Back In The Pool!!

Got back in the water today! Got to the DT Y, got changed, showered and headed to the pool with my laminated workout sheet and water bottle in hand. It was GREAT to be back at it!

After I finished my 400 yd warmup, I looked at my workout set, then I said to myself: “Forget the program today! It’s your first day back in the water. Swim, feel the water and SMILE.” So that’s just what I did! 2100 yards of smiles.

It’s good to be back!

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Honesty Is The Best Policy…

It has been quite a while since I’ve posted. There are several reasons. The primary reason is simply this: I haven’t been swimming. No, I don’t mean I haven’t been swimming much. I don’t mean I haven’t been swimming enough yards. I mean: I HAVE NOT BEEN SWIMMING…AT ALL!I haven’t been in the water since Thanksgiving!

There are several excuses for this (notice I did not say “reasons”). First, my practice has gotten busier since Thanksgiving. Second, my office changed locations (closer to home) and now it is not as easy for me to go out to the West Y to swim in the 50 meter pool. I have been working towards my goal of swimming the Channel for a few years now and, honestly, I was burnt out. I was struggling with doing what needs to be done to achieve my (admittedly selfish) goal of swimming the Channel and putting our daughter through college. (My responsibility to Allie…my love of Allie…my desire as a father…have come to the front of my mind.)

Just today it finally “clicked” for me! Swimming is FUN! No matter if I cannot get out easily to the West Y for the 50 meter pool. No matter the stress of work. No matter the daunting goal of swimming the Channel. Swimming is FUN!

And so, today, I have decided to get back in the pool. My first day back will be Saturday. I’ll swim 4-5 days a week. I’ve got plenty of workouts to do…

Stay tuned!

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Take A Look At My Swimming Log…The Yardage Is Beginning To Go Up!

If you haven’t taken the opportunity to really check out this blog, you may not have noticed the 5 “pages” listed just below the photograph of the White Cliffs of Dover. Those pages are: (1) Home; (2) About; (3) Open Water Swims; (4) Swimming Log; and (5) Useful Links. Check them out! There is some good information in each of them…at least I think so!

I invite you to look at the Swimming Log page in particular. I’m pretty proud of my swimming for the month of August 2011, and the distance I have swum is available there. I’m at an all-time-high for yardage – 62,429 yards or 35.47 miles in the water. In fact, for 2011, I’m currently at 118.53 miles of swimming!

The particulars of the swims making up my August 2011 yardage will be there for a little while. I have been taking them down and leaving only the totals (as you can see for previous months) because I didn’t know whether my readers wanted to see the detail. August’s detail will be coming down within the next week or so. If you think I should leave the detail because it interests you…please let me know! I’m more than happy to accommodate you!

The yardage will continue piling up from here on out. Don’t hesitate to check in on it every once in a while! It’ll keep my honest!

Until next time…stay focused on your goals and do everything in your power to achieve them!

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C.A.S.T. Classic 10k Race Report

The day dawned…dark! Let me back up a bit. On Friday, I drove from Boise to Heyburn State Park to camp out the night before the C.A.S.T. Classic. I got to my campsite a little before sunset. As I ate my pasta dinner, I enjoyed this view from just outside my campsite.

Heyburn State Park Sunset

I got a good night’s rest under the stars. My alarm went off at 0500 hours PDT so I could eat and get up to Coeur d’Alene for the swim. (Thus…the day dawned dark!)

I got to Lake Coeur d’Alene at around 0640; just in time for check in.

C.A.S.T. Swim Sign

I took a look at the buoys lining the 2.5k rectangular course. Unlike the 1st time I swam in Lake Coeur d’Alene (for Ironman Coeur d’Alene in 2009), I thought to myself: “Heck, that doesn’t look too bad!”

The volunteers were great. I met some of my friends from Boise, and was introduced to some new friends from the swimming community! Safety and athlete’s briefing were completed and it was time to jump on in the water for the 0800 start!

Water temperature was a very comfortable 72 degrees. There was not a cloud in the sky. Before I knew it, the horn sounded and it was time to go. I was immediately dropped from the pack of more experienced swimmers. I was fine with that; this was my 1st swim of this distance and I was determined to “swim my own swim.” My goals for the swim: (1) Finish; and (2) Finish before they pulled me off the course! After all, I had never swum 10k before. A few weeks ago, I swam the Deer Creek 5k and felt pretty good after that, so I knew I could get 2 laps (5k) done without too much of a problem.

The organizers had nutrition and water available for all 10k swimmers. I took advantage of both on the 2nd and 3rd laps of my swim. I was sure to thank the volunteers each and every time they helped me!

The conditions deteriorated as the swim progressed. Unless you’ve swum open water, you have no idea what an impact boats can have on the conditions! The chop and waves created by the boats got pretty bad.

One lasting image I took away from the swim: As I was beginning my 3rd lap, I breathed to my right and saw a sea plane coming in for a landing on the lake. Unbeatable!

At the end of the day, I finished! Was it before the threatened cut-off of 3:30:00…nope! The race organizers did not cut me off; instead they let me finish my swim! For that I am thankful!

