Sunday, December 8, 2013

1-HR Max for MIMS

I had a bit of a scare this week when I got an email from NYC Swim saying that I had not submitted my 1 hour race pace swim. I had completely forgotten to get it done! I had to get my results in ASAP, so I decided I had to do it that night and get it submitted. The problem was that with finals for college, I hadn't really swum nearly as much as I should have been for the last two weeks, things have just been too hectic. On top of that I was sick at the time too. Oh well, it had to be done.

On Tuesday afternoon I headed to the pool at 3:00 p.m. to coach swimming, then from 5:30 to 7:30 I taught swimming lessons. I always hate trying to swim a workout or anything fast after teaching, because just standing there while teaching gets me water-logged, I always feel like it takes me 700 yards just to get moving through the water the way I should. My mom was such a great help, she cut her swim a little short, so she could get out and keep track of my splits and time.

My furthest distance for an hour swim is 4,200 yards; I knew I wouldn't get that on Tuesday, but I was hoping for at least 4,000 or 4,050. Swimming felt better than I thought it would after two weeks of slacking off, and being sick. I felt like I was keeping a good pace, and pushing it well. I swam a full 4,000, even though I thought I might have been about 30 seconds past my hour time. When I finished my mom told me I had done 3,950 in the 1 hour time. That is not exactly what I had wanted, and it will probably put in in a slower category for MIMS, but at least I got the swim submitted.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

School Finals, Not Conducive to Long Workouts

I have been really frustrated the last two weeks. This was when I really wanted to crank all my workouts up to a faster speed and add another thousand or so yards to my daily swimming. Unfortunately that has not been able to happen yet. With my last semester of college classes winding down I have been spending all of my time finishing up school work, writing papers, designing lesson plans, and studying. This leaves me little time to swim. My intended workout for the Thanksgiving week was to swim at 7,500 yards on Wednesday, 9,000 yards on Friday, and 7,000 yards on Saturday; as well as my shorter workouts earlier in the week. To my disappointment I was only able to swim 4,000 yards on Wednesday and 3,000 yards on Friday. I didn't even make it in the water on Saturday. Instead I have done five to nine hours of homework each day this week. I am free of homework after this coming Thursday. I will really have to step up my swimming as soon as I am done with this blasted school work.

On another note, I don't get to swim in cold water nearly as often as I would like too, because my schedule does not match the other "ice swimmers" in my areas schedules very well. I do however, try and get used to the cold in other ways such as almost never wearing a coat, keeping my house cold, and always taking cold showers. I have to say, I really enjoy cold water (to a certain point) now. However, this last week I discovered just how quickly this tolerance to cold can vanish. I was invited to go to some hot springs, and even though I stayed in the coldest pool and complained that the 99 degree water was burning me; I just couldn't handle it, my cold tolerance has already gone down just after that one time in the hot springs. My cold shower that generally feels pleasant felt awful the other day. Lesson learned.  

Saturday, November 9, 2013

South Davis Masters Swim Meet

I love everything about swimming, but one of my favorite things about swimming and one of the parts that I miss is competing. I love meets. With a month of not much swimming, and then getting back into it only to not have been able to swim as much as I would have liked for the last two weeks; I knew my times would not be fast, but I decided to swim in a meet anyway.

This morning I got to swim in the masters meet at the South Davis Rec Center. I have been to that meet two other times, and think that it is a fun meet. I am hopeless at sprinting freestyle these days, so I decided to do two long swims; I signed up for the 1650 yard and the 500 yard. I had a rough night last night, so I didn't even hear my alarm go off this morning. When I woke up and looked at the clock, I saw that is was 7:20, and warm-ups had been at 6:00, with meet starting at 7:00. Oops. I had wanted a real mile time when I wasn't swimming it alone, but I'll have to do that some other time. I had guessed that I would be about a minute slower than my fastest time on my 500. I was right. I am so used to swimming 2+ mile swims that I forget to pick it up for a 500; I started out the first 200 yards at my mile pace, before I realized, "Wait. This is short. Pick it up." It was a fun swim, which is exactly what I wanted it to be. I wasn't going for speed today.

