Sunday, August 10, 2014

2014 Season wrap up with Deer Creek

Yesterday the Deer Creek Open Water Marathon took place and it was fun.  Even though I wasn't able to swim, I paddled for Sarah while her husband Steve paddled for their daughter, Sophia, who swam the one mile course.

When the 10 mile swimmers began they stayed relatively close together for the first half mile, but then spread out a little.  At that point Sarah was right on my starboard side about 3 feet out.  She did some drafting for a few minutes off various people, but I found that most of the other kayakers were doing a terrible job in guiding their swimmers.  I knew that if I could get her to follow my line closely, that we could swim a shorter path and "swim faster" than those who were having to sight every 5 strokes.  
At the end of Wallsburg bay she moved into 5th position.  Once she got around that buoy she quickly moved into 3rd position.  Then by the time we got to the mouth of Wallsburg bay again, she was only 25 yards behind Lisa and George.  By the time we got about 2.5 miles into the race she had passed Lisa and George and was continuing to lengthen that lead.  When I told her at mile 2 at her first feed she could win this thing, she splashed me and didn't believe me.  I told her I was serious and that if she maintained this pace she would definitely win it.  They were slowing down and she was speeding up.  Their kayakers were all over the place and I noticed they both were sighting frequently.  Sarah didn't sight more than a couple times the entire time I was with her.  

I was expecting Steve to catch me around mile 2, but he was no where to be seen so I stayed right with her.  I'd occassionally give her a sign of "You're doing really well", but holding a fist up.  I'd give her a two minute warning before her 30 minute feeds which went really fast.  They were about 30 seconds or so. She'd drink and go.  

When we got to the 5K turnaround buoy at the Rainbow bay she was doing very well.  We made it all the way to the 4.25 miles into it when Steve paddled up behind me.  I told him she was due for a feed in one minute and that if she kept going at this pace she would win.  

At this point I had to go to the bathroom really bad.  The whole experience made me much more appreciative of Tom Reilly and Terry O'Malley my paddlers for Catalina and MIMS.  That sure is a long way to paddle and I was only paddling for 3 hours.  They both did way more than that.

Today was a special day for me as it's my "Channelversary".  What a dream it was two years ago when I was able to tour Dover and England having just swum the channel!  I'm excited to go back and experience that all over again as a coach for Chad.  Here's a video that still gives me chills!


It's my ultimate goal to share that experience with him.  At yesterday's race he had an incident where a kayaker got too close to him and he ended up breaking and dislocating a couple fingers on his hand.  That was about a mile into the race so he swam the remaining portion in terrible pain, but he finished!  I can only imagine the frustration, disappointment and worry he must have gone through during the race.  
Charles, Lisa, Sarah, Chad and Stacey.  Utah Triple Crown
swimmers for 2014!
He is taking a couple days off to let the swelling go down and to heal, but he is very determined to continue his training and get his qualifier done in September.  I'm praying for him that it heals quickly.  Fortunately you don't have a ton of pressure on your fingers so the strain on them should be relatively small.  It's a significant amount of pressure if they're in pain I'm sure, but once they've even partially healed, it should be just a matter of keeping that pain under control.  

I'm so proud of my two close swimming friends Sarah and Chad for their performances on Saturday.  There were 5 swimmers total this year that swam the Utah Triple Crown during race day.  Pretty impressive!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Paying the price for pushing

Shoulder pain continues.  Went to see my surgeon this morning with the MRI images and he told me of three issues.  He said I have arthritis and tendonitis in my shoulder.  First off, I'm wearing down the tendons around the AC joint, instead of cartilage, there is none, it's bone rubbing bone which is the source of the pain.  He said it can be fixed fairly easily and without much impact on my training.  It's like a 4-5 week recover is all.  You cut down the bone and it fills in with scar tissue.  That part alone isn't a big deal.

But he noticed a couple things, a cyst near where my rotator cuff attaches to the bone.  There was a good amount of liquid in the tendon and in the bone around that cyst meaning that its been irritating that joint and its inflamed.  The amount of tendon that attaches to the bone concerned him.  Instead of it attaching along the full length, it was only attached at a fraction of the length, which implies there could be a partial rotator cuff tear there.

He seemed more concerned about another image which meant there could be a partial Labrum tear going into my bicep.  It would mean going in under my armpit, severing my bicep tendon and reattaching it to my bone instead of my shoulder.

There was a lot of information to take in and I hope I got it all right. He gave me several options like doing one surgery for the AC joint, or additionally having him go in with a scope and get a good look at things at the time of the AC joint surgery to see how bad it is and fix it.

