Thursday, July 30, 2015


Alarm went off at least I think it did.  I woke up at 0600 and I guess I never heard it go off.  That or my mind had a revolution and decided to let me sleep.  I'm sure my brain was thinking, "One more 0300 or 0400 wake up..HELL NO!"
I decided to go to the KEARNS pool and just do easy stroke work.
500 WU
500 swim
5 x 100 with snorkel
500 kick with fins
20 x 50 on the :60
2 x 500 swim - the 2nd 500 I tossed a feed in the middle of the lane and about halfway through the 500 I did a feed in the middle of the lane.  I looked funny but it was good practice.
5 x 100 - The bottle was empty but I did a practice feed every time I passed the bottle.
5 x 100 with fins.  Odds was kick and even was swim.

3000 LCM

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Met with Chad and Gordon at 0400 this morning.  I think the water is getting cooler by the day.  Gordon said it read 66 and the air temp was 50!  Good times.  It was extremely clear and we all got going instead of standing around.  We picked a route and Gordon and I were together the whole time. Although he doesn't admit it, Chad tends to swim right.  He gradually kept getting farther and farther from us.  Gordon and I soon lost sight of him and we swam to where we thought we were supposed to meet.  Gordon thought he saw him swimming closer to the dam so we went after him.  We got to the dam and we were alone.  I then saw a faint red glow of his chemlight following the dam.  Gords saw it too and off we went.  We swam to the very end of the dam and Gordon pops up and says, "I see him, he's RIGHT THERE!"  We swam there and I guess Gords was seeing a ghost.  Chad had my feed and I needed to head back in.  I knew I would start getting tired quick.
Showed Gordon our heading and off we went.  The lake felt great the cold air had zero affect on me.
We got to the boat ramp and the sun was just up enough we could see the lake.  We kept looking around trying to see Chad.  It was useless.  We were both a little concerned.  We got back to our cars and got change but neither one of us was going to leave until Chad was accounted for.  NEVER LEAVE A MAN BEHIND!  :P
As we went to find him, there he was walking up the ramp to us.  We had a good laugh about it.
I became tired halfway back because I had not had anything to drink in over an hour.  I could feel myself slowing down a bit.
Periodically I would roll over on my back and simulate taking a feed from the boat.  I really want to get my liquid feeds down to under 10 seconds.
The great thing was that when we finished, I thought we had done just over 2 miles.  Gordon said his watch read we had gone just under 3!  Woo-hoo  I swam to the green buoy and back.  That put us both right over the 3 mile mark.
I'm taking tomorrow off then I plan on doing 3 on Thu and 2 on Fri.  That will put me at 10 for the week.

3 miles OW

Monday, July 27, 2015


I have been traveling the past few days then unpacking then unwinding.  I am slowly starting to reverse my sleep schedule so that meant I went to bed around midnight last night.  I still got up at 0420 to swim.
I could not have been more unmotivated to swim today.  The nice thing was that the water temp has dropped some at JN because it rained and was cooler all last week when I was gone.  It was nice being in water that took me longer than .5 seconds to adjust too.
I just did 2 miles today.  I felt terrible the first mile and whenever I burped, I could taste dinner from last night.  Not that pleasant.  The 2nd mile was better and I felt better.  I called it good after 2 miles and practices some feeds.

2 miles OW

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

21Jul15 - Bridge swim

Today I was able to do a swim I have wanted to do for several years.  Each year when we drive down to the Outer Banks, we cross over the Wright Memorial Bridge.  It is just under 3 miles long and I've always wanted to swim from one side to another.  I planned the logistics a few weeks ago and acquired all the permission needed.
Up at 0545 with Patricia.  Our 24 hour rental kayak was already loaded on my sisters van and we were off.  On the way, I called both the Currituck County and Dare County non-emergency numbers to tell them what I was planning on doing.  I also received clearance from the Coast Guard.  It was the same Officer of the Day so he was cool about whatever I wanted to do.  The biggest reason for the calls was so that no one will see a swimmer in the middle of the Sound and call the authorities saying a swimmer is in distress.
We drove over to the west end.  The wind was blowing west to east so we might as well make it easier.  We parked in the lot of an abandoned restaurant.  The docks in the back were missing half the planks so walking across with the kayak was an adventure.  Patricia was not very happy but was a great sport.  We dropped the kayak in then Patricia carefully sat on top.  I walked to the end and had Patricia stick the paddle in to see how deep the water was.  She could not touch the bottom so that was good.  I lowered myself in nice and slow.  I was unable to touch the bottom.
Let the adventure BEGIN

