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lakemononabackstroke
July 3rd, 2012, 10:42 AM
Hi! My name is Andy. I'm new here. I've lurked a little, and it looks like you all are really nice, helpful folks. Looking forward to interacting with you!

I started this thread for a couple of reasons:

First, to find out if there is anyone else on this board who is doing either the 2.5K or the 5K in this year's Big Shoulders in Chicago on 9/8.

Second, if anyone has ever done that race, to find out what it was like, and to ask if there are any pieces of advice to share. This will be my first time in that race, and actually my first open water swim other than a tri.

Finally, to ask if there are any training plans anyone can recommend to me.

Also, is there a thread anywhere on this board on which folks introduce themselves?

Thanks!

knelson
July 3rd, 2012, 04:39 PM
Welcome Andy! I'm signed up. I've done the race many times and it's always lots of fun. Are you doing the 2.5K or the 5K? My advice is to get to the beach early. There will be long lines to check in. As far as the race, just relax. They divide the swimmers up into several waves, so each wave isn't huge but there will be some jostling at the start. My advice is to keep calm. Resist the temptation to sprint to establish your own space. After a couple hundred meters the swimmers will spread out.

As far as training, there's a workout forum dedicated to open water swimming you might want to check out:
Open Water Workouts - by Mallory Mead - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums

lakemononabackstroke
July 3rd, 2012, 05:01 PM
Sorry I didn't specify. I'm doing the 2.5K. Thanks for the input!

lynnwa
July 3rd, 2012, 09:36 PM
This is a fun event and no two years are ever the same! If you can get to Ohio Street Beach to swim the weeks before the race that will give you more of a comfort level. It's a great swim to finish the open water season. Enjoy!

orca1946
July 4th, 2012, 12:57 AM
Wetsuit or jammers?
Do you swim in colder water?
How are you in crowded swim starts?

mcnair
July 4th, 2012, 03:35 PM
First off: welcome, Andy! You're probably used to the frenzy at the start of open water if you've done triathlons, and you will certainly be in shape for it too. I'm guessing you are in Madison from your username. A good gear up swim for Big Shoulders might be the MOWS in August. Are they doing the 1.2 and 2.4-mile distances again?

Knelson's advice about just staying calm at the start is important; psychological prep for OW is really important, so try to get in as much lake swimming as possible before the event... in lots of different conditions, so you are mentally prepared to adapt. I'm in Kenosha, WI and I'm always surprised at how weird the first couple of lake swims of the season feel after being in the YMCA pool for nine months straight... it's so easy to get used to those walls and that straight black line!

lakemononabackstroke
July 5th, 2012, 02:31 PM
Alex: Thanks! No, I live in Galesburg, IL. The story of the screen name: Ages 4-7 I lived in Monona Grove, old suburb of Madison. There was a beach on Lake Monona near our house. That's where I learned to swim, when I was 5. I remember learning the backstroke (before I learned free, if memory serves), and going nuts with it, to the point where the teacher and my dad needed to holler at me to stop because I was quickly swimming out of the swim area. If I ever manage to do an Ironman, I want it to be Wisconsin, because it would be extremely cool to do the swim portion of my first IM in the lake in which I first learned to swim.

You're right about OWS feeling weird after the pool. I plan to have OW swims in a lake that's by a friend's house.

oz: Jammers. I have been swimming in colder water, but not for awhile. I've been in somewhat-crowded swim starts in the tris I've done.

Thanks for the input, guys!

mcnair
July 7th, 2012, 07:02 AM
Cold water preparation is going to have to be in Lake Michigan itself at this point. Got in to my local "spring-fed" lake yesterday after a couple of days out and found it super warm... felt like maybe 85 degrees; up from about 80 earlier this week I think. The heat wave has really warmed up the inland lakes, but Lake Michigan never seems to warm up over here!

Bobinator
July 8th, 2012, 09:57 PM
Cold water preparation is going to have to be in Lake Michigan itself at this point. Got in to my local "spring-fed" lake yesterday after a couple of days out and found it super warm... felt like maybe 85 degrees; up from about 80 earlier this week I think. The heat wave has really warmed up the inland lakes, but Lake Michigan never seems to warm up over here!

You never know what Lake Michigan will be like so be ready for anything! I've done the 5K four times. Three of those times it was perfect (68-70 degree water, fairly smooth, and at least a hint of sun in the sky). One year it was cold and I hated it (65 degrees, rainy and choppy water). The 2.5K is one lap around the course. The course is easy to follow and there are some buildings on the shore line you can use to sight. Have fun!

lakemononabackstroke
July 9th, 2012, 10:52 AM
Had a good/sorta OK OWS workout Saturday. Swam for 47 min. in a friend's private lake. The top of the water was VERY WARM. Good for cardio/endurance, and good for getting used to murky open water, not-so-good for training for Lake Michigan. Oh well!

