Bear Lake Swimming Association

I have been kicking around the idea of starting an informational website about Bear Lake swimming for a year or so.  With everything that is going on at the lake this summer (at least one solo crossing, a new USMS Sanctioned event, and a double-crossing), I think now is the time to do it.

The basic idea is to provide information about the history of the lake, current conditions, crossings and records, maps, links to lodging and restaurants, etc.  Hopefully the site will help Bear Lake become a "bucket list" swim that marathon swimmers will want to check off and also become a place where channel swimmers can complete their qualification swim.

The site is still pretty basic right now, but you can check it out here:

At this point, I would like to get your ideas and feedback.  I'm not totally happy with the design, and am working to improve it.  There are currently no maps that show the two most common crossings (19 mile length and 7 mile width) and I am working on that.  Is there anything else that would be important to include that I have left out?


Longest Swim to Date!

Gords, Josh, Goody and Kim.

I decided to take advantage of the holiday and go for a long pool swim with some friends.  I met Gords, Goody and Kim at SDRC at 5:00am and we got in the water at about 5:05.  We all had different goals: Goody and Kim were going for 10,000 yards, I wanted to get 20,000 and Gords "the machine" was going for 35,000.

My fuel for today's swim was Perpetuem and Achiva Energy Native Energy Beans.
I wanted this swim to simulate a long distance swim as much as I could so I settled on swimming 10 x 2,000 with no equipment.  It sounds really boring, but it actually wasn't as bad as I thought because I had friends there swimming with me.  I had three bottles of Perpetuem mixed up and ready to go as well as three packages of Achiva Energy's Native Energy Beans that my friend Eric gave me to try.  I drank about 1/3 of a bottle after each 2,000 and ate a packet of the chia beans every third 2,000.  A few times, the Perpetuem started coming up and I had to fight it back down, but other than that it worked great.  It was nice to have something solid every once in a while and the chia beans were a treat that I looked forward to.

I actually felt really good!  I was able to hold a pretty steady 30 minutes for each 2,000 (about 1:30 per 100).  My energy level was great the whole way through, although my arms and shoulders started to get a little tired towards the end.  At the halfway point, I took two ibuprofen (I didn't take any before the swim) and only had very minimal pain.  Goody pointed out that my left arm was crossing over, and I spent the last 10,000 yards trying to focus on fixing it.

Goody and Kim finished their 10K workout, and I was more than a little jealous that they were getting out and going to breakfast!

Gords and I got synced up every once in a while on our sets and ended up swimming side by side for 1,000 to 2,000 yards at a time.  It was pretty fun and I was happy that I could keep up with him.  It kept me from slacking off and taking it too easy.  I'm starting to feel more confident that I'm not going to slow him down when I pace swim on his English Channel swim.

At the end of 20,000 yards, I felt like I could have kept going, but decided that reaching my goal was good enough and that I didn't need to push it.  I'm happy with where my training has taken me to this point, but I also realized at the end of this swim that I am going to need to step it up over the next several months to be able to make it across Bear Lake.

What spending five and a half hours in the water does to your fingers.

This was my longest swim (pool or open water) to date!  20,000 yards ends up being about 11.36 miles which is a little more than half of the way across Bear Lake (although if you take the flipturns into account, it's probably less than that).  Hopefully it warms up soon so that I don't have to spend this long in the pool again to get in a long swim!


QUAC Ski-n-Swim Meet

I had a great time at QUAC's Ski-n-Swim meet today!  QUAC has got to be the best organized club in the state.  They ran a great meet and I think everyone there had a lot of fun.

I got to meet Ben Lariviere who is organizing the Bear Lake Swim.  He is a super nice guy and is really excited about his race.  He's got some great ideas and I can wait to see how the event turns out.  Gords and I set out some magnets and entry forms and Jim was also there with some Deer Creek materials.

I had agreed to join a relay team with Gords, Goody and Chad Starks.  We entered all three relays (200 free, 200IM and "Martini").  We actually won the 200 free relay and I think we got second on the other two.  Not bad!  I hope we can get this team together again in some of the upcoming meets.

