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  1. ... another MIMS blog

    a virtual friend from the channel discussion forum, it was a pleasure to finally meet him in person. scroll down the link for Rob's report!
    Rob Kent
  2. More MIMS

    I have read every book, blog and diary I could find on marathon swimming these past several years, so I thought it would be fun to share some other blogs from MIMS 2010. I will post them here or provide links as they become available.
    I hope you enjoy them.........

    Tobey Saracino

    Rachel Golub
    scattered thoughts on inner musical pacing in distance swimming...

    I swam around Manhattan on Saturday. It was a great day.

    thinking back, there were so many moods and so many things that happened within the confines of my mind. you probably don't want to know two-thirds of them. but there was one that really struck me as inspiration, and synthesis:

    I had a crazy experience in the harlem river. I'd sort of pre-set my in-brain radio for the swim with a few really nice songs to get a vibe going, which often helps me through tough physical moments. Most of the time I focus on my stroke, but I'd started cramping in my upper legs early on in the east river and i really needed distraction. so I unpacked my musical lunchbox, if you will, and sat down inside with these mellow grooves. I was sort of slogging along at a reasonable pace. not bad, but not full tilt, either. musical pacing has never really worked well for me, ironically.

    just after I passed under what's there of the new willis avenue bridge-- so cool-- I stopped for liquid food, and chugged back about a litre of juice with sporty stuff in it. when I put my head back down, I suddenly realised that I was in a good rhythm and moving much faster. I focused on my stroke; my mind went blank.

    that's when the sun came out-- the first really light moment of the day. with the sugar rush and the excitement of the harlem river bridges, all of a sudden the opening of the D major mozart violin concerto kicked up in my head. it was interesting because it didn't interfere at all with my rhythm or focus. I became almost elated and started playing through it-- it was so perfect, with the sun, and suddenly I felt all the energy that I feel from playing that come into my swimming body. it was a wonderful moment of integration!

    but I couldn't play beyond the orchestral tutti-- when I tried to imagine the solo part, my desire to imagine my own violin playing and sound started to interfere with my swimming mind and created static. so the mozart became dappled, fuzzy, and came in and out, skipping around like a broken record. I left it and went back to my meditative swimming state, focusing on my rotation, stretching out, breathing every three strokes instead of 3-2-3-2-3 for the first time that day (taking air less frequently, that is).

    and then I remembered a bus trip, many years ago, somewhere in rural south india, where I'd been bored to tears looking at endless woods after everyone else fell asleep-- that was the first time I'd discovered that I was capable of playing back entire symphonies in my head, less like listening to an LP than like reading a score. The first piece I mulled over in my brain had been Beethoven 7. and without me even thinking of it, the last movement of that came barreling into my head.

    even though the rhythm barely matched my three-beat breathing, I hit my groove. my stroke count apparently went from 60 (per minute) to 74 as I locked into the offbeats. the amount of energy I drew out of the Beethoven was incredible-- and instead of just listening to it, I pictured it, hearing the orchestration in detail and seeing the instruments onstage playing it, repeating parts I liked and taking random repeats and jumps, without worrying about sticking to the exact linear structure.

    I can't believe I'd never thought of this before! all the energy that flows into my arms and torso on stage when surrounded by the crazy vibes of a Beethoven symphony kicked up in me like an electrical storm. I think I stayed on that dance movement alone for an hour and a half (it was a nine-plus hour swim), playing with tempi, changing my bowings, modulating for fun. the clash between the dance and my three-beat stroke kept the rhythm exciting.

    as performing artists, we learn to use our bodies to capture, process and release crazy energy and crazy vibrations. sometimes it's hard to remember that we can use that energy anywhere we please, whenever we want.

    at some point, I crashed again-- sigh, that's the nature of distance-swimming-- and descended into fish-ness again. but around the boathouses and green woods before spuyten duyvil, I got all teary and academic and had an urge for Brahms 2....

    WOW! So much to say about this event... I almost don't know where to start, so forgive me if this entry seems a bit disjointed.
    Many of you have met Clare at some OW event or another, so you know that it would be impossible for me to pursue these goals without her support. I thought you might like to hear her perspective, so, the blue text is Clare...

    MIMS is much more than a swim; it is an event that people train years for, and travel half way around the world (and it seems, more often than not that those who travel the furthest swim the fastest also), to participate in. It is one third of the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming, though the only one of the three that is held as a race.
    The entry goes on line some 6 months before race day, and closes out in less time than it takes to swim from the Bklyn Bridge to the UN Building on a flood tide.... (+/- 41 minutes for me yesterday). The international field of MIMS 2010 was stacked high with marathon swim ringers (sw-ingers?) and it was truly humbling to be surrounded by such aquatic achievement... I am honored to call many of them my friends. For most, the days before such an event are filled with jet lag, and last minute preparations but a few out-of-towners were able to find a brief window to join me and a few other CIBBOWS hosts for a couple of pre-MIMS swims at Brighton Beach... Sakura, Amanda, Leticia, Suzie, Isabel, Craig... hope you guys enjoyed our little slice of heaven.

