swim begins at the south end of the lake at East Shores Recreation Area about 8 miles north of Pierre, South Dakota. The swimmer heads north up the lake, crosses the border into North Dakota and finishes at Hazelton Recreation Area, North Dakota for 200 miles.

Long Island: This swim starts at Brighton Beach in Brooklyn. The swimmer will head south across Jamaica Bay to Breezy Point Tip and then turn northeast, swimming along the south side of Long Island. Once reaching Montauk, the swimmer will go around the tip of Long Island and head northwest towards Orient Point. After reaching the point, the swimmer turns southeast heading down the north side of Long Island. The swimmer will go past Port Jefferson, Bayville and Port Washington before heading under the Throgs Neck and Whitestone Bridges, then past La Guardia Airport. Once past the often turbulent water of Hell Gate, the swimmer will enter the East River, passing Roosevelt Island. The route continues under several iconic New York bridges, past Governor’s Island in the harbor, through the Verrazano Narrows, past Coney Island, finally finishing at Brighton Beach for the 250 mile circumnavigation.


Photos From James Jonsson's Utah Lake Crossing

James Jonsson shared these photos with me from his record breaking swim across the length of Utah Lake.  His swim started at Goshen Bay on the south side of the lake and finished at the American Fork marina on the north end.  The swim was 20.42 miles and took him 10 hours, 1 minute and 40 seconds to complete.  The murky water made for a "total case of sensory deprivation" as James was not able to see past his elbows.  Congrats again James!

Promotional Video for the 2nd Annual Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to swim in the Great Salt Lake?  Did you miss the inaugural Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim?  Check out what some of this year's participants had to say and put the Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim on your calendar for June 9, 2012.

Thanks to Gordon Gridley for the awesome video editing!


James Jonsson Sets Another Record

James Jonsson just added another record to his marathon swimming collection by becoming the first person to swim across the length of Utah Lake!  The 20.42 mile swim took him 10 hours, 1 minute and 40 seconds.  Here is a brief note I got from James:

Well, I finally got some retribution after the fiasco at Lake Tahoe.  Today I became the first person to successfully cross the length of Utah Lake.  I swam 20.42 miles in 10 hours, 1 minute and 40 seconds.  I started at the mouth of Goshen Bay at the south and finished at the boat ramp at American Fork.  The start was a little dicey because I was standing in knee deep mud surrounded by tall weeds (I'm glad we don't have alligators!) and there was no way to get to dry land unless you bring a machete and hack your way for several hundred yards being eaten alive by swarms of mosquitoes.  I could have found dry land but it would have shortened the swim by about a mile, so I decided on the mud start instead.  The weather cooperated for the most part and even though the water is murky, it was a great swim.  As soon as I collect all the photos from our cameras I'll post them.

I can't wait to hear more about this swim and see the pictures.  Congrats on another impressive swim James!

Here are some photos James sent me from his swim.


New Hardware and First Attempt at Coaching

When I got home from work, I was surprised to hear that I had a package.  I hadn't ordered anything for a while and couldn't think of what it could be.  I was excited to see that it was the trophy for the Josh Green Loop Virtual Open Water Swim that my friend Gords put together!  The trophy is awesome and I'm glad that I get to keep it for a while until someone breaks the record.  I'm actually a little disappointed that no one has tried to break the record yet, I'll be happy to hand the trophy over to a faster swimmer!

Tonight was my first attempt at coaching.  I have always liked helping people with swimming and I really enjoy putting on open water clinics.  I love working with newbie open water swimmers.  So when my friends Kate and Rachel asked me to give them some tips and look at their strokes before Slam the Dam in a couple weeks, I was super excited to do it!

It was a bit of a scramble to find a pool, but in the end Kate came through.  We had been planning on using an outdoor pool in Draper until it stated raining.  Kate got us in at the Mount Jordan Middle School pool and it was great!  We were the only ones there!

I had them warm up while I watched them swim and took some video.  I tried to take notes on the different parts of their strokes and note the good things they did as well as the things that needed improvement.  We talked for a while about different parts of the stroke, did a few drills and talked about some open water specific skills.  I tried to answer their questions as best I could.  I wish we would have had a little more time that I could have gotten in the water to take some underwater video.  Maybe next time.  I really had a lot of fun and was humbled that they would ask me for help.  I hope it was worth their time!


Getting Lost, Chaffing and Leaking Goggles

The path to Silver Sands Beach.
It was dark this morning when I met Gordon at the Great Salt Lake Marina at 6:30.  I ran out of BodyGlide over the weekend and the only body lubricant I had left was a can of TriSlide.  I put on what I thought was a heavy coat and hoped for the best.

