Stage one complete

Stage one complete
English Channel

Friday, October 2, 2015

My English Channel Swim

I have thought long and hard about this post, heck I even wrote it while I was still in England but never posted it. I read through it again last night and decided that it wasn’t what I thought, it wasn’t really anything. So with a clear head and after being back at work for a few days I decided to start over, so here you go.

I left for Europe on September 11, in order to get rid of my Jet lag and hang out with my family for a few days before having to be in England. The plan was to do pretty much whatever everyone wanted as long as I was able to swim about a mile to a mile and a half every day. My first swim was kind of a shocker, I showed up at the community pool with my brother in law and let’s just say I was reminded I was in Europe straight away. I made it out of the dressing room and to the pool and everyone was doing heads up breast except for about 3 people. I hopped in with them and I know I am not a fast swimmer, but wow. It took me about 52 minutes to swim a mile and I hurried to the car to head back to my family’s place. I talked to Theiry about my options as to where else I could swim and he showed me a river that was within walking distance from his house. That was where I was going to swim from here on out. It was awesome to swim there I got to see the barge traffic going up and down the river as I swam, the water was cold at about 58 degrees and it felt awesome.

                                           Ariving in Amsterdam
                                            On the Ferry heading to Dover

                                                              Dover Harbor

The time had come for us to start our way to Dover for my swim; we drove to Calais France to board the ferry to Dover. On the way I could make out the white cliffs and it hit me. I looked at the water that I would be swimming in and the distance. I was in awe and humbled at the same time. We got to Dover and found Varne Ridge where I would be calling home for the next several days. We got some dinner and I headed to bed. The next morning I was to pick up Gords from the train station it ended up that his flight was delayed so it made him latter than expected. I didn’t get much don except for some much needed shopping for my feeds and the day was done. The next morning me and Gords went down to meet with the CS&PF crew at the marina to pick up some swag that we had ordered and to swim. I was able to meet Irene and Freda, they were some of the nicest people in England. After our mile swim we went back to the trailer and started looking at the weather and decided some time Saturday would be my best window to swim. I finally got a hold of my Pilot and he told me it looked good to go at 2 am but he would confirm with me after 4 pm when the weather source he used updated.  I took a huge breathe and looked at Gord’s and all my nerves that I had been holding in hit like a ton of bricks. Gords and I let everyone know back home and I went back and tried to sleep. Paul called and confirmed I was to meet him at 1 am and in the water ready to swim at 2

                                           The Crew before the swim
                                              Me and the First Mate
                                             CS&PF Crew at the Marina
                                                         Getting in the water to start
                                                    Happy Gords

