Thursday, October 8, 2015

Hip Driven

Today I intensely focused on having my stroke be hip driven.  Meaning I really made sure to take all drive away from any pull, and focus on rotating my hips either right before, or at the same time as my upper body.  Instead of the other way around.  I felt a huge improvement in the level of effort as well as strain on my shoulders. It was awesome.  I bought some KT tape after talking with Kevin at South Davis.  I think I'll apply it a few times to my right shoulder to see if it helps on long swims where some extra support would be nice to have.  But I'll have to have Cathi apply it while watching this video:

Except after today's swim, not sure it's necessary as my shoulder felt awesome.  In fact, my left shoulder felt more sore than my right one which is a huge relief!  Here's the workout I did:

100 free easy
200 IM
300 - 4 x 75's build on 1:20
400 - 2 x 200's free
500 free
600 - 3 x 200's middle one IM
700 - 2 x (100 back, 100 breast, 50 free, 100 one arm fly)
800 - 400 kick, 2 x 200's free
900 snorkel easy
1000 pull
500 free
400 kick
300 - 4 x 75's build on 1:15
200 free
100 easy
50 grandpa swimming

7,050 yards total (4 miles)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The lazy swim blogger

I have actually been swimming, just not blogging the workouts.  Yes they are structured, and I'm not slacking and I'm having fun again and that's the most important part.

This morning was even more structured than normal and I got through the whole workout as planned.  Now for some ice cause October is when my season officially starts and things get real, really quick.

Here's the workout:

Tuesday, October 6th - 8,100
400 easy
1600 - 8 x 200’s free on 3:10
800 - 2 x 400’s - 1 IM, 2 kick
1200 - 4 x (150 build, 100 fast, 50 easy) :10 ri
1000 pull
1000 - 10 x 100’s fast on 1:30
2000 - 2 x (50 breast, 100 free, 50 back, 100 one arm fly)
         400 kick with fins
2 x (50 breast, 100 free, 50 back, 100 one arm fly)
        400 kick with fins
100 easy

8,100 yards total

But the highlight of the day was this poem from Donal Buckley.  Genius:

Friday, October 2, 2015

Post Bluefins swim

After coaching the bronze kids I got in and swam.  Oct 1st is the start of my base building season, so I had to an OK start:

100 free easy warmup
200 kick
300 free
400 - 2 x 200's strong :20 rest
500 agility paddles
600 - 3 x 200's free on 3:00
700 - 2 x (100 back, 100 breast, 150 one arm fly)
800 - 4 x 200's with snorkel :20 rest
900 pull

4,500 yards total

Monday, September 28, 2015

Chad's EC Swim

So it's been over a week since Chad's swim and I got home a couple days ago.  I hope I can sufficiently summarize the awesome adventure of last week!

Chad and I do our pre-channel swim at Dover Beach
Saturday, September 19th - Chad and I met at Dover Beach where we met Freda Streeter and Irene Wakeham and other swimmers.  We collected our CS&PF gear and went for a swim.  Swam out to the east harbor wall and back.  GPS reported 1.1 miles in just over 30 minutes.  Here's the tracker data. It was surreal to swim here again and with a great friend.

Later in the day we reviewed the weather and Chad also talked with Paul and it was decided that he would swim Sunday morning at 2am, so we were all set to go!

Sunday, September 20th - I tried to get some sleep in the afternoon and got about 4 hours.  We then drove over the marina and met Paul and the CS&PF observer, Jeff.

Paul got a new boat, the Optimist.  The boat he had when I swam with him was probably half this big.  This was higher up in the water and could accommodate a bigger crew, with a spacious interior.  The other members of the crew were:  Chad's wife: Chandra, Chad's Mom: Dianne, Chad's Father: Wayland, Chad's friend, Ryan Pera, and myself.  We boarded and started towards the beach at Samphire Hoe.

Chad seemed calm and confident which was perfect.  When we arrived he got greased up and jumped in for the swim to the beach.  Paul had a huge spotlight on him so we could see him clearly from the beach.  It was very exciting.  There were several other boats and swimmers where already there and had just started prior to our arrival.

