Hammer Perpetuem - Initial Thoughts

There have been a lot of great articles by Evan Morrison, aka "Freshwater Swimmer", lately about nutrition for marathon swimming.  Here is the link to the last article in the series, with links to the other articles at the bottom of the post:

My nutrition plan for longer swims has usually consisted of watered down Gatorade and gels.  I have had to water everything down because they are so sweet that they make me sick to my stomach.  Anyway, I've decided to try some new things leading up to my Bear Lake Swim.  At the top of my list has been Hammer Perpetuem.  Perpetuem is maltodextrin based with soy protein and other ingredients added.

I went down to Salt Lake Running and talked to a guy there who assumed I was going to be using it for running a marathon.  I think it kind of blew his mind that I was going to be using it for swimming.  In addition to Perpetuem he also suggested I try Sustained Energy, which is basically the same thing but in a slightly bigger package and unflavored.  I ended up buying three single-serve packets to test out.

I mixed up a bottle of the Strawberry-Vanilla flavor this morning and was excited to test it out at my workout.  Here are my initial thoughts:

I've got some good news and some bad news.  Bad news first.  When mixed with 20 ounces of water, the flavor gets pretty diluted.  Combine that with the soy protein and it tastes a lot like the milk leftover after eating a bowl of cereal.  This isn't all bad though because the product is not overly sweet and it sat well in my stomach without making me sick.  I want to try the other flavors and also try mixing the unflavored powder with juice.

I have read that some people think that it has a chalky texture.  I didn't get that feeling.  It is definitely a little thicker than Gatorade, but I didn't think the texture was off putting at all.

I wanted to really put this to the test, so I did an "endurance" workout designed to kind of simulate a race.  After a 2,000 yard warm-up I did 7 x 1,000 on 15:00.  I pushed the 1,000's faster than my anticipated Bear Lake pace and made them all right around 14:00.  I took a "feed" every 30 minutes (2,000 yards).  It took about 100 yards after each feed for the Perpetuem to settle into my stomach, but after that I felt great.  I was planning on doing 8,000 total yards today, but was feeling so good after 8,000 that I added an extra 1,000.  I probably would have added another 1,000 if I didn't have to be to work.  Would I have been able to do this workout taking sips of Gatorade instead?  Probably.  But I think it would have been more challenging.

Overall, I liked the product this morning and want to try the other flavors and also want to try mixing the unflavored packet with juice instead of water.  I will let you know what I find out.

Has anyone else used this product?  What did you think?  What else to you "feed" on during training and long swims?


Rainy and 39 at the Great Salt Lake


The Wasatch Front Polar Bear Club was back to the Great Salt Lake this afternoon after a couple weeks of Saturday plunges at other lakes.  It was raining a little when I pulled into the marina.  When I pulled in, I saw that I was the last one there so I hurried and got down to the boat ramp.

Today's swimmers were Gords, Goody, Jim, Goody's friend Nate, and myself.  It's always fun to have a new guy who has never done it before!

Nate and Goody getting ready to swim.
Gords was the first one in and swam out to the end of the marina and back.  Goody got in next and started swimming out to the end of the dock.  I was the third one in.  When I dove into the water, my goggles peeled off of my face.  Luckily my eyes were closed.  I managed to shake some of the water off of my hands and then wipe my eyes.  You do NOT want to get this water in your eyes...it stings like a @$*%#!  After putting on my goggles, I swam out to the end of the dock and met up with Goody.  Goody kept going and swam another 25 yards.  Jim was also on his way out by this time and swam out to where Goody was while I waited for them at the end of the dock.  When I looked back to the ramp, Nate was already dressed and waiting for us.

Last one it, last one out.  Jim finishing up his swim.
The water today was about 39 degrees, warmer than it was a couple weeks ago, and it was also pretty warm outside.  Nate said something about how good it felt to get out of the water, and I have to agree.

Gords handed off some of the fridge magnets he had made to promote the Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim for me to mail out.  The magnets look great and I hope our swimmers will like them.  If you want a magnet, check out our event website and fill out the form.  He also got our permit application from Dave Shearer so that I can turn it in to get our sanction from USMS.


