Antelope Island to Black Rock Beach to GSL Marina

Gordon asked me quite a while ago if I wanted to swim the 8 mile Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim course with him the week before the race.  I jumped at the chance because I have never done the swim (and I kind of think I ought to since I am one of the race directors).

I've been dealing with some stuff stemming from my experience with hypothermia a couple months ago and had myself pretty worked up last night worrying about this morning and praying that everything would go well.  It turns out that I had nothing to worry about.  The conditions were absolutely perfect and I didn't have any issues at all.

The sky was pretty dark and the wind was blowing pretty good when I got up this morning.  I got to the marina and Jake, Gordon and I went to talk to Dave Shearer, GSL Harbor Master, about the weather.  He pulled up some satellite maps and told us that he didn't think there was anything to worry about.  With that, we loaded up the kayak and the rest of our stuff onto the rescue boat (this boat is awesome!).

Our view from the State Parks rescue boat after leaving the marina.
Dave took us as close as he could to the island and we hopped out.  The water was about 4 feet deep and was totally clear (which we learned is because the brine shrimp have been eating all the algae).  Dave told us the water temperature was 65 and then left us to get ourselves back to land.
Dave and his dog Taz on the way to Antelope Island.
Gords and I at the starting point.

I read something a while back ago that talked about how my hero, Lynn Cox, sings "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" when she swims.  It has been a good way for me to keep my mind off of the things that have been causing me to panic lately and is also good for passing the time. It ended taking almost exactly 30 minutes each time I went through the song in my head, which made it nice to know when our next stop would be.  I didn't look at my watch at all during the swim.

After four stops, about 2 hours, I asked Gords if we were at the halfway point.  He checked his GPS and we were at 4.6 miles!  This was VERY encouraging!  We were making much better time than I though we would.  It was at this point that I finally started to relax a little bit.

You can't see Black Rock from Antelope Island and you don't do a whole lot of sighting, especially with kayak support.  I didn't really look to see where we were until we stopped for feed.  It was a great feeling when I finally saw Black Rock.

Gordon and I were pretty much side by side the whole way, which was really cool.  I would look over at him and see him just slicing through the water.  I swear a couple times I saw him smiling when he took a breath.  We were having a great time!

My brother, Jake, was an awesome paddler!  He had some shoulder pain last week, but said he was fine to be our kayak support.  He was always right there when we were ready for a feed.  He said it took him about 4 miles to really get into it.  I was him snapping some pictures and I can't wait to see them!  Thanks Jake!

My feeds were pretty much straight Perpetuem with occasional apple sauce treats.  I never felt like I was running low on energy the whole way.  I am a HUGE fan of Perpetuem.  The taste isn't that great, but it gives me the energy I need and it sits well in my stomach.  About halfway I took two Ibuprofen.

As we got to within about 1 mile of Black Rock, Gordon didn't stop for our usual 30 minute feed.  I wasn't planning on stopping either.  We were so close I just wanted to power through and finish.  At this point I had no idea how long we had been in the water.  The water had cooled down (relatively) at this point and felt great.  As we got closer, the water got more shallow and it was amazing to see the ripples in the sand on the bottom and see the shadows from my arms and splashing water on the bottom of the lake.

I felt like Gordon sped up and I was trying to keep up with him.  At this point, by arms were feeling the previous 7+ miles, but I kept going.  Once we cleared the water we stopped our watches...3:34!  I was hoping for around 4 hours, so I was REALLY happy with our time!
My brother Jake and I at the finish.
Gords and I after finishing an awesome swim (and before our second swim).
After seeing everyone's pickled tongues last year, I though mine would be pretty bad.  It ended up not being bad at all and is pretty much back to normal now.

Sabrina was going to meet us at Black Rock and take us back to the marina, but since we finished half an hour faster than planned, she wasn't there.  We were all feeling good and decided to just swim back to the marina.  We also saw Chad on his way back to the marina.

All in all, we ended up at 9.26 miles in 4:15.  I briefly thought about adding some more on to make it an even 10 miles, but my arms were pretty shot.  Thanks to Gords, Jake and Dave for making it happen today!  You guys are awesome!


Unknown said...

great job man!

Etsuko said...

After you swam 8 miles in 3:34 you just added another mile to it. Unbelievable!