Thursday, May 31, 2012


Got picked up by Kim at 0530 this morning and we headed to Antelope Island.  I didn't get a real opening time when I contacted them so I just risked it.  We were at the gate a bit after 0600.  The gates were open even though the Ranger post was closed.  SWEET deal.
Kim has been pretty apprehensive about doing the 8 mile swim next Sat.  The last time we went to Antelope, she got a bit sick and her tongue got really trashed even though she was in for only a little bit.  We talked about her breathing technique and how you have to modify it some out there to minimize water coming in.  I could tell she was really focusing on it because she was swimming much slower than normal and was going all over the place.  It was pretty funny actually.  Went out until we were parallel with the bridge coming to the island then swam back.  That's about 1.3 miles total round trip.  I asked if she wanted more and she did.  She was getting a small rub mark on her inner arm from her suit.  I rubbed some grease from my neck and greased the spot a bit better.  I then suggested that she try doing what most OW marathon women do and just go topless.  I swam ahead about 20 yards and she went for it.  (Sorry, no pics :-o) Honestly we could have been side by side and with the extreme murkiness of GSL, it wouldn't have mattered!  She was an INSTANT convert.  She kept saying over and over how great it felt and how much better she was with her top rolled down.  I just laughed.  She's positive now that she's going to do the 8 mile the same way.  Her husband is paddling for her so I'm sure he won't mind.  We did another lap and finished at 2.6 miles.
When she got out she wasn't feeling sick and her tongue/mouth was in pretty good shape too.  The mental barrier of doubt that had been build was destroyed.  She is now really looking forward to the 8 mile.
Great job Kim!!!

2.6 miles OW today
Another nice note is that this month, I have logged over 77 miles of swimming.  Last month it was 45.  I really cranked it up.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

30May12 - Challenge complete!

Today was the last day of school!  It was a nice drive home knowing I have a few months off from teaching.  I headed straight for the pool and was scheduled to do 4400.  Once I got done, I just wanted to do some more so I added another 1600 on to make it an even 6k.  I hate ending workouts on anything other than a 500 or even 1000 mark.  Guess it's just one of my weirdo quirks!
One thing that I'm happy about is that today I officially completed my "Karen Rogers Challenge".  I made this up but wanted to try it anyway.  Karen said during swim camp that she hasn't taken a hot shower in years.  She only takes cold showers.  I wanted to try this out but only for a week.  I can honestly say that for every shower I took this last week, the water was cold.  It wasn't on freezing but it was definitely below even the slightest amount of warm.  It took a few minutes to adjust each time but then it felt good.  The amount of adjustment time decreased each day also.  Today it was practically nothing when the cold water was pouring over my hot body.....hehe
I can't say that I'm going to keep doing this but it really wasn't as bad as I expected.  It may be helping my cold water tolerance or it may not be.  I don't care because I do know that it IS invigorating as hell!

6000 yards today

Monday, May 28, 2012


Great swim today.  Met with Gords at Pineview for an early morning long swim.  We were in the water before 0700 and it was a bit chilly.  Air temp was 45.  Before getting in, we reenacted Gordon hitchhiking in his Robaquatics speedo.  It was AWESOME. 

What the driver saw when we had to hitch a ride during Swim Camp minus Cathy and me...I'm taking the pic!
What we looked like when they passed by and whistled or cat called us.  (Notice the representation on his ass!)

Finally someone picked him up so he could come to get us....{sad face}

Once we got in, I took a minute to adjust then we were off for several dam buoy routes.  I really like this route because you only really have to slowly turn once and you can just use the dam as a sighting and just zone out and swim for awhile before having to worry about navigating.

Gords and I on first lap

The water was pretty chilly and after the first lap I asked Gords the temp.  He said it was 57.  I was amazed at how good I felt.  My shoulders were a TINY bit chilly along with my toes but I felt really comfortable.  I was just hoping it would last.  The temp stayed at 57 for another lap then 58 for 3rd lap then 59-60 for my last lap.  I never got cold to the point of being uncomfortable.  This really lifted my spirits because I knew without a doubt that I could have stayed in sub 60 water all day and it never would have gotten to me.
After each lap I had to refill my drink and then get a quick feed.  Gords was great in waiting for me while I did this.
The most beautiful thing about today was swimming as the sun rose above the mountains.  Pictures didn't do it justice but Gords and I stopped a few times to just admire how great it looked and take a few pics.  There was a light mist over the lake and rays of sunlight coming down from pockets in the clouds.  It was truly mesmerizing.
So beautiful today

I made a "special" milk jug that I hoped people would take a hint to leave my drink alone.  I think it worked!
AIDS, HERPES....oh yeah...and a COLD!!!  LOL

After 4 laps I was at 7.5 miles.  I had a family obligation to get to so I had to get out.  My shoulders were a bit sore but I know that I could easily have kept going and going. 
I felt really proud of myself for today.  I know I'm ready for Catalina but swims like this solidify it.  I went a long time in water colder than I will get at Catalina and it barely effected me.  I also felt really good after 7.5 miles.  I needed some Vitamin I pretty bad but other than that, my energy was holding well. 
I also had a great swim with my training buddy Gordon.  The last leg back he dragged my SSD behind him and I was able to work on some mental training.  I had him swim to my side 3-5 yards away with his head at my hip.  This is where I'll want my support swimmers when I do Catalina so it was a good visual for me and good practice for him.  Thanks for always being willing to help Gordon.  Days like today are proof that NO ONE completes a ultra-marathon swim alone.  Many people help along the way and today was no exception.

7.5 today  WOOT!

