Tag: open water swimming

Missing My Race

Friends, I feel sad.

I’m still in a lot of pain but that has become fairly normal.  What makes me sad is missing my race.  For the last 3 years the Deer Creek Open Water Swim has been one of my favorite things to do during the entire year.  I looked forward to it like Christmas, maybe more so, and now it is out of the question.

I was able to sell my spot which is good but it is still a serious bummer. I was just reading a post on facebook and it all sounds like so much fun.  I guess they have awesome finisher medals and are doing the kayak raffle again.  I’m sure they will get a good turn out like last year.

If there was any way I could do it I would, but I can’t even stand straight right now.  Moving my leg hurts let alone kicking in the water.

That’s it. I’m just sad.

But there is a lot to be grateful for. I’m grateful for good friends who have been so supportive.  I’m grateful for all the prayers from family, friends, and my internet community. I’m grateful to anyone who has given me a ride or helped me out especially my friend Stacia and my roommate Regan.

What do you guys think I should do Saturday instead of just stewing on my missing the race?  I don’t have many options and everyone seems to be busy.  Any creative ideas?

I remember thinking in June that my life was going so well and wondering how long it could all last.  Well, July threw me a curve ball I wasn’t expecting.  Sometimes that’s the way life is. The Lord builds you up so you are ready for something hard (and I realize in the grand scheme of things my hard thing isn’t that hard but still it’s been tough for me).

I just wish I could swim in that race…Sigh.

On to next year!

Swim Shutdown

So I have made a difficult decision.  I have decided to not swim Slam the Dam.  Here are the reasons:

1. I miss General Conference for my church.  I should have just abandoned the attempt in the first place because watching this live and tweeting during it has become a big part of my life.  I need the nourishment and its just not the same watching it backwards.

2.  Despite their best efforts I have not gelled well with the organizers and I’ll just leave it at that.

3.  My friend won’t be able to go so she will be driving me down just to watch me swim.

4.  The likelihood of my finishing was about 50/50 (being generous).  My best time in a 1 mile swim is 54 minutes which is cutting it very close to the hour time limit. I get why they needed to have it but it just wasn’t the best for my friend and I to have the time limit.

5. With the government shutdown looming and very likely the race would be cancelled anyway because they rely on the parks department for the permit and race.  I think the chance of everything being resolved by Saturday is very small.  One of the organizers said “If the government shuts down the park will be closed and no swim. It’s that simple.”  I think its very unlikely the race will go on at all.

6. I have gotten to the pool about 4 times in September.  With vacation, sickness, back treatments and everything else it just hasn’t been a great training month like August was

7. In the end, driving 7 hours to not finish or have it cancelled while missing Conference just didn’t seem worth it especially considering I don’t really have any friends going or who would be there to cheer me on.

8. My friend summarized why she wasn’t going and her outlook and I agree:

“I’ve also withdrawn, asking that my swag bag and hoodie be mailed to me. I still dont regret signing up. I had a goal to reach for, and though I fell just short of it, I succeeded in becoming a swimmer. I will take that as the lifetime win it is. And, this just means my first “official” swim will be a SLOW swim. I think I love that!”

9.  I will also be following the directions and repeated orders of the planning committee.  Today they reiterated that if you are “unwell, ill, injured or generally “off” from your normal self (whatever that means?)  or can not meet course cut offs times, please do not swim” .  I will respect their request and not swim, leave it at that.

10. All goals just don’t work out and I think there is a lesson in that.  This is the second year I’ve tried to do this swim and will be my last for a time.  It’s just too busy a time for me and has been too stressful for all involved.

Thank you to all the volunteers and my friends for your amazing support.  I love you all so much.  Swimming is after all just a hobby.  It needs to always be fun and the last month or so it hasn’t felt fun.  I’m going to work on that.  I know that I’m a good swimmer.  Not swimming Slam the Dam does not change that.  I know that it is all for the best.

Thank you especially to Tania for being my training buddy and becoming my cherished friend.  You are the best. (I feel like I’m giving an Oscar speech but its true).

Thanks you guys!

This is what its all about in the end.  Friends always
This is what its all about in the end. Friends always

Guys- it was cancelled in the end so I’m extra happy with my decision (and glad I made my own medals in advance!).  I am sorry for those hoping to swim that couldn’t.  Karma…

DNF is Not a 4 Letter Word

For those of you who do not follow me on facebook you might not be aware of the recent drama in my life.  It started in the summer when my new friend Tanya and I started training together.  She was new to open water.  New to swimming in fact.  She is a student of my friend Kate who is a fabulous swim instructor for adults.  She’s introduced so many people to swimming and open water over the years and has helped me tons with my own stroke.

In July Tania mentioned to me that she wanted to prepare for a race but didn’t feel she would be ready for Deer Creek in August.  The next obvious choice was to take the trip out to Slam the Dam in Las Vegas at the beginning of October.  I have done this race in 2011 and it was a lot of fun.  I figured why not?  (I had signed up last year but various dramas kept me from attending).