The swim was on!  There is a row of power lines that runs parallel to the bridge.  We went right between them.  The wind was going pretty strong and the current was with us.  Patricia was having to paddle carefully so she did not get slammed into me constantly.  I just relaxed and enjoyed the sunrise.
The time ticked along and the farther we went, the choppier the water became.  Patricia was soon feeling "not so great" and was grateful she had not eaten any solids before the start.
Soon enough, we were almost at the end.  It was a possibility to do an out and back but that was out of the question.  Patricia called ahead for a ride from my brother back to the van.  I swam under the bridge and kept stopping to ask Patricia to take pictures.  I did have my GoPro and I will load those pictures later.
Going under

Just a cool shot!

When we hit the shore, Patricia and I had to drag the kayak out and carry it a few hundred yards just outside of someones farm house.  As I waited for Patricia to come back with the van, I just sat on the side of the highway in my speedo inside the as hell!!!
I had a great time and was glad I did the swim.  Another adventure swim to check off.  I need to keep looking around this place each year for more bridges to swim parallel to.
I am grateful I was able to share this adventure with my wife.

3 miles OW

Monday, July 20, 2015


Back to the Sound today.  I had some errands to run.  I am doing a SCUBA dive Thursday and needed to go to the shop to get fitted for my gear.  Once I was done, I headed to the Sound and went in.  Nice little beach entry next to the Aquarium in Manteo.  Water was hot and the sun was beating down pretty good.  I headed south and counted out 1600 strokes.  This is usually a mile for me on calm conditions.  I stopped and looked around and noticed I was WELL past a mile from where I started.  The current did not feel strong when I got in and must have picked up after I had been in awhile.  I took a feed and started to head back.  400 strokes later I realized I have hardly made any progress back.  I also noticed I was no longer able to touch the bottom.  THEN I noticed I was being pushed out into the middle of the Sound with a good current pushing me.  Not good.  I put my head down and cranked it for several hundred more strokes.  I looked up and noticed I had made progress but not much.  If I swam my regular pace, I would either swim with 0 progress or even get pushed back some.  I had to swim in a "Z" style pattern for awhile to make progress.  It worked but it wore me out.  When I was able to touch the bottom again, I took my last feed and could feel the water pushing against me the way I was heading.  I knew it was going to be a LONG swim back.  Plus the sun was sucking the life out of me.  I was tired.
I bore down and counted out strokes by 200 then would make a quick stand up stop and see if I needed to make any adjustments.  Repeat, repeat all the way in.  When I finished, I felt like I had done a really hard workout.  My arms were sore, my shoulders ached, and my energy was GONE.
I kept thinking, quality over quantity.  I only wanted 2 miles!
I got back and  did a map my run measurement of my swim and realized did just around 3 miles instead of 2.  By stroke count, it was more like 5!  :P
Had a good time in the end but I did stop in the first 7-11 on the way back for some chocolate milk.

3 hard miles OW


Easy ocean swim today.  I was pretty sure I could remember where the 1 mile turnaround house was when heading north so I went for it.  Nothing too strenuous.  Just nice smooth strokes.  It did cross my mind that if I were to be attacked by a shark, this would be the opportune time!
I got to where I thought the one mile turn around was and kept thinking, "Maybe a little more".  I repeated this process several times until I was sure that I had passed one mile a long time ago.  Better over than under!
Headed back and just enjoyed being swimming in the open ocean.

2 miles OW


Travel day to the other beach house my mom rents out each year for a week.  Went to the beach after unloading our stuff and checked out the ocean.  Nice waves rolling in and a decent current going south.  I went in and swam about 1/4 mile south then back.  1/2 mile of easy swimming just to enjoy the ocean.  This was my first ocean swim.  Too many people are freaking out about the recent shark attacks here and last week on Discovery it was shark week so that did not help either.
The waves were pretty good so I body surfed for awhile.

.5 miles

Thursday, July 16, 2015


FUN swim today.  I decided to do a point to point swim for today so I scouted out a place to stop where the bridge is I sighted off of yesterday.  I called the Officer of the Day for the local Coast Guard station and got clearance to swim.
Getting in
 Patricia drove me to the start and dropped me off.  I headed northwest then headed towards the bridge.  The water was warm and pretty calm to start.  The only thing of significance was a crab ran up my arm and startled me pretty good.

