Saturday, August 30, 2008

6 hours in Sea Water = Raisin Tongue

This morning Jim Fitzpatrick and I met up at The Strands a little after 7am for a 6 hour swim. We hit the water at 7:20 after stuffing bottles of sports drink and Gu gels in our swimming trunks. The water was a little murky so we only had visibility of about 10 feet. The water was almost glassy and its temperature was mostly high 60s with patches of low 70s and low 60s. We swam north for an hour to 1000 Steps Beach before turning around and heading back with the current. We did a short loop in front of the Strands before hitting the beach again where we switched up our bottles, got new gels, and joined with Jen Schumacher for another 2 and 1/2 hours. After completing that swim, Jen had to head out, but Jim and I loaded up with our 3rd "crack bottle" to finish our last hour. We only had time to go past Ritz Point, across Salt Creek Beach Park and back. We came up the beach a little after 1:30 with 6 hours and 12 miles of swimming under our belt.

The salt water that had entered my left google had not only caused some irritation during the swim, but a small infection and swelling as well. My tongue felt wierd and looked like a raisin...but my hands looked fine!

Thanks Jim and Jen and family for a great swim!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Swimming in the Dark Again

After work I went to the Mitchell pool to get in a swim. Getting into the water at 6:20pm meant that I only had an hour and 40 minutes before the pool closed. I determined to make the best of it and by 7:30, I was surprised by how dark it had become. For the last 30 minutes, I watched the pool, which has no lights, get darker and darker. When I got out at 8, it was dark, but I had been able to swim well over 3 1/2 miles.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Running Through Highland Park, IL

In a day break between marathon pool swims, I joined a friend and colleague from work, Andrew Fraser for a jog right after work. We jogged 6 miles through Highland Park (Ferris Beuller's hometown) to Lake Michigan and then back through the Golf Courses to Deerfield. All told, we ran almost exactly 12 miles in a little under 2 hours. I haven't done a long run for months, so I expect my knees will be sore tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Upping the Ante

Over the weekend, conversations with Jim Fitzpatrick and Lynn Kubasek convinced me that I need to up the yardage during the week. After flying into Chicago late on Sunday night, Monday morning 5am (3am Orange County time) didn't happen. I determined to make up for it today. This morning I did an hour and a half at Mitchell Pool in Deerfield (over 6,000 yards). After work I was able to get in another hour and 15 mins and over 5,000 yards). All told: 6.25 miles.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Corona Del Mar 1 Mile Race and Training

After getting back from Chicago late Friday night, my original plans to get in a couple of hours of swimming before the Newport Beach Lifeguard Association's annual Don Burns 1 mile swim were a little foiled. I did do a nice 15 minute swim before registering for the event. At the race I saw a good contingent of Nova swimmers including Jen Schumacher and Coach Ahelee, who shared some of the excitement from Dave Galli's channel swim yesterday.

The race started at 10am and I followed the breakwater and some other swimmers at the start until I realized that I was way wide of the first buoy. After I made the turn south, I made the same mistake on buoy 2. I decided I needed to start buoy-spotting myself unless I wanted to turn the mile and change race into a 1.5 mile effort. I rounded the last 2 buoys a little closer. I had energy to spare and kicked up the pace to finish the race strong. I finished with an unofficial 23:52 and 74th overall (out of 300+).

At the finish line, I ran into Jim Fitzpatrick, who also shared some details of Dave's Catalina swim before we headed out for a 2+ hour training swim in the bay. The sun came out halfway through the swim and 15-20 foot visibility and high 60s water made for a great swimming. Jim's advice and coaching both during and after the swim was invaluable. We made some plans for coming weeks- including a swim during the week in Lake Michigan when we are both in Chicago. Thanks Jim!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Congrats Dave!