My other two races I decided to go back to the races I used to swim back in high school; the 100 yard backstroke and the 100 yard butterfly. For backstroke I knew I could do it and would be fine, even if my time was not great, but I had a problem with butterfly. I had not swum anything longer than  50 yards for butterfly for several years. A couple of weeks ago I started training butterfly; doing a set of 3 X 100 yards butterfly during each workout throughout the week. This last week I did a set of 5 X 100 yards butterfly a couple of days. Each time I did the set it felt better. This helped me feel better about swimming it in a meet. I decided to just have fun and attempt to swim it; not worrying about my time at all. I got a pretty slow time, but I was happy that I was able to swim a 100 butterfly and still feel good about my stroke.

1650 free --   PR = 22:48.00    Seed time = 23:39.00   Today = Didn't swim
100 back --   PR = 1:12. 38     Seed time = 1:23.00     Today = 1:20.07
500 free --     PR = 5:59. 87     Seed time = 6:50.00     Today = 6:50.45
100 fly --       PR = 1:11.65      Seed time = 1:28.00     Today = 1:25.73

Now that my schedule is opening up more, I am hoping to have a least two sprint days a week along with my mid-distance and distance days.
Thanks for setting up a great meet Gordon Gridley. 

MIMS Acceptance!

After several weeks of getting all of my application things in order for the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, November 1st I logged into my NYC Swim account at 11:00 a.m. so I could register. I had my registration completed by 11:07. I had all of my requirements done, so I thought I should have had a pretty good chance of getting in. I was not sure how soon they would start listing swimmers, so I made up my mind not to worry about it for a day or two, but that night when I got on Facebook, I saw that one of my swimming buddies had already been accepted. I immediately checked the page and was very discouraged to see about fifteen names listed, none of which were mine. I had a mild freak out about it, and was not as focused on my athletes as I should have been at the swim meet I coached the next morning. I was trying my best to be there for them, but my mind was on my application. Several people had told me that I would get in, easily. The list of accepted swimmers was growing, and my name still was not on there. I made up my mind that I would not check the list or my email until after the last of my swimmers competed and left the meet. Finally I checked my email and had an email from NYC Swim. Without reading the email, I went to check the swimmer list. This time my name was at the top of the list! I was so excited I jumped up as I let out a loud squeal, then a giggle, followed by a big sigh of relief. I got a couple funny looks from one of the coaches for another team, but I didn't care. I had gotten into MIMS! I wanted the earliest date of June 14th, but I have been assigned June 28th. I guess we can't have it all. I am just happy to be going! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Preparing MIMS Registration

I have been busy preparing my registration forms for the 2014 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. Last week I got my English Channel swim approved with NYC Swim and on Monday I just got my approval email for my Catalina swim. Today I had my physical, so with that, I think I should have everything reading to go. I am worried that I am missing something, and I want to make sure I really do have all that I need, because I am not very computer literate. Hope all goes well!

Catching back up to my Athletes

I had to to a little break from hard training so I could get my shoulder back in order. It was torturous not to be able to swim as much as I wanted. Between coaching swimming, teaching lessons, and being an assistant manager of a swimming pool, I am there so much. It's hard not to be able to work out when I am still at the pool six to eight hours a day. I like to swim with my athletes when possible, and I like to stay faster than they are. But with hardly any swimming, some of my athletes were giving me a run for my money-- this was a real motivator to get back in the water quickly. 

Now that the shoulder is doing better, I have trying to crank a bit. I'm still not inup the swimming the last two weeks and my shoulder has been great. I have to say even swimming about 3,000 yards three times a week has gotten me out of shape. The first week back with my five days a week of 5,000 ish yards was really hard. I felt so slow and awful in the water. 