At the marina we took a few pictures and got everything settled onto the boat. Paul gave everyone the safety briefing and what he expected of me, then the observer said what he need to say and we were off to the starting point. After about 15 minutes the Observer told me it was my 5 minute warning. I started to get ready and slimed myself thick with grease, hurried and gave my mom a kiss and Chandra as well. I teased that when I hit the water I was going to squeal like a little girl then I would be fine. When I jumped in I let out a little squeal and realized I was in such a zone my butterflies had gone and it was swim time. Josh was right he said when I hit the water all my nerves would be gone. I swam to shore raised my hand to signal I was ready to go, I got a flash of light from the boat and I stepped in the water and took off. The first several hours swimming were uneventful I stopped for my first feed after an hour and from then on it was to be every 30 minutes. I was just swimming away and felt like I was in a good groove and just after the sun had come up all hell was about to break loose. I knew I was going to get stung by some jellies but I had know idea how many stings I would have the opportunity to experience over the next several hours. The jellies would come in waves every 10 or so minutes they would get stuck on my eyebrows and then under my arms then down to my legs. It wouldn’t hurt while they were on me it seemed but as soon as the moved to another body part the pain would set in. I tried swimming next to the boat, just behind the boat and everywhere else I could think of to no avail. My lips were numb from the stings and I was afraid that my crew would think I was getting hypothermia because I couldn’t talk and my speech was slurred. It came to the point that for every sting I would just power thru it and quit my complaining. At one point I looked up and could see France pretty clearly and asked Gords if I was going to make 16, he said if I hurried. Then the push was on he would point to a section of water on the side of the boat and wave me to hurry an swim there, I would get there and hold pace for as long as I could the boat would pull away and he would motion the same thing this went on for a few hours and at every feed I really needed it. Sometime during all of this I told them I was starting to get a little cold and asked to warm my feeds up. This worked wonders for my brain and me. I felt like I was sprinting just to have the boat speed up and force me to keep up the pace a little longer. The next thing I knew Gords was in the water with me again and I thought I must really need to pick up the pace so I put it in my mind that I was going to keep up with whatever pace he put me at and I remembered what I was told at the harbor “head down bum up feed to feed” so that is what I did I sighted and cold still see the hills of France and it looked to me I had about another 3 or 4 miles to go. I liked over to Gords and seen he had his gopro in his hand and thought  I was getting closer but I had know idea  how close I really was until I looked over at him again and he was walking, the hills I was seeing when I would sight were about 3 to 4 miles away. I just couldn’t see the beach was right in front of me. When I got close enough I could touch the ground it was all I could do to stand up and hold the weight of my body. I hadn’t stood up in about 17 hours and I looked like I was drunk.  I stumbled out of the water cleared the edge of the water and raised my hand in success. I had so many emotions going thru my mind, so I just laid down in the sand and smiled. I was going to make a snow angel but I was to tired I guess cause I didn’t do it. I got back up and followed Gords and found a shell (there were no rocks) stuffed it in my suit and headed back to the boat. The boat ride back to the marina was kind of funny, everyone was a sleep except for me, I dosed off here and there but I could not sleep. The thing I had been training for over the last 2 years was done. All the long hours at the pool and early mornings at the lake the time spent away from my family was over in just under 17 hours of swimming. I truly was sad that it was all over, not that I got to spend more time away from my family but a goal that I had set for myself was complete. I’m over that now and working on my next adventure and will let everyone know when I decide what is next for me swimming wise. There is no way in any shape or form that I could have done this without the support my wife gave me. I told her that I wanted to swim the English Channel and she was beside me pushing me the entire time. Without her support I could not have done this swim. With that said there is one more of those I couldn’t have done this without you people and that was my Coach and friend Gordon. He gave me the tools I needed to make it to France he gave me the guidance and the workouts, he was the one pushing me in the pool and swimming with me in the lakes at 3 and 4 in the mornings. Without Gordon I couldn’t have made it to France. Thanks Gords. To everyone else out there that might be thinking of swimming the English Channel or any other huge swim. Let me tell you this was by far the hardest and most mentally challenging thing I have ever done. Make sure your family is behind you and you have their support. Make sure you have the tools to help you and most of all make sure you don’t cheat yourself in your training and put the time in and you will also be successful.

                                           Site I was able to see when we returned to Varne Ridge
                                                        Awesome Jellies

                                                      My spot at The White Horse
                                          Dave and Evelyn owners of our home away from home
                                                      Dover Castle with my sweetie
                                                         American flag in front of Varne Ridge
                                          Gords and I getting ready to see the Captain Webb  Movie

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

English Channel

So my tide date is getting closer and my nerves are getting bigger. I leave this Friday to fly to Amsterdam to spend a few days sight seeing and with family before making the trek over to Dover. I will arrive in Dover 2 days before my tide window opens to be able to swim in the harbor and get used to another time zone change. Below is the link for my Spot tracker, so if you are so inclined can watch me swim the Chanel from the comfort of your computer screen. Chandra will be updating Facebook with pictures and im sure other stuff. Nerves are starting to set in, I know I am ready and can complete the swim, but everyone knows Mother Nature plays a big part of my success. English Channel.....bring it, Josh I need help with my GREASE!