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Went to Pineview this morning.  A storm was coming around noon and I wanted to get some miles in before it hit.  Got to the lake and Kim and Gordon were at least 20 minutes away.  I didn't feel like waiting so I got a head start on them.  I did a buoy route which is just around a mile and you can see a swimmer doing this route easily from the parking lot.  When I got back to the "beach" I met up with Gordon and Kim and we took off for a "dam route".  It was pretty calm until we were heading straight at the buoy line.  The next 3/4 mile was straight into the wind and against the current.  It seemed to take forever to get to the buoy line.  The chop was constant and I lost air many times to water being shoved down my throat instead.  Water felt really cool too.  My toes got cold but the rest of me felt fine.
Me, Kim, and Gordon

 Once we got to the buoy line we headed back.  Going back was MUCH faster.  The wind and waves were pushing me so much that my SSD hit me in the back of the head several times.  It was pretty funny actually.  When we got back to the start, Kim was cold and said she was done.  I wasn't feeling that great either but I knew I needed the miles.  My shoulders felt like tar and I was hoping the GU I just took would help.  It did.  I felt much better going out the 2nd time and was even slightly ahead of Gordon.  I'm under NO illusion that I was faster than him.  It was just that his PFD was dragging him backwards with a much stronger force than mine was.  We were within decent sight of the buoy line when a pretty dark cloud came in.  It was already raining on us and making the water colder.  Gords said it had dropped to 60. Yesterday it was 63-64.  I felt good but the clouds didn't look to inviting.  I just didn't want to get caught out in the middle of the lake if lightning started.
Look close and you can see my hand on his shoulder.  It looks like I'm trying to push him down....and I WAS!  MUHAHAHAHA

I waved down Gords and I told him it wasn't worth it and he agreed.  Times like these are when I feel like such a wimp but I keep saying "Safety First"!....what a dork!  Got back and really wished for more but I could swear I heard a thunder roll when we were almost done.
Got back to my car and I was FREEZING and shaking pretty bad.  I was only in my speedo, towel, and a wool cap.  I was shaking the whole way home but I kept myself cold on purpose.
GPS read 4.09 for today.

On a side note, it is exactly one month from now when I'll be swimming the Catalina Channel.  I can't believe that it's this close already.  I have to start working on my taper before I know it.  I definitely feel that I'm ready but it just seemed so far away and now it's getting very close!


Decided to go to Pineview after work today to check it out.  Got there and did a temp reading of 63 degrees.  This made me very happy.  Wasn't feeling that great but I had to get something in so I did the dam route.  Halfway there my goggles broke.  That was fun!  I got to the side and fixed them then finished my swim.  I was a bit chilly for the first few minutes of the swim but it was only a very slight chill.  The rest of the swim I felt great.  I was EXTREMELY distracted today while swimming and I couldn't seem to focus on anything relating to swimming.  Still wasn't feeling that great after 2 miles so I got out.  I'm really short of my weekly quota but it's been a nutso week so I gotta not mentally beat myself up over it.  School ends next Wednesday and I have Monday off so making my 20 mile quota shouldn't be a problem.

2 miles OW

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Went to the pool this morning and met up with Kim.  Did a moderate 4000
1000 warmup
500 kick
ladders by 50 up to 250 then back down.  Pull on 50's going up the ladder
500 kick
500 CD
I skipped a good dinner last night and went to bed real early.  I felt rested but could feel my empty tank. 

Went to GSL this afternoon.  It's a bit cooler today so I did a Gridley Straight.  Bit of wind and chop but nothing major.  Felt like I swam pretty well.  I should have done another lap but I just found myself wandering into the marina after one lap.  Got to see and chat with Gords and Chad some.
I am a bit behind on my weekly quota.  I am going to have to do over 5k tomorrow then probably 2 swims on Sat.  I was sick on Monday and depressed yesterday.  Ahhhh life....stop getting in the way of my TRAINING!!!

4000 yards in morning and 2.2 miles OW in afternoon

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Yesterday was my 7th wedding anniversary so I took the day off.  Slept in while snuggling then came right home after work to take my wife on a long date.  It was nice.  We went to dinner then I took her to an indoor skydiving place nearby.  She was REALLY scared but did it anyway.  She loved it in the end.  The video was WELL worth the 15 bucks!  Then we went to a movie.  Got home late and I was settling down for sleep well past my bedtime.
Got to the pool a bit late today and was still sleepy.

500 WU
1000 K
500 pull with new Finis bandless agility hand paddles - actually kinda like these.  My fingers didn't feel any pain from pressure spots like some other paddles put on specific areas of fingers while pulling.
10 x 100 on the 2 minute.  Hit under 1:25 for each and last one I hit 1:15
500 CD


Lynn Kubasek showing the paddles we got at swim camp.  This is my observer for Catalina!

I plan on hitting GSL this afternoon for about 2 more miles.  Nothing much just an easy afternoon swim.  I need to slowly make up for me slacking yesterday.