My unofficial time: 3:45:41 official time: 3:44:36. That’s a long time in the water, my friends. I can honestly say I enjoyed each and every stroke. Everyone cheered me as I touched the finish line.

I know I will become faster this winter when I focus on speeding up during my pool time. Do I look forward to getting  faster…of course. Am I enjoying each and every step of this journey, whether fast or slow? YES!

I’ll put the C.A.S.T. swim on my calendar for next year. Great venue, great organization, great swim! If you swim at all, I urge you to do the same. The swim has different distances 2.5k, 5k and 10k. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Until next time…stay focused on your goals and do everything in your power to achieve them!

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Not So Fast, My Friend!

The “shout-out” to Lee Corso of ESPN’s College Gameday that is the title to this post seemed appropriate as we approach the beginning of college football season. It is also apropos of my swim in Lucky Peak this past Sunday.

To say I have been “spoiled” by my swimming in Clocktower and Veteran’s ponds would, I think, be an understatement. Although Veteran’s is clearly the “cooler” of the two bodies of water, both are relatively peaceful, calm and temped at this time of year. To swim 1 loop of Clocktower is about .62 miles; one lap of Veteran’s is about .5 miles.

On Sunday, Michelle and I went up to Lucky Peak Reservoir. As the name implies, it is a large body of water. It is also notoriously windy in the mornings. Sure enough, we arrived on site and the “breeze” was blowing. There weren’t any whitecaps, so it actually has been worse!

As we were preparing to get into the water (Michelle on the Versa Board), me to swim, one of the kite-surfers asked: “How long you going to swim”? To which I replied: “2 and one-half hours.” I won’t tell you what his response was!

Oh, back to the “spoiled” swimmer I have become. The water was “cool” at the start and just seemed to get cooler as I progressed. I never seemed to hit a “warm” pocket. The waves and “breeze” were challenging and, quite frankly, energy-sapping. That being said, I fed on schedule (although I could have used more nutrition for a swim of that intensity). I also swam 2:28 and change…less than 2 minutes off my goal time. The downside: I “only” swam 3.72 miles. Not nearly far enough in the time I was in the water. You can click here for a satellite image of my swim.

Lesson learned: Don’t get “lazy” by swimming in calm water all the time. The English Channel will not be calm or warm. Push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Until next time…stay focused on your goals and do everything in your power to achieve them!

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What The Heck…Why Not Push Myself!

Last week I completed (competed) in the Deer Creek Open Water 5k swim. When I got home I immediately began searching for more open water swims to get under my belt before the dreaded winter arrives in the Rocky Mountain West. As you can imagine, the pickin’s are generally pretty slim in this part of the world for open water swims. But ain’t the inter-web a wonderful invention!

I hopped on the Google machine and began my search. I found an event and e-mailed my swim coach about it. My concern…the race has a 10k swim (another 5k just wouldn’t do at this point). Could I swim that far? Am I just being silly in wanting to get another race under my belt? My coach, Marcia Cleveland, said: go for it and, so, I did!

I registered for the C.A.S.T (Coeur d’Alene Area Swim Team) 10k swim on August 27. The cutoff time is 3:30; this won’t give me much time if I swim as I did at Deer Creek. I’ll have to push myself. That is a good thing. Reaching and challenging myself is what this journey is all about, right??

I’ll let you all know how it goes!

Until next time…stay focused on your goals and do everything in your power to achieve them!

Posted in Open Water Swimming | 1 Comment

Deer Creek Open Water 5k Race Report

Deer Creek OW Swim 2011

Let me just say: The drive was worth it. The Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim folks put on a heck of an event!

The weather was darn-near perfect. Michelle did us all proud by being the only SUP support craft at the event. I tell you, every time I took a breath toward her side, I had to smile a little because she just looked so darned “majestic” on her SUP!

As far as my performance goes, I felt good during the race. For the first half, I tried to settle in to a pace that was towards the upper-end of my “go all day” pace. Once I hit the turn-around buoy (the race was an out-and-back), I tried to pick it up some. I knew I still had a fair way to go, so I didn’t go all out…just yet.

With less than 880 yards (.5 miles), I eyed a swimmer close to me and sped up. I switched to breathing on every 2nd stroke. I tried to sight for the shortest line to the final corner. Had I followed Michelle’s directions (which, in all honesty, I did not see), my line would have been better. At the end, the swimmer who I was trying to best, got the best of me by about 14 seconds.

My finish time: 1:42:34. I am pretty proud of the time for a few reasons: (1) I shaved 12 seconds per 100 yards off of my training time, which is a hefty chunk of time; and (2) I came in 2nd overall for the non-wetsuit men–for results, click here.

After the swim - Deer Creek 5k 2011

Michelle and I also figured out a few things as far as teamwork is concerned, the most important is communication. We are going to get a white board for Michelle to use to give me direction and feedback during swims like this (and my training swims as well). As you can probably imagine, it is pretty difficult to communicate when one person is looking at you for only a split second. The other thing I figured out is to “trust” Michelle. She had the perfect line picked out for me. I just didn’t know she was going to do that!

Until next time…stay focused on your goals and do everything in your power to achieve them!

Posted in Open Water Swimming, Racing | 7 Comments