It's got me thinking about my future and where I really want to go with this.  Do I want to keep pushing my body with training 8-10K yards a day several times a week in preparation for a ultra marathon swim?  I worry when I see my mother who doesn't have full range of motion in her shoulder due to her body breaking down and having surgery, but never back to full range.  If I get this surgery now, do I risk needing another surgical procedure later on, cause I've "worn out" that fix?  Do I take this as a sign to move on to a different sport?  My shoulder still needs some rest.  I tried swimming with it a little this morning while working with the kids.  Still pretty painful.  Makes me really sad.

I mentioned this idea to Dr. Gardiner and he said that there wasn't anything that required surgery for day to day functionality, but that if I wanted to train for big swims, that it would be a good idea to proceed.  So I'm leaning towards letting it all just rest and move on, then reassess in a year.  It's like I'm closing a chapter in my life that has brought me so much joy and purpose.  I have to be happy and extremely satisfied with what I've accomplished.  I know there are other activities I enjoy that will keep me young and fit.

I'll still be involved in coaching and participating in my friends adventures, but as for me training superhuman distances and planning long swims, that is postponed for at least a year.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Jonas does it! One mile straight swimming

Cathi observed and Jonas swam one mile
After Isaac's successful open water swim at the swim camp, Jonas has been getting ribbed pretty good from Isaac about his aborting the swim.  So Jonas has been desperate to prove himself to Isaac, and probably himself.  So today Jonas swam 36 laps continuously in the pool while I gave the younger two a swim lesson.  Cathi sat there at the end of the lane to make sure the count on his laps was correct.

He did it and I was so proud as I saw him really sprint that last lap. He still had ton left in the tank.  What a proud moment for me to see that kid make it.  Cool thing is he now gets his Mile Swim patch for scouts.  Probably the youngest scout to get it in our troop.

Nice job Joey!

Monday, July 28, 2014

1000 miles swam in open water

This morning I woke up with some shoulder pain just by lifting it.  This is new.  Not the typical ache at my ac joint.  Seems like it's my deltoid muscle itself and not the joint.  Who knows.  If it doesn't get better by tomorrow afternoon, I'll schedule an appointment with Dr. Gardiner like I should have done in the first place a few weeks ago.

So I hurried to hook up the trailer and got out to Pineview to paddle for Chad, Goody, and Sarah.  I stopped at Walmart
and picked up a nice headlamp and some glow sticks.   Met at the marina and got all ready to go.  We were in the water at 0440 and Sarah went at a slightly faster pace and had to stop a few times to let the boys catch up.

We got to the buoy line and I encouraged them to sprint the distance which is about 300 yards or so.  Then we made our way up the south side and then the sun started to show a little bit of light on the horizon.  When we got to the "Cigarette Buoys" as Goody calls them, I saw that Emily and Michelle's car was at the parking lot.  We were about 15 minutes past due so we had to hurry.

When we arrived they were on the beach preparing to get in.  Took a bit of coaxing, but we got them in.  Goody escorted Emily along the buoy line (1 mile), while Sarah and I escorted Michelle.  They did great.  They still are new to open water swimming and are a little apprehensive about it, but with more practice and confidence they'll do just fine.  They're strokes look good, it's just a matter of practice and persistence.

Looking forward to another session.  Chad's big Dam to Dam swim is this Friday.  He's planning to do one more big workout this week, and then taper down for a fully energized day in Idaho on the water.  Good luck Chad, you're gonna do awesome.

Oh, I hit a pretty big milestone this past weekend at the swim camp.  1000 miles swam in open water in my lifetime.  Doesn't sound like a lot, considering I also just hit over 5000 miles total (both pool and open water swimming).

Given the 10,000 hour rule for being a master in your field of choice, which actually Malcolm Gladwell, the inventor of the 10,000 hour rule, clarifies as not being completely relevant to sport.   Anyhow, given a 30 minute mile, I've only achieved 2,500 hours of swimming.  In order to get the 10,000 hours, I'll need to quadruple my total so far.  At the rate of swimming 500 miles/year till I'm 80, I'll finally achieve that distance of swimming the circumference of the earth at the equator. Woah!  I wonder how many miles someone like Phelps has swam in his lifetime.




Sunday, July 27, 2014

Day 2 of 2014 Swim Camp

This morning we all slept in a little because of last night's night swim.  We started our swim after breakfast and decided to swim across the reservoir to the other side.