I'm corresponding with a guy who sent me two weeks worth of workouts; they look BRUTAL, which is what I need. If we can work it out, we're going to meet up so he can critique and teach me on technique.

FR.LLC
July 9th, 2012, 03:40 PM
While we are on the subject of Chicago... I'm going to be in the Lincoln park area visiting family for a short vacation. I found list of teams in Chicago, but it is hard to tell what area of the city the pools are in. I'm interested in connection with a club to swimming open water or to get in a pool workout. Any recommendations on clubs in that area? BTW. I've wanted to do the Big Shoulders swim for a long time too.

Thanks,
Mark Miller

mcnair
July 10th, 2012, 04:18 PM
While we are on the subject of Chicago... I'm going to be in the Lincoln park area visiting family for a short vacation. I found list of teams in Chicago, but it is hard to tell what area of the city the pools are in. I'm interested in connection with a club to swimming open water or to get in a pool workout. Any recommendations on clubs in that area? BTW. I've wanted to do the Big Shoulders swim for a long time too.

Thanks,
Mark Miller

Mark, try posting this question in the LMSC forum for Illinois; you might get better response. I'm in Kenosha, just over the WI-IL border, but am usually a solo swimmer... I'm thinking of heading down to Chicago to swim open water on Lake Michigan one of these weekends.
Alex

mcnair
July 10th, 2012, 04:24 PM
Had a good/sorta OK OWS workout Saturday. Swam for 47 min. in a friend's private lake. The top of the water was VERY WARM. Good for cardio/endurance, and good for getting used to murky open water, not-so-good for training for Lake Michigan. Oh well!

I'm corresponding with a guy who sent me two weeks worth of workouts; they look BRUTAL, which is what I need. If we can work it out, we're going to meet up so he can critique and teach me on technique.

Andy, You aren't too far from Bloomington, right? Have you seen the announcement for the Central Illinois Masters OW swim. I think they have 1.2 and 2.4-mile swims and I'm thinking about doing the 2.4. August 4th I think. There's an announcement on this OW forum somewhere. More experience for Big Shoulders.
Alex

lakemononabackstroke
July 12th, 2012, 04:54 PM
Andy, You aren't too far from Bloomington, right? Have you seen the announcement for the Central Illinois Masters OW swim. I think they have 1.2 and 2.4-mile swims and I'm thinking about doing the 2.4. August 4th I think. There's an announcement on this OW forum somewhere. More experience for Big Shoulders.
Alex

I had heard about that one, Alex. Looks awesome. I live in Galesburg, which is about 1 hr. 40 min. from Bloomington. Two of my kids--my son and daughter and their spouses--live in Bloomington.

I would LOVE to do that race, and it would indeed be good training for BS. The issue: The fee. We have property taxes going out and just got a landscaping job done, so...you know the rest. Not saying it can't happen, though.

Anyway, I've completed 2 workouts so far in the 2 weeks of workouts that a guy sent me. Tuesday, 2800 yards; Wednesday, 3000. This morning, cross-training with a short (14.5 mile, ave. 17 mph) bike ride. Tomorrow morning, workout 3. For the weekend, I'm planning another bike ride and if my lungs cooperate, a run. Or maybe some OWS at my friend's lake.

ViveBene
July 14th, 2012, 12:24 AM
Here's the info for CIOWS, Central Illinois Open Water Swim, on Aug. 4:
Central IL Open Water Swim - Saturday, August 4, 2012 - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums


Big Shoulders is down to the last ca. 100 spots. At 1200 swimmers, it will be huge this year. Registration might be prudent for those still "thinking about it," else there won't be much left to think about until 2013. :)
www.bigshoulders.org (http://www.bigshoulders.org)

There is a fast wave for those competing. For most, it is a grand community swim.

orca1946
July 17th, 2012, 07:35 PM
B T W if/when you finish everybody gets a cool medal !!!

orca1946
July 17th, 2012, 07:36 PM
B T W when you finish everybody gets a cool medal !!!

lakemononabackstroke
July 18th, 2012, 09:26 AM
B T W when you finish everybody gets a cool medal !!!

At Big Shoulders or Central Illinois?

knelson
July 18th, 2012, 10:25 AM
At Big Shoulders or Central Illinois?

Big Shoulders hands out custom medals at the finish line to each finisher. They are different every year and match the t-shirt design. I've built up quite a collection!

lakemononabackstroke
July 18th, 2012, 12:50 PM
Big Shoulders hands out custom medals at the finish line to each finisher. They are different every year and match the t-shirt design. I've built up quite a collection!


Cool! Looking forward to it!

Training has been going well too. And once I get my shortness of breath (SOB) straightened out--I have a stress echocardiogram tomorrow morning--I'm rockin' it!