I did the following workouts thus far this week: 

   1000 yd free
Equipment set: 
   5 X 500 yd (1= swim, 2= pull w/ paddles and buoy, 3= Kick w/ fins, 4= swim free fast w/ paddles and                            fins, 5= swim no equip. push hard) 
Swim set:
   2 X 200 yd IM on 3:15 target 2:50 
   12 X 100 yd ( 1-3= fly, 4-6= back, 7-9= breast, 10-12= free) on 2:15 for spec. on 2:00 for free
   200 yd stretch out 
                                                                                                                        Total yards= 5,300 (3 miles)

   5 X 100 yd free (each one increasing speed from 60% to 100%) 
   200 yd IM kick with board 
   400 yd pull alt. strokes 
   500 yd swim timed (target 6:30 or less)
Swim set: 
   3 X [ 3 X 100 yd R: 10 sec + 400 swim on pace]
Sprint set: 
   10 X 50 yd on 1:00 (hold :35 or under)
   20 X 25 yd ( 5 of each stroke, count strokes to work turn-over) on :45 
  2 X 400 yd lung buster (1st 100 breathe every 2 strokes, 2nd 100 breathe every 4 strokes, 3rd 100                                                   breathe every 6 strokes, 4th 100 breathe every 8 strokes) 
                                                                                                                     Total yards= 5,500 (3.1 miles)

6,500 meter straight swim                                                                                                           (3.9 miles) 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Reading Lynne Cox's Swimming to Antarctica

I just have to say, Lynne Cox is amazing! I love reading about all her swims. Last night when I was reading I came across a similarity or two to myself and I need to share. When she swam the English Channel in 1972 she just went down the list of pilot captains and went with the first one who answered her phone call. 
She didn't actively seek out the best pilot boat captain. But she later found out he was considered to be the best English Channel pilot. When I swam the English Channel in 2012 I did the same thing, I went with the first captain to respond to my email. Maybe that is the way to do it, because both Lynne Cox and myself had Reg Brickell. I did not see how this could really be the same person, because the Reg that I went would have only been a teenager at the time of Lynne's swim. Later in that chapter, Lynne talks about Reg Brickell Jr., the son, who is now an English Channel pilot as well, and is considered to be the best one just like his father. That is who I had, Reg Brickell Junior. Also, the name of Lynne's CSA official was Mickey, so was mine. Maybe they are related too. The other similarity that I found cool was that the next swimmer to go with Reg after Lynne, was attempting a double crossing, and the swimmer to with Reg Jr. after me did a double crossing. How cool to be able to share some of those with such an amazing lady! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Catalina Channel Swim 2013

In the extremely early morning hours of the August 12,2013 I faced one of my fears-- I swam 21 miles in the dark, in the ocean. If I am rather frightened of the ocean, specially at night, why would I choose to spend 12+ hours in that water swimming? Because there are few things in this world that I love more than swimming. I have Also always felt that I should face my fears and overcome them, and that is exactly what I did when I swam from Catalina Island to the Los Angeles area of California.

Although I had trained extensively and felt that I was actually much more prepared for this swim than I was for my 2012 English Channel swim, it still came with it's own set of worries. Just 2 weeks before my swim my shoulder that gives me endless trouble got so bad that I could no longer use it at all. It would send searing pain through my shoulder even picking up a pillow. With the help of my chiropractor and several days of being very sore, I was able to get it much better. The problem with that was that it was only 12 days before my swim, and I couldn't swim for at least three, maybe four days after my should had been worked on. This was very worrisome to me. Now, don't get me wrong, Oregon is great, but I know how family trips go with my family, so spending the week prior to my Catalina swim in Oregon was not on the top of my to do list. I was able to find a pool that worked out pretty well, but finding time around my family's crazy schedule was a different story. I was at least able to get three workouts in, but not the six that I had been hoping for. So why not swim in the ocean, I mean after all we were staying in a campground right on the coast. There was one problem (at least it seemed like a problem to me, others might not feel the same way), the water was between 48 and 50 degrees depending on the day. Swimming in water that cold when it was only 60 degrees outside did not sound appealing to me. Between the shoulder and the family vacation I had only been in the water four times in eleven days! Oh no, now I am supposed to swim 21 miles and be okay!? I needed that swimming... 

