Swimming in the Rain

This morning I was supposed to meet Goody at Jordanelle. When I stepped outside, it was raining and, for a second, I thought about going back to bed.  I figured since I was already up, I may as well drive up there and see what conditions were like.  On the way up the canyon, it started raining harder.  I told myself that if Goody's car wasn't there, I would turn back and go home.

When I got to the parking lot, Goody's was waiting for me in his car.  I pulled up and he rolled down the window. "Looks like were swimming in the rain!"

I got changed and saw Lisa and her husband Tom pull up.  Tom was going to fish, but decided to head home because of the rain.  Lisa stayed to swim and then rode home with me.

The water felt nice in the rainy air.  The temperature was 70 degrees, which I'm sure was warmer than the air. There was mist and fog over the water and mountains, it was quite beautiful.  I wish I had brought my camera, it would have been a cool picture of the three of us in the water.

I just wanted to swim one lap this morning.  Just trying to stay loose for Friday's Dam 2 Dam swim in Idaho.  The good thing about swimming on a rainy day is that you don't see the sun come up and there is no glare on the water.  It made sighting the buoys a breeze.

After we finished a lap, we chatted at the boat ramp for a while about Goody's upcoming Bear Lake crossing.  I'm really hoping I can get up there to help him.  Lisa also invited me to do a double width crossing with her and Sarah...I'll have to think about that and run it past the boss.

Anyway, it was a nice swim and I'm glad I stuck it out and didn't go home.  Easy swim tomorrow and then Dam 2 Dam on Friday.


Busy Morning Swim at Jordanelle

Jordanelle Reservoir, looking towards the dam.
I wanted to get one semi-long swim in before Dam 2 Dam next week. I was thinking about going to Deer Creek this morning, but decided to just go to Jordanelle instead since it's so much closer.  I got to the lake a little before 6am and got changed and headed down to the water.

There were already some fishermen there, but no boats. The water was very glassy and the temperature felt nice.

I followed the buoys like normal, but then swam out to the end of the point where there are three more buoys. One of these big "L" shaped laps is just over 2 miles.  On the first lap, I noticed another swimmer in the water but didn't stop to talk to them. I saw the same swimmer again, and it turned out to be Lisa Gentile. It was good to see a familiar face! We swam in to the ramp together and got a drink and I changed out my goggles.

The "L" Loop. Just over 2 miles.
We did one more of the regular laps. I was planning to do another big "L" lap, but the boat traffic was getting busy.  I saw one that looked like it zipped right in front of Lisa, cutting her off.  I decided I'd rather be safe and be 1/2 mile short of what I had planned.

By the time I left, the lake was getting pretty busy. The shore was filling up and there were a bunch of boats, jet skis, and paddle boards out on the water. That's the problem with swimming on a Saturday.  During the week it's far less crowded.

Anyway, it was a good swim. I'm still a bit nervous about Dam 2 Dam, but I'm just going to take it easy.  It's not a race anyway.  Assuming I finish, it will be my longest open water swim. Believe it or not, I've actually done a swim longer than that in the pool...

Another cheesy swimming selfie.


24th of July Swim

I was timing a 5K / 10K running race with Elevated Racing this morning near Deer Creek (where I happened to see fellow swimmer Nathan Nelson) and decided to take a quick dip with my brother after the race was over.

The original plan was to swim around the island a couple times, but the water level has gone down since last time I drove by and there wasn't enough water to get around the island.  We decided to drive further down the road to Rainbow Bay.

It was pretty windy by the time we got down to the water.  I didn't take a water temperature, but it felt great.  If I had to guess, I'd say low to mid 70's.

Time was somewhat limited today so I just swam for 15 minutes around the point, took some cheesy pictures, and turned around.  On the way back a boat stopped 25 yards ahead of me and just sat their with their engine running, making me swim through the exhaust.  I want to yell something at them, but saw that it was an older guy driving and decided to hold my tongue.

I was experimenting a little bit with pacing today.  I have the Dam 2 Dam swim coming up and I don't really feel totally prepared for it.  I was trying out different stroke rates to see what felt most comfortable.  I plan on taking that swim very easy.

The swim today was short and very sweet.  A nice little distraction from all the things I have going on right now.


Bear Lake Monster Swim - 2014

Relay team finishing the Bear Lake Monster Swim. Look at that water!!
I'm finally getting around to a write up about the Bear Lake Monster Swim that happened this last Saturday.