I almost forgot!  Karen Rogers who is the official Queen of Lake Tahoe called me yesterday.  We talked about camp and how she was recovering from the parasites that dug in her skin and made her feel so bad.  She was sorry that she missed Gordon and me when we were at Tahoe but we understood why.  She wants us to come back real bad.  I did ask her (seeing that she IS the Queen of Lake Tahoe) if it was okay, since Gordon and I did an hour in the lake and over one mile, if it was okay if we could call ourselves the Squires of Lake Tahoe.  She laughed hysterically and gave us her blessing.  Gordon and I may be the some of the tops dogs of GSL but we are now also the Squires of Lake Tahoe!  I am happy with this title.  :)

Went to Antelope Island today on the way home.  I wanted to do an easy 2 miles but it turned into a small adventure.  Water temp was in 70's and I wasn't too happy about this.  I need to find colder water!  On the way out of the marina, a flock of seagulls were hovering over me.  These 20 or so rats with wings stayed right above me for most of the swim.  I'd randomly stop and yell at them, "Hey, Piss Off"!  I swam NE until I was parallel with the small bridge that leads up to the marina.  I then swam straight towards it.  Once I got close enough, I felt the push of the water from the flow from the water under the bridge.  I swam in place against this current for a few minutes.  It was kinda fun swimming on a treadmill.   I moved north of the bridge then got a gel and something to drink.  I headed back and almost immediately the wind picked up.  It was already overcast but the wind started to get real strong.  I was being pushed all over the place.  Swimming with my SSD is safe but it does create drag.  I had to keep swimming in opposite directions of the marina opening in order to get pushed into it.  Once inside I was able to swim to the ramp easily.  I noticed all the seagulls were just hovering in place against the wind and the US flag was straight out.  Glad I was getting out.  I didn't have a GPS but I'm very comfortable saying I did 2 miles.

Monday, May 21, 2012

20May12 - Going Home

The swim camp weekend is over.  I thought about and talked about the good and bad of the past weekend.  I'll start with the good.

1) Very casual environment.  There was a definite attitude of swimming when you want, how much you want and with whoever you want. 
2) There were NO egos there.  Many world class OW swimmers were there and not one of the people at the camp thought or acted AT ALL like anyone was superior or inferior to anyone.  We all celebrated each other's swims and abilities no matter what they were.
3) Great people there and good friendships were established.  I met many people there that I can't wait to see again and swim with again.
4) No secrets about anything.  People were willing to share any and all tips about training, feedings, planned swims, goals, etc etc.  Everyone was open about all they are doing with swimming.
5) Good food.  Food was plentiful and shared freely.  I was never hungry at the camp or had to worry I was unwelcomingly taking from someone.
6) Jamie was so laid back about everything that he just started having to tell people, "Whatever it is you want, the answer is YES.  Just go do it".  Jamie was a great host and you felt very welcome and wanted while you were there.

1) The swim out at Clearlake wasn't planned well.  Some problems came up that I feel could have easily been avoided.
2) Dogs.  Some pets are well behaved, and others are not.  I have specificaly not named people or animals that didn't behave that great because I don't want to throw them under the bus but if you can't control your animal, they shouldn't come.  I'd prefer a no pet policy for future swim camps.
3) Several of us got red bumps/blisters all over our arms and backs from something in the water.  THIS IS IN NO WAY JAMIE PATRICK'S FAULT!!!!!  I can't stress that enough.  It did happen and it caused us discomfort.  Something was in the water and made many of us itchy and scratchy freaks that were always picking at ourselves.

Overall I had an amazing time and I sincerely hope that it is at Lake Tahoe next year.  Jamie and Karen talked it up something fierce but no words can do justice for how beautiful that lake is.  I won't hesitate to tell people to try the camp out no matter what their OW ability is. 

My overall grade is an A-

19May12 - Lake Tahoe

Gordon and I were invited to stay with Karen Rogers at her house near Lake Tahoe.  We had planned on going there Saturday to swim with her in the lake because she and Jamie talked so much about how great the lake is on Wednesday.  Unfortunately, she was not feeling well at all from whatever was in the water and the bumps and itch had come back with vengeance.  She just wanted to rest after having to go to the hospital for a shot.  Gordon and I decided to go anyway and just camp at Lake Tahoe.
We took off after breakfast and some goodbye's.  It was tough leaving after spending so many great days with people I absolutely loved hanging out and sharing swim stories with. 
We got to Tahoe and checked out the water.  Temp read 54 degrees.  I'll admit I was nervous about the temp.  The coldest water around where I live is 65 and even though I was able to swim in 54 awhile ago with little problems, my body has adapted to water a bit warmer so this would be a change. 
I got in and didn't find it too difficult.  My breathing took some time to adjust and I knew I was going to be cold.  I had forgotten to take my swim cap with me and I SEVERELY regretted this decision.  My head hurt really bad from the cold and was causing me to focus more on that than my swimming.  I got everything under control after awhile and was able to swim.  As long as I was swimming, I was fine.  I was cold and generally uncomfortable but I was okay.  When Gordon and I stopped to chat or take pics, I felt myself immediately freezing up.  The last time we stopped, I my teeth started to rattle and I started to shake pretty bad.  I had to sprint for awhile to get warm again.
After I knew I had done over a mile, I headed in.  Gords went for a bit more and I swam in until I could sit on the bottom and I was completely covered up to my neck in water.  I forced myself to sit there for another 10 minutes and just deal with the cold.  I was MISERABLE but I knew I needed it and if I got into any danger, I could just stand up or yell at the people sitting on the beach 10 feet away that were looking at me like I was an idiot.
When we were both done, some older women came up to us and were genuinely impressed that we were swimming in the water.  They asked what we were training for and then wished us the best of luck.  It was nice.
I know I did over 1 mile but I'm just going to mark one mile for today.

When we got to Reno, I realized after putting my info into USMS Go The Distance site that I've passed the 200 mile mark today!  I'm also in the top 10 for my age group for distance this year.  It was pretty exciting for me.  I was also only 2 miles short for my weekly quota of 20 miles.  Considering the quality of swims I have done this week, I don't feel bad about theoretically coming up short on quantity.