On Sunday August 11th I arrived early at the docks; I wanted to be ready. I made my way to the Outrider and introduced myself to my observers and boat captains before going back to get my gear. Apparently I am unusual; at the meeting with the CCSF observers and the boat captains, the observers really questioned my not wanting to use a kayak or support swimmer at all during the swim. They kept saying, "It is not mandatory, but we strongly encourage you to have one, for extra safety." Um okay, but if I am not used to it, why should I break my routine; now is not the time to do so? 

Watching the sea-lion while
 getting ready to jump in. 

We had a two and half hour crossing over to the starting point at Catalina. I didn't think I would be able to get any rest, but I tried anyway, just as I started to doze off, my dad came and woke me up, saying we had about 20 minutes left. With swims like this I have confidence that once I hit that water I will finish the swim, mainly because of my do or die attitude, but I still get those awful pre-swim butterflies. This time was no exception. I had to remind myself that I was well trained and well prepared; I could and would do this!

Upon the arrival at Doctor's Cove, I looked around trying to see where I would start. All I could see was pitch black. "It's okay, I'll have those bright lights just like I did with the English Channel," I thought to myself. Just as I stepped out on the platform, ready to jump in and swim to shore, a sea-lion chasing a flying fish swam just in front of me. I am not afraid of sea-lions, but the idea that if they are in the water, other meaner things are in the water too scared me. The crew was all saying how cool it was that I would be escorted to shore by a sea-lion, but to be honest, I was a little freaked out. I asked the captain if he would keep the big spotlights on. I didn't say, it was because I was scared, but I'm sure he knew. "We'll see what you think after half an hour of swimming." He told me. It took me another minute-- or maybe two until I worked up the courage to jump in. I was physically ready and I had mentally prepared, but some aspects of it you can't prepare for, they hit you just as you are about to do this crazy thing. The ocean life wasn't the only thing , making me hesitate. I knew that once I entered the water, there was no turning back; I would be in the water at least ten and a half hours-- probably more; once I got in, the only way out for me was to walk out on shore, I would never stop. It was a lot to take in. Finally, I jumped, but not until boat Captain Dave threatened jokingly threatened to throw me in 

The glow of the city in the distance during the night time.
As I expected, once I hit the water I was just fine. The water felt warm and I could see the shore easily. I did give an involuntary squeal when I reached the kelp, but I was fine. I swam to shore, stood up, turned around, looked at the boat, took a deep breath, and put my arm up in the ready position. Then with a step into the water I started my long swim across the Catalina Channel. Captain Dave was right, who would have thought, seeing the spotlights helped me feel safe, but they made it really hard to see the boat; all I could see was the bright light. Within five minutes I was sick of it. "This is ridiculous! I am fine! Just get that damn light out of my face!" I thought. "My first feed is not for 30 minutes, so I guess I'll have to put up with it until then." As they had presumed, I had them turn the lights off. Swimming in the dark like that was amazing. I could see four things, the three glow sticks attached to the boat, and the bubbles from my pull that were lit up by the glow stick attached to my back. I felt like I was alone out there in the world, and for some reason it felt really peaceful. I really loved it. I would watch the glow of the bubbles each time I pulled, thinking it was so gorgeous. Occasionally when I would be on the crest of a swell, I would be able to see the glow of L.A. ahead of me. I felt like I was swimming to the light. Also, the glowing ball of a jellyfish is pretty cool to see in the pitch black like that. I saw several of those, fortunately for me none of them stung me. I even accidentally grabbed one as I pulled back, but my hand felt fine, maybe it didn't have tentacles.