Josh, Gordon, Goody and Chad.
I entered the 50 free, 500 free and 100 free and was pretty happy with all of my times.  I ended up with 26.15 on the 50 (I did 25.76 in the 200 free relay), 6:01.01 on the 500 (so close to breaking 6 minutes!) and 58.40 (I was hoping to get under a minute and didn't expect to go this fast, especially after the 500).  My friends all did great!  Many of them did better than they expected and improved their times.
A cool feature of the online system used at the meet is that you can see a graph of your splits.  Obviously I went out WAY too fast on the first 50 and then settled into a good pace.  I "sprinted" the last 50.

All in all, a great day!

I have been out of Perpetuem for a while and went to pick up some more before Monday's 10 mile pool swim.  They only had the single-serve pouches, so I got a few of those.  My friend Eric and Achiva Energy also brought me some of their new Native Energy Beans that I will try out on Monday.


~700 Yards in 45 Degree Water

I met Goody and Jim at the GSL Marina this afternoon for our weekly Wasatch Front Polar Bear Club swim.  There was a truck with three guys that pulled in just ahead of me, and they must have recognized Goody from another swim because they started talking to him and asking him how far he was going to swim today.  They followed us down to the boat ramp and seemed to be pretty interested in what we were doing.  They stayed and watched until we got out!

The water temperature was 45 degrees, a full three degrees warmer than last week.  I couldn't tell a difference when I first stepped in but, after swimming a little while, it did seem to be warmer than last week.

I was not really motivated to swim very far today, but once I got going I felt pretty good so I kept at it.  I swam out to the opposite end of the marina, near the opening, and touched the rocks (and scrapped my chest on them too).  Goody was right behind me and once he stopped, he asked "how good are you feeling?"  I was feeling pretty good at that point and he suggested that we swim out the the red buoy just outside of the marina.  We both swam out to the buoy, touched it, and headed back.

Once I got back into the marina, I saw that Jim had come out to meet us.  The three of us swam in together.  Goody and I were in for just under 13 minutes and Jim stayed in for over 15.  I figure that Goody and I did about 700 yards.  One of the park rangers was waiting for us at the ramp and stayed around to talk to us for a while.  I should have got his name, he was a nice guy.

I don't remember ever shaking as much as I did today after a swim.  Luckily it only lasted about 10 minutes.  I think we have definitely made it through the coldest water temperatures and are going to see them continue to rise.  Once we get to about 50 degrees or so, I will try for a mile.

Even though I wasn't particularly excited to swim today, I ended up having a great time.  Thanks to Goody, I swam a lot farther than I had planned.  Can't wait for next week!


Bear Lake Swim (1/2 Mile, 7 Mile and 7 Mile Relay)

In case you haven't heard, there is going to be a new open water race in Utah this year!  The inaugural Bear Lake Swim will take place on Saturday August 25, 2012 and will feature 1/2 mile, 7 mile and 7 mile relay distances.  The race is USMS sanctioned.  There is a good possibility that there will be a special award for those who swim the 10 mile at Deer Creek, the 8.12 Mile at Great Salt Lake and the 7 Mile at Bear Lake.

The 1/2 mile course will be an out-and-back swim from the beach near Garden City Park.  The 7 mile course is a point-to-point swim from Cisco Beach, across the lake, to the beach near Garden City Park.  You can round up six other friends to put together a 7-swimmer relay team.  Prices are pretty reasonable at $40 for the 1/2 mile, $60 for the 7-mile and $160 for the relay.

This is great news for open water swimming in Utah.  It sounds like a great event and I am planning on entering the 7-mile individual swim.  Check out the website for more information.  You can also register on Active.com.


Valentine's Swimfest

This morning was Valentine's Swimfest, the much anticipated sequel to the Christmas Swimfest we did at the end of last year.

I got to the pool about an hour early to get in a little swim since I was in charge of "coaching" the group.  I swam about 2,500 yards before people started showing up.  I've never swam laps at the Murray pool before, it's really nice!

Once everyone started showing up, I got out and started the workout.  We only had about 30 minutes to do the workout.  Here's what I had planned:

500 warm up
50 kick
100 fast
150 easy
200 IM
200 IM
150 easy
100 fast
50 kick

The pool is deep and I was also going to add some vertical kicking sets, but we ran out of time.

Rachel had a bunch of fun relays planned that were a lot of fun.  We did a t-shirt relay, kicking relay (where each swimmer adds their kick board to the next person so that the last person has four boards), Saltine relay (where each swimmer has to eat a Saltine cracker and whistle before the next person can start) and a Matchbox relay (where teams take turns pushing a Matchbox car across the bottom of the pool).