18May12 - Interesting Day

There may be some language in this so be warned.
Slept in a bit this morning.  The group was going to Clearlake so I didn't feel a need to swim at the lake nearby.  It was nice to sleep in and relax.  Spent most of the morning on the outdoor couch talking to people and slowly enjoying breakfast.
We finally headed out to the lake.  We were just told the name of the lake and nothing else.  We just had to follow the convoy and hope we didn't get lost.  If we had, we had no idea where the lake was.  No one even told us how far away it was going to be.
When we got to the lake, we all had to sign wavers.  As we were signing wavers, one of the people at the camp had this REALLY obnoxious dog that was running everywhere.  The owner thought it was funny apparently and just let him do whatever he wanted despite the fact that everyone else found the dog being there annoying as hell.
We kept getting conflicting reports on who was going to be in the boat and where everyone needed to be.  We were trying to keep it casual but half of us didn't know where we needed to be.  Finally Jamie asked everyone off the boat.  When we were all standing on the dock, Jamie lost his cool and started screaming at us to get in the water.  All of us looked at him like he was a nut.  Okay, but where the F are we going?  Where do we get feeds?  Where do we turn around?  Are we on our own?  Are we in a group swim?  What direction are we going?  NONE of this was covered. 
I just jumped in and followed the rest of the swimmers hoping for the best.  Not the safest way to start a swim.  I was going for about 1/2 an hour when the boat pulled up and asked me to get in so we could get caught up with the fast swimmers.  I wasn't too happy about this but I did it anyway.  Cathy, Gords, and idiot dog owner got in also.  We were moved in front of the fast swimmers and given the option to get back in.  I'm here to swim and not hang out on a boat so I jumped in immediately.  Jamie looked at Cathy, Gords, and me and said VERY CLEAR, "Just stay 100 feet from shore and follow it around the bend then keep going".  It's exactly what we did.  We ran into some other swimmers and they were heading back.  Cathy made a HUGE mistake of being nice and giving her last gel to another swimmer.  After the swimmer ate the gel, she said thanks and she's going back to the boat!  WTF??  You don't eat someone's food then head to where a feeding is!  The 3 of us kept swimming and we finally got to a point where we felt we needed to turn around.  No one else was near us and the boat was really far away.  This wouldn't have been a problem if Gordon had been allowed to keep his buoy system he has.  It had food, GPS, and drinks but Jamie asked him to take it off soon after the swim started.  Not sure why but another bad decision. 
We started to head back and saw the boat getting farther and farther away.  This made me quite unhappy and Gords concerned some too.  Cathy was just flat out pissed.  She kept stopping to voice her frustration and I understood but I had to keep getting her to swim and save the vocal anger for later.  I completely understood what she was feeling because I was cursing in my head non stop while we headed back.  We all stopped a bit later and realized the boat was GONE!  They fucking left us!!!  Now we were really pissed!  Didn't anyone tell them about us?  What about a head count?  Are they going back?  Are we alone?  Should we keep swimming or get out?  WTF is going on???
We all agreed to swim to a certain point and then make the next plan.  We got to the bend and sure enough, not a person or the boat in sight.  Cathy was in a lot of pain from her recent ankle surgery so she wanted out.  I wasn't going to let our group split up so I stayed with her.  Gords is smart enough to realize him going off solo is silly so he joined us too.
We all got out and had to hitchhike back to the car.  WE HAD TO HITCH HIKE ON A GROUP SWIM!  That sentence alone should be enough to demonstrate how bad the organization of this swim was!  Gordon had his car and agreed he would be the one that would get the ride back then come get us.  So there we were, 3 people in speedo's waving at people on the side of the road.  Most honked and yelled silly things at us.  Gordon was wearing a tiger striped RobAquatics speedo and he by far looked the most ridiculous.  One hippy couple finally stopped and let Gords get in.  He was back quickly and Cathy and I got a ride back to the rest of the group. 
When we got back, Suzie Dods (who is such a great person) came up to us with genuine concern and asked how we were doing.  She saw me first and she could tell by the look on my face that none of us were that happy.  I told her I don't want to talk now and I just want to get some hydration.  She was fantastic and immediately gave the 3 of us bananas and some juice.  After a few minutes, we all packed up and headed back to Jamie's house.
We were all safe and that is good but it's REALLY embarrassing that Steven Munotones was there and he was in charge of the Open Water Safety Conference last year.  But after what happened....REALLY??? 
Gordon and I spent a lot of time talking about what went wrong and what can be learned about it.  Granted, no one wanted to be rude or step on anyone's toes but this WAS a learning opportunity.  A debrief of what happened would only be good and a lot could have been learned from it.  The fact that everyone danced on egg shells instead of addressing it didn't make much sense to me.  I wanted answers, not to blame anyone but to learn from it.
Here are some things that went wrong and how they might have been avoided.
1) No map was shown of the lake.  No idea was given on where we were going to swim or what we specifically were doing....besides the obvious swimming.
2) Only one boat was there.  For the number of people swimming, one boat wasn't enough.  If money was an issue, I seriously doubt it would have been a problem if everyone was asked to chip in another $20 so we could get another boat. 
3) The boat we did have did not have a first aid kit...or at least I did not see one.
4) Why were 3 people left behind?  We were on our own for over an hour with no help besides ourselves.  Granted, we are all experienced swimmers and there was no real danger of drowning but the fact we had to hitch hike says it all.
5) A dog was there.  The owner showed no intention of keeping it under control and when it had to be restrained to keep from chasing after geese, everyone was annoyed.  Someone even got hurt on their leg while trying to restrain him in the boat.  NO DOGS!!!