WFPBC in Ogden

Today was the North Davis Preparatory Academy's Polar Bear Plunge fundraiser at Fort Buenaventura in Ogden.  We had five members of the Wasatch Front Polar Bear Club participate!

The event would have been a lot more enjoyable if it hadn't been raining so much, but I still had a good time.  I was really surprised at how many people were there to watch and participate.  I thought maybe there would be 20 people, but the parking lot was almost totally full when we pulled up.

The event was really well organized and they had music, food, cocoa and coffee, face painting and a raffle.  Each participant also got a nice long sleeve t-shirt.

Wasatch Front Polar Bear Club.  (Josh, Jim, Michelle, Goody and Gordon)
The organizers had us walk out onto the ice to jump in and then head back in to the shore.  I heard someone say they had to bring a backhoe in to break and clear the ice.  When it was our turn, all five us us walked out on to the ice and jumped in together.  Unlike most of the other participants, we actually stayed in for a while.  The water was maybe 2 to 3 feet deep where we jumped in, but the mud was probably just as deep.  As soon as I jumped in, I was stuck.  It took me a few minutes to free myself and I think other people were having a hard time too.

Gordon swimming in to the shore.
Jim, always with a smile on his face.
A couple people from the school noticed my WFPBC hoodie and were asking about the club.  They were excited that we were there and asked for some tips and hoped that we would come back next year.  Before we "plunged", a newspaper reporter asked who we where and wrote down some notes.  Goody was interviewed by a reporter for Channel 2 News as well, so you may see him on TV tonight!

Goody being interviewed by Channel 2 News.
I think WFPBC should organize a plunge / winter swimming race next year at GSL.  What do you guys think?


Utah Masters Meeting

I was excited to go to the Utah Masters general membership meeting tonight to see what I can do to get more involved.  It was my first meeting and I wasn't sure what to expect, but I though there would be more people there.

There are a lot of events on the calendar for 2012 including short course and long course meets and open water swims.  It works out to about one event per month, which is awesome!

The most exciting news of the evening for me was hearing that someone has applied for sanctioning for a new open water swim at Bear Lake!  I am trying to get a hold of the event organizer to get all the details, but it looks like they will have 1/2 mile, 7 mile individual and 7 mile relay events.  The swim will take place on August 25th (about a week before I make my lengthwise attempt).  I will be sure to post more information as it becomes available.

It was my first meeting so I don't know if five attendees (including myself) is typical, but it would be cool if more swimmers showed up to give their opinions and ideas on how to improve Utah Masters.  There were over 300 members in 2011, where was everyone tonight?  There was even an option to participate by webinar, but I don't think anyone was logged on.

I also learned that there is a good chunk of change just sitting around because no one has given any ideas on how to spend it.  It was suggested that some of the money be used on coaching development, which I think is a great idea.  I think it would be cool to fund some social / recruiting events as well.

I had a good time and hope to get more involved, especially with promoting open water events.  The next meeting is scheduled for March 7th so put it on your calendar now!


Utah Masters General Membership Meeting

Just a reminder to fellow Utah Masters members, there is a general membership meeting coming up this week.

January 19, 2012 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm.

This is an annual membership meeting with budget report, election of 2012 Officers, 2012 Calendar for Competition, Triathlon, and Open Water.

Kenworth Sales Company
2125 S. Constitution Blvd. (2700 W)
West Valley City, UT 84119
2ND Floor conference room

You can also "attend" the meeting via webinar.  Reserve your spot here:

If you have been looking for a way to get more involved in the swimming / triathlon / open water community, or sharing your ideas and suggestions for 2012, this will be a great opportunity.

See you there!


1 Hour USMS Postal Swim

Instead of going to my usual pool for a workout this morning, I went to the Salt Lake Sports Complex to meet up with some other swimmers to do the 1 hour USMS Postal swim.  The basic idea is that you try to see how many yards you can swim in one hour while someone else keeps track of your splits and yardage.

