Tag: open water

Deer Creek Open Water Swim 2019

Hey friends! I have been experiencing a very busy summer between keeping up both of my podcasts and my other responsibilities. I haven’t been as involved in open water swimming in the last 2 years as I once was but I still really love the sport. Last year I didn’t do the swim at Deer Creek and I really regretted it. It’s such a terrific event and there’s no pressure as far as time because we all have support and the 10 milers (I still can’t believe there are 10 milers!) give me plenty of time to finish before things are done.

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Even though I really wanted to, I was nervous about participating this year because of my terrible sleep schedule and my lack of training. I knew I wasn’t as ready as I should be but I felt I could still do it if I could wake up in time. I gave it some thought and decided to go for it. Then 3 days before the swim my paddler had to cancel and I thought that might be the end of it. However, to my joy my friend Lisa agreed to paddle for me, which I am super grateful for.

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Last night I was actually able to get to sleep at a decent hour! It wasn’t all REM but I got a good 5-6 hours which is great for me so I woke up nervous but excited. Then I started in on the race and the water felt great. Half of the race is mental because it feels like you aren’t making any progress and it can get very discouraging. Luckily I had support and I just keep swimming (as Dory says!). It got harder towards the end because there were more boat waves but I kept going and eventually finished.  It was a slow but I did it.

You can watch it all in the above video. Another race has come and gone- 12 races in total for me. Now I just want to get even more ready for next year! What a great experience!

2016 Deer Creek Open Water Swim

Hi! I’m excited to tell you another open water swim is in the books! This is my 11th swim and unfortunately my only race for 2016. I was hoping to get 2 in this year but with my travels it just didn’t work out. Hopefully next year will get a few more in.

I will be honest with you I felt a little under-prepared for this race and like I always do I got very nervous this whole week before the race. What if this is the swim that I can’t finish? I feel like it is eventually going to happen one of these days but so far it hasn’t. As I got my Dad and drove up to the race I felt nauseous and began to wonder ‘why do I put myself through this?’. Even as I got in the cold water (it seemed colder than last year) I wondered if I could do it.

But then I start swimming. I got about a 1/4 mile and I really was doubting my abilities. The 1/2 mile marker seemed like a million miles away. It seemed impossible I would ever get there. But I divided it up into small amounts, 100 strokes, 50 strokes, even 25 strokes and I kept going. Finally I made the 1/2 mile marker and wished the race was over but I had to keep on going.

I did several 100 lap batches and at the 3/4 mark there were a lot of boats so the waves get large and difficult to manage (especially when you are tired from swimming for nearly an hour). But I just kept going. My friend Etsuko was my paddler and she helped encourage me and boost my spirits. When I finally saw the finish line I knew it was almost over. I had almost done it and I could feel the adrenaline sink in. I gave one more push and hit that buoy with conviction! Wahoo!

So I am a finisher! My 11th race is done and it was an amazing experience. My Dad also finished which is an awesome accomplishment especially for someone who can’t swim freestyle.

In the end, it was an amazing experience and I’m so proud of my medal. I know it is an Olympic medal and I was one of the last ones to finish our little race but it feels good to watch these Olympians and know I did something physically hard today too.

I am a finisher!!

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GSL 2016 Decision- Rewarding or Fun?

gslSo I need help from all of you. I am trying to make a decision.

This June 4th is the Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim. If I swim it I will be my 5th time completing the 1 mile race. Here’s my struggle.

It’s EVIL but very REWARDING!

When I say evil here’s what I mean. You step into the water and your skin burns. Your pores sting and you feel your hands and toes getting chapped and swollen. Your nose gets raw and then your throat starts to burn and your tongue gets numb.

Then there is the race. They always seem to have to start the race in a weird spot. Twice we have been climbing over rocks to get to the starting point.  Then there is nothing to sight while you swim so it is hard to keep up morale. You feel like you are on a swimming treadmill and aren’t making any progress. You don’t have your own kayaker like at deer creek to motivate you (although normally I’m so far behind that I have one by default!).

The water saps energy from me so it is exhausting and brutal.

But then and here’s the rub…

I FINISH!

gsl1I get that medal and hear my friends cheering me on and it is all worth it. It’s great because it was so hard. It’s an accomplishment because I really pushed myself.

But aren’t things like this supposed to be recreation, supposed to be fun? I’m super out of shape so I guess I’m nervous on that front but I’m sure I can do it. It will just be insanely hard. A side of me thinks why put myself through all that?  Especially when I can do Bear Lake and have a much more pleasant experience with time to train in July.

What do you think? Should I do it and make it a 5-peat or take a break for a year?  What would you do if you were me?