It is in my opinion that a 2nd boat was severely needed for this swim.  If only one boat was able to be procured, then it should have been an "accordion" swim.  That is, the fastest swimmers are told to go to a certain point then turn around to swim back to the slowest swimmers.  The boat will be in designated spots at designated times for feedings for all.  This way when the slow people are far apart from the fast swimmers, when the fast swimmers turn around to swim back to the back of the group, the accordion gets smaller.  Once we are all together, we all get a feeding then the process repeats.  All can be watched and accounted for also.  A printed Google map of the lake and where the boat will be for each stop would have eliminated much of the problems that occurred.
To me, the most important thing missed was a debrief after the swim.  So much could have been learned from this and a real opportunity to make swims like this safer and more enjoyable in the future was lost.

Despite the problems, I felt like Cathy, Gordon and I bonded pretty well and did a good job of keeping each other safe.  Despite being upset or disappointed, we all thought clearly enough to do what was necessary to get back safely.

After getting back, I was pretty tired and really thirsty.  Had a great lunch then spent the rest of the day hanging out and chatting with people.  The option to swim again came up but I was too worried about the lake since so many people were getting red bumps and even had to get prednisone shots from the lake.  No one is at fault for whatever was in the water but I just was content to stay out of it.
Went back to my tent after my eyes refused to stay open any more to Gordon snoring...YES, he snores while camping.  He doesn't believe me but boy does he ever snore!

4 miles today

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Gords and I got up at 0515.  I had a TOUGH night sleep.  I just never got comfortable and sleep only seemed to come in 10-20 minutes increments.  I was pretty groggy when we got to the lake.  I got in and planned on 4 laps.  I was half asleep for the 1 and 1/2 laps.  I finally got awake and my arms/shoulders stretched out.  I felt pretty good on the 3rd lap and caught up with some a few of the other swimmers here who were on their first lap.  I finished my final lap with them and even had Karen Rogers swim next to me for awhile to watch my stroke.  She said I dip my left elbow a tiny but my stroke looks great.  My hip rotation and body position are "amazing".  Wow!  Being told I have an "amazing" body position coming from a person of Karen's caliber really meant something to me.  I finished the 4th lap and was at 4.8 miles.  I decided to swim a bit more to get me over 5.  I know I did over 5 but I'm not exact so I'll just say 5.
There was something in the water this morning that was making most of us itch.  I was itching like CRAZY when I got out and a shower didn't help much.  Others were effected like this too.  Some of the people that swam a bit in the afternoon said that whatever it was is now gone.
We are all just hanging out and chatting now.

On a side note, it seems that Karen has invited Gords and me to her house at Lake Tahoe.  We plan on leaving Saturday and doing a swim with her there.  It's 55 and we need to cold water.  Plus she and Jamie were going on and on about how beautiful and clear the water is there so we want to go check it out.
One more thing I'm REALLY excited about.

5 far.  Prob more tonight.

 Went for another swim this afternoon. Most of us went out for this one. Did 1 lap with a little bit of effort and was just barely ahead of Cathy Delneo. We met up after the first lap and we decided to do one more nice and easy. 2nd lap felt nice and I mainly just stretched out. Finished with about 2.5 and feeling good.
 Total today is 7.5 miles


Got up early this morning and Gords and I took off for Hidden Valley Lake, CA.  Drive went well and we got here a bit after 1700.  Jamie Patrick and Karen Rogers were here.  We chatted a bit then got our spot set up.  We then all went down to the lake.  Gords and I did a full loop which is around 1.2 miles.  After we got back, the 4 of us just hung our and talked for awhile as others showed up.  Met some great people and this is already what I dreamed it to be.  Good swimming then hanging out with other people who love swimming and 95% of all conversation is connected to swimming!  PERFECT!!!
Karen Rogers, me, Jamie Patrick

Jamie Patrick and me

Me with Karen Rogers

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

15May12 {day off? - girl PLEASE}

I know I posted yesterday that I was going to take today off but I forgot about something.  My father in law was having a family get together and BBQ at his place at 6:30 in Erda.  The GSL Marina is on the way.  Me drive by the GSL with time to kill and NOT get in?  Yeah right!!! 
I did take it easy.  I got ready and the regular bus full of Japanese tourists were there as I got in.  I am pretty sure there are pictures of me (and my other swim buddies) in many family vacation albums back in Japan!  We get out picture taken out there by tourists regularly.
I was solo so I stuck to the buoy route.  Did one loop and then after a drink, I did another.  Felt really good the whole time.  Lake was clear and only mildly choppy.
I did have 2 sailboats pass me and I stopped swimming to wave from pretty far away and they both saw me and waved back.  I'm sure it was from the SSD but they clearly saw me and both CLEARLY made some adjustments to get out of my path.  Further proof why swimming with an SSD is smart.  You are visible from a LONG way away!
Got out and chatted with a woman who moved to Utah a few months ago.  She's getting her PhD in Molecular Engineering at the U and comes to the GSL daily to relax and let her mind rest.  Good spot.  She said she loves the lake and being around it as much as she can.  I took the opportunity to invite her to paddle for us when we do swims.  She's up for it.  We'll see what happens but I doubt it will be the last time I run into her.  She seemed really excited about doing something with us, even in the middle of the night for night swims.

2 miles today nice and easy

Home now and time to pack for my trip to Hidden Valley Lake, CA.  SOOOOOOOOOO excited!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012


Got to the pool a bit late and with no workout.  Kim was there after a week vacation so we just kind of made something up as we went along.  I haven't gotten much rest since Saturday so my arms and shoulders were really tight and sore today.
Kim also has a black eye.  She claims she was hit with a frisbee but I think she secretly is a member of a fight club.  lol  Kicking would be a big portion of the swim today.

500 warmup - each pull caused muscle pain
1000 kick
500 swim
500 kick with fins
50 breast then 200 free
50 back then 200 free

3000 total today.

