Today my friends I am a finisher, 10 times over! Yes, I finished my 10th open water swim at Deer Creek and I couldn’t be more thrilled (and tired!). If you’ve been a follower of mine on the blog you might recall my very first race back in 2011. In fact, after my first open water swim at the clinic that year I posted “Yesterday was the best day of my life!” I hope that everyone is able to find something they love like that in their life. Once was all it took to get me hooked!
What a journey it has been since that first attempt. 10 races have come and gone and they all are treasured memories.
Like always today’s race had its fair share of challenges. I went in to the race feeling pretty confident. I felt strong at Bear Lake and then did a practice swim on Thursday that went very well. My plan was to break up the swim into sets of 100 strokes and then do 25 strokes of breaststroke. The problem was for some reason my asthma was bothering me and I felt pretty wheezy. It didn’t seem like I could get enough air which was causing me to get a lot of water up my nose and in my mouth. This is not the ideal way to swim by any measure. But I kept going…
This race was really neat because my Dad swam it with me. Typically my family and I don’t share a ton of common interests and so it was really neat to share this experience with him! He did the entire race alternating between breaststroke, backstroke and sidestroke but finished and did very well! It’s been a cool month for me with the swim with my Dad and doing the book videos with my Mom. Both meant a lot to me.
It’s the weirdest thing when you are swimming open water because it feels like you are on a swim treadmill. No matter how fast you go it feels like you aren’t making any progress and you will never reach the darn buoy. Then you do and it is so exhilarating! You would think after 10 races it would get less exciting but it is still such a thrill.
My time wasn’t good on the race but the important thing was I finished. I’m very proud of that as I am for all of my finishes.
I’d like to thank my paddler Michelle for taking time out of her busy schedule to help me achieve my goals. She couldn’t have been more encouraging and wonderful. It was so great to catch up as she isn’t my trainer at the moment since I left that gym.
I also want to say thank you to Jim Hubbard and everyone at Salt Lake Open Water for being such a wonderful community that nurtures all types of swimmers. I couldn’t be more grateful that I am accepted and cheered on at every race.
It’s official 2015 open water season has begun and life is happy for yours truly. Next week is the GSL 1 mile swim and it will be my 4th year swimming it. I am probably my least prepared for it but I had a test swim today and it gave me more confidence for next week. They said I swam about .9 miles today and it wasn’t too bad so I think it will be great for the race. Please pray I will be able to sleep next Friday because that could be a problem since the race is early in the morning.
Today was the GSL Open Water clinic and it was a huge success.
The water was very warm at 75 degrees. This is why they have the GSL swim so early in the year because the salt and position makes it heat up very early .
Getting in the Great Salt Lake is an experience. Your whole body reacts to the salt. Your nose and any other tender spots burn, your skin tingles and the water feels heavy like no other. As you are swimming you can feel the salt sucking strength from your body as you quickly get dehydrated with no relief. People think it is like the ocean. It is nothing like the ocean. 5 times saltier than the ocean in fact!
It was so funny some tourists from New York asked us for tips during their stay and where they could buy “local shrimp”. I didn’t know what they meant at first and realized they were talking about the brine shrimp! These are microscopic organisms that live in the Great Salt Lake, the only living organism in the lake. Certainly not the kind of shrimp they were hoping for!
This year the water is very shallow and it seemed extra potent. It’s so shallow they had to take all the boats out and have them in the parking lot. We started at the marina and then they had about 5 buoys set out going towards the south beach. The GSL swim has always been a straight shot to the Black Rock beach but this year they are doing a loop to one of the rocky beaches because of the water (if they did Black Rock it would have to be half swim half run and I’d be out).
I have decided this year to swim in batches of 50 and as I was testing out my stroke I think it will be good to alternate breaststroke and freestyle. Sighting is so hard in Great Salt Lake even with buoys and the current can be very strong. There is something so motivating about swimming breaststroke open water because you can see your target dead on. It is a little bit slower probably but it feels faster in the moment which is very encouraging.
Open water is such a mental sport. It always feels like I am never going to get to the target. I tell my friends it feels like you are on a swimming treadmill. Even when you are very close it seems like you aren’t going to make it to the final destination.