Short explanation: I've had SOB for about 3 years now, which has been diagnosed as asthma, but my local pulmonologist threw everything at it in his arsenal with limited success, and the university-hospital specialist I saw--same thing. The specialist, in fact, isn't convinced it's asthma. Now they're guessing heart rhythm, which is why I'm having the stress echo. My prayer is that it's something simple that can be managed by a baby aspirin a day or something like that, and that I won't have to quit working out or have surgery or some such nonsense. I already have had to stop running, as that just doesn't work. To get better so I can enjoy running again, and rock it in swimming (and cycling)--that would be AWESOME!!

ViveBene
July 18th, 2012, 01:56 PM
You might wish to stick with the shorter length, 2.5k. The 5k is a second time around the same course.

The lake was 78 this morning. (That doesn't mean it will be 78, or even above 70, on meet day.)

lakemononabackstroke
July 18th, 2012, 02:37 PM
Yup--I'm signed up for the 2.5.

orca1946
July 20th, 2012, 01:30 AM
Our lake can change temp. over night due to the winds[ windy city] that can pull up the cold:chillpill: from the deep & blow off the warm :cake:from the top even as we are having the hottest spell in our history right now !!

lakemononabackstroke
July 20th, 2012, 09:37 AM
My attitude: Bring it on! If I'm mentally ready, no prob.

I'm excited: I have my first swim lesson tonight with an honest-to-God Masters swim coach! It will only be a "one-off" deal, for now, since we can't really afford the monthly fee for an ongoing arrangement, but I'm hoping I get some good stuff for improving form and speed.

ViveBene
July 20th, 2012, 09:52 AM
Following is some content just received from Big Shoulders organizers regarding near to maximum registration. So best to register today (July 20) or this weekend:


Greetings Big Shoulders Swimmers,
This may be our final warning on registration - only 35 spots remain for the 5K, and less than 100 for the 2.5K. Also, please note that those who register for the 2.5K after the 5K closes will not be permitted to switch distances. So if you know anyone who was thinking about registering for Big Shoulders this year, tell them it's now or never.

Also, if you are looking for a tune up swim in Central Illinois, check out:
Central IL Open Water Swim (1.2-Miles & 2.4-Miles) - Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 9:00 A.M. CT. Sign-up online by July 21 to receive the $40 early discount registration ($50 late registration thru NOON Friday, August 3). CIOWS 2012 offers a $12 Online One-Event membership, if you are not an annual U.S. Masters Swimming member. This is in addition to your CIOWS 2012 entry fee.

Note: We have gone to deeper Evergreen Lake waters for CIOWS 2012, with the course a rectangular 1.2-mile swim loop.

No Transfers. No Deferrals. No Refunds.
Online Registration: www.ClubAssistant.com/CIOWS (http://www.clubassistant.com/CIOWS)
Event Website: CIOWS.org
Venue: Evergreen Lake (in Comlara Park), Hudson, IL [8-Miles North of Bloomington-Normal, IL]
Timer & Scorer: Planet Adventures
Host: Central IL Masters Swim Team, Inc (CIMST.org)

ViveBene
July 23rd, 2012, 05:09 PM
Per July 23 email from organizers, the 5k is sold out.

lakemononabackstroke
July 27th, 2012, 12:26 PM
Just got the email that said there are 50 spots still available for the 2.5.

Hope everyone's training is going well!

orca1946
July 31st, 2012, 01:39 AM
Get into the race now:bolt: or wait till next year !!!!:badday:

shoneycutt
July 31st, 2012, 05:55 PM
I am doing the 5K for the second year in a row and I'm excited! We were in Chicago this past weekend and I swam in Lake Michigan on Sunday morning. It was awesome - water temp was upper 70's and it was not choppy. I'd love for the conditions to be the same (I'd even be okay with 3-5 degrees cooler so I don't have to wear a wetsuit - I'm a former triathlete and my body fat is 16% so I am a wuss in cold water) come race morning, but I know that's probably asking too much. :)

mcnair
July 31st, 2012, 06:28 PM
16%? Go on... just rub it in!

shoneycutt
July 31st, 2012, 08:40 PM
16%? Go on... just rub it in!

Well, you probably swim faster than I do. I lack both body fat and speed.

orca1946
August 1st, 2012, 12:25 AM
I have the extra if you need some more body fat - no charge -
I'll pay :2cents: you to take it :D

ViveBene
August 2nd, 2012, 06:32 AM
For those new to the venue, it's advisable to have tinted goggles. Part of the course heads due east, into the rising sun reflected off water.

Water temp is usually around 70 degrees F at that time of year, and I don't expect anything particularly different, even though we have had a very warm (water temp - air temp, too) summer. It's September, and Lake Michigan is a big lake.
Have fun!
:)

lakemononabackstroke
August 2nd, 2012, 02:35 PM
Stephanie: I'm with Orca/Oz. You can have my body fat, with my compliments! I, too, lack speed, though. Working on it, but right now, I lack it. But I'm really pumped about the race. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Good luck!