When he started, I started my GPS watch.  His first feed was at the 1 hour mark, and after that every 30 minutes.  At first Jeff was on top of things and informed me of when I was supposed to feed, which I already was prepared for.  After the first couple feeds and him talking with Paul, he said he would leave the feeds up to me, and if I would just inform him of how much and what he was eating.

Most of his feeds were his perpetuem powder mixed either with a watered down gatorade, or peach/white grape juice blend.  We warmed them up after a few times by using warm water.  The first warm feed was too hot as he complained that he burned his mouth.  I made sure after that to taste test the warmth of his feeds which he reported were much better.

After a few hours of this I looked around and everyone on the crew was asleep except myself and the pilot.  I was on my own with Chad for the next few hours.  No worries, I was rested and could handle it on my own.  At about 5:30am I could see the sun was starting to light up the eastern horizon.  Folks were starting to wake up and help keep an eye on Chad.  As the first tide started to go slack, I noticed several small green mounds on the water's surface.  Jellyfish!  I watched as Chad swam along and occasionally would swim into one.  Only once did I hear him yell out, "Ow!"  After that he just kept swimming.

Once in a while I'd see a big clump of them together and him running into them.  He just kept swimming, but occasionally he would look forward under water rather than keep his face straight down and he would get one to hit him right in the face or his lips.  At this time the sun was up and there were other people starting to be fully awake and help take my place as the person preparing and throwing out feeds.  But I didn't want to get in just yet.  I wanted to wait until the tide started to pick up and the jellyfish begin to submerge just a little beyond arms depth.

The wind was coming from the west, so after checking with Paul, I yelled out telling him to move around behind the boat and start swimming on the port side of the boat.  This was a good move because he likes to breath on the right side and he wasn't able to see the boat when he'd breath normally.  He would have to slightly lift his head to see the boat on the left side.  Plus with the wind direction, the boat could shield him somewhat.

At about 10 am I got in and swam with him.  The water felt great and at this point Chad had already been swimming about 8 hours.  I was able to notice that his elbow was dropping and his arm pushing down rather than back.  I swam some breast stroke, some one arm freestyle, fist drills, and at one point Jeff yelled out to me that I was going to far ahead of him.  I didn't want to make Chad frustrated with me, so I resolved that at the next feed I'd get out rather than swim the full hour that I was allowed to assist.

I yelled out to Chad what he was doing with his stroke and what he could do to make his swim more efficient.  According to the log that Paul was compiling, he was still maintaining 1.4 - 1.6 knots in progress so he was doing just fine.  He only once asked for advil which we gave him.  In total he took three 200 mg servings throughout his whole swim.

His solids consisted of a variety of banana, buzz bite, jelly roll, or nutrigrain bar.  Even I was getting sick of the perpetuem smell.  I could only imagine how tired he was of drinking it.  He was urinating frequently so he was getting enough liquids.  We switched to a couple servings of hot chocolate which afterwards he said was a real treat.

As we neared France we were far east of hitting Cap Griz Nes, the ideal landing spot with the shortest distance from England.  In fact we were even east of Wissant, the closest French town.  At the rate we were going and the wind coming from the west as well as being pushed easterly from the tide, we were going to hit Callais.

It seemed to take forever to get closer to France the last few hours.  During two of the feeds he actually asked, how much further, or how far have I gone?  Two questions that I totally abhor hearing as a support crew member.  At this point, I was so tired I was beginning to hallucinate, so I asked Chandra to take over so I could get 30 minutes of sleep.  I set my alarm to wake me.  During the next feed I woke up and she said he's doing just fine and so I asked if I could have just one more round of rest.  After which I resumed the main role of feed prep.