I had a hard time going to sleep last night knowing my training buddy, Dave Galli, was on his way to Catalina. I checked the Nova blogs as soon as I woke up at 5am CDT and found out he was off to a great start. Coach Ahelee sent me a text at 5:30 (3:30PDT) with additional updates- he was doing great. I decided to swim with him "in spirit" and did a quick 2 miles at the Deerfield pool, before heading off to work. At work, I was able to exchange a few more texts with Ahelee and check the blog. Then I got the word- he finished! An awesome time of 10 hours 35 minutes. I called my wife and announced to co-workers, but I don't know if they appreciated it as much I did. I so wish I could have been there in person to see you in. Hopefully I'll catch you at CDM in the morning to congratulate you in person. For now...Congratulations Dave- you are the man!!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chicago Running - Channel Heros

Another tough morning with the 5am alarm...I decided to give the shoulder a little rest and I ran to the pool and back (6 miles). I carried 5 lb hand weights for the first and last 3/4 of a mile doing butterfly motions to work the shoulders. I probably looked pretty dorky running along Lake-Cook Road and the suburbs of Deerfield, but's not how you look, but how you feel...and I felt hot and sweaty. :)

On the swimming front: I read Emily Evan's ( account of her successful Catalina swim last week and her advice-it has me stoked. The help from successful open water swimmers here in the county like Jim Fitzpatrick, Greg Farrier, and Ahelee Osborn is also great. I am looking forward to swimming with them on Saturday.

...but the biggest news- my training buddy for the past 8 months, Dave Galli (, is doing his Catalina swim tomorrow night. I am so excited for him. Work permitting, I am going to see if I can't grab an earlier flight and either be there with him for the swim or see him arrive in Palos Verdes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday Morning ... tired

After 12 hours of driving over the weekend to Iowa and back, I slept through my 5am alarms on Monday morning. I was determined not to miss Tuesday. As my multiple alarms went off on Tuesday morning, one after another: my alarm clock, wristwatch, Treo, and computer...I had to get up- despite how tired I was.

On the way out the door I commented to my wife, "It is crazy to get up at 5am to swim in the dark... but it is even crazier to attempt to swim with Catalina Channel without more training."

I swam for an hour and a half at the Mitchell Pool in Deerfield and logged about 5500 yards. My right shoulder did start to hurt a little after an hour. With 1 month to go...I am a little concerned. Until my swim last month, I had never had any shoulder pain. I would prefer to do the Catalina swim without being "doped up" on a lot of Aleve and Motrin for shoulder pain.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday in Chicagoland

I did 3 miles in Deerfield's Mitchell Pool on Friday morning after missing Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Staying up too late to watch Olympic Swimming has me inspired, but sleep deprived. The right shoulder is feeling funny- but not painful- so I'm hoping its nothing.

I sent off my boat deposit, updated friends, and notified the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation about my September 18th swim date. I am looking forward to nailing down swim logistics this coming week. This weekend I'll be travelling to Keokuk, Iowa and Nauvoo, IL this weekend- so no swimming again until Monday morning. Hopefully the rest will be good for the shoulder.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back in Chicagoland

After flying back late Sunday night, I missed my Monday morning swim. I did however confirm my Catalina swim date during the day. On September 18th, 2008, I'll be heading out to Catalina to swim back 21 miles to California. I expect to be around the 150th person to accomplish the swim- 1 of 8 or 9 this year.

Watching Olympic swimming was also a worthy distraction both before and after work on Monday. I am still in awe of Jason Lezak's anchor swim on the 4 x 100 free relay. It was arguably the best swim ever, even with Phelps dominating performances. Jason, a fellow Novaquatics swimmer, has the whole program beaming with pride.

Though I was dead tired when the 5am alarm went off on Tuesday morning, I had to get back in the pool. I did 5000+ yards in the Mitchell Pool in Deerfield before heading off to work.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Back in the Pacific and A Tenative Catalina Channel Swim Date

This morning I met up with Jim Fitzpatrick at 7am at Laguna Main Beach. We did a mile while waiting for Dave to finish up an appointment in Laguan Niguel. Dave joined us and we did a 2 mile swim from Main beach north to Crescent Beach and back. We did another half mile before Dave had to take off. Jim and I did one more Crescent Beach and back for a total of almost 7 miles and about 4 hours of swimming. Jim had another 2 hours on his agenda, but I needed to get back home for lunch with the family.