I currently have about 1/2 inch thick layer of icy hot on my shoulders and I plan on taking tomorrow off to let myself have a good rest before swim camp.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

12May12 - Double Dip

Went to the pool at 5 and did an easy 5k.
I did a 1000 warmup
500 Kick
500 swim
Then I got bored...REALLY BORED and did repeats of 50 breast then 200 free over and over.
Once I hit 100 laps, I was done.

I then took a quick rinse and drove to get Gordon.  We went to the GSL Marina at Saltair.  Antelope is right down the road but the harbor master Dave hinted that for our first one, he would prefer us to leave from where he is.  He's being REALLY nice about letting us swim/kayak past park hours so we had no problem with this request. 
We checked in with him upon arriving and he asked if we knew anyone in a camo truck.  We don't.  Apparently, someone driving a camouflage truck was in the lake really early that morning.  He had no SSD, or anything to make it easy to spot him.  He was also alone.  A sailboat almost ran over him.  I don't have a problem with people wanting to swim in the GSL...I encourage it all the time.  BUT be smart about it!  Have something that makes you highly visible, swim with a buddy, KNOW WHERE YOU ARE!  If a boat almost ran over him, that means he was out in the middle of the lake and not closer to the shore like we normally do.
Josh, Gordon, and I have been swimming regularly all year at the GSL and we promote safety when swimming when we can.  It's this work we've been doing that allows us privileges like being able to swim after dark.  Don't be a thoughtless jackass and ruin it for us and everyone else.
ANYHOW, we had some time to kill before it got dark enough to launch.  I was a bit sore and not 100% motivated to do the swim.  Not sure why.  Lazy I guess.
I went first and after some safety chat (see that word SAFETY?), we went out.  Gordon thought we were going to trade positions at Blackrock.  I wanted 2 miles.  Thankfully, asking Gordon if he wants to swim more is like asking me if I want more ice cream!
The water was AMAZING.  Smooth as glass and not a boat to be seen anywhere.  The water felt weird.  The temperature was layered.  The very top was cold then it was a few degrees warmer for about a foot under that, then it was cold where your hand reached on the pull through.  It was weird.  Some parts of you were chilly and some parts were warm and it kept changing which part was which.  I found it amusing.
Gordon did a stroke count for me and it seems I do an average of 60 strokes per minute.  Good to know this.
Once we hit Blackrock, I got some drink and took a gel.  I could not believe a few things:
1) How fast we got to Blackrock
2) How calm everything was out there
3) How extremely comfortable I felt.  I could have stayed out there all night!
I was really glad I got in despite my lack of motivation beforehand.  The swim was 1000 times better than I imagined it to be.

Once we got back we switched.  Gords did his 2 miles.  I'm nowhere near as good of a paddler as he is.  I do okay but I wasn't so great at holding a steady rate right next to him.  We both were having a great time.
We both got our 2 miles in then headed home.  Great night and great training swim!  Thanks again Gordon and more of these to come.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Not a bad workout today.
I was supposed to meet Kim this morning but she was a no-show.  After shamelessly weaping for 10 minutes, I got in.
500 WU
500 K
50 swim
100 swim last 25 fly
150 swim last 25 back
200 swim last 25 breast
250 swim last 25 heads up
Reverse back down keeping same IM and heads up order then
250 back
250 breast
500 CD
My shoulders felt good and I warmed up a bit quicker than normal today.  I wasn't really pushing it but I could tell that my body had relaxed and I was good.

3500 total today. 


Met with Gords after work today.  We have decided that we will no longer do afternoon swims at the Saltair Marina.  The Antelope island is a little bit colder to swim in and most of the time a tiny bit rougher conditions.  I can't speak for Gordon (although I'm sure it's crossed his mind) but I feel like it's getting to "crunch time" with me.  I can't slack on any of my training and the easier I make my training swims (warmer temp, water conditions, easy current, etc) the more difficult my actual channel swim is going to be.  The more time I spend in cold water that is tough to swim in, the better prepared I'll be and hopefully if the conditions during my crossing are good, the swim will be that much easier since I'll be that much more prepared.
The wind was pretty strong today so I knew the current would be up and the chop would make it interesting.  It did not disappoint.  Water temp was 65.  Not cold enough but better than 70 at the Saltair Marina.
Gords has a new toy he brought today.  It's basicaly a boogie board with a foam noodle across it and some expandable netting on top.  It looks REALLY ridiculous but it is very practical for getting items faster.  I'll admit I did make fun of it some and when Gords pulled out his American flag to hoist on it, I nearly pissed myself.  Good thing I was already in the water...and already had!
The neat thing is he mounted his camera on top to film during his swim.  Pretty nifty idea.
Gords and me before starting.  Damnit I am handsome!