As we got closer to Callais we could see nearly due east that many ferries were coming in and out of there and were getting uncomfortably close to their channel.  Paul and Jeff asked me to encourage him to swim faster.  I was constantly signaling to him to stay in the shade of the boat since the sun was now to our west.  This would keep him close to the boat, allowing it to shield him from the wind and waves, as well as keep him at a pace that the boat could push him to an aggressive pace.  When he'd drop behind he'd get the sun in his face and I'd point to the shady area I wanted him in and would signal him to swim faster.  He must have been annoyed when I did that, but he obediently did his best to stay in that position and I saw that his pace was faster during this time when I was pushing him.

We were nearing the two red and green channel buoys where the ferries come in/out of Callais.  Paul mentioned that we were in an area of the channel that wasn't very good for him to be in.  So I continued to push him, but we still managed to swim between those two buoys which are separated by about a 1/2 mile.  I dropped down and asked Paul how we were doing.  He didn't seem concerned about our pace or not making it which was just what I wanted to here.  He pointed to the area where we were expected to land and he gave me directions on where to coach him into the beach.

As we got to about 1/2 mile from the beach I was told to go ahead and get in with him and swim the rest of the way in.  When I jumped in, the water felt a few degrees colder than when I swam with him earlier.  I swam along side him towards the beach.  It seemed like we were still quite a way out, but I was able to capture quite a bit of him swimming in with my Go Pro.  Finally it got to the point where I reached down with my foot and I felt the sandy bottom.  We're almost there!

A couple minutes later I started walking at about lower chest level and did so just so he could see that we indeed were at a walkable depth.  He continued to swim as we now were getting waves coming from behind us and pushing us in.  He stopped and attempt to touch the bottom.  His stability took some time to adjust, but eventually he was able to stand and balance and start to walk.  The walk in was still quite a ways, well over 100 yards.  But it was the perfect visual scenario. The sun was near the horizon and setting.

The beach was fully sand and it there were no rocks for us to step on.  As he finished I stopped my watch when his feet completely were out of the water and he immediately collapsed and rolled on to his back.  He gave every ounce of energy he had.  He just laid there on his back and enjoyed the moment.  I looked around and couldn't see any rocks at all.  In fact it looked very similar to the beach that Richard Barnes landed at according to his video.  I found a few shells and handed them to Chad as he continued to try looking for a rock which was futile.  He stuffed the shells into his suit and we started to make our way back to the boat.  I stayed close by so he didn't feel pressured to swim fast back to the boat.  He could go as easily at he wanted at this point.  A well deserved cool down.

Chad's actual swim course

His total swim time on my watch came to 16:54:55. Here's the tracker data (which cut out half way there cause of my little time under the deck napping, and it took a while for it to reconnect with satellite)

I stayed in the water while he climbed the ladder up to the back of the boat and climbed out afterwards.  Hugs were given, and he was wrapped up in a towel and taken down below to warm up.  He was literally covered in red marks that looked like he was whipped with a towel.  Those jellyfish totally did a number on him!  Man, it just goes to show that one swim is not like the other.  Not only did I not get stung by jellies on my EC swim, but I didn't even see any.  He was literally stung dozens of times.  And I take it these stings are more severe than the stings I had to deal with in Catalina.

I was so happy that Chad was able to successfully swim this dream swim.  He's been preparing and training so hard for this!

Here's the highlight video I put together

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

SLOW relay across the length of Bear Lake

Yesterday for Labor Day, Chad, Josh and I did a relay swim across Bear Lake.  We each swam 30 minute legs starting with Chad, followed by myself and then Josh, then cycling back to Chad.  We started at 6:45am and swam against a girls team of 6 consisting of Joelle Beard, Lisa Gentile, Sarah Jones, Dominique Maack, Chelsea Carmichael, and one other female.

Will also swam the whole length solo.  They started at the same time.  The sun wasn't up yet but light enough to see.  We started at Rendezvous beach and swam towards North Beach.

Each leg I swam at about 90% much faster than I would have had I swam solo.  Then rested and drove the boat for the next hour eating calories to be aggressively used up for 30 minutes of swimming.  I used my Garmin on each of my legs, and will upload that data shortly.

It was pretty smooth until the last 2 legs near the finish when the wind kicked up and it was very rough.  Will was struggling too according to Goody, but was able to dig deep and finish it.

