Wednesday, September 26, 2012

2012 Global Open Water Conference report

Uh, I think we have a problem.
Josh, Goody and I went together to the Open Water Conference last week on the Queen Mary in Long Beach.  We stayed in the same place at a cheap motel.  The bathroom ceiling was coming down!  So we got a new room.  It wasn't too bad.  Goody wasn't impressed though.  Not surprising since he flew first class.  :)

We went to the meet and greet and met up with Jamie Patrick, Evan Morrison, Lynn Kubasek, and I finally got to meet Ned Denison.  Ned was at Varne Ridge when I was last month and he talked with my parents but we actually never crossed paths when I was there.  He just swam Catalina last week in 8:50 which is a kick butt time.  He's quite the inspiring figure.  Not just as a swimmer, but as a mentor and coach.  He has really ignited the swimmers in Ireland and they all love him.  He very deservedly was inducted into the IMSHOF at this conference.

Ram Barkai, the founder of the Ice
Swimming Association
Later in the evening we met Ram Barkai and talked with him about Ice Swimming.  Everything he said I completely agreed with.  The benefits of ice swimming are huge.  Most people just don't understand until they do it.  It's just as much a test of mental toughness as physical toughness.

The next morning we listened to several heroes:

Diana sharing some pretty
inspiring thoughts
1) Diana Nyad - I was worried that with all the crap she's been dished out by the marathon swimming community that she would get fruit and veggies thrown at her on stage.  There are quite a few annoying elitists that have some negative opinions about her.

She's a very good speaker and didn't exhibit any kind of haughtiness that turned her off.  I really enjoyed the life lessons she was trying to convey.  She was friends with Christopher Reeves.  He talked with her about doing the very best she can in life.  The challenge he gave her before he died to "live life not one fingernail length better", to really push herself to her limits, is what gave her the idea to relive her dream to swim from Cuba to Florida.

Craig jumps up on to the stage
 from his chair and says,
"Who needs a ramp?"
What a stud.
2) Craig Dietz - I loved his humor, and the experiences he shared about his life and the ability we all have to define our own limitations.  KISS - Keep It Simple Silly.  Often we make things way more complex than they need to be.  It doesn't matter what other people are doing.  If we can dream it, and pursue it, it can be obtained.  He said "God won't give me any challenges more than I can handle.  I just wish he didn't trust me so much."  Very inspiring person and my favorite of the conference!

Craig and his wife, Christy, sat at our table for lunch and dinner and it was a pleasure getting to know them a little.  He asked a few questions about my channel swim.  He swam the 5K OW swim event the next day.  He's a hero.

I hope I'm this youthful when I'm 50.
3) Suzanne Heim - She's a very experienced open water swimmer when she was younger.  She did three solo crossings of the English Channel under 10:30 when she was younger.  She joined the Diablo Valley College swim team when she was 50 since she hadn't gone to college previously, and was fully qualified and able to join the team.  She did very well.  The documentary (50 Year Old Freshman) that was shown was really good.  It was a little long, but it was awesome.  And for being 50 years old, she's quite a looker.

Such a funny woman!
4) Greta Anderson - this lady had the absolutely sweetest trophy I have ever seen!  She won it by swimming the English Channel faster than many others in an actual race!  I have never heard of multiple crossing being done at the same time by many swimmers in an race style.  She won and showed many pictures of her days of glory.  She was so hilarious with her commentary during the slideshow:  "Oh no, here comes the one with my big butt in it getting out of the water", "This is more swimming.  This is really boring, lets move on..."  "30 pushups?  No big deal.  I did 30 right along with him."  "Do I know [some legendary swimmer]?  Yes, I beat him."  I got an autographed picture of her.

She mentioned that her trophy
is appraised a quarter million dollars!
One thing she said that I disagreed with.  She said "Back in those days swimming the English Channel was a big deal, but no so much today".  Perhaps because more people are doing it in this generation that in her generation doesn't really make it not a big deal, just that people are more inspired and living to their potential, or at least have the means to do so, than in her generation.  It's still a very big deal.

Strels have got salt!
5) Martin Strel - I missed his presentation since I was in a different breakout session.  But I got to talk with him one on one for a few minutes about swimming in the Great Salt Lake and our event next June.  He mentioned that it was likely that he could participate with us.  How unreal would that be?  He and his son Borut were so down to earth and fun to talk with.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Jamie Patrick, Ned Denison, and many others received certificates of their induction in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

Jamie after the meeting approached me and challenged me to consider a Tahoe Crossing.  My wheels have been turning in my head....

What a fantastic time we had!  Definitely one that I'll be attending next year, should it be held in Long Beach, or anywhere else in California.

Thanks to Josh for sharing the pics.  Being the doofus I am, I forgot mine.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dinner with Beards and Rotator Cuff pics

Last night I met Joelle Beard and her parents and friend.  We talked for about two hours at the Kneaders in Ogden.  It was a lot of fun.  She really went into her swim without an extensive knowledge base of what was involved and a lot of the nitty gritty details.  But she made it work.  It goes to show that swimming the channel is not an exact science.  There are best practices, and then there's just swimming and dealing with whatever comes your way.  She did alot of training on her own. 