Last night Gary arrived and this morning swam with Cathi.  Cathi hasn't swam more than a mile in open water before and this would be a new PR for her.  She's a backstroker so she swam the whole thing backstroke.  She didn't even wear goggles.  Problem is she could sight very well unless the kayaker was at her 7 oclock almost behind her so she could see her out of the bottom of her eye, as she was looking up.  She would keep her eyes closed rather than use goggles to keep the sun out.  Made for a very wavy course to say the least.  Karl's wife Char paddled for them.

Sarah, Joelle, Sue and myself all stayed right together with Renee Beard as the kayaker.  Sarah experimented with drafting off different people along the say.  She found that drafting off a big person (me), was more effective and could tell the difference than drafting off someone smaller, Sue or Joelle.  Makes sense.  A bigger boat will create a bigger wave and displace more water than a smaller one.  I suggested that for deer creek we work together and swim as a pack, taking turns drafting.  I think I may get a couple takers on that idea.  That would be fun.

After we got back Joelle and I turned back around and swam out to Cathi while Sarah paddled.  She had never paddled before and wanted to see what she was asking Steve, her husband to do.  When we got back to Cathi we swam backstroke together back to the finish.  I was glad for the change of stroke, it was fun.

After this swim we had lunch, broke camp and said our goodbyes.  It was such a fun weekend!

Total for the day: 3.25 miles


Friday, July 25, 2014

Day 1 of 2014 Swim Camp

This morning's sunrise swim oute.
This morning I woke up at 0530 and met Sarah and Sue at the waters edge at the Lucerne Group camp site only about a 2 minute walk from our tent site.  The sun wasn't quite up yet but the sky was starting to brighten.  We decided to follow the shoreline heading towards Wyoming.

Sarah, Sue and me enjoying the sun rise.
The sun coming up was majestic as always.  We went out about a mile and Sarah wanted to be back in time to make breakfast for the waking children.  I agreed.  We all were about the same pace which was wonderful.  When we got back we enjoyed talking and eating breakfast together.
Lovely views from the water!

Steve was the camp chow champion!
The swimmers who were there at camp this year were: Karl Christen, Sarah Jones, Sue Frehse, Joelle Beard, myself.  This was a camp for families so the kids really enjoyed playing games together.
The campsite we had was awesome.  It was plenty spacious, and we didn't have any neighboring campers besides our group.  We had our own water entry which wasn't very hospitable to swimmers, but doable.  We had a fairly steep and narrow path to the water which we were able to get the kayaks down to, but the rocks getting in were sharp and slippery which made for
Kids clinic about to start
some minor accidents with the kids.

After breakfast we had our kids clinic.  Sophia, Ryan, Lucy, Jonas and Isaac started out planning to swim one mile.  Jonas quickly got cold and started to cry.  We were only 100 yards into it and he was already shivering.  I tried to encourage him, but he was done.  I told him to climb into the front of the boat and we continued to escort Isaac and Lucy, while Sophia and Ryan stayed with Cathi in her boat (which was also accompanied by Sue swimming alongside).

Me and my kids "Got Salt?"  Austin and Jacob had to work
and weren't able to join us at camp.
Sophia and Ryan were about the same pace while Lucy was quite a bit faster than Isaac, so Sarah escorted Lucy.  She was content to swim the course breaststroke, while Isaac resorted to backstroke.  I tried getting Isaac to swim front crawl, but he struggled keeping he face in deep enough to keep his legs high enough in the water to stay streamlined.  Something we will definitely work on at the pool this next month.  I had my GPS in the boat and was watching it carefully.  Once we got around the northern point from our camp it was a quarter mile.  We continued on and I yelled ahead to Sarah to have Lucy touch the next big rock around the corner which was the turn around point.  It was .52 miles from the start.  Perfect.
video
He started crying at about .6 miles into it.  He kept asking me up to that point, "Do you think I can do it Dad?"  and I also heard him mutter to himself, "You can do this Issac, you can do this!"  It made me laugh, he's such a determined kid.  He never touched the boat or asked if he could quit, he was gonna do this.  (Forget the fact that I gave him a financial incentive)

When we got around the point coming back, Lucy was already done.  Isaac continued on despite crying and exclaiming, "This was so much harder than I thought it was going to be", or "I'm so tired!  I
feel sick."  It made me realize why they don't let kids under 16 swim the English Channel anymore.  It's just too much to ask a kid to do.  But this was one mile and were almost done.  When we finished there was still a good sized group of kids and adults there and everyone cheered for him.  He was so proud of himself.  Quite an accomplishment for a 10 year old kid who really is still very much a beginner.  Next time, we'll get him to do the whole distance front crawl without stopping.