I wanted so badly to catch Will, but he was too far ahead and much to our east.  Our path was too far west.  I was heading to a direction to the north that was too far west and had we kept our course would have shaved off a little distance.  Oh well.  It was great fun and it was nice to spend time with Josh and Chad doing what we love.  It was a beautiful day and a most productive Labor Day vacation.

I swam 7 legs and got in 7.25 miles total.  Here's the Garmin details.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Causey Monster swim

In memory of Capt. Webb's finish of the English Channel, I decided to swim the perimeter of Causey Reservoir which resembles a Nessie looking monster.

I tried to get a group to go with me, but everyone had other things going on.  Because I had my swimmer buddy loaded up with a gatorade, and the water was flat as glass, I felt fine going solo on this swim.

I got up there later than I wanted and didn't start the swim till 6:30am and it took me 2:28 to finish the swim.  What the map doesn't show is the huge cliffs on both sides.  There were many times my GPS would vibrate because it lost connection.  So the map that Garmin came up with has zig zags all over the place.

There wasn't a single boat on the water and only a couple of fisherman over on the south end of the dam.  I had the entire place to myself!  The water was flat and I took several temp readings with my watch.  Water was 66°F.  Perfect!  As I was going along I couldn't help but look around as the view and the smell of the pine trees was amazing.  I could have kicked myself for not bringing my Ipod along in a waterproof case for taking a few pics during my swim!

Shoulder a little sore now, but not terrible.  What a fantastic swim!

Total: 4.51 miles in 2:28  Today I hit 9 million yards logged so far.  Only 20% of my lifetime goal.  Still have a long way to go!

Monday, August 24, 2015

More dangerous than Jellies or Sharks

Ever since February 2010, when I got my first and only ear infection, I've always worn ear plugs when I swim.  That painful experience made me realize that something as lame as an ear infection can potentially do more damage to my body that a random jelly encounter or shark attack, granted I'm not a regular ocean swimmer so that even reduces the chances.

I have tried a few different types of ear plugs, and the ear plugs I prefer are these.  I just keep them in my goggle box so I don't lose them.  They're pretty expensive, but worth it.  I also use these plugs for when I've attended crazy loud concerts, or even at scout camp to avoid hearing the boys' late night conversations through the tent walls, or my fellow leader's snoring. (a UK based retailer), recently sent me a "Save Your Hearing" press release.  AllEarPlugs is all about hearing protection, not just related to swimming.  If I was a UK resident I would consider buying from them, but the shipping costs don't make sense for me to be a customer, but I do support ear protection awareness.  Check them out.

This morning's workout was all about IM.  Kirsten provided this morning's workout.  I swam with Seth in lane 6:

300 easy

400 IM
4 x 50's one arm fly on 1:00
100 dolphin kick

300 IM
6 x 50's backstroke on 1:00
100 back kick

200 IM
8 x 50's breast on 1:00
100 breast kick

100 IM
10 x 50's free on :50
100 free kick

200 hypoxic breathing (5 strokes)
200 easy

3,500 yards total

Celebrating the first World Marathon Swimming Day

Today, August 24th is the date Capt Matthew Webb started his swim across the English Channel in 1875, which was successfully completed the day after.

It is suggested that this grand, legendary day be considered as the first World Marathon Swimming Day, being a date we as marathon swimmers hold in high regard.

Next year I will prepare in advance and organize a community swim in Utah to properly respect this day with fellow local open water swimmers.  Until then, here is a short video of my English Channel swim.  The first swim that made my imagination explode with excitement:

Friday, August 21, 2015

It's not personal, it's just business

Yesterday Josh posted his thoughts on gps assisted goggles.  I thought it was well thought out and expressed and I agree.  I especially think his remark:

I think you are much better off spending your money on a good coach who can teach you how to correct and balance your stroke and help you with open water skills like sighting.  That is an investment that will last much longer than a pair of goggles, and will also help you to get faster by getting to the root of the problem and not just putting a bandaid on it.
I met one of the founders of iolite and he's a nice guy so it's nothing personal against him, but the product instead of making the athlete a better swimmer, gives them yet another crutch which in some cases can propel him ahead of another swimmer of the same skill level without really overcoming the weakness of failing to swim straight.