We started out from Silver Sands Beach on the east side of the marina and headed towards the red buoy.  The water is getting cooler and felt pretty nice.  The buoy we were aiming for has a flashing light on it and I thought it would be easy to see from the water in the dark.  However, when I put my light blue tinted goggles on, I could barely see the light.  I followed Gords for a while and then went totally off course.  I stopped every 100 stokes or so to take my goggles off and figure out where I was.  I had stayed a little too close to the shore and had to swim 500 yards or so out into the lake to get to the buoy.  Gords was already headed west back towards the marina by the time I got there.

The TriSlide wore off pretty fast in my armpits and on the back of my neck and I started chaffing pretty early into the swim.  In open water swimming, there are so many things that can go wrong and you really have to learn to adapt to the situation and push through it.

At Black Rock, we stopped for a quick drink and then headed back.  The time on my watch was about 58 minutes.  I kind of hated to start swimming again because that meant that I was going to be feeling the chaffing in my armpits and neck again and that it was probably going to get worse.  On top of that, my goggles kept leaking and I had to keep stopping to get the water out.

I finished the last mile in about 28 minutes, which is a little slower than I would have liked.  I decided to call it good at this point because of the chaffing, but Gords kept going to the red buoy.  I sprinted from the marina entrance to the boat ramp and felt pretty good.  At Slam the Dam you have to run out of the water at the end of the race.  To prepare for that I swam until my hands touched the ramp and then jumping up and ran until I cleared the water.

It's a common saying that 20% of open water swimming is physical and 80% is mental.  Today was much less of a physical workout and more of a mental one.  From getting lost in the dark at the very start of the swim to the painful chaffing and leaking goggles, I had to make the best of the situation and keep going.  While days like today are not as fun as the days where everything goes right, I am grateful for the experience and know that it will pay off in future swims.


Volunteering at US Trisports Stansbury Tri

I had been planning on racing the Aqua-Velo at the Stansbury Tri, but I have hardly been on my bike at all this year and I decided to volunteer instead.

I got to the race at about 6:00am and met Ally and Cheri, who put me to work checking athletes in.  From there I was pulled from packet pickup to help unload and move some equipment.  Apparently my beard makes me look scary, because I was asked to work security at the transition area for a while.  I then joined a group of other volunteers to be shuttled out to the bike course.  In my stylish reflective vest, I worked with Jeff from the Tooele County Sheriff's Department to direct vehicles and cyclists.  When the last cyclists was on his way back to the transition area, I caught a ride back and helped pick up trash and then tear down the tents, tables, bike racks, cones, etc.  We were all done by about noon.

I had so much fun and think I will probably be volunteering with US Trisports again.  The fact that I got a couple nice shirts and a free race entry didn't hurt.  I wish I would have been able to see more of the race (especially the swim), but I did get to see all of the Olympic cyclists come past.  For anyone looking for a way to save money on entry fees, this is a great option.  Not only do you get a free race entry, but it's a great feeling to help other athletes and get a "behind the scenes" of how a race is run.  Thanks US Trisports!


If You Pack It In...

It's been a while since I have been out to Bountiful Lake and I have heard that it is getting worse.  I drove out to last night with my kids to check out the conditions of the lake and water. 

Sadly, there was trash everywhere along the shore.  It really makes me angry that a few lazy and inconsiderate people can have such a negative impact on the lake, wildlife and other people who use and enjoy the lake.  It's obvious to me that a lot of work, and money, has been put into making Bountiful Lake a nice place.  Think about the bathrooms, picnic tables, the grassy areas, the signs showing the different types of birds and fish, the number of fish the lake is stocked with, the fishing docks, the trail that goes around the lake, etc.  More work is currently being to improve the northern shore of the lake.  Yet some people still choose to dump their trash in the water or leave it on the shore.

I'm not sure what the solution is.  There are signs like the one pictured above all over the lake reminding people to pick up their trash and it's not like there aren't any trash cans around.  Maybe more trash cans could be put around the lake, especially near the popular fishing spots.  Last year I participated in a big clean up of the lake as part of Gordon Gridley's son Austin's Eagle Scout project.  Together we removed 650 pounds of trash!  This is a good way to clean up what is already there, but doesn't do anything to prevent the trash in the first place.  I like that the lake is free for anyone to use, but I wonder if charging a small fee would keep out some of the people who litter.  Charging a fee is not the best solution and probably would not work anyway because the lake is accessible by parking your car on the side of the road and walking to the shore.