    History - My Last Attempt:
    In 2006, I first attempted to swim MIMS. I was a six beat kicker; cocky and inexperienced and spent the week prior to the race moving my residence.... carrying heavy boxes and furniture for days. Additionally, the days leading up to and including race day were cursed with heavy rains and violent thunder storms. I drove my crew to their early morning check-in at pier 11 and walked across town to the swimmer check-in.... in flip flops... in heavy rain... wet and cold with 2 hours to go to splash time. At the start, swimmers enter the water by number (alphabetically)... i was 1st or 2nd, the water was in the high 50's and it seemed like 10 minutes (it was probably less) until we started swimming. My hamstrings were tight and I was cold from the start. Feeding from my kayaker was awkward, so my boat was tossing me my bottle, I was treading water and tossing my bottle back to the boat... very inefficient and time consuming.... and draining what time I had left on my legs. I plodded along, made the cut-offs and came into a large patch of trash (bottles, bags, leaves, dead fish, etc) at 3/4ths the way up the Harlem River. My kayaker pulled up to me and instructed me to "swim with your head up!"... I did, and negotiated my way to "clear" water (a relative term when speaking of the modern age Harlem River), but lost my legs in the process. I spent the next 30 minutes trying to stretch out the cramps... right leg-marginal... left leg- no good. Not making any progress.... I resigned. I should also add that seconds after David resigned in the Harlem River, they pulled all swimmers out due to inclement weather, so who knows that if he had stayed an extra couple of minutes or so in the H2O and had been pulled as well whether he would have reentered the race that day.

    MIMS 2010
    I wake up at 3:30... alarm is set for 4:00... start boiling water... mix up bottles... check list: Feed stick - check, towels - check, camera - check, M&M's - check (with peanuts?.... of course), etc etc ad infinitum.
    Pack bags... load car... drive to "crew check-in"... drop off Clare... hugs, kisses, good lucks, thumbs ups, good byes.
    Drive to "swimmer check-in" with fellow swimmer Craig Lenning.
    Find the "boys room"... drink my pre-race cocktail... check in... suit up... get numbered... boys room II... sunscreen... lube up... boys room III (bushes this time)... ear plugs... cap.... here come the kayakers.
    The sight of 70 kayakers squeezing into this little cove is awesome. Many swimmers can only identify their kayakers by their bib numbers, but I have been swimming with Danielle and Mike through the spring and we have our routine pretty well worked out... I'm pretty lucky. They are easy for me to spot and we exchange greetings. I know they will "pick me up" easily even in the crowd of swimmers and boats. Keep you're head down, shut up and swim David.

    We get in the water on time... it warmer than I thought it would be... much warmer than Brighton Beach. I still plan to go with hot feeds for a while... I should get used to them.
    My swim plan: Cruise the East River: Build the Harlem River: Race the Hudson River. In actuality, it went something like this: Race up the East River: Hang on in the Harlem River: Hold steady to South Cove.

    Mike and Danielle picked me up somewhere around the southern tip of Manhattan. As my race # was 1, my boat was holding the northern most position, close to the Bklyn bridge. My instructions were to link up, get into formation and on our way as a "pod" before I would take my first feed. Slightly north of the Bklyn Bridge (yes... backstroke of course), first feed at 8:02, stroke rate 70. I feel great and hold steady at 70 spm through the East River... this is a pretty high rate for me. At Hellgate, I take a line outside the cove and pass a few other swimmers. I remember being on the other side of this situation in '06, so I can say quite definitively "this is better". It seems like no time has passed and I am taking my fifth feeding, at the footbridge that crosses the Harlem RIver... time 9:23. I spent the next three hours in the Harlem River. These were the most difficult for me emotionally and physically. There is an industrial section of the Harlem river where the smell and taste of diesel fuel was quite strong. That combined with the cigar smoke (which I later discovered were coming from my boat observer) caused me to gag a few times, but I only lost my cookies once. I had to actively police my mind from dwelling on that 2006 resignation, and it was hard to find that happy place among the diesel. My stroke rate was holding and soon enough I was in the upper Harlem which is quite beautiful.