But today I went out of the marina area and then about a half mile and then swam back to the marina. Gordon told me it was .9 of a mile so pretty close. This has given me great encouragement for next Saturday. I was really nervous since I haven’t swam open water since last July but now I feel confident. I’ll be tired but I know I can cross the finish line!
My friend Etsuko is swimming open water this year (hurray!) and her friend could not understand why we would get in that stinky ‘cesspool water”. It’s hard to explain. Sometimes the swims give me anxiety and stress me out but there’s nothing like the feeling of finishing especially at GSL.
There is something about the human experience that needs to occasionally do hard things. And people don’t expect a big girl like me to do something hard. With my feet issues I can’t run or do anything like that so when I first went to open water it was like finding my home. It was where I belonged with all the other misfits who love the water. Even among swimmers a very small percentage do open water.
I’ve had so many people I’ve taken to the lakes and they hated it. It was dirty. It was gross. It was cloudy. But then every once in a while there will be someone like Etsuko, my friend Abby or myself who love it. We love the challenge. We love being out in nature. We love the unpredictability. We love the comradarie and family but at a certain point we just love it.
It’s like when you love key lime pie you can say a few things that you like but it in the end comes down to your taste buds just like it. Same with me and open water. It is hard. It makes me nervous and I doubt myself sometimes but I love it. It fits me and I am SOOOOOO Excited for the summer.
I hope you can all find your athletic match and hopefully it can be outdoors enjoying the beautiful, crazy and sometimes stinky world God has given us.
Stay tuned for tons of fun open water updates this summer and all the excitement of next weeks big race! Go SLOW!
I usually try and keep my youtube channel and this blog separate but since this is just about me and my videos I thought I would share it with all of you. Thank you so much for all the support. I couldn’t have gotten this job without all of you reading this blog over 7 years. Thank you , thank you, thank you
This weekend has been fabulous. I’m very happy! Since I have done my fair share of moaning and groaning on this blog (despite it’s merry title), I thought I’d share some pure happiness with you all. I didn’t really take any photos of the days (mistake but I was just busy being happy not worrying about photos)
So here goes. I’ve had a good work week and enjoyed watching the Olympics despite NBC’s attempt otherwise. It has been a little bit of a disappointment in certain ways but I still enjoy them as a whole. I know I’m working my hardest and whatever happens workwise in my future I’m enjoying the time right now. So there’s that.
I’ve also had a pretty good sleep week and am feeling 100% healthy for the first time in over 2 months. Hurray!
Even though I was feeling good I was having a hard time motivating myself to exercise. I can’t really explain why I just was. So I called my trainer and explained the problem and as the amazingly supportive person she is, she came up with a great, creative idea. She offered to teach me some aqua aerobics instead of our normal meeting.
I’ve wanted to do this but simply never had, so I jumped at the chance. My friend Lisa was planning on coming down for a visit and so I asked her if she would like to join in on the fitness class and she did. The three of us had a blast! It was a lot more fun than I thought it would and definitely a good workout (feeling it today!). It was just fun to do something different and with friends. I would like to do it again.
After exercise we went to dinner and had some Mexican food and good conversation. It was a good time. We ended the night by going to see the much hyped lego movie and you know what- it lived up to the hype! It was extremely creative, funny and great for adults and kids (without the winking double entendres I hate in movies like Shrek). The look is great and I thought it was going to be a Toy Story rip off but it really isn’t. I definitely recommend it.
It has something for everyone. Go see it.
So yesterday was great. Then today I went to my BFF Emily’s baby shower. This is baby shower #3 but it’s actually the first one I’ve been able to attend. Emily was the only person I knew but it was a really cheerful fun group with great food. I love finger foods, dips and things on skewers. It’s just delicious.
One of the great things about Emily is she is a wonderful present opener. She lights up no matter what she gets. You could give her notepads and she’d say ‘you know I have been wanting notepads’ with a big smile. I hope to be a great gift opener too. I think I’m pretty good. It’s a skill that should be taught because it really makes people feel good and it’s such a commonly needed social convention.