Our goal was 5 miles today.  We headed straight for Freemont Island once outside the marina and we were heading pretty much straight against the wind.  This made the water really choppy and keeping your breathing normal, your stroke smooth, and good sighting a challenge.  Loved it!  I did get a few mouthfulls of water and that was not so great.  We stopped every 30 minutes for hydration.  After over an hour, we turned around.  This time we were with the current and wind and could feel it pushing us along.  It was great for me but it kept flipping over Gords' toy.  I couldn't stop laughing.
I could tell after about the 5th time that he was "less than amused" and I offered to clip my SSD on the back so it would add weight and drag.  It worked well.  It only flipped over one more time and I got to swim with nothing while Gords was stuck swimming with all our gear.  He's a great pack-mule!
I'm also trying to get Gords to work on some sports psychology visualization techniques.  He just sees himself in the GSL each time.  When I'm out there, I picture myself in the Catalina Channel.  I can visualize a kayak on my right and a boat on my left.  I don't see Freemont Island as what it is, I see it as California off in the distance.  I told Gords he needs to do this so I asked him a few times where he was.  He did start answering, "I'm in the channel and over there is France".  Little mind games like that can go a long way.
Getting back took much less time but the current did push us farther west than we needed.  We ended up having to swim east by northeast for awhile so we could end up south at the marina.  I really like it when you have to swim in another direction so the current can push you into the way you want to go.
We ended up with 4 miles.  Even though it was short of what we wanted, the quality of our swim was better than it would have been if it had been a smooth 5 miles.  It was a great training swim and we both got a better workout because of the conditions we had.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Rest swim.
Got up and went to the pool knowing I was going to take it easy.
Did 1000 Warmup to stretch out my shoulders.  They were nowhere near as tired as they should be since I had just finished swimming 5 miles only a few hours earlier.
Then I did 1000 kick with fins then some IM work for another 500.

2500 total - cake day!

8May12 - Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Slept in this morning.  I knew I was going to the GSL after work so I just needed to do at least 3 miles.
I got to the marina a bit early.  The temp read 68 degrees.  It's getting too warm for what I need to be training in.  For casual swims it's okay but I need to TRAIN in colder water.  Gords and I talked about it after our swim and he feels the same way.  We are going to have to start doing some swims at higher altitudes and colder water so we can get back to thinking 60 degrees is "hot" for us.
I went with Gords and Chad on a Gridley Straight.  I was SO slow the first lap.  Gords dropped me before he could blink and I normally am about the same pace as Chad or at times a tiny bit faster but never by much.  When we were finishing the first lap, I was seriously considering just doing a buoy route to get my needed extra mile in then calling it good.  When I got to the buoy, Chad was waiting for me and Gords was doing extra to keep from getting cold from waiting for my slow ass too long.
As soon as he arrived, he looked right at me and said if I was ready for another.  I admit that I was temporarily mesmorized by his beard (mainly out of jealousy since I shaved mine off) and said yes.  I almost immediately regretted this decision.  I got dropped again quickly and just decided to think about my stroke and sing some songs.  When I got to Blackrock the 2nd time, I finished off a small bottle of Cytomax and headed back to the marina.  I don't know what happened but something clicked in me.  About halfway back I started feeling REALLY good.  My shoulders, arms, legs, and everything felt completely fresh.  I started to go a bit faster.  I went faster and faster and pulled with some real effort on each stroke.  I got to the point where I felt like I was doing 100 yard power splits but I was getting no rest.  I was encouraging myself to just keep going at this speed and if I crash out, then so be it, I can just coast back to the marina.  I never did crash out.  I soon caught Chad who had been a few hundred yards ahead of me and even ended up a little bit ahead of him.  I was out of drinks and had no food but Gords had his drink out.  I finished what he had then I wanted to swim more.  Gords and Chad were game and I took off immediately.  I went strong still but not as strong.  I couldn't keep up with Gords (let's not get crazy here) but I was able to stay with Chad with ease when even trying to keep up with him earlier was too much for me. 
I'm not sure what happened but I felt like a completely different person.  When I got to the marina, I was actually kinda pissed I had to stop.  I wanted more time in the water and more miles to take on.  I wish I could feel like that beast that I was for that time more often. 
The other thought was that I had just done 5 miles in about 2 and 1/2 hours.  That means I was averaging under 30 min miles because of the breaks.  I guess I was going at a decent pace after all even though I felt like cold tar for the first 3 miles.
The last thought I had was that 3 more of todays workout = my Catalina swim!  BRING IT!!!

5 miles total today

I ALMOST FORGOT...Each time the water got shallow at Blackrock, I don't know why but I stood up and started "frolicking" for awhile.  Hopping up and down with a stupid grin on my face and arms waving daintily throught the air.  I found it quite hysterical.  Gords got a laugh seeing me then asked if I wanted some pics of it. Chad just stuck his head up and yelled, "You're an idiot"'re just figuring this out NOW Chad??  LOL

Monday, May 7, 2012


Nice day today.  I got to the pool and felt good.  I have something of importance on my mind so I didn't pay as much attention to my times as I should have but oh well.  I did get 4700 in and I had some strong sets.  Some of the pulls sets I did really made me tired.  Did a hypoxic set at the end and I thought I was going to die.  Feels good to finish those sets!
My "new look" was all the talk at the pool today.  It was humorous to me actually.

4700 today


I've have been a bit of a slacker this week.  I took Friday off and when Saturday came, I did a short swim.  I met up with Alicia today.  She and I have done a lot of OW swims together but this was her first one of the year.  She wanted to keep it casual and I had no problem with that.  We went to Antelope Island marina and there was a bike race going on.  We had a TON of people looking at us funny and were probably asked about 1000 times, "Are you going swimming"?  Gee-wizz, what gave it away?  Is it us walking around in speedo's?  I just smiled and said yes and could feel lots of eyes on us as we got in.  Water temp read 61 and it felt nice.  Alicia adjusted quickly and once we cleared the marina entrance, we headed north for awhile.  I counted 1000 strokes then we headed back in.  She started to get a bit tired toward the end but did great overall.  We finished with 1.67 miles.  I was happy we got to swim together.  I know it will happen a lot more.  I just feel like a bit of a bum for not doing more.  I should have done 6 miles today.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Went to the GSL after work.  Gords was already there and I said I would meet him once I arrived.  I got ready quickly and I ran over to the lookout and saw where he was.  I got in and swam back to find him.  I got to the red buoy and waited and waited.  After about 10 minutes, I started to head back in to change my goggles.  I made a poor decision on them and could barely see.  Sure enough, at the mouth of the marina was Gords coming to me.  I KNEW IT.  LOL  we had missed each other.  I went back and changed goggles then we headed to Blackrock.  There was cloud cover and I don't know why but I was chilly for the whole swim.  My shoulders were not relaxed and I just felt worn out the whole swim.
The nice thing was that at spots, the water was crystal clear and you could see the bottom of the lake in good detail.  It's always beautiful to see that.  The bad thing was that there were billions of brine shrimp everywhere so you were swimming through them the entire swim.
Got back from Blackrock and Gords had to head in.  I wanted more so I did another mile loop near the marina.  Hooked up with Chad and we had a nice last mile together.  I finished with 3.58 miles but I'm not happy that I was sore for most of it and I seemed to be struggling today.  Could be an off day or maybe I need to change my recovery drink.  I used to use Cytomax but I am trying out Infinit from a recommendation of a friend.  Not sure what it is but I seem to be sore a lot more lately and it takes longer to warm up when I am swimming. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2May12 - Ghost Fans