Honestly, I was so caught up in my swimming that I didn't even notice that I was swimming against the current and was going incredibly slow. My figured speed was about 2 mph (which didn't quite turn out accurate due to the current at the beginning). Every third feed I would get solids, this helped me keep track of time; that is until they missed the solids on one feed and then later another feed. I completely lost track of how long I had been out there. Normally I don't mind just going, but for some reason, losing track of time made it seem interminably long. I really had a hard time with that, I kept thinking, "I have been swimming forever, am I even close yet?" I am sure the fact that I had been going against the current and had started out at only 0.9 miles and hour added to that feeling, I just didn't realize at the time. Just around dawn my knee really started to hurt. "Ugh, are you freaking serious!? Good thing it's not too bad." That thought came too soon. The pain grew more and more as time went on. At one point it would just lock up and hurt so badly I couldn't even use my leg. I was also really concentrating on pulling with my left arm, because often my right arm does 85% of the work, and I didn't want to make my already injured shoulder worse. I could tell that my left arm was working just as hard as my right arm, the problem with that was that my left shoulder wasn't used to working that hard for long periods of time. About 12 miles into the swim my left shoulder started hurting badly enough I could barley pull it around. "Just go, just go dammit!" I kept thinking, making myself work through the pain. When it would get too bad, I would say a little prayer that my knee and shoulder would continue work without too much pain so I could finish the swim. This would help me on for the next while.

Dawn had just come, but it still wasn't very light outside, when I suddenly heard high pitch squeaking all around me. DOLPHINS! As I looked at my family on the boat they were all pointing, and I knew the dolphins were close by. I didn't see them, but on my next feed, my dad told me they were only about 30 yards off. I heard dolphins underwater three more times! It was so cool! Dolphins are my favorite animal and I have dreamt of swimming with them since I was a little kid. Dream come true! It was so foggy I couldn't see the coast forever, but maybe that was for the best. The swim always seems so long once I can see the coast; it is very misleading, you feel like you are almost done, but really you have around three hours left. Finally at one point I could see the cliffs, and guess what, I was right; two and a half more hours of swimming after that. For the last hour and a half the sun finally came out. It was warming on my back, which was nice, since the water got colder closer to shore. I had been pushing about 75% to 80% the whole time, but the last hour and a half I really tried to pick it up. I pushed 90% that whole time. That is a long time to sprint. At that point I was swimming at 2.6 mph. 

The last stretch of the swim.

As we got closer to shore my siblings all emerged on deck (they had all insisted that they wouldn't get seasick and wouldn't use the patches, but they all did get seasick and had to sleep until the patches started working.) Now my whole family was there. My siblings are all very loud, so I was really surprised at how quiet they were. They didn't really cheer my on, they just calmly watched. Even Alex, my personal cheer leader only yelled out once or twice. I know I told them, I hate the cheering while I'm swimming, and I do, but didn't they know not to listen to me. I hate cheering after swimming that long, but it really does make me do faster. Finally I was close enough to the shore to head there without the boat. I could see Gordon on the beach and the Muaina family. I picked up the pace, giving everything I had left. I stumbled a little on the rocks as I got out, they are big and awkward. Once I cleared the water, I turned around, looked at the boat, and put my hands up for victory. Gordon took a picture for me and asked if he could swim back out to the boat with me. "Hell yes!" I thought, even though I just said, "Yeah of course!"

Getting back in is hard, so it was nice to have the company back out to the boat. I pulled myself into the boat, and as I sat in my towel getting warm with my hot chocolate, my brother Devin noticed blood running down my hands. I had pulled big chunks of skin off my fingers as I climbed out. Oops, at least they didn't hurt. I wasn't really hungry, so I just chatted and watched the dolphins on the boat ride back to the marina. Once I was safe on the boat, my family told me that they saw a single grey fin poking up out of the water, just a little bit ahead of me while I was swimming. My dad told me he was pretty sure that it was a sunfish, but my sister Celine, the marine biologist and Captain Dave thought it was a shark....hmm. Oh well, I'm still alive so all is well.