The afternoon we had our main swim with Joelle, Karl, Sue, Sarah and myself.  We all drove to "Swimmer's Beach", a short 5 minute drive from camp where there was a beach that was quite long and much more friendly to kids and swimmers entering/exiting the water.  We decided to swim along the shoreline back to camp and back.  We had two kayaks, one for Joelle, Sue Sarah and myself and Karl had his wife Char with him.

Sue and Joelle were going at a faster pace than I like to cruise at, but I decided to just stay with them.  The water was fairly calm unless a boater sped by and then we'd get a brief moment of wake, but it wasn't bad.  Joelle's Mom, Renee, paddled for us.  We stopped for a minute at our camp beach and then swam back to the start at swimmer's beach.  When I got there, Isaac asked me if I wanted to accompany him for a swim out to the no wake buoys and back.  A distance of about 300 yards round trip.  We did.  He did mostly breaststroke this time. I swam alongside him and continued to encourage him.  This time he didn't cry and enjoyed it.  It's so fun to watch him get excited about his potential and discover what really cool things he is capable of.

We let the kids play a little longer and then took of to return to camp, where Steve and I cooked hamburgers.  The potluck dinner was outstanding.  Lots of good food and we enjoyed it.  I attempted to get the movie put together, but realized I failed to install the right software for playing a movie.  I had to reinstall Windows on my machine and forgot to get everything I needed on it.  It wasn't a big deal, the kids enjoyed playing games and swinging the glow sticks around.

I collected up all the glow sticks for one final swim which Karl, Joelle, Sarah and myself did.  We swam out to the point and back twice which was a .40 mile swim.  Sarah had dark goggles on and relied on my left arm which had a glow stick stuffed under my watch.  Every stroke she'd either see my arm on the recover lit up, or under the water with my pull.

We stopped at the turnaround point and floated while watching the stars.  There were no external lights out and they were brilliant.  I suggested floating and then sculling in a circle while looking up.  It was unreal how beautiful the sky was!

Today was the perfect day.  Lots of swimming, fun and food!

Total for the day: 5.4 miles

Monday, July 21, 2014

First coached workout with Chad

Met Chad at 24Hr Fitness in Murray this morning.  It's been a long time since I've gotten up in the 3's to workout.  I was so excited that I actually woke up a couple times in the night and again at 3:09, one minute before the alarm went off.  Awesome morning.

Was out the door in 10 minutes and on my way.  I wrote up this workout last night:

1000 warmup
- CSS Test -
400 timed swim (5:55)
Recover Set: 300 drill, 200 free, 4 x 75's free on 1:15
200 timed swim (2:48)

Chad's CSS time calculated to: 1:33

Used that time to figure the intervals for the rest of the workout:

1800 - 3 x 600's CSS + 6 (10 minutes)
1600 - 4 x 400's CSS + 5 (6:30)
200 easy

I didn't swim the CSS test, but did the recovery set with him as well as the warmup and modified red mist stuff afterwards.  I ended up swimming a total of 5,350 yards

But this workout completed entirely comes to 6,000 yards which is what Chad did.

Nice work!  First decent workout I've done in over 2 months.  I'm excited to watch Chad's speed and power improve.  He's gonna totally be ready for next September, but the next big thing is his EC qualifier in mid September.  That itself is gonna be epic!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Report of Bear Lake Monster Swim

I paddled for McKenzie Thomsen, a 20 year old girl from Salt Lake and this was her first open water swim.  She was fully neoprened up.  Booties and all.  No way she was gonna get hypothermia on this swim, that's for sure.  Water temp was 72.

When we started about 2 minutes into the swim she stopped and said, "I'm panicking!"  I told her to make sure to exhale completely and slow her breathing down.  Which she immediately did.  After that not a single stop or complaint the entire swim.  She got into a rhythm and just kept it going, like the energizer bunny.

As you can see the line
was pretty straight
until half way across
and then I made a
slight course correction
directly to the red arch.
She asked to have me stop her every mile for a feed, which she had supplied.  It was 2 little power chews and that's it. She didn't pack any liquids at all.  Her first feed at one mile was at a little over 35 minutes.  I saw that she was treading water while eating and I advised her to roll over on her back so she could chew and conserve energy as well as maintain a forward progress to the other side.  I had my GPS so I had a close eye on her distance and pace.  Her stroke rate was about 61 spm the entire way.

At her 3rd feed (at just under 2 hours), I told her she needed to drink at least half a bottle of gatorade.  I explained that muscles are 70% water, and they need water to be able to process properly.  She didn't give me a fight and downed the first half.  She said, "A mile sure seems longer here than it does in the pool."  True that.