So the training began and we got to blackridge pond as often as we could and we both saw improvement.  More importantly we had fun and became dear friends.

Tania and me.
Tanya and me.

Tanya is honestly good for my ego because she thinks I’m such a good swimmer.  I love to swim but pretty much always know I’m the slowest girl in the room and I’m ok with that.  I get the job done and that’s all that matters to me.  I’ve told Tanya repeatedly over these weeks ‘this is a hobby.  If it isn’t fun you are doing something wrong’.

That said, I’ve had nagging doubts about my abilities all along.  With my back and other chronic pain I haven’t been able to train as hard as last year, it was frustrating for me to feel like I wasn’t the swimmer I was just a few months ago.  These anxieties were made worse by the realization of a strict time limit at Slam the Dam.  For some unknown reason the park service would only give them until 11 am and then everyone has to be done.

This only gives the 1.2 mile swimmers 1 hour to swim.  The organizers have told me it is ‘plenty of time for a swim’ but they don’t understand or aren’t interested in nurturing new/nontraditional athletes.  My best time on a 1 mile swim is 53 minutes. At Deer Creek my time was 1 hr 2 minutes for 1 mile.

To make matters worse they sent out an email last week saying “If you are not adequately prepared mentally and/or physically, do not race”  What does that even mean?  I’m not mentally prepared for life let alone a race.  I mean who feels adequately prepared for something so monumental?  I bet if you asked Michael Phelps he’d tell you things he wished he’d done or worked harder on.  To me this was baffling and kind of mean-spirited. (and I begged for some kind of an accommodation but no go)

They have also made it clear that you will be pulled from the water if you go over time, which I’m ok with but I just wish the time limit didn’t exist.  It honestly makes me sick inside.  Sick for my friend.  Sick for me.  Sick for all the other new swimmers who will be discouraged from participating.  A side of me wants to throw in the towel and not make the effort to drive out there and be humiliated…

But where’s the victory in that? I’d say there is about a 50/50 chance depending on weather, current, course, strength, stroke etc that I finish the race.  My GSL time after all was 1 hr 24 minutes so not even close to the cut off time because of the strong current. (Thank you Utah races for not having a time limit or at least a strictly enforced one).

50/50…so I either succeed and have a triumphant moment or I get a DNF (Did Not Finish).  Even now there is a side of me that shudders when I say those words.  It is so outside of my nature to not finish, and yet isn’t it always a possibility in any endeavor?  At least anything worth doing can be a success or failure?

The funny thing is  the ingredients are nearly the same for a finish and a DNF- both have training, goal setting, driving, racing, happy friends and lots of people who say to me ‘I could never do that’.  The only difference is me and my pride.  Kind of silly…

I love what JK Rowling says about failure. ” It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default”

I don’t want to fail by default.  For me a DNF will be a DNQ (Did Not Quit)

swimmingHow do you guys deal with DNF’s and potential failures in your goals?  Its especially hard when it is so outside of your control.  What are your strategies?

I can definitely promise you this- I will not be swimming Slam the Dam again anytime soon.  If they only want athletes with a specific set of skills than they have got it.  This will be the last year myself or my blog are involved.  Too bad really…

I’ve gotten some great encouragement on facebook from the swim forums.  Thanks everyone!

Beach Day!!!

So if you hadn’t gotten the idea yet, I love the beach.  I love the sound of the waves.  I love laying out in the sun reading.  I love swimming in the ocean.  It’s just so great.  Nature’s amusement park if you will.  I miss the beach greatly when I am away for it and haven’t seen it since 2011.

Today I got to go to the beach!!  We went to Seal Beach in California, which was a new beach for me but great.  It’s crowded but beautiful, with a huge pier and lots of parking.  I was just so happy to be back in the water and away from the ‘walking vacation’.

seal beach

The day started great.  We left the hotel and headed to Seal Beach to first meet up with one of my twitter friends Samantha Ferraro.  She is a food blogger and we started talking because of a mutual love of cooking and Julia Child.  The first time we tweeted she asked the question-

twitter

I thought it was funny that anyone would be deciding to make tomato cobbler and orange curd.  After that we kept in touch and she asked for some advice in preparing for a triathlon and we chatted about the open water swimming part.  She lives in Seal Beach so it was too convenient not to meet up, so that’s what we did for lunch.

We ate tacos and chatted and had a lovely time.  I told her to come out to Utah and I can show her around.  It would be fun to cook together sometime.  You can read her food blog at http://littleferrarokitchen.com/

My second tweet up.  Both have been great!
My second tweet up. Both have been great!

It’s so neat the way we can connect with others so easily, have a positive impact and make friends with people we would never come in contact other ways.  I especially love twitter for this.  It is so nice to have a forum to share with likeminded individuals that share common interests.