My goal time was to be just under 12 hours. My time was 12:15:00. I can handle that time. Not quite my goal time, but I'll survive. I found out after my swim that I was swimming against the current for the first 6 to 7 miles and I only averaged .9 mph. By the end there not a current either direction and for the middle I averaged 2.4 mph. The last couple miles I held a 2.6 mph average, so I finished harder than I started. The water was 68 degrees at the start, and right around 67 for most of the swim. At the end by the shore the water temperature was 65 degrees.

Celine, Devin, and my parents asked me which swim was harder. I don't really know, because every swim is different. I was a lot warmer and was more comfortable with night swimming this time; it just felt so long. My shoulder and knee causing me hell were no fun either.

I was really impressed with the great crew and observers. They were great. I am so grateful for my parents who were out on deck to full 12 hours. For the English Channel I never go my chart, so I was stoked about getting my chart.I was really happy about getting the chart right then at the marina, because last year I never got my chart. Back at the house I didn't have my steak and potato dinner until after my long shower and nap.
Front: Renee, Celine, Joelle (swimmer), Alex, Camille, Lynn
Back: Don Van Cleve- CCSF observer, Devin, Steve Dockstader- CCSF observer
At Universal Studios the next day my siblings thought I didn't look like I was having as much fun as they thought I should have. Well, the soreness that comes with a 21 mile swim may have had something to do with that. Walking around all day when your knee doesn't work and when all the skin is gone from between your legs isn't ideal. Also being a crowded area with lots of people and bumpy rides is not good for shoulders that hurt to be touched. Despite the after soreness, every second of it was absolutely worth it! 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tour of Lakes --- very needed day off work!

The last two weeks have been hard ones  for me at work; I was sick of the people and the long hours and was nearly ready to quit. I had totally forgotten that the Tour of the Lakes Swim was on Saturday. When Gordon emailed me on Wednesday asking me if I was still joining the Tour of the Lakes, I thought, "Hell yeah! Anything to get me away from work!" I didn't realize that I was scheduled for another Saturday of work. At that point I didn't care. I got my boss to take half the day and told him to figure out the rest of the day, because I was going to be gone.

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. so I could meet on time at 5:30. I wasn't sure exactly how everything was going to work until I got in the van with everyone and heard them all talking about it. I only knew one person in the initial group of 8 people, so it was really fun to get to know some people who have a similar interest with me, as well as people who had nothing to do with my job. We had a big van so we could all ride together, and the van was decorated with the names of the 9 participants and with "Tour of the Lakes" and each lake written on the other side. As we completed each lake we would cross it out on the window.

 We each were going to swim 1 mile in 8 different lakes in 1 day.  Josh, who set the whole things up said that we wanted to try and keep it about half an hour in each of the lakes, so head out for 15 minutes, and then we  would come back for fifteen minutes. There was a variety of different speeds, so not everyone went the same distance, but really we were there to have fun and meet new friends, so that didn't matter. I wanted to make sure I got a full mile in each of the lakes. Gordon and Josh were nearly the same speed as I am, so it was good to have them to pace me.