Last night I was in the dog-house with Cathi and ended up sleeping in my car at Jordanelle.  The plan was to swim with Chad this morning, but not so early, but since I made a bad move with my woman the swim was early.  We got up early (0350) and started our swim at 0430.  I swam 3 buoy laps (3 miles) and met up with Josh who swam one more lap with Chad and I.  The water was glass the whole time.

I was cold getting in.  The air temp was 55, but the water temp was 68.  The water felt practically warm and the first three laps each buoy seemed to come really fast.  I was surprised how "untired" I was.  However half way into the third 1 mile lap my shoulders were feeling a little sore so I figured I'd stop at 4 miles.

I'm getting really excited for Chad's swim.  Yesterday I put together this contest to generate a little support from the online community.  It's always nice when people recognize an athletic achievement in the making.  Observing the effort that Chad has put into his training has been inspirational and he deserves a little attention as a role model of dreaming big, putting in the hard work and making his dreams come true.

Total: 4 miles in 2:17:38 (a good 10 minutes of socializing with Chad and Josh)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Swim in Bennett Lake, Alaska

This morning Cathi and I boarded a train in Skagway to go up White Pass to Bennett Lake, where many people went to for during the Alaska Gold Rush in 1849.  I picked this excursion because it was the only place where I was confident that I could swim without boats, and without being told I couldn't swim there.

The ride on the train was fun.  It was rainy and cold on the way up there.  When we arrived they invited everyone in to the replica train station where they served lunch.  The stop was only for one hour and I didn't want to risk getting in my swim up there which I had been dreaming about.  I had my suit already on under my clothes.  So while everyone else was getting lunch we walked around behind the train over to the shore where I quickly stripped off my clothes, blew up my SSD and put my GPS in there.

Here's the course I took:

As I was wading in at about waist level I stopped for a quick pee.  Just then the conductor of the train yelled out from one of the train platforms, I couldn't hear, but Cathi who was right there on the shoreline yelled something back. I quickly started swimming hoping he didn't yell something like "Hey get out of there you can't be in there!"  I heard her yell and point to the old disintegrating dock about 200 yards or so away telling him I was just swimming along shore and meeting here at that point, where I would swim back.  I saw her on the shore following along and taking pictures.

I saw an old rusty flat shovel underwater (with the handle broken off).  I wonder if that shovel was from the Gold Rush days.  I do remember the guide on the train saying that if we saw anything on shoreline to leave it.  Taking anything from the land that could be considered a antique from that timeline is illegal.

The water was 51 degrees according to my watch.  I felt great!  I returned and told Cathi I'd swim the other direction for another 200 yards or so and come back.  The water went from crystal clear to a little cloudy so I turned back and then repeated that course to the old dock and back.  My stopwatch read 21 minutes 10 seconds and GPS read .69 miles.

I felt fine getting out and getting my clothes on.  But by the time I got back on the train (only about 10 minutes before the rest of the entire group of tourists, I was into some heavy shaking.  The recovery was quite dramatic.  My breathing was quick and shivering was moderate.  By the time people started to board it was at a fairly concealable level.

Cathi asked the tour guide if she has seen anyone swimming there before during her seasons of taking people up there.  She said, "I've seen people kayak, but today was the first time seeing anyone swim in the lake."  I was pretty surprised.  It's such a pretty place.  It was definitely the highlight of my entire Alaskan Cruise.  You can get more details of the trip here ->

Getting ready.  

The view of our train, with the red train station in the background.  
Cloudy day.  Air temp was about as cold as the water. (51°F)
Turn around point at the old dock.

What an adventure!

Total: .69 miles in 21:10 in 51°F in breathtaking area in the remote area of Alaska.  Can't get to this part of the lake except by White Pass Train.