Anyway, it was a lot of fun. Then I got home and talked to my Mom for over an hour. She was driving home and so I entertained her. We talked about politics, Olympics, philosophy, family, my life, her life, everything. When my Mom and I talk like that it’s our way of saying we love each other. She’s been under a lot of stress lately and I think it helps to just talk with someone. So many people are unwilling or awkward about talking about politics but it’s been something my Mom and I have always shared. I love it.
So then I ended the night by making a very special dinner. I’ve been carefully buying all the ingredients for the ultimate BLT- sourdough bread, mayo, thick cut applewood smoked bacon (roasted in oven), romaine and vine ripe tomatoes. Perfect!
That’s my weekend! How are you doing? I hope you are happy like me. Happy Weekend!
So I have had a great start of the Christmas season! It’s only the 7th but I have done so many fun things. It all started yesterday with the singles 31+ dance at the Utah State capitol building. I kind of hate dances but the idea of dressing up sounded fun so I went with some friends from my ward and we had a great time. I asked someone to dance so I did my duty!
After the dance we all went Village Inn and the girls were very bubbly. I was definitely the grown up of the group despite being the youngest. They even flirted with the waiter. It was pretty hilarious.
Finally I got home and at about 3 am I got to sleep. Then today I met up with my parents and we braved the snow to go to the Christmas choral concert at BYU. It was wonderful. Here is one of the songs as recorded on my phone. It was the grand finale with all the choirs surrounding you and the orchestra.
Before I went to the concert my Christmas tree was finally delivered. I had ordered it through a company called Five Star Christmas Trees and the experience was a disaster. They had promised me they would deliver it yesterday between 10:15 and 2. It didn’t come until today at 11:30. I tried to get through on the phone and they were not helpful or very apologetic.
Then when I did get the tree today it was smaller than what I had ordered, the delivery man had no idea about the install that I paid for and I didn’t get the recycle bag I ordered. Buyer beware!
Anyway, I got the tree decorated tonight and I think it turned out very beautifully. I love it. I put on 900 twinkle lights and my memory ornaments and framed photo ornaments.
I hope you are all enjoying your Christmas festivities! Merry Christmas!
For some reason October has historically been a tough month for me. I think with the end of summer and cold weather my psyche rebels and is unusually sensitive to everything around me. Sometimes I just feel sadness and it won’t go away, like a pit deep in my stomach trying to drag me down.
I don’t always have a good reason but it just seems to happen that way. Do you have periods of the year that you are more susceptible than others to the blues? March is also a tough month because it feels like winter is never going to end.
At least there is Halloween to look forward to in October. Growing up my Mom made costumes for us every other year and we gathered quite box of dress-ups to play with throughout the year. I was everything from Raggedy Anne, to Sleeping Beauty to Pocahontas. Then during my college years Halloween kind of died out and I stopped dressing up (you think that would be prime dressing up time but not for me).
I went on a mission and one Halloween we were angels with little halos and another we wore fairy wings to the ward party. When I got home I lived in Orem and then moved to American Fork with Megan and Camille. During our 2 years as roommates we threw some great Halloween parties and I started dressing up again I was Tracy Turnblat from Hairspray, a Geisha, and Dorothy.
We kept the tradition of the Halloween party going for a while but as is usually the case people moved, things changed and last year I found myself not doing much for Halloween. Luckily I invited my friend Rachel McGary over and we had soup in pumpkins and chatted. I also went to a church dance where I dressed up as superwoman.
This year came and October was particularly grueling what with date-gate and the great church meltdown I was hoping to do something for Halloween but nothing was coming up so I didn’t get a costume. Then my ward announced a party on the 30th and my friend Melissa invited me to her Halloween party.
So, I began the happy task of finding a costume! It was a welcome distraction believe me. I am not a sewer so that leaves me with either assembled costumes or purchasing a costume. I usually go for the latter but it can be difficult as I am out of the sizes of some costumes and I don’t want anything with the word ‘sexy’ before it (it’s so strange how many things they are able to make sexy for Halloween!).