We got to Bear Lake late in the afternoon and the family and I played at the beach until it was time for the pot luck dinner and packet pick-up.  The water was awesome.  This really is the gem of open water swimming in Utah. There were quite a few swimmers and their families who showed up for dinner and we had a good time talking and getting to know each other.

The next morning I got to the marina pretty early, before the gate was open. Some of the swimmers were already there and were unloading their kayaks and getting ready to drive to the finish line to drop off their cars.  It was pretty windy, and a little chilly.  I could tell some of the swimmers were getting a little nervous.  By the time the race started, the weather had calmed down and was pretty nice.

After getting everyone checked in, Gords gave the pre-race meeting and we headed down to the shore.  This year we were lucky to have three people directing the race: Gords, Chad and myself.  It helped a lot to have three people running the show.

The relay swimmers started first, just a little bit behind our planned start time.  About five minutes later, the solo swimmers started.  We packed up everything at the pavilion and I headed over to help set up the finish line.  Chad got in his boat to patrol the course and Gords was paddling for one of the solo swimmers.

My dad and brother had set up the huge red arch by the time I got to the finish line and I helped them get everything else set up.  Finishing at Cisco Beach isn't ideal.  It's really rocky and the bathrooms and amenities aren't as good as at the marina.  On the other hand, we were able to start a full hour earlier and missed the heaviest boat traffic near the marina.

Deni Cullom was the first swimmer in with a new record time of 2:19:47.  We also had a new female record set by Chelsea Carmichael with a time of 2:26:17.  (Full results here) The swimmers were finishing all up and down the shore.  Next year I think we need to set up another arch on the shore to mark the finish line.  That way I won't have to run up and down the shore getting swimmers numbers to get their finish times.  The slippery rocks were also a problem and next year we need to get some carpeting to lay down so that it's easier to get out of the water.

Sarah Jones finishing her swim.

Utah open water pioneer Jim Hubbard finishing his swim.
Overall I think the event went well.  We didn't have any accidents and all the swimmers were accounted for.  So far the feedback we have received from the survey we posted has been really positive, but there are also some ideas for ways we can improve.  This was my favorite quote from the survey:

The atmosphere was awesome. It felt like a family.

We're all about having a good time and try to treat all the participants like family.

We've got a few bugs to work out, but I'm already excited for next year's swim on July 18, 2015!  Some swimmers were so excited about the swim that they are planning to go back later this summer to do a double crossing!


Almost 5K at Jordanelle

We had a good group up at Jordanelle this morning: Goody, Lisa, Chris, Liz, Adam and myself.  This was Chris's second time swimming with us and Adam's first. After chatting at the boat ramp for a while, we jumped in and started swimming.

The water was really nice and clear. My thermometer read 71 degrees.

On the first lap, we stopped at the end of the buoys to wait for everyone to catch up before heading back the other way. Chris took off when we got back to the boat ramp and everyone else continued on to the opposite end of the buoy line. We stopped again to regroup before heading back to the ramp. It was a little bit bumpy on the way back to the ramp, but not too bad.

After a quick drink, Goody, Lisa and I headed out for another lap. This time I wanted to push it a little harder and not stop to chat and let people catch up. I really like swimming with Lisa. She doesn't let me slack off and is right there with me (or ahead of me) the whole time. It's nice to swim with someone so close to your same speed.

I finished at 3.04 miles, not quite a full 5K. Here is the link to my HydroTracker: http://www.finisinc.com/streamline/share/workout/view/53c3fbb7cc890

I really love swimming at Jordanelle in the morning. I'm excited to go back up again later this week, probably Thursday morning.


First Swim of the Year at Jordanelle

Back swimming at Jordanelle. One lap of the buoy line.
This morning I got up early to go swim at Jordanelle with Goody and Liz. I haven't swam there at all since last year (I think my Thanksgiving polar swim was the last time I was there). I had heard the water was warming up and the water level is much higher than last year, so I really wanted to check it out.

When I pulled up, Liz was just getting ready to go down to the boat ramp. I saw Goody already swimming from the parking lot.

I dropped in my thermometer while I got ready. It read 70 degrees by the time I got in the water. I thought it seemed a bit high, but it was still 70 when I got out. It felt a bit chilly for the first little bit, probably because the air temperature was cooler than I have been used to. After I got warmed up, it felt great.