I was able to stand everywhere I stopped when I felt like taking a picture.  I was having a great time.
I called Patricia when I was about to start my bridge crossing to tell her where I was.  Just as I started to swim parallel to the bridge, the wind and current picked up.  It is scattered thunderstorms today so the wind was picking up a bit.
I swam about 20 yards from the bridge support pillars.  The farther I went, the choppier the water became.  I was soon swimming heads up quite a bit just so I could see where I was going.  My effort picked up quite a bit too just to keep moving.  I inhaled water a few times and was struggling.  I could not stop laughing and smiling.  I finally got to a point where I could not stand.  When I was much farther along, I was able to stand again.  I stopped and took some more pictures.  I noticed a few boats following me and watching me constantly.  One boat came up and asked if I was okay or needed any help.  Granted, I am standing, goggles on my forehead, and taking pictures.  Yes, REAL sign of distress!  I said I was fine and having fun.  He did not seem to believe me so I took off before any more questions came.

Coming in

Finishing up

I swam under the bridge and into the boat ramp where Patricia and my 2 girls were waiting for me.  I called the Coast Guard again to tell them I was clear of the water.  It was a FUN swim.  I love little adventures like this.  This makes me even more eager when I do my Wright Memorial Bridge crossing soon.
My route

Thanks Patricia for driving me to start and picking me up.  It is always nice having you and my 2 favorite little girls to greet me when I finish.

2.7 miles OW

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Travel day was yesterday.  When we arrived to NC, I spent the rest of the day sleeping and relaxing.
I did scout out a spot to swim this morning.  It is in the sound and there are no sharks in the sound.  I talked with a boat CPT that knows the water well here and he just laughed about the shark issue.  I agree but I can still get good OW swims in without worrying my family as much.
Went to a sailboat dock nearby and started my swim.  The water was SHALLOW and I had to keep my arms closer to me instead of reaching down for the first couple hundred yards.  When I got farther out, I was able to take deeper pulls.  I was able to stand no matter where I was though.  The deepest was neck deep but still able to touch.  My goal was just 2 miles and enjoy the new place of swimming.  The wind was about 14 MPH and there was a strong current and chop that I was swimming into for the first mile.  Loved it!  When I turned around, I could feel a definite push.  The wind picked up even more for short bursts and I was even able to body surf for short intervals between strokes.  It was fantastic.  The only nag was my orange SSD was on my back for most of the way back.  It did get annoying.
Tomorrow I am going to see about doing a point to point swim in the sound.  I hope it works out.  I will start under a bridge and follow it for a mile then follow the shore line.
Simple out and back.

2 miles OW

Monday, July 13, 2015


Picked up my neighbor at 0400 and up to JN.  Was in the water by 0500 and the sun was JUST peaking over the mountains.  There were still a lot of stars to view.  I did one lap with my neighbor.  She is training for triathlons.  After one lap, she got out to run and I kept going.  I felt okay for mile 2 and a bit junky at 3.  I had the time so I did a 4th.  The 4th mile I felt great.  My pulls were solid and I could feel myself cruising along at a good pace.  I finished today at 4 miles and as I was leaving, thought once again, "that's it?"  I LOVE the fact that I am at the point where I think 3 or 4 mile swims are a joke and can be easily done.
I am tapering down and only doing 15 this week so I can't go nuts on the swimming.  I am getting excited and eager for Tahoe.

4 OW


I did not swim on Thursday.  I decided to take a day off and rest after the 10 on Wednesday.
Just an easy 2.5 at JN and mainly took my time.  The last little bit I did swim with Josh.  I asked him to swim his normal speed and I wanted to see how long I could keep up.  I was able to keep up as long as I was going about 80% and was 100% focused on everything I was doing.  It was fun but I know I could not last long going like that.

2.5 OW

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

8Jul15 - Put up or shut up!