I got there early to get warmed up and swam 1,000 alternating between free and back.  I was a record keeper for Randy and Kyle who swam in the first heat.  Will Reeves was really organized and had split sheets, pencils, clipboards and stopwatches all ready to go.  Both Randy and Kyle put up some impressive yardage in their one hour swims.

I got in a lane with Will and did another 500 warm up.  My training has been focused on keeping a relatively easy and consistent pace around 1:30 per 100 for my Bear Lake swim.  I have been caught up in trying to swim a lot of yards at, or slightly below, that pace and have not been doing a whole lot of speed work.  I knew I could get 4,000 yards at an easy pace and was shooting for anything over 4,200.

Will and I shared a lane for the swim and I stayed with him for the first 150 or so and then he started pulling away.  After a while he lapped me...and then lapped me again.  I felt like my stroke and pace were fairly consistent, although I probably went out a little fast at the start.  Apart from a couple near collisions with Will, the swim was pretty uneventful...just kept plugging away.  After Will passed me the second time, I figured we must be getting pretty close to an hour and I picked up my pace.  By the time 60 minutes was up, I was in a near sprint.  I felt great and had plenty of energy at the end.  I was surprised to learn that I had swam 4,425 yards!  That was 225 more than I was hoping for and I felt pretty good about it.  If my math is right, which it may not be, I was averaging 1:21 per 100.

As we were standing around in the pool, Kate and Erin came in to do their 1 hour swims.  I can't wait to hear how they did.

A big thanks to Will for getting this organized and for being prepared with all the supplies to keep track of our splits.  I had a great time and look forward to participating in the other USMS postal events this year.


DIY Polar Bear Plunge

Wasatch Front Polar Bear Club (Josh, Gords, Goody and Michelle)

Today was supposed to be the Utah Polar Bear Swim at Utah Lake.  However, the event organizers failed to make it clear on their website and Facebook page that the event had been postponed until NEXT year.  Gords and I had both registered online and each paid $35 to participate.  You would think that they would have sent us an email to let us know that it had been cancelled and offered to refund our money...but they didn't.  We weren't the only ones that were confused by the website (which clearly still has today's date right on the home page) because another guy showed up while we were there looking for the event.  Adrian had raised $200 for charity from co-workers to take the plunge!  I just hope that all of the money that we paid/raised ends up going to the charities that we chose.
Members of the Wasatch Front Polar Bear Club at Utah Lake (Josh, Gords, Michelle and Goody)

Anyway, we decided that since we were all there that we were going to make the best of it and at least get a group photo taken standing on the ice.  The lake was completely frozen over, and even jumping up an down on it, we could only get small cracks.

Taking out my frustration from the event being cancelled.

After taking a photo, Goody and I decided to try to break a hole in the ice with some of the big rocks laying around.  It took several tries, slamming the rocks into the ice, but we ended up with a hole that was big enough to get in.  The only problem was that the water was only a foot deep!  We made the best of the situation and all took turns sitting in the water a posing for pictures and videos.  Our new friend Adrian got in as well and is hopefully going to come with us to the Great Salt Lake next week.

It would have been fun to participate in an organized plunge like we had planned, but I think I had as much fun just messing around with my friends.  My boys also had fun walking around on the ice (close to shore) and Sabrina always seems to have a good time watching us make fools of ourselves.

The hole.

It's too late this year, but I think next year it would be cool to organize a winter swimming race (which could also include a polar plunge for those not wanting to swim).


Breakthrough and Swimming in the Snow

Jim Hubbard posted on the Wasatch Front Polar Bear Club Facebook page last night that he and his friend Tim were going out to the marina this morning.  I wanted to go, but also needed to get in some yards at the pool.  It was snowing when I woke up this morning, so I was even more excited to go to GSL.  I ended up doing a shortened workout of 6,100 yards at the pool.  I was doing sets of 500 (for time, kick, pull) and surprised myself on the three that I timed.  I ended up at 6:22 on the first, 6:17 on the second and 6:09 on the last one.  My 500 time from the South Davis meet a couple months ago was 6:21!  I guess all this hard work is paying off.  I'm making it a goal to break 6 minutes.  I haven't done that since high school.