Right after I showered up at home, I got a call from John Pittman, the captain of the Outrider. He had a cancellation on September 18-19th. If schedules permit (to be confirmed Monday), I'll make my Catalina swim almost one month after my original plan, just a week or two before I head to Abu Dhabi.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday in Deerfield

5am alarm came too early, but I got to the Mitchell pool for a 1 1/2 hour swim. Worked on my stroke and did a leisurely pace:
1000 warm up
1000 w/ fins
1000 w/ fins and paddles
1000 w/ paddles and pull buoy
500 swim
5 x 100 on 1:20 (keeping a 1:10 or better pace)
600 warm down w/a 50 no-breather
=3 miles (5,320 "real yards")

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thursday in Deerfield, IL

Another 5am cab ride to Mitchell pool in Deerfield where I stuck to the 90 minute routine: 6 "1000s" in the 47.5 yard pool. I broke them up by doing the 1st swim, 2nd w/fins, 3rd w/fins and paddles, 4th paddles and pull buoy, 5th w/fins, 6th swim.
=5,700 true yards

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Keeping In Shape in Chicagoland

I arrived in Chicago late Sunday night after flying over some nice thunderstorms on the plains. After a brief sleep and good first day of work at my new company, I decided to get in a few miles of jogging before dinner on Monday night. I did a couple of loops around the Chicago Bulls old training center in Deerfield next to the hotel I was staying. After dinner, the thunderstorms caught up to me in Deerfield with an incredible lightning display. The storm also knocked out power to over 500,000 people, destroyed a few homes, and caused some flooding in the area. It also made swimming Tuesday morning an impossibility.

On Wednesday however, I found the Mitchell pool here in Deerfield and used the 5:30am lap swim to do the following set:
1,000 warmup
200 kick w/fins
1,000 swim with fins
1,000 swim with paddles
1,000 swim with fins
1,700 swim
=5,900 total

I met some nice masters swimmers during practice (are there any other kind?) who explained that the reason the 50m pool was so fast was because it was actually 47.5 yards. I guess my 5,900m was more like 5,600 yards. :(

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Weekend Workouts

On Friday morning I got up at 5:00, excited to do a Novaquatics workout at Soka University. Unfortunately, I could barely lift my right arm again. My back, which I had thrown out slightly on Wednesday while moving furniture in Utah, was really hurting again too making getting out of bed a painful exercise. How old am I?! I knew it would be a painful workout, if it was possible at all, and I could be risking more serious injury. Crap! I crawled in bed for another few minutes of sleep before a scheduled follow-up appointment with Dr. Ip, my hand surgeon, in Huntington Beach at 9am.

At the appointment, Dr Ip was pleased with the results. I took off the splint and after he asked me to touch my thumb to the bottom of my pinky, I found it would not move. He indicated that I'd need a couple of months of physical therapy to be able to fully bend my thumb again. He also gave me a "thumbs up" to getting back on the bike.

I was starting to come to grips that my body wasn't immortal or 19. It needed better rest and healing time. I had to reassess all the old sayings that were keeping me going: "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" and "If it was easy, everyone would do it." and "No pain, no gain." Maybe, I need to let my body recuperate, postpone some plans, ease back in a little more slowly, and then I'll be better prepared for success.

On Saturday morning, I was feeling better so I did a short road bike (about 7 miles) and limited the climbing to Wood Canyon Drive in Aliso Viejo. I met up with Dave Galli and Jim Fitzpatrick at San Clemente pier at 3pm for an ocean swim. Jim admitted that he had some shoulder injuries during his past training, which had limited him for a couple of months. Dave, who is a physical therapist, diagnosed my shoulder as an impingement. That was good news, as it is easily treated. I limited my swim to a short 2.5 to 3 mile swim up the coast and back, breathing on my least favored side most of the time. Though visibility was lousy (3 ft) and the afternoon chop led to plenty of sea water swallowing, I finished feeling strong and without any shoulder pain or chaffing. Dave and Jim continued down the coast on their plans to knock out double that mileage.