I only had time to do one lap (I remembered last night that I had an inspection this morning for work) instead of the two that I was planning on. It worked out well because I was able to get a GPS measurement of just one lap (and make it to my inspection on time). One lap (starting and finishing at the ramp) is just barely over 1.5 miles. Good to know for when I go up again. Here is the link to the HydroTracker page: http://www.finisinc.com/streamline/share/workout/view/53bece335e350

I stopped a couple times to talk briefly with Goody and another time to take some pictures (forgot my camera, will upload photos later).

It's good to be back up there. The water was nice, the surroundings are beautiful, and the water level is much higher than last year.

On a side note, I found an iPhone at the bottom of the lake on my way in. I was going to turn it in, but no one was at the office. If I can get it to dry out and turn it back on, I'll try to figure out who it belongs to. It would sure make a cool story if I could track down the owner.

Anyway, I plan to go up to Jordanelle a couple times a week. I will post on the Salt Lake Open Water and Utah Open Water Facebook pages when I am going.


4+ Miles at Bountiful Lake

4.37 Miles in 2 hour 12 minutes (including feeds)
I met Sarah this morning at 5:30am at Bountiful Lake. It was a little bit dark, but not too bad with clear goggles. I realized the other day that I haven't really done any long swims in preparation for the Dam 2 Dam swim coming up next month. I decided I wanted to get a longer swim today and was shooting for 4 miles. Sarah was going to swim for two hours.

The water felt cool getting in, but was completely comfortable once I started swimming. I didn't take a temperature, but it had to be in the upper 60's or even low 70's.

I swam four laps before stopping to take a drink. I did another two laps and stopped for a drink and gel. One the last lap, I alternated swimming 200 strokes easy / 100 strokes hard. Considering that I wasn't using my regular feeds of Perpetuem, I felt pretty good. I caught glimpses of Sarah here and there, but she was done and gone before I finished. Towards the end there were a lot of people fishing, a couple of them were out on boats. One guy was nice enough to guide me safely through the three fishing lines he had in the water.

I still need to get in some more long swims before August. Hopefully at the SLOW Swim Trek at Flaming Gorge I'll be able to do at least a 10K.

Great swim today!


Facing the Red Mist...Again

A couple weeks ago I did the "Red Mist" set that I read about on the Swim Smooth blog. It is a set that is designed to be both physically and mentally challenging. I made it through the set without feeling the "red mist" of frustration, anger, and fatigue. I decided I needed to adjust my base base and try it again.

This morning I decided to give it another shot at a base pace that was 1 second / 100 yards faster than the last time (base of 1:17 / 100yd instead of 1:18 / 100yd).  Here's what my workout looked like today:

500 easy
200 kick
100 on 1:23 (to get a feel for how fast I would need to swim on the first series of 400's)

"Red Mist"
4 x 400 @ 1:23 pace (1:17 + 6 / 100yd)
3 x 400 @ 1:22 pace (1:17 + 5 / 100yd)
2 x 400 @ 1:21 pace (1:17 +4 / 100yd)
1 x 400 @ 1:20 pace (1:17 + 3 / 100yd)

Cool Down
700 easy pull

5,500 yards total

This time around was much more challenging. The first four 400's were not too bad and I made each one with 2 to 3 seconds to spare. It started getting tough near the middle of the 3 x 400's.  I started getting behind pace and had to make an effort to pick it up to make the time. I only had a second or two between 400's. The 2 x 400's were also pretty tough. Although I never felt like I was flailing, I did have to change my breathing to almost every stroke. I had very little rest in between the 2 x 400's, less than 1 second. I took a bit of extra rest between the 2 x 400's and the last 400 because I was talking to a friend in the next lane. Still, I kept it to less than 1:30 rest. Between the other sets, I only rested long enough to change the pace on my watch and get a drink. Oddly enough, the last 400 felt the best. I didn't feel like I was pushing it super hard, but was able to make it a little ahead of pace.

Last time I did this workout I was disappointed that I didn't feel the frustration of the "red mist". This time around I did get a taste of it. Whenever I started to fall behind pace during a 400, it was frustrating and kind of made me mad. I had to make an effort to pick it up. Using 1:17 / 100 yd as my base pace was much better than when I did it at 1:18. I wish I could set the timer on my watch to 1:16.50 / 100 yd.  For now, I'll stick to 1:17.

This is encouraging because it seems to imply that my CSS (Critical Swim Speed) has gone down. I'll need to do the test again to verify.

I like this workout a lot. The time really flies because there is almost no rest and you are swimming at a pretty fast pace the entire time. You get too worried about making the next 100 on pace that you don't really think about how long you've been in the water.

Has anyone else done this workout? I'd love to hear how it went.