It seems like the lake tends to get worse as the year progresses.  It think it's partly due to the build up of trash throughout the year and also because not as much water flows into the lake as the year progresses.  At this point, I'm tempted to stop swimming there for the rest of the year.

What are your thoughts?


To Wetsuit, Or Not To Wetsuit...

It seems to be the age old debate among open water swimmers: to wetsuit, or not to wetsuit.  Recently the debate has heated up with an article titled "What's Wrong With Marathon Swimming" by Scott Zornig, president of the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association.

In his article he states: "with the rare exception (i.e., disabled swimmers), wetsuits do not belong in the sport of marathon or endurance swimming. They should be limited to triathlons and special circumstances."

He concludes with this: "You would not enter a triathlon with a motorized bicycle….You would not play baseball with a corked bat ….You would not play golf with a loaded ball…You would not run in a marathon with roller skates. Therefore, please don’t use a wetsuit in marathon swimming. It provides an unfair advantage and goes against the spirit of our sport."

Since this article came out, other swimmers have posted their thoughts on the debate.  Here are a couple from blogs that I follow:

Now for my two cents...

You would have a hard time finding someone who did not believe that wearing a wetsuit provides and advantage in speed, warmth and buoyancy.  The issue, I think, is in making a distinction between triathlons that are held in open water venues, open water swimming races and marathon swims and their rules regarding the use of wetsuits.

Triathlon allows the use of wetsuits within a certain range of water temperatures, and actually requires them when the water dips below a certain temperature.  Since wetsuits are legal in triathlon and you actually put yourself at a disadvantage if you do not wear one, it is easy to see why the vast majority of triathletes wear wetsuits.  I found my way into open water swimming through participating in triathlon and I think this is true for many other swimmers.  For this reason, wetsuits are often carried over into open water swimming races.

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of open water swimming races all over the world ranging from short cold water swims to marathon distances.  Rules at these races are as varied as the number of events and are often determined by the organization providing sanctioning for the event.  Many of these races offer both wetsuit and non-wetsuit divisions to try to entice more swimmers to participate.  In this case, the results for each division should be kept separate with separate awards are given to both divisions.

Marathon swimmers like Captain Webb and Gertrude Ederle were completing impressive endurance swims in cold water when swim suits were still made out of wool and long before wetsuits were even thought of.  Because of that history, marathon swimmers today try to swim under the same conditions and typically follow what are known as "channel rules".  In summary, swimming under "channel rules" means that you can wear one bathing suit, a pair of goggles and a cap.  No wetsuits.  In addition, you are not allowed to use any type of artificial aid or to touch any support craft or other people during the swim.  There are several governing bodies and organizations who keep official times and records for these swims and if you want your time to be officially recognized, you must follow their rules.

Regardless of the sport, if you want your time to "count" and be officially recognized, you need to follow the rules of that sport / organization / race.  Beyond that, it is just a matter of personal opinion and preference.  Personally, I choose not to wear a wetsuit unless I am participating in a triathlon.  I could outline my reasons for leaving the rubber behind, but I don't think it is my job to convince people to ditch their wetsuits or to look down on them if they don't.

In the end, if wearing a wetsuit will get more people to try the great sport of open water swimming, I am all for it.  Now what do you think?


Stansbury Lake Open Water Clinic with US Trisports

I went out to the free open water clinic at Stansbury Lake put on by US Trisports this evening.  It was a really nice day to be out in the water.  The water temperature felt great and it wasn't too hot outside.  Only two people were wearing wetsuits, which I thought was pretty impressive since triathletes tend to love their rubber.

There were probably about 10 or so people who showed up for the clinic, which I thought was a pretty good turnout.  Aly Brooks, race director with US Trisports, gave a brief introduction and then turned the time over to Wes Johnson.  I've been bumping into Wes over the past couple years and he is an amazing swimmer, athlete and coach.

We split up into groups based on skill level and then practiced sighting, drafting, turns and finished with a simulated race.  I was in a group with Brandon Slaugh, who won the 1 mile Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim.  Each group swam different distances on the simulated race and the group I was in swam about a mile.

I had a good time and am grateful that US Trisports puts on these clinics.  I am excited to be volunteering at the Stansbury Tri this coming Saturday.  If you are racing, maybe I'll see you there.

Two Mile Swim at GSL and Physical Therapy

This is my pool.
I woke up this morning and headed out to the Great Salt Lake Marina to meet Gordon.  On the way out, he called to let me know he was going to be late because of an incident involving a trophy this morning.  I would have like to wait for him, but had to get going because I had a physical therapy appointment I had to get to.