Medal Hangers

This post is kind of a product shout-out that I am excited about.  You will all probably remember that I recently completed my 10th open water swim race. Until today I had those medals on 2 nails on my wall.  The idea was that looking at the medals each day would help  motivate me to keep swimming and trying to stay in shape.

Well, a few weeks ago my friend over at http://www.disneyinyourday.com/announced a giveaway on her blog for a medal hanger from https://www.medalhangers.com/.  I had never heard of a medal hanger and I thought they were really beautiful. I entered the giveaway and to my delight I won!!! I never win everything so it was so exciting!  I used my prize and added a little bit to make a custom hanger and I love it so much!

medals4I came up with the saying ‘Water Knows No Size” because I think it encompasses my swim philosophy.  There is no other place where I could win 10 metals but in the water and in that sense the water knows no size.  In the water it is about how fast I move my arms and legs not how much I weigh. I’ve always felt at peace in the water and most girls are self conscious in a swimsuit but oddly enough it is where I feel the most confident. Go figure!

I went with 2 layers on my medal hanger but you can have more than that.  There are also a number of fonts and icons that you can pick from.  Here are some others on the site I liked:

Anyway, I know a lot of you race and I thought I’d share this quality product.  They have 100% satisfaction guarantee and they are built to last.  Your medals are something to proud of and this is a way to show them off and hopefully be encouraged by them.  I think it would be a great thing for kids to see and hopefully encourage them to enter their own races or other athletic enterprises.

If you get a medal hanger I would love to see what you chose.  (I’m not receiving anything from them.  Just thought it was a good product and I’m really enjoying mine.

Deer Creek Open Water Swim 2015- 10th Race

DSCF8062Today 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.

deer creek5Like 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…

DSCF8036This 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.

DSCF8060It’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.

DSCF8044My 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.

DSCF8048I’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.

deer creek2I 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.

Thank you and on to 10 more!!

Here is my youtube update on the race.

Bear Lake Monster Swim Trip

bear lakeHey guys!  I got back today from my little vacation up at Bear Lake.  For the last few years they have had an open water swim up there but I have always had a family commitment.  Well, this year I didn’t so I decided to go for it.  (Plus, they were doing a 1/2 mile swim which was super nice of them).  I found the only motel in town which looked like something out of Bates Motel but it was somewhere to sleep and headed up there Friday afternoon.  (I also saw Ant-Man and Mr Holmes this weekend so make sure to check out the movie blog for those reviews).

It’s kind of a weird tourist destination because aside from the lake there isn’t a ton to do.  There are only 4 or 5 restaurants and a few little shops.  No movies, bowling, or other activities for tourists.  I guess the lake is more than enough but Friday and Saturday afternoon it was raining and so it dragged a little.  I don’t know if I would want to get a place up there because when I couldn’t swim it would be kind of boring.

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But luckily this trip the rain didn’t stop the race and I did get to swim.  You can see from the photo up above I finished and got my medal! With the weather it was very choppy waters and so I was glad I went with the 1/2 mile instead of the mile. I finished in 39 minutes which I was proud of.  I know technically it is slow but for me that was a pretty good time.   Here I am in the water:

bear lake8It was a small group of 1 mile swimmers but everyone was so friendly (as is always the case in open water events).  It was neat about 10 minutes into the swim I noticed a girl stopping and it didn’t seem like an ordinary stop.  She was gasping a little bit so I stopped and asked her if she was ok.  She said she was swallowing water and her asthma was bothering her. I’ve been there so I told her to do some breaststroke for a little while to get her confidence back and calm down the nerves.  She did and she finished the race! Afterwards she told me my encouragement had meant a lot to her.  That’s what is great about open water swimming- the community spirit that accompanies the sport.  Even though I am far from a typical athlete I probably was the best one to encourage someone like her to finish her race.  As I always say ‘if I can do it so can you!’.

Here’s a picture of all of us swimming the 1/2 or 1 mile races:

bear lake7I made this little video after the race.  It’s what I call old school- just my laptop and chatting, so don’t be too tough on that part of it.  The internet was very bad up there so I would have done more if I could.

Here I am showing my medal to Jim Hubbard who first introduced me to open water back in 2011 (I call him my open water missionary).

bear lake6After the race we all chatted for a bit and then I went back to the hotel room and had some breakfast and a good nap. Then later on in the afternoon the sky cleared up so I decided to go back to the beach and wear my glorious sun hat I bought a few weeks ago.

bear lake11 bear lake 10The lake was beautiful and the sun felt great. I wish I could have laid out in it even longer! But alas the sun went down and this morning I had to drive back home.  Still, it was a nice little break and I hope to do the Bear Lake Monster Swim next year and hopefully eventually get up to the 7 mile full race instead of just 1/2 mile. My next race Deer Creek Open Water Swim will be my 10th open water race! Can you believe it?  I can’t.