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!