After the workout and relays, Goody wanted to get some underwater pictures...

We then all met up at the Left Fork Grill for breakfast.  The food was great and it was fun spending time with my friends.

Thanks to everyone who came today.  Thanks especially to Rachel who had the idea to start this tradition, ordered the caps, made Valentine's for everyone and organized the relays.  I'm looking forward to the next one!


Welcome to the Newest Member of the Wasatch Front Polar Bear Club!

I met my fellow WFPBC members at the Great Salt Lake Marina this afternoon.  I had a feeling, with all the warm weather we've been having lately, that the water was going to be "warm".  When my family and I got to the marina, Goody and Jim were already there and had already taken the temperature at 42 degrees!  I dropped my thermometer in just to double check and came up with 42 degrees as well.

Goody, Gords, Josh and Jim
The three of us chatted for a while about the upcoming Valentine's Swimfest and the QUAC meet while we waited for Gords.  I was excited to see that he had his new suit from Splish.com on.  He and I designed a men's and women's suit suit to promote the 2012 Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim.  The suit looks great and I can't wait for mine to get here!  We are working with Splish.com to make the suits available on their website.  We are also working on getting a discount code for anyone who wants to order one...stay tuned!

Got Salt?  Gords does!
With the water being several degrees warmer, I decided I'd better swim a little further than I have for the past few weeks.  All four of us got in the water at the same time and headed out from the ramp.  I had my sights set on swimming out to the marina entrance and followed Gords to the entrance.  I didn't look back until I had made it and, when I did, I saw Goody just getting to the rocky point where Gords has been swimming to over the past several weeks.  Jim was also pretty far out into the marina.

On the way back to the ramp, all four of us ended up swimming right by each other and we swam in together.  Jim has turned out to be a pretty hardcore polar bear and is always the last one out of the water.  He stayed in for just over 10 minutes today!
This has got to be one of the best photos out there of WFPBC!

Nice job!  A lot of PR's set tonight.
As I was getting out of the water, Sabrina told me about the newest member of the WFPBC.  I had mentioned in passing to my oldest son Harrison a week or so ago that he could become a member of our club if he put his foot in the water.  While we were out swimming, he had put his bare foot in twice and still had his shoe and sock off and was running around!  Welcome to the club Har!

The newest polar bear!  Way to go Har!

Today's swimmers (and foot dippers): Harrison, Josh, Gords, Goody and Jim.


Bear Lake Training Update - January

A quick Bear Lake training update for January:

First of all, I now have a date set for my attempt.  Thanks to Gords, we will be staying at his family's cabin in Logan over the Labor Day weekend and I will be attempting my swim on Labor Day (September 3).  Both Gords and Goody have both signed on as support and I'm very happy to have my friends be part of the swim.

In January I swam a total of 90,200 yards (51.25 miles), averaging about 22,550 yards (12.8 miles) per week.  50 miles is the first milestone in the USMS Go The Distance competition and will earn me a swim cap.  The 50+ miles in January also keeps me on track to finish 200 miles in the US Open Water Swimming Virtual Open Water Swim in February.

My training plan calls for me to hold the same weekly yardage for February as I did in January, but I might try to increase it a little bit.

Although my training has been focused on distance rather than speed, I have been getting a bit faster.  I swam 4,425 yards in the USMS 1 hour postal swim, which was more than I expected.  I also beat my 500 time from the SDRC meet three times during a recent workout and am excited to go for a PR at the upcoming QUAC Ski-n-Swim meet.

I have been meaning to try Hammer Perpetuem as a "fuel" source for Bear Lake, and recently did.  So far, I like it and plan to continue using and experimenting with it.

I tried contacting the National Kidney Foundation of Utah to see if they would be willing to have me swim to raise money for Kidney Camp and Youth Transplant Camp.  I haven't heard back yet, and need to try to get a hold of them again.

As my training progresses, I am getting more confident in my ability to finish the Bear Lake swim.  Where I used to get anxious thinking about it, I am actually getting excited for it now.  I had a dream a week or so ago where I finished the swim in a time of 9:15!  That time is definitely out of my reach right now, but at least my subconscious is confident that I can finish!