We kept on going and her pace seemed to be constant.  She was bilateral breathing the entire time which itself is extremely impressive.  I only saw her sight maybe twice the entire time.  She trusted me enough to guide her directly to the finish. I began to see the big red arch just after mile two.  I was using the mountains as a guide to get to the location I was estimating the red arch to be which was pretty close.

I forgot to put on sunscreen so my shins and arms got a little burned, not visibly though.  They weren't red, but last night I felt them a little sensitive.

When we got to the finish her family was there with a huge sign and tons of family members there to cheer for her getting out of the water.  What an awesome support system she had.  Her mother was a little nervous and asked me to really keep a close eye on her.  She did just fine.  Like she was a pro.  Not a word of complaint, and no stopping.  She did awesome.

As for the entire race, there were a few issues, but a majority of the people made it across and there were no emergency issues to deal with.  Chad was a great help out on the water monitoring the swimmers and pulling those that needed.  A success I thought.  We did have issues with shirts.  We didn't have enough for everyone since we had a lot of last minute registrants.

I also had a conversation with a swimmer that bothered me, so I wrote up this article to address it.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Day before the Bear Lake Monster

This morning I met Chad at the Bear Lake State Marina where we planned to start our own version of the swim the day before.  We started at the beach just north of the marina at a little after 8 am.  The water felt a little cool, but not overwhelmingly so.  After letting my watch adjust, the first reading came to 72 degrees.

Since Chad and I shared the support boat it was agreed that we would swim fairly close to each other.  You wouldn't want to get separated and have issue with other boats out there not seeing you.

The water was very clear and blue.  Just as I remembered it last time I swam out here.  It was a sensational treat to swim there.  The wind was calm so only a slight ripple here and there.  Occasionally I'd see a clump of dead weeds that would float at the surface and I'd run into it.  Kinda freaky!  Last week at the Low family reunion, Isaac was playing in the pond and started collecting all the seaweeds and piled them up on himself and yelled out to me with a big grin, "Hey Dad!  Look!  I'm the Swamp Thing!" Love that he has no irrational fear of underwater things and how they feel on his skin.  This kind of creeps me out, unless I build my mind up to expect it like with Catalina and the kelp.

Anyway the swim went well and I did a lot of drills, and when I got sick of that did one arm fly, and after that did breast stroke.  I didn't mind the pace.  It was nice feeling not rushed and had all the energy in the world.  Left shoulder was giving me a bit of a fit though.  Nothing terrible, just a little ache.  But concerning given that I have the Deer Creek 10 mile in a month.  Need to get at it, and not keep this slump I've been in.

As we got closer to the other side I saw the small driveway down into Cisco Beach with the toll shed.  Pointed the boat to that direction and we made our way there.  The finish area sure was rocky and difficult to walk on.  I thought of an idea that should make next year's race go better. Some really old carpet that we can put in the water leading the swimmers out.

We did the 7 mile course in 4:11.  And a new PR on most breaststroke I've done in a day.  Don't know how far of it was breaststroke exactly, but I estimate probably a mile.  Man that Capt. Webb dude must have had knees with strong tendons, cause the morning after I felt like Danny Leruso after getting a leg sweep.


Breaststroke is tough on the knees for distance apparently!

I had a great time and Chad got down on himself a little too much on the pace difference, but it made me realize that if I'm gonna invest in a plane ticket to London next year I need to step it up in supporting him in his training.  I plan to meet with him at least once a week at the pool and give him a workout with video analysis so he can see what he can work on for the most improvement.  Nothing would make me prouder to see him power through some serious waves and keep a strong pace.

Thanks to Chad's friend Ryan and his wife Chandra for the support.  They were great in timing those breaks and getting them out to us.  Another width crossing in the books!

Monday, July 7, 2014

First open water swim since MIMS

This morning I met Goody at Pineview at 0530 and we did a swim out to the dam buoys.  Then I continued around to the south end and along the shoreline to the no wake buoys.  Then did a small little extra loop right at the start in order to get my full 2.5 mile "Goody Lap".   I just realized that its two miles just doing a dam route and back, but the extra bit of going to the no wake buoys and around in a big loop is just under 2.5 miles.

What a beautiful morning out on Pineview!
Goody used my swimmer buddy board to try it out.  He's looking for something to allow for easy access to feeds which a safer swimmer buoy doesn't offer.  I used his buoy and was surprised how I couldn't feel any drag at all.  Practically the same as the board, except the board string sometimes gets tangled with your feet if you over rotate a little on your kick.

Had such a good morning.  Shoulders were just fine, and the water was as flat as glass.  Forgot to take a temp reading with my watch but it had to have been over 70 degrees.  It was nice.

Total: 2.5 miles in 1:20