Today I got up pretty happy and was not grumpy about going to the pool.  I knew my shoulders would be a bit sore from the 4 miles at GSL yesterday but they relaxed quickly enough.
I only needed to get 3800 today to hit my average quota of 5k yards per day during the week.  Well there is no way I can just do 3800 is there?  It's such an ugly number to end on. So 4k it was.
1000 WU
500 K with fins
ladders by 50 up to 250 with fins then back down without
5 x 50 hypoxic training - NOT FUN
250 K no fins
500 CD
During the CD, I was able to hand out 4 "got salt" magnets.  One was for someone that I promised him one.  One was for a guy next to me that had "triathlete" written all over him.  He said the 1 mile sounded like fun and he would definitely check it out.
The last 2 went to 2 women in the lanes next to me.  I asked what they were training for and one said just some Olympic tri's.  They asked what I'm training for and I just said that I'm distance swimmer.  I told them about the GSL 1 miler and they had heard of it.  One woman then asked my name and she not only knew who I was, but follows my blog...THIS ONE!  I have a ghost fan!  It was pretty neat to be honest.  I didn't know more than the 4 people that claim they follow this blog ever read this.  She said when she moved here she did a search on Utah open water swimmers and my name came up.  I kept my composure but I was thinking, how the Hell???  What search engine is so broken that my name comes up when you search for Utah open water swimmers?  LOL She said she was Annie Stanish and she had moved from California to Utah and was looking to get into the open water scene.  I think she may have the states backwards as far as what state is good for open water swimmers and communities.  We are small but we welcome her with open arms.  She said she is interested in the 1 miler and hopefully I'm able to get her out to the GSL with us a few times.  It would be nice to have more females in our ranks!
So, thank you to all my friends that read this and a thank you to all the ghost fans that I'm not aware are reading this.


When my alarm went off this morning, I just looked at it, laughed, turned it off, then was back asleep in 2 seconds.  My last thought was, "I'll just do more at the lake today".
I met Gords, Josh, Chad, and Michelle at the marina around 1700.  Water felt really good.  I had texted Gords that I wanted to do a longer swim today.  I knew he would be up for it.  We all got out of the marina and Josh and Michelle decided to do the buoy routes nearby to keep it short.  Gords and I took off for Blackrock and Chad was right behind us.  Going out was fun.  There was a nice current from the NW heading SE that pushed us a little bit.  Going back was a small challenge but it was nice.  I got pushed around a bit and missed some breathing due to a small wave smashing my face when I went for air but otherwise it was great.  When we got back to the marina, we asked Chad if he wanted to join us for one more.  He just said, "Have fun" and Gords and I took off.  I'm glad Gords was up to one more Gridley Straight lap.  Even though I can't keep up with him for more than a few hundred yards before he completely drops me then steadily gets farther from me, it's nice knowing I'm doing these swims with someone else.  Just that little mental help goes a long way.  When I got to Blackrock the 2nd time, Gords was walking out to me.  He looked anxious to leave.  I asked if he was okay and he said "yes" but his face was contradicting his tongue.  I tried to get my drink quickly and THE second I closed my bag, he took off.  The swim back was calmer than the first one.  Current was still there but the chop had subsided some.
I was happy that we did the 2 laps.  I might make this the standard for at least once a week.  My shoulders got a bit tight on the 2nd mile but after a bit they relaxed again.  I just really REALLY love swimming out there.  My tongue was pretty beat up.  It's much better since I've adopted a different breathing technique for when I'm in the GSL but salt will find it's way in and will rip your tongue and mouth up some.

On a faux serious note, I've been doing some serious reflection on a topic that is of great importance.
It came to mind when I made the commitment to swim Catalina and I kept putting it on the back burner but now it's coming more and more important and I had to make a decision.  I talked to other distance swimmers about it and I got conflicting opinions.  I even talked with my church leader and he couldn't help much being as extremely unqualified as he is at this subject. 
During my swim in the GSL, it was almost all I could think about.  I HAD to make a decision.  I knew that it would have a major impact on my channel swim and how my performance might be.  My wife has been great at helping me but the decision ultimately comes down to me.  I can't remember the last time I had to make a decision on something that was so difficult.  It reminds me of those "reality" TV shows where it gets down to the last few contestants and the judges ALWAYS say how difficult of a decision it was but someone had to be cut.  Now I know and feel their pain.  I had to make a decision and so here it is.
After months of speculation and serious prayer, reflection and many sleepless nights, I've decided......
Just like most female marathon swimmers do, I'm going to swim Catalina topless.  HAHA  :)