Woke up at 0240 this morning.  Went and bought ice and some bananas.  Today was a test day to see how my training is coming along.  It is always recommended to do a long swim before you attempt an ultra-marathon swim.  Today was that day.  The plan was 10 miles.  I arrived at JN just before 0400 and set up.  I was going to meet Chad and do the first 4 miles with him.  A few minutes after 0400. I texted him and his power had gone out so his alarm did not go off.  He was on his way but I was not going to wait.  I wanted to get going.  I got in and did my usual mile route.  I have been questioning my GPS lately and Chad was going to bring his Garmin GPS watch.  He has a very nice watch and it is very accurate on distance.  I was about mile 2 when he showed up.  He said he did not have the time to swim but let me have his watch anyway.   He was having a BAD morning.
He reset the watch and I did my mile route to see what the real distance was.  I did one lap and it measured one mile exactly.  I KNEW IT!!!  I was so happy.  This means 3 things:
1. I was right all along on my measurements
2. My phone GPS is not right.  My phone actually goes under what is correct.
3. All of my swims where I used my phone to measure distance, I actually did MORE!  Hooray!!!
Josh was there and I was able to chat with him periodically.  I kept it short so I could just keep grinding out the miles.  I kept setting small goals for myself and little rewards for each goal met.  I ended up eating a bit more than I should and my stomach was in knots for a couple of miles.  I just did the same one mile loop over and over.
The miles passed and with each passing mile I felt fine.  I timed myself for a few miles.  Mile 3-4 I hit 33 min.  Mile 6-7 was 34 min and mile 9-10 was 33.  I figure I'll do around 33-35 min per mile for Tahoe.
The sky was getting dark and the wind was picking up.  It was actually a bit choppy the entire swim which added a little extra challenge.  I really picked it up the last half mile.  I felt great!
I hit the boat ramp and yelled really loud, "YEAH!!!"  I had been out of the water maybe 30 seconds and the rain came pouring down.  It was a massive downpour.  10 seconds after that there was a huge thunder clap.  Boats were racing in to get off the lake.  PERFECT timing.
I felt amazing.  I was tired but I knew I could have kept going if I needed.  This was a HUGE mental pick up for me.  I now have zero doubts on whether I'm able to cross Tahoe or not.  Going by time alone, I would only need 2 more hours until sunrise at Tahoe.  I know I could have gone 2 more hours easy.  When the sun rises, it is a whole new swim.
I am very happy with how I did today.  I learned a few things and a weight of worry is now gone.  My physical and mental motivation are through the roof right now.  I wish Tahoe was next week!  I am ready.
I took a good nap when I got home.  Time for pizza!

10 miles OW

P.S.  Thanks to Chad for lending me his GPS watch.  It was a little thing but it means a great deal and helped me through this day.
Also thanks to Josh for being there.  He is doing his own training but it is still nice being in the water with a friend.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Easy day today.  I even was allowed to sleep in until 0500!  Nothing fancy for today.  I did 3 laps of the 1 mile route.  I think there might be a GPS satellite that is out.  Josh got a bad reading yesterday and when I finished today, my reading was WAY under 3 miles.  I know the route I take is close to a mile but this was too far below it to make me worry.  I think something is wrong with the GPS near JN.
In good news, I talked to Jamie last night about my Tahoe swim.  We are all set to go.  I'm writing up my instructions and will have them emailed out soon.
I am a bit nervous about tomorrow.  I am doing 10 and it is kind of a "make or break" day for me.  At least mentally.  I swam 7 on 26Jun and was EAGER to do more but was out of feeds.  I'm hoping the same happens tomorrow.  I know it will be around mile 3 or 4 that I kick into gear and start swimming strong.  I just want to leave at 10 feeling good.  If I am crashed at 10, then I will worry I am not ready/trained enough for Tahoe.  This is my last super long swim before the crossing.
I am meeting Chad at 0400 for the first 4 miles.  That will help take some miles off until I am solo.
Back to packing!!!

3 miles OW

Monday, July 6, 2015


Tough day that turned good.  I did not feel well on Sunday and did not eat well.  I also went to bed late and did not have a good night sleep.  All a great combo for a longer swim today!  Smart....
I got to JN around 0510 and saw Josh already there.  The plan was to do 5 miles today.  Josh and I chatted for a couple seconds then off we went.  I am used to the first couple of miles of not feeling that great and being stiff and cranky.  Today was much worse.  I was at about mile 1.5 when I considered bagging the swim and going home.  I was just TIRED.  I got out after 2 miles and went to my car.  I ate a buzz bite and took some Advil.  Went back in and started feeling a bit better as 3 miles was almost up.  Ate a half a Swiss Cake Roll then chatted with Josh for a few minuets as he was done.  Mile 4 felt good and I picked up my pace a bit.  My next feed was fast and I went onto mile 5 as fast as I could.  I swam pretty strong the last mile and felt great.  My body was feeling awake and good now and my mind was really busy so the time went by fast.
When I started, I felt miserable.  When I finished, I actually thought, "That's it?!, that was fast!"
Maybe it is a coincidence but I did not feel good until Josh was gone.  This has happened before.  I think he comes in and absorbs the lake's mojo and I feel like garbage.  When he is gone, I feel better and the mojo is mine.  Or is could be that I just stink until mile 3 -4 and he is leaving when I am finally getting going.  Not sure.  Further testing is needed.
Short day tomorrow and LONG day Wed.  Still waiting for my swimmer buddy to arrive in the mail.  I WANT MY NEW TOY!!!