We started a Causey Reservoir (lake 1) around 6:30 in the morning. It was chilly out, so the water didn't feel to cold. We got in the water and headed out to the cliff, where we were going to start the whole thing off with cliff jumping. Josh, who set the whole thing up pointed us in the direction to swim. The sun was just rising, and the water was like glass; it was gorgeous!  Half an hour drive later, we came to Pineview Reservoir (lake 2). The water here was really warm, and even though a few clouds had shown up, the water was still really calm. I have been swimming here for the last 6 weeks, so compared to the other lakes, this felt like home. The third lake we headed to was East Canyon (lake 3), which I had never heard of before. We walked down a steep hill and through some mud to get to the water. By now it was cloudy and getting a little breezy outside; I was cold just in the air, so getting in the water was cold. The water looked pretty murky to me, but I was told there were a couple that would be worse. Just as we finished the mile, it started to rain. I love swimming in the rain! We drove about 45 minutes to reach the next Echo Reservoir (lake 4), which looked about empty. It was a muddy 100 yards or so before it was even deep enough to swim, and then it was so muddy that you couldn't see anything. I kept finding myself swimming with my eyes closed, and not even spotting. I was surprised at how straight I was going despite that. We had a lunch break in Coalville. I thought the best part of that was getting to warm up as I dried off a bit. We then headed to Rockport Reservoir (lake 5), where Goody came to join us as well. It was super windy by now and the water was crazy choppy and there were boats everywhere. It was wavy enough that we went 16 or 17 minutes out and 13 to 14 minutes back to get our mile. I've decided I think the waves are pretty fun to swim into and swim with; it's when they are sideways to me that I hate them. I had a blast a Rockport. Jordanelle Reservoir (lake 6) was the next lake, and the hardest lake for me. I was freezing getting in the water and I just couldn't get my arms going as fast as I wanted too. The swim in that lake was not particularly fun for me. Next, we headed to Deer Creek Reservoir (lake 7). I felt much better here; it was like I got my 2nd wind. I was able to keep up with Gordon the whole way out.  I had to stop of a couple seconds on the way back, so I could fix my goggles, so I was behind then, but I least I stayed the same distance behind and didn't continue to get further behind. The last stop was Utah Lake (lake 8). The sun was finally out again, but it was windy and the water was even more choppy than Rockport. The waves were too big to see the buoys I was supposed to be spotting, so I just headed straight out and straight back for half a mile. The water here was really murky as well. It was so weird, if you went more than 6 to 8 inches under the water everything would to pitch black, because no light could get through the water. We finished the last lake around 6:30 p.m. (I think...).

After pictures and changing we all went to dinner together. I love talking to people who don't think I'm weird or crazy for all of my swimming challenges, and for how much I love swimming. It is nice to be with people who actually understand what I am talking about and appreciate it when I talk about open water swimming or marathon swimming. This was a great day and needed break from work. It was totally worth having my boss annoyed at me for a couple of days! What could be better than spending a whole day swimming!? I felt great after! It was another good day of training for Catalina.

Angry Swim for the Bear Lake Monster

A week and a half ago I got to particulate in the Bear Lake Monster Swim, swimming all the way across Bear Lake. My family headed up the Friday night and camped out so we wouldn't have to leave so early on Saturday  morning. I was a little worried about having to sleep on the ground just before doing a 7 mile swim; good thing I can sleep pretty well anywhere. I brought my friend Kevin, who was doing the race as well up with me too.

On Saturday morning we got checked in a all ready, but when it was time to head over to Cisco Beach for the start of the race, my dad, who had the car was no where to be seen. He didn't pull in until 8:15 even though everyone else had headed over at 8:00. I was worried about being late, so I helped to quickly get the boat in the water. We were all set to go, then at the last minute the boat wouldn't start. By the time my dad had fixed it and gotten everything running it was 8:40, and the race was starting at 9:00. Kevin didn't seem to mind that we would be a little late, but I was really annoyed. I always do my long open water swims just for fun, to do them, not for time. This was the first swim that I really had a solid goal time and place for.

By the time we got over to Cisco Beach, we were about fifteen minutes late. Gordon asked me, can you be ready to start in a minute and a half, that'll put you at exactly fifteen minutes later starting. I was ready. I jumped out and waited for the start. I started out fast, angry that I was already behind everyone else, and angry that my dad had been late. "I will just go ahead and my paddlers can catch up to me." I think in the 5 ish minutes that it took for my paddlers to get to me, I gained time there, because I didn't really have anything to spot, and I kept looking back to see if they were coming. They did catch up, and I was able to pick up my pace. Due to my late start, I made a new goal of catching up too, and passing 10 people. I was really pushing it hard to catch up. When I saw the first swimmer just ahead of me, I felt better that I was not so far behind everyone else. The water was calm and my stroke felt good the first half of the lake. My shoulder was really hurting, but I didn't think it was really affecting my stroke too much. About half way across the lake, the breeze came up and water became quite choppy. I thought the lake choppiness was more annoying the ocean waves, because at least those are a little further apart and have a pattern. This just added to my annoyance. Swimming always makes me feel good and relieves stress; I just think about the swimming and not anything else. This swim was so unusual, it was a bad swim; I was annoyed pretty well the whole time. At least I did make one of my goals, I caught up with the 10th person, just as I finished. My time was 10 minutes slower than my best Bear Lake crossing time, and 25 minutes slower than what I really wanted.