On my way out to the lake, Goody called.  He wanted to come this morning, but it was such short notice that he wasn't able to make it in time.  I met Jim and Tim in the parking lot and they had already taken the temperature (34.8 degrees) and Tim had waded in up to his knees.  It was still snowing lightly and there were some duck hunters at the ramp putting their air boat in the water.  Man, those things look awesome!  Without wasting too much time, we stripped down and walked down to the water.  I ran in, dove, and swam out to the end of the dock and waited for Jim to catch up before heading back.  It was Tim's first time and he got in and then right back out.  He seemed pretty excited about the experience and was already talking about coming back again!

This is not the best picture, but the sky was clearing when we were leaving and Antelope Island was covered in snow and looking beautiful!

Great morning of swimming!

There are a couple organized "polar plunges" coming up that the club is going to be attending.  Hopefully we'll see some of you there!

North Davis Preparatory Academy - Saturday January 21 in Ogden


Sunset and Swimming at the Great Salt Lake

Not much to report this week.  We came.  We swam.  We shivered.  We saw a beautiful sunset.

It was still sunny when I met Gords and Goody at the Great Salt Lake marina.  We hung around talking on the dock for a while and took some temperature readings.  As usual, Gords and my thermometers are about two degrees apart, ranging form about 36 to 38 degrees.

All our clothes and gear organized and lined up for a quick recovery after getting out of the water.
Gords took off on his usual 250 yard route while Goody and I watched.  My new routine is to charge into the water, dive in, and swim out to the end of the dock.  I made it to the end of the dock and turned around to see Goody going under the water.  I did breaststroke back to the ramp and got out.  My fingers didn't hurt nearly as bad as they did last week.

After Gords got back and we all got dressed, we talked for a while about some of our swimming plans and trips for the coming year.  It's going to be a good year for open water swimmers in Utah.  We also agreed that the "cold shock" doesn't seem to last as long as it did even a few weeks ago.

The Great Salt Lake has got to be one of the best places in the world to watch the sun set.  The picture does not due justice to the color and beauty, but here is is anyway...


Bear Lake Training Update - December

A quick update on my training progress at the end of December.

I swam a total of 82,925 yards (47 miles) in December.  This was an average of about 20,731 yards (11.8 miles) a week.  I'm right on track with my weekly yardage according to the training plan I am following from Open Water Swimming.  Of that total yardage, about 675 yards were in the open water with the Wasatch Front Polar Bear Club.  I'm still on track with my goal of getting in the water once a week through the winter.

A couple days after doing a set of 100 x 100's around the holidays, the pain in my collar bone area came back (although not nearly as bad as it was earlier in the year).  I have been doing a lot of backstroke in my workouts, especially during warm ups, to try to balance out my back and chest muscles and I think it has helped.  I have been slacking on my chest stretches and shoulder workouts from my physical therapist and will need to get back in the habit of doing them.

In January I will be looking to increase my weekly yardage to about 24,000 yards (13.6 miles) a week.  I've been cycling through the same handful of workouts of between 6,000 to 8,000 yards and am getting a little burned out with them.  Anyone have some good workouts in that range of yards?

I still have not picked up a back of Hammer Perpetuem and will make it a goal this month to test it out and see how my body reacts.  I also really want to get a SPOT GPS Messenger to use during my Bear Lake swim so that my family and others can track my progress across the lake in real-time.  I'd like to get one before Gordon's EC swim because I know there are a lot of people who will want to follow his swim.

In other training news, I will be making a trip to California with Gords and Goody to join some big name swimmers at Jamie Patrick's Swim Camp in May.  This will be a great chance to learn from the vast experience of the other swimmers and get in some good training mileage (I know some people are planning on swimming 10 miles each day of the camp).  It will also be a whole lot of fun!