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ That is the link

Slaying the Monster....Again

on Labor day I was asked to swim a relay across the length of Bear Lake. I got to swim with Gords, Josh and myself. with our little 3 man relay there was also a girls team that was really fast. Will also swam the Solo. So needless to say Bear Lake was busy with a bunch of swimmers. I started the Relay and then it moved to Gords then Josh. It was nice hanging out with those two for the better part of the day. We wanted to get done in under 9 hours but as everyone knows Mother Nature can really be a Bear Lake. the last 2 hours of swimming was thru white caps and bigger swells. we were able to power thru and finished a little over 10 hours. It was a great way to spend the holiday with two friends doing what they love.

Friday, August 14, 2015

5k postal

This morning I met Josh at Alta Canyon Rec Center to swim my 5k postal. I had called a few days before to find out what time they opened so we could be there right at that time. We got there at 5:20 so I could be in the water right at 5:30. the guy checking us in said we could not get into the water until 6. I explained that I had called and was told 5:30 and he just came back with 6. we got out to the pool area and were the first ones there, a couple of girls were walking around and I asked if they were lifeguards. They said yes and I asked if we could start and she said we could of started eariler if we wanted to. she also explained that the swim team would be coming at 6 so we should move from the middles lanes to the edge. we moved over and we started. I was feeling kind of sluggish I felt like I was struggling to get thru the water. I am still sore from my swims last weekend at it felt like about 1000 meters to get loosened up. after I got loose I felt like I was keeping a good pace but was fighting cramping in my feet and my calfs. the pool water was really warm and felt like I was swimming in a hot tub. with all the Ice baths and cold water training I have been doing it felt counter productive swimming. I managed to push thru and finish in 1:33 5k Postal done!

Monday, August 10, 2015

I have been busy....Its been a while

So after much thought and my wife giving out my blog address and with my English Channel swim coming in about 5 weeks I figured I would write in here again for the few that follow my miss adventures. This last weekend was a big weekend for me swimming wise. I was signed up for two marathon swims in two days. One was at Lucky Peak lake just outside of Boise and the next day was Deer Creek here in Utah 11 miles one day and then 10 miles the next.

Dam to Dam

We left for Idaho Thursday mid morning and arrived just in time for the pre race safety meeting. Oscar has put on a heck of a race the last few years and I was ready for this years race. he went thru all of the safety information and we were going to meet at the start point at 5:30 a.m. to start. I caught a ride with Josh to the start point and we got everything down to the water I  was ready to go with plenty of time to spare. Josh threw his feed on the boat with Ryan because his support was going to meet him in the first mile by where we camped. we took a few pictures and we were off. my plan was to try to keep up with Josh for as long as I can, I find it easier for me to push myself if I have someone to swim with. that plan worked until just past half way when I stopped for a feed and told Josh that he didn't need to slow up for me. Just like that he gradually pulled away. I really enjoyed this swim there is always something cool to look at and the water temps are great. I finished the swim in 6:12:42 it was a little slower that I wanted it to be but I felt really good, probably better than I have felt in a while.Like I said Oscar really pulls out all the stops for the swimmers and he remembered my Dt Mt. Dew at the finish line and had one waiting for me. This is defiantly a swim that I will try my best to be at every year.