I was impressed with Kevin's swim. He did really well; the longest swim he had ever done was around a mile and a half, so that was a big thing for him to do. I was also happy that my boys I coach won the relay. It was fun to see them so happy about the race. Seeing them so happy about it, almost made up for my bad swim.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Catalina Training

I have a confession to make; I never really swim open water when I am training for my big open water events. I would so much rather swim in a pool, where I know exactly what is under me. Last year when I swam the English Channel, I had only swum open water 4 times before then and none of those were in the dark. I am trying to be much better and more prepared this year. I have already done much more open water than I did last year. It definitely helps to have some swimming buddies to help train with.I like swimming alone in the pool, but it is nice to have people there for open water. I am glad to have made some new acquaintances and friends through open water swimming.Thanks Gordon Gridley and Goody Tyler for letting me join you for your swims.  Between Mantua Reservoir, Willard Bay, Pineview Reservoir and Bear Lake, I feel much more prepared this year. I am hoping to get some night swimming in this week as well. After doing a lot more open water swimming this year, I am starting to love that as well (not quite as much as the pool yet, but I'm getting there).

With 3 part time jobs all having to do with the swimming pool I am at the pool anywhere from 10 to 16 hours each day, which can make it hard to find time to swim, but I make time even if it is swimming in the middle of the night after the pool has closed. The only time that really gets hard to do is when I am swimming from 9:00 to 11:30 at night and have to be up at 4:30 in the morning the next day for an early morning open water swim. I need that daily swimming, not just for training, but simply for the pure love of the sport.

I love swimming more than pretty well anything. When I swim I have nothing on my mind other than my swimming, so it is a nice break from everything else going on in my busy life. It is my time to relax. Swimming 3 to 8 miles each day does occasionally have it's draw backs. I'm not talking about the lack of social life or free time; I don't really care about those things too much. Rather, it can be very physically taxing. My knees have had some major problems over the last two and a half years due to a ski accident injury, and cold make them lock up and hurt, so sometimes in my open water swims, the cold water makes my knees lock up and start hurting. It hurts, but I don't let that stop me. If anything, I just push harder to work through the pain. After two and a half years of a constant dull throbbing, I have learned to push it back a bit. My shoulder on the other hand is a bigger problem. I have a rotator cuff injury due to over-use of those tendons. When that happens, it  is a searing pain shooting through my shoulder. Sometimes it hurts so badly I'm not sure if I can make myself swim through it. I always manage to do so, but it's not always fun. Fortunately, after about half a mile or a mile I don't notice the pain as much. I'm not sure if it actually goes away or just becomes numb enough I don't feel it was badly by then. After my big swim last year I tried to really take it easy for about three months, so it would have time to heal, but as soon as I really got back into swimming hard it came back. I think it since I've had some shoulder problems come and go starting my senior year of high school, it might be something that never really goes away. C'est la vie. With anti-inflammatory medicine and Tylenol I manage.

I have a little more than a month until my big Catalina swim! I am getting really excited and slightly nervous for it. But before I get there, I have the Bear Lake Monster Race, which I have also gotten a couple of friends and co-workers to do as well, so that should be really fun! For me, that one is just a fun one to try and get a really good time!

Pictures to come!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Getting back in the water

I am finally getting back into my good, long swim workouts. My school schedule has finally opened up enough that I can do so... It's always hard to get started again, but once I get back into it, I totally love it! 

I am filling out my papers for Catalina and sending them off. I am getting so excited for another big swim in 6 months. I am so glad that I was able to learn about all of these cool swimming things.