So after our lunch Maddie, Mom and I went to the beach and spent the rest of the afternoon playing.  I got out my safe swimmer and swam for about 20 minutes.  The current was really strong or I could have gone longer.  It was so much fun!

open water beach beach girls beach2

It was just so peaceful and fun. I could have stayed there forever.  Sadly we had to leave to get back to my folks house and the long trip to Northern California started.  My Mom drove the whole way which I was very grateful for and we had good conversation, so it all turned out well.

Favorite day of the trip- beach day- followed closely by the massage.  So great!

 

Deer Creek 2013

Open water swim #6 has come and gone!  It was a great day.  This is my third year doing the Deer Creek swim and last year I did the 5k and I thought about doing it this year and probably could have but was worried about my training ability this summer.  I wanted to have fun and enjoy the day so I signed up for the 1 mile and I’m glad I did.  It was a great day and I felt quite pampered.

The day started with an early wake up and meeting Renee and Tania.  Renee kindly agreed to be my paddler for the race and Tania came along for support.  It was so nice to not have to drive and just relax.  Plus, I almost never have any spectators at the races.  The only other people who have come were my Aunt and Uncle in Las Vegas (my next race is slam the dam in October!)

It was really nice of Tania to drive me and load up my kayak into her truck.  I hope she had a good time and is inspired for her first open water swim race in October.  She’s become my favorite swim buddy (along with Renee and Kate) and we are both working towards a strong finish at that race.

Anyway, we got to the lake and they were running behind but it gave time to stretch and get ready.  I was a little worried about the cold water because its been a little cooler and we swam Blackridge pond last week which was freezing, so I thought Deer Creek might also be cold.  Luckily it was the perfect temperature and they did a great job keeping boats out of the way. It wasn’t until the very end of my race that I felt any boat traffic at all.

Our group was the last to start and I felt strong in the water.  My form has really improved this summer, which is good because my cardio has suffered with my back treatments.  I worked in 50 stroke segments throwing in 25 strokes of breastroke when I got tired.  I even did a couple sets of 100.  The race went quickly and I ended up with a time of 1 hour, which isn’t my fastest but it isn’t my slowest mile swim.  To compare my time at GSL was 1 hour 24 minutes (that shows you what a difference current makes!)

I felt a rush of pride fill me as I pushed the finishline buoy.  Its a huge accomplishment and a lot of fun also.  Renee was great- a very encouraging paddler and friend.  The whole thing was awesome!

I hope that someone reads this and thinks ‘If she can do that, I could do ……”.  I want to encourage you all to find a worthwhile physical activity and embrace it, push yourself, NO MATTER YOUR SIZE.  If I can do it, anyone can.  It just takes hard work and the right support with a little bit of luck thrown in.  I can’t imagine my life without open water swimming and I’m so grateful it came into my life in 2011.

Here’s some photos:

DSCF1075

All of my medals.  Eat your heart out Michael Phelps
All of my medals. Eat your heart out Michael Phelps
Swimming away!
Swimming away!
Finisher
Finisher
Etsuko and I before race
Etsuko and I before race

before race mile

1 mile marker
1 mile marker
Tania and Renee, my pit crew
Tania and Renee, my pit crew

Deer Creek Clinic 2013

After I got home from the temple I went with my friend Tania to the Deer Creek Open Water Clinic which is held every year before the Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim that I am participating in for the 3rd year next week!  Last year I did the 5k but have less training and am doing the 1 mile this year.

For some reason there was a small turnout so basically Goody, Josh and Gordon put on the clinic for Tania and I, which was super nice.  They could have cancelled seeing it was just the 2 of us but they went ahead anyway and I was grateful (aren’t open water swimmers the nicest?). It was Tania’s first time swimming outside of Blackridge pond in Herriman and she was pretty nervous, but she did great!

I felt pretty good but my stamina is nowhere near what it was last year. 😦  However, I swam about 800 yards and it was good practice for Saturday.  Thanks to Josh and his boys for kayaking as I swam.  That was super nice.

I was thinking the other day- Doesn’t it seem like I’ve been open water swimming my whole life?  Its hard to imagine my life without it, and yet its only been 3 summers.  I first heard about it in July of 2011 and my friend Jim Hubbard took me to the Deer Creek Clinic and I was nervous just like Tania was and look how far I’ve come.  Pretty cool! https://smilingldsgirl.com/2011/08/05/deer-creek-clinic/

If you look at that post from my first swim it says it all:

“I did it! I did it! I did it! I swam in open water for a mile and held my own with people who had all done it before without a wetsuit. This is the best day of my life!”

I think Tania was feeling some of that as we left.  That’s what makes open water swimming or anything worth doing in life.  Its the people.  I know so many great people.  I always said I must have helped an old lady across the street in the pre-earth life because I don’t know what I did to deserve such great people in my life.  I watched my friends help Tania and was truly moved and thought of my long journey over 3 years and how great it has been.

Great people=A Great Life

Tania and me.
Tania and me.
Tania ready for her first big swim!
Tania ready for her first big swim!
Josh, Goody, Gordon
Josh, Goody, Gordon