Deer Creek

Next up was the Deer Creek 10 mile swim, we drove most of the night to get there at 1 a.m. and I crashed hard in the RV. We got up at 6 and made out way to the lake. I had been icing my shoulder all night and when I went to sign in Jim had to take a picture of it. I talked to a few people I had not seen since the Bear Lake swim a few week ago and gave Rachelle a suit I promised for her dad to use and then got greased up to go. We took a few pictures and we were off. I really didn't care what my time was going to be all I wanted to do was finish. the first few strokes hurt pretty bad but I got loosened up fast and was just swimming at a good pace not pushing it but not sinking either. after I got to the 10k turn around the wind picked up an was giving me a little trouble but not bad. I got to the final bay and stopped for a feed and glanced at my watch and it said I had already gone 5 miles. I thought of turning around then but Ryan said he could see the turn around buoy so I swam after it. long story short I think the wind caused it to break loose and I was just adding on the miles to finally get to it. It was either that or Gords talked to someone to get them to move it back to get more miles out of me....haha. the wind had really picked up and I was swimming thru nothing but huge white caps I looked back and Ryan was like a sail, he could not keep up. The safety boat cam and asked if I was OK and I asked them to go get either Josh or Sue to take over for Ryan, he had just paddled 11 miles the day before and I'm sure he was cussing me then. Ryan got into the State Parks boat and they followed me until Sue got to me I looked over at the 10k turn around and there she was. I stopped for a feed and she told be when I got to the next bay it was smooth again. by this time fighting thru the rough water my shoulder was hurting and my hand was numb. (I really need to figure out why it does that from time to time) with about 1.2 mile to go I looked over and seen Josh in the Kayak next to me with Sue on the other side. Thanks Josh I need you there it really helped. I finally made it to the finish line and my battery had gone dead on my watch so I guessing it was  close to 12 mile that I swam in just under 7 hours. DONE my weekend of swimming was done and I was really tired and sore.

So next time I tell someone I'm going to swim two marathon distances in 2 days please slap me. but on the other hand if this was a test I think I passed and I am ready for the Channel in just about a month. Swimming thru all the chop reminded me of my swim last year across the length of Bear Lake. The last mile there was the same as about 4 miles at Deer Creek.

My last big swim this year before I go to England is done. All I will be doing now is putting in the miles and Ice baths to get ready.

This weekend also is two more milestones for me this year. I have swam 843 mile to date this year and it was my first Back to Back Utah Triple Crown.

Monday, January 12, 2015

First Swimming Video!

Thanks Gord's for getting this to me. I can now see what I need to work on!


I crawled out of bed on time and ate a quick bowl of Captain Crunch, gave Chandra a kiss goodbye and was out the door. I got to the pool a little before 4 am to meet Gord's in the parking lot and went into the gym to get changed. To my surprise Gord's was getting ready and got into the pool with me to do the workout. It was awesome to have him in the lane next to me. He really pushed me. He did most of the workout with me and got out so he would not be hating life to much tomorrow.  I cannot believe how fast that man is in the water even with not being in shape. I have no pain in my shoulders anymore and I feel I am getting faster as I progress. I know I will never be as fast as Gord's but I have the best man I can think of helping me get to where I need to be.

Here is the workout I did this morning:

 Focus: Stroke efficiency

Start by configuring to show your last interval SWOLF, and you average SWOLF for the workout.  Take a look and try to get your SWOLF score down in the lower thirties.

400 free easy warmup
4 x 100's kick with fins (alternate fronUbacklflutter/dolphin)
8 x 50's breath left side odd, breathe right side even on 1:00

800 free@ 80% (capture your swolf for that interval)
200 free@ 90 % (capture your swolf for that interval, it should be fairly close to your 800).

Put on some paddles
600 pull@ 85% (your swolf score should drop by at least 3 points)
400 finger paddles @ 80% (You should have an pretty good swolf average established.  Try to maintain the average for this interval)

200 PT paddles (You swolf score will definitely suffer here.  Don't worry about it.  But don't give up. Make those forearms kick in)

Kicking set:
8 x 50's kick no fins on 1:15

Backstroke set:
6 x 75's back/free/back by 25 on 1:40

Distance free:
1500 yards freestyle.  Focus on a good anchor and kicking strong.

Drills:  8 x 50's alternate between face down sculling/finger tip drag/touch and pull/backstroke

6,150 yards total - Nice work! Upload your workouts  to Garmin when you get chance.

I had to get out of the pool to get to work so I skipped the warm down portion. So far this has been my favorite workout this year. Probably because I got to swim with Gord's and I was being pushed by him while he was in the water.