I got in the water at about 6:30am.  The water has definitely been feeling cooler lately, but it was still very comfortable to swim in.  I headed out to the red buoy outside of the marina and then started my watch.  My shoulders were a little stiff from Monday's adventure at Bear Lake and I had just planned to take it easy and stretch out.  Once I got going though, I decided to pick it up a little.  I struggled with the last mile on the last two 10K swims I have done and I kind of wanted to be a little tired at the end of today's first mile and push the second mile to try to simulate that last mile in a race.  I got into a good pace and almost swam right past Black Rock.  Part of the problem is that the sun is rising later and I had a hard time seeing Black Rock with my blue lens goggles.  I guess I need to get a clear pair like Gords.

I stopped at Black Rock to get a drink and to look for Gords, but I never saw him.  I figured he must have started out going towards the end of the buoy line.  On the way back I was pushing a little harder and ended up with a much faster time than my first mile, even swimming into a breeze on the second half.  I laid back and used my SSD for a pillow while I had another drink and took in the view.  I think people would change their minds about the Great Salt Lake if they were out in the water in the morning and saw the sun rise.

As usual, I sprinted from the marina entrance back to the boat ramp.  I figure it is good practice to be able to sprint at the end of the workout to simulate sprinting to the finish line of a race.

I had to rush to get to my physical therapy appointment at TOSH.  I was actually thinking about cancelling it because I have been feeling so much better.  I swam 6 miles and paddled 13 on Monday and then 2+ miles this morning and felt only minor pain.  Except for Monday, I haven't taken any Ibuprofen for a couple weeks.  In the end, I decided to keep the appointment.  My therapist had me do more of the same exercises and also added some new ones.  The thing I am learning is that even though the pain I have been feeling is in my chest, the muscles I need to work on are the ones in my back and shoulder.  He said my upper back is kind of stiff and gave me some stretches that I can to to try to loosen it up.  I set up another visit a few weeks away and, if I'm still feeling this good, I'll probably call it good and not make another appointment.

A couple of the therapists were asking about my swimming, what races I do and where I train.  I told them that I have been training mostly in the Great Salt Lake and they couldn't believe it.  Seriously folks, it's not as bad as you think it is!  In a survey we did after the Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim, 69.2% of swimmers said that the saltiness of the water was about what they expected and 7.7% said it was better than they expected (leaving 23.1% who said it was worse than expected).  We also found that 53.8% of those who participated in the survey thought that the water quality was BETTER than they expected.  It's time to quit complaining about the lake and get out there and swim in it!

If all goes according to plan, I will be headed out to Stansbury for the US Trisports open water clinic this evening.  It looks like you can still register for the free clinic on their website if you want to come.


Gordon Gridley's Bear Lake Swim

Gordon Gridley after his 19 mile crossing of Bear Lake.
I was a member of Gordon Gridley's support crew, along with Jacob Gridley and Will Reeves, on his 19 mile Bear Lake crossing yesterday.  It was an incredible experience and I am grateful that I was able to be a small part of it.

After a fitful night of sleep, I was up at 4:00am to get my stuff together.  We were going to be out on the lake for 10 plus hours so I had food, drinks, sunscreen, swimming gear, etc.  The rest of the crew got up and going around 4:30am.  We loaded up the van and headed for the lake.  When we got to the State Park, the gate was locked so we had to carry everything down to the beach.  It was a chilly morning and we all went into the bathroom to stay warm while we got ready.

Gordon and Will at the beginning of a very long day.
At about 6:35am we were in the water and on our way.  Will started in the water with Gordon as his pace swimmer while Jacob and I were paddling in two kayaks.  My job was to use the GPS to keep everyone on course and make log entries of Gordon's progress every hour.  I was also acting as Will's support boat and had all his food, drink and swimming stuff with me.

The first few miles went by without much trouble.  The water was about 68 degrees and there was a slight breeze.  At about mile 4 the wind started picking up and was causing some chop on the water.  The wind would prove to be a major challenge the rest of the day, changing directions several times and making for very choppy water.

At mile 7 Will and I traded places.  It was getting warm and I was exited to get in the water to cool down.  I got ready and hopped off the side of the kayak and then helped Will get on.  In my rush to get in the water, I forgot to put on my BodyGlide and I am still feeling the consequences of that mistake today.

The first mile was tough.  It usually takes me about a mile or so to get warmed up and into a good rhythm.  Gords, having already been in the water for 7 miles, was already in his groove.  After  the first mile I stated feeling really good.  I think paddling for 7 mils before swimming was actually good, because it warmed my shoulders up.  I was lucky to be swimming in mostly smooth water for most of the way.  At one point however, the wind did pick up and we were swimming into what felt like a headwind.