Eventually I settled on a witch and I am thrilled with how my costume turned out. I think it looks like Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter. What do you think? I love it!
What are all of you doing for Halloween? Whatever it is, I hope it is very happy and full of a lot more treats than tricks. Sure love ya!
How do you determine the success of a health regiment or diet? I would wager that 90% of you would answer “weight loss” or if you didn’t you probably would be thinking ‘weight loss’ in your head but saying something more socially acceptable.
Here’s the thing- THAT IS WRONG!!
Every day there seems to be more evidence that the link between weight, even obesity, and actual health is not as strong as we once thought. This defies the logic of the ‘war on obesity’, Michele Obama, scores of trainers/dieticians but that doesn’t mean it is not true.
Read this book. It will BLOW YOUR MIND
Think it is just one woman’s crazy enabling antics? No. The book has 7 pages of detailed recommendations from doctors, leaders, scientists etc. (see articles for more back up
To start the book Dr Bacon (I know ironic last name) shares her testimonial. Here it is directly from the book:
This quote might lead you to believe the book is merely anecdotal but its not. There is real science to back up what she says about eating healthy, being happy and not worrying about weight. She leaves no stone unturned answering questions about diabetes, cholesterol, heart disease, bone density, and even has the most brilliant defense against gastric bypass I’ve ever read. I’m telling you it will change the way anyone, not just the obese, look at eating, health and exercise. Here is my favorite (this is also quoted in Amy Farrell’s brilliant book Fat Stigma):
“In this study, a group of fat women was divided into 2 groups, one receiving coaching in restrictive eating (diet) and exercise, the other being encouraged to eat a healthy diet, listen to their bodies cues, to foster ways to engage in fun exercise and take part in a fat acceptance discussion group.
Significantly group 1- the traditional diet/exercise group- initially lost weight, but by the end half had dropped out; most had regained weight; blood pressure, cholesterol, and other metabolic measures had not improved and self-esteem levels had dropped.
In contrast, group 2 hadn’t lost any weight, but most stayed with the 2 year program; their blood pressure, cholesterol, and other metabolic measures had improved dramatically; their self-esteem levels increased substantially; and they exercised regularly. Encouraged to pay attention to their bodies, to stop restricting calories, to fight the discrimination they experienced as fat people, and to enjoy their bodies through physical movement and eating well- the non-dieters showed significant health improvements. But, and this is the key point, they never became thin.”
Doesn’t that blow your mind?
One of Dr. Bacon’s patients describes her battle and realization of her own worth so beautifully:
I recently have become aware of the activist Jeanette DePatie, otherwise known as The Fat Chick. She gets it. I wish someone had explained this to me when I started exercising (instead I went into it expecting to lose 100 lbs in the first year. Sigh…)
I am happy most of the time. I love my life most of the time. I have times when I’m more fit than others but I’ve basically looked the same since I was 17 years old and I was always ashamed by that, like it was this big failure I could never overcome. Now I just make sure I have clothes that fit me in lots of sizes and work out at least 3 times a week. Would I like to be skinny? Yes, but I’m finally not convinced I’d be any happier if I was (or healthier). The guilt is for the most part gone.
I hope this encourages all of you. I started my journey saying I was the Only Happy Fat Woman in America and I had friends who fought me on it. They thought I was just being patronizing or disingenuous but it was true then and today it is still true (I really had someone argue with me saying I was basically full of crap. Not true). TV will make you believe you have to be miserable if you are fat (biggest loser sorry) but its a lie! Be healthy, be happy, be human, have bad days, eat cake and then work out for an hour the next day, find stuff you love, therapies that work and live the best life you can.
Every time Tanya and I swim together people look and have a surprised expression. I know they think ‘I’ve never seen a girl that looks like do what they are doing’ and that makes me so happy. It may be my greatest legacy of all.
So thats what I have to say on that. Get active. Be happy. Love life and Follow God.
I would also just add that my times in the water when I’m at my thinnest and best trained is about 3 minutes faster than when I’m not. My recovery is much better but my time really isn’t. Funny. It just goes to show what your definition of success makes such a difference in achieving it. If I was only focused on times I’d never be successful.