5 miles OW

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Celebrating the 4th of July

It has been many moons since I have written on here.  I was talking with Anne (Ghost Fan) a few weeks ago and she told me I needed to start writing in my blog again.  You may have noticed I have added "natural" swimmer to my tagline.  I have become very comfortable lately and actually prefer to swim "natural" whenever possible.  Yes, this means rudder out!  If anyone is with me, I do not but as long as I am solo, I prefer to swim with in the suit God gave me.  Honestly, if I've been swimming topless all these years, why not the rest?
Quick update...Work is good, swimming is great.  I'm training for a Tahoe crossing on 5Aug starting at 2000.
I have been training like crazy and I am currently doing a hard week - a lot of miles accumulated followed by an "easy" week - less miles accumulated by end of week.  The easy week gives my body a chance to heal.  I also never do any swims over 5 miles back to back.  I'll do 6 one day then 3 the next etc.  I am back at Jordanelle (JN) almost every morning around 0500 again.  There have even been a few times where I have been at the lake at 0400 to either swim or kayak for others.
This week has been an easy week.  I decided I wanted to celebrate the 4th of July with some style.  I wanted to do 1 mile in 4 different lakes.  Just do a mile, get to next lake, repeat.  No playing around.
I remembered how much fun the "Tour of Lakes" was a few years ago.  I put up an open invite on Facebook but no takers.  Most are out of town or it is not their thing.  Solo adventure here I come!

JN done

I woke up and headed to JN first.  I was planning on Strawberry Reservoir first but realized I have never been there and swimming somewhere new in the dark is not smart.  I went to familiar water first.  Did my mile in complete darkness.  I was in no hurry and did a LOT of heads up breast just enjoying being out on the lake.
I then headed to Strawberry.  I have never been here before and it is about a thousand feet higher in altitude than JN so I expected it to be a bit cooler.  Water was cooler and I took a temp when I got out.  65.  JN right now is 71-73!  HOT  The air up there was also 59 so I was genuinely chilly when I stopped to enjoy the view of the sunrise.
Strawberry done
Strawberry GPS

I then headed to Deer Creek.  I am also pretty familiar with this lake.  I think every boater in this half of Utah was in the water or in line to get in the water.  As I was walking down, I was greeted by a park worker.  I am wearing a speedo, goggles, carrying a towel and my SSD.  She stops me and asks, "You going swimming".....must resist smart-ass comment......My initial though was, "Well, if I'm going skeet shooting then I'm ill prepared!"  She just asked me to stay withing 50 yards from shore because a couple of people got hit by boats yesterday.  I asked if the people swimming were visible to the boaters.  She said, "No, none of them had anything like that orange thing you have to let boaters see them".  Well no s**t you got hit by a boat!  A boat hitting someone is never cool but sometimes people are just too dumb to help prevent accidents like that.  BE VISIBLE!!!
Deer Creek done
Deer Creek GPS

This is just pretty!

I then headed to Utah Lake.  The lake is a bit funky and if you dive your head down more than 2 feet, it gets BLACK dark immediately.  Kinda spooky.  I swam close enough to the shore that I could feel my hands touching the bottom often and I stood up to take some pics here and there.  You have to be in the middle of the lake to get above chest deep.
Utah Lake done
Utah Lake GPS

Halfway through Utah Lake

I had a good time at JN and was glad I was wise enough to start my adventure off somewhere that I am comfortable enough that I can swim blind for 1/2 and hour and know where I am at all times.
Strawberry was beautiful and cool.  I really liked this lake and it made a GREAT first impression.  I might go there a few more times.
Deer Creek was fun and I spend a lot of time daydreaming about the couple of 10 milers I've done there.  I was over .5 miles when I turned around and I swam the "longest" here.
Utah Lake was an experience.  Getting in the water was slippery and a bit scary.  The water is spooky but you can always just stand up.  The last 1/2 mile of Utah Lake, all I could think about was food.  I did not bring anything besides liquid feeds and a Swiss Cake Roll.  I did not put much effort into any of these miles.  I wanted to enjoy them more than worry about going fast.  I did focus on my stroke for most of the lakes.
I'm glad I did this and although I had a great time, I wish I could have shared it with someone.  I might see about taking out Utah Lake next time and finding another lake to hit.  I do want to make this an annual thing.

4.3-ish OW