This was a much different experience from other open water swims I have done.  You really have no idea how fast you are going, where you are at, or where you are going.  I had to rely on Jacob and especially Will to make sure that I was going the right way.  A couple times I was so in the zone and worried about keeping a good pace for Gords that I actually went off course and Will had to come bring me back.  Even though this was Gordon's swim, I felt like we were all part of a team and were working together to make sure he had a successful crossing.  It was added motivation for me to keep up my pace so that I didn't let the team down.

Gordon and I are pretty well matched as far as pace goes (at least over short distances, he kicks my butt over long distances) and we swam side by side for most of my time in the water.  At about mile 12 we stopped for a feeding and Gordon had a Buzz Bite.  I don't know what's in those things, but I need to get some because he TOOK OFF!  I was having a hard time keeping up with him and, after another mile, decided I wasn't doing him much good as a pacer and got back on the kayak.  I put in about 6 miles total and felt much faster and stronger that I did at Deer Creek.  I wanted to go further, but didn't want to slow Gordon down.  I was happy to help him out a little and get in another 10K before Slam the Dam at the same time.  I need to really pick up my training between now and next summer so that I can do a good job pacing him on his English Channel swim.
Thanks to Will for being so supportive while I was in the water.  He kept complimenting me on my stroke (which means a lot coming from a guy who has a flawless stroke) and encouraging me as well as keeping me on course and helping me with my feedings.  Thanks Will!

Stopped for a feeding.
Gordon and Will were going strong until about mile 16 when things took a real turn for the worse.  The wind had picked up again and was coming from the northwest.  At about mile 17, conditions got even worst and I felt like I wasn't making any forward progress at all in the kayak.  By this time Will and I were a ways ahead of Gordon and Jacob.  Will was still making pretty good progress, but waves were splashing into the kayak and I felt like I was going backwards.  Will and I both thought that we were going to have to get the ranger to go back for Jacob and Gordon.  At this point I said a silent prayer and asked for just one hour of no wind so that we could finish.  As I read Gordon's account of his experience this morning, he was saying the exact same prayer at right about the same time.  Fortunately, our prayers were answered and the wind died down long enough for us to finish.

Gords ended up with a time of 11:13:15.  He had been shooting for a time of under 10 hours, but considering the weather conditions, he was pretty happy to have been able to finish.  I have seen Gordon at the end of two very long swims (this one and his 21 mile swim at GSL) and each time he has a huge smile on his face and is always positive.

The Crew.
It was an unforgettable experience and I was inspired by everyone on the team.  Gordon amazes me with his determination, endurance and positive attitude even in the toughest of conditions.  Will is an amazing swimmer and easily could have swam the whole distance himself, but let me take a short turn.  As far as I am concerned, Jacob is a professional marathon swimming support paddler and would be happy to have him on my crew in the future.

Thanks to the Gridley's for their hospitality over the weekend, our family really had a great time!  Thanks for some of the best tasting pizza after a long day!

Congrats to Gordon on another amazing swim!  Please read his own account of his swim on his blog, Gords Swim Log.


Morning Swim at Blackridge

Swimming a "smiley face" at Blackridge Reservoir in Herriman.
I met my friend Jared Hawes at Blackridge this morning.  We don't often get to swim together, but it's always nice when we do.  We are pretty close to the same speed (although he seemed faster this morning) so it works out pretty well.  Plus, he's a really nice guy.

It was chilly when I left the house and I grabbed a jacket before I left in case I was freezing after the swim.  It turned out to be a really nice morning once the sun came out.

We got in the water around 6:30.  It felt a little cold at first, but anything would feel cold after swimming mostly in the Great Salt Lake for the past few months.  Once I got going, the water was pretty comfortable.

The beach and buoys and Blackridge.
We took turns leading as we went around the perimeter a couple times.  There is a line of buoys near the beach and Jared had us do a set of ladders using the third, fifth and last buoys.  We swam out easy and then a little faster on the way back.  It's nice to shake things up and do something other than just swim a couple miles straight now and then.  We did one more lap around the reservoir before Jared had to leave for work.

A family of ducks.
Since starting the "Swim Your Name" contest, I have been thinking about other things you could do by swimming with a GPS.  I decided to try to swim a picture of a face this morning and it actually turned out better than I expected!  As I was swimming, I thought that if anyone was watching me (especially while swimming the eyes) they would be pretty confused.  I was trying to think of how I would explain it to someone and decided it was kind of like GPS graffiti.  The good thing is that it's much easier to clean up than actual graffiti.

It was a nice way to start the morning and I hope to be able to make more of these swims with Jared and his group.

Cheesy post swim photo.