I found out she did her qualifier in Bear Lake by doing a double width.  So she is the first one to do that, not me!  I'm gonna have to get her to look up what her time was exactly and we'll log that.

Here's the tear.  The rotator cuff is in bottom right and top left.
That should all be together and you can see that it's torn away
and split.

This morning I met with Dr. Gardiner.  My shoulder is healing nicely.  The sutures are dissolvable and he said I could take the tape of  now.  Gladly! 

Here's some pics he took and shared with me.

He said I need to wear the sling for the next three weeks pretty much full time until we meet next.  He did say that if I really wanted to, I could occasionally take it off to type as long as I keep my arm bent and don't rotate it outwards.  It should remain in the same position as if it were in the sling.

Here's the tear just before he ties it all up. 

He gave me a couple of stretches to work on for the next few week.  Simple arm curls and straight arm rotations with my arm pointing straight down.  Easy Peezy.   Pain is good.  I'm off the meds and had my first night without ice.  Not too fun, but OK.  I'm looking forward to the therapy and then getting back into a routine. 

Looking forward to the Global Open Water Conference tomorrow night.  Going with Josh and Goody and get to meet alot of new people and hear some really inspiring stories.  I can't wait!

I sure hope he got his pioneering merit badge.  Are these
grannies or square knots?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Source of tear

I have had shoulder problems for quite a while.  I remember having trouble back when I wasn't even swimming, but lifting.  Before I got into open water swimming, I was fanatical about Bench Press.  I competed in the Utah Summer Games and got a gold medal in the bench press for my weight division.

But those days are over.  Its way too risky, and less fulfilling than open water swimming.  Here's a couple examples of my big weight days in 2006:

From Lifts

From Lifts

My shoulder hurts just watching that insanity.  Rip!!

Anyway, I bought the domain for WFPBC, and am excited for it to get cold and start doing some winter swimming!  If you live in the valley and love excitement, you really should come along.  It's a blast!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Surgery complete!

This morning I got up at 5:30 for an early drive to Salt Lake at the LDS Hospital for my shoulder surgery.  The thing that freaks me out most about surgery is that once you go down, you instantly wake up.  You don't dream.  It's like a time portal.  Anyway.  I wasn't in very much pain, and I'm loving this ice water circulating thing strapped around my shoulder.

So I'm just taking it easy and going to obey the Doctors orders as far as what I can do.

I noticed today that one of my online buddies is doing a charity solo ride from Salt Lake to St. George.  You would be a cool dude if you could help him out with a sponsorship.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Local newspaper gets it right

Amber Hansen, called me when I was England and asked for an interview, and I  responded that I would get back with her when I got  home.  She came over a couple weeks ago and Cathi and I talked with her.  The article came out today, and other than a typo on the date of my swim (I began my swam on the 9th), it was a very well written article.  It explains pretty much the bulk of my story.

Click the image above to see the article in hi-def.  If you still can't read it,
Right click on the image, select Save As....  Then bring up the copy that you
downloaded in Paint, or any other picture  viewer, and it should  be nice
and big for you.
I'm so glad I'm getting surgery next week.  My shoulder hurts just driving.  All I'm doing is resting my arm at shoulder level on the window.  Can't wait to have  it done and start the recovery!

Till then, I'm stuck riding the stationary bike at work during my lunch break.  Which isn't terrible.  Get to listen to my tunes and spin it  out, which I can't do swimming.

Oh, and that article says, one of three Utah swimmers.  Well that's already old news.  At the time of the interview Joelle Beard, was still waiting for her swim in Dover.  She finished her swim in 12 hours, 17 minutes and became the first Utah woman to swim it.

Congratulations to Joelle Beard!  Can't wait to meet up with her and hear her stories and experience.  I'm excited cause I got a cool little gift for her.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rotator Cuff Surgery

Just visited with Dr. James Gardiner, and he was surprised that I had a tear in my rotator cuff at my age.  But when I explained my situation with swimming, he understood.  He said he was very surprised I was able to swim a mile with the tear, little alone the English Channel.  He said that my tear was abnormal as it was torn like an L, and not straight, so it would be a little more work to repair, but that it wouldn't be extra difficult.

He did mention that I would be REQUIRED to not swim for about 5 months, until I went through full physical therapy and strengthening exercises.  So it looks like I'm done for the year.  I probably won't be able to get back in the water until February or so.

One thing I am eliminating from my future is pool swim meets.  What really got me in trouble in the first place was the sprint races (50, 100 free).  I am planning to continue (after February) with distance swimming, but the days of really cranking and getting alot of speed in a short distance is over!

Anyway, I'm scheduled to go under the knife next Wednesday and won't be able to work he said for about a week.  I'll be in a sling for 6 weeks, then slowly doing some early stages of physical therapy, then working up from there until about 5 months out, I should be able to get back in the water and start slowly getting back up to where I would like to be doing distance swimming.

I'm glad to get this done now so I should have enough time to heal and get come back for next August.  Also I've already hit my out of pocket maximum with my insurance thanks to Sam's little mishap earlier this year, so this won't cost me a penny.