    Some landmarks and times:
    10:06 - Triboro (RFK) Bridge
    11:03 - Yankee Stadium (no more hot feeds)
    11:43 - Boathouse (pit stop for kayakers)
    12:26 - Spuytin Duyvil

    At SD, there is a very low railroad bridge, and then... The Mighty Hudson! The water changes dramatically. There is a wind from the south that makes it difficult for me to find a comfortable stroke rate and breathing pattern. I settle into something slower and more deliberate.

    For me, emotionally, the day was over. The demons of '06; gone. I did it! I just have to swim another 10 miles against the wind and climb up that aluminum ladder. Time to enjoy the ride home with Clare and Danielle and Mike.... stroke rate: 66.

    Most swimmers agree that the first hour in the Hudson is the longest stretch of the race. The George Washington Bridge plays tricks on you. It appears so close but remains out of reach. A few swimmers pass me between Spuytin Duyvil and the GW. I recognize Craig and Sakura as they go by... it feels good to see them going into the home stretch strong! (don't wait for me)

    More landmarks and times:
    12:46 - GW Bridge
    1:26 - Columbia Pres. Hospital (wave to Drs Gray and Sommers... thanks for the heart repair!)
    1:46 - Sewage Plant
    2:26 - 79st boat basin
    3:00 - Chelsea Piers

    Finish Time 8 hrs 30 mins

    .........5 weeks to Catalina.........

    Team Barracuda - Swimmer: David, Crew: Clare, Kayakers: Danielle and Mike.

    As the only support crew on board, and with the memory of 2006 at the back of my mind, my main objective was to ensure that DB get through the Harlem River and into the Hudson. The night before the race we had discussed the option of hot feeds because of the H2O temperature was a little chilly, and the feeds would be a good way to prepare for the EC. So the morning of the race, we prepared the mother-mix, (2, 64 oz containers with 12 scoops each of 1st endurance EFS) to which I would add warm H2O for the feeds. Throughout the swim DB would have the option of feeding from one bottle or taking just regular temp H2O. The plan was to place the two bottles in the "Barra feedstick" patent #409, and pass them to our kayaker for the feeds.

    Race Time
    My boat arrived around 6:30am, I and the observer boarded. I soon realised that our small vessel did not have a Loo/toilet onboard. Umm, I would have to improvise and use all my girl scout skills for the day. At Brooklyn Bridge, I soon spotted DB, as his stroke is pretty unique. He was out front in the pack, so I knew he was cruising along at a faster rate than usual and his stroke looked steady and relaxed. - He was in race mode. I wondered if that had anything to do with the pre-race drink? Nearby, I saw John Huminick's support boat, and his relay team waved and cheered "Go Dave." At the first feed I soon found that passing the bottle to the kayakers was a much easier and efficient option, so the feedstick was retired. However, I do think that the feedstick will be useful on a larger vessel for feeding a swimmer from deck, but I would like to test my hypothesis. (So, if anyone would like to do a marathon swim in Tahiti, I would be happy to crew for them.) As for the course, lucky for us, we were fortunate to have a seasoned boat captain and kayakers who guided us down the East River and got DB the best current assist. DB flew by Hell's Gate and into the Harlem River. I must admit as soon as we entered the Harlem, I knew that for DB the physical and emotional challenge began here. As he mentioned previously, the aroma and nutty favour of the river was a gastronomical hinderance, and I too could smell the fumes on deck myself. I had no idea that he could smell the cigar smoke of our boat observer, and that this helped contribute to DB upchucking his feed. I do admit that I became more alert when DB lost his lunch, but as soon as he took his next feeding, and kept that down, I soon relaxed. He cruised through the Harlem, and when he passed the section of the river where he had been pulled previously, I grew more confident. Once the Hudson was in sight, the swim was within his grasp. On the upper west side, we cruised passed Columbia Pres Hospital, where DB had had heart surgery a year ago, and I gave a quick shout out to Dr. Gray, his cardiologist. I knew the Hudson was where the race began, but I was still impressed when I saw the swimmers pick up their pace, and sprint down to the finish. As soon as I saw DB reach the finish line I said to myself: one down, two to go...

    Updated June 14th, 2010 at 09:32 AM by chaos

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  4. 6 Hour Swim..... DONE!

    Yesterday was a beautiful day for a swim... well... it was a bit windy, and there was a good amount of chop the whole way.

    We had a great turnout of swimmers, kayakers and land based support to share it with. The word is out that we are having a blast in the Hudson every weekend and people are traveling from afar to be a part of it. In attendance were Danielle, Mike and Richard providing kayak escort; Rondi, Bec, John, Willie, Terry, Jordan, Jim and I swimming; and Andy providing land based support in the way of transportation and preparation of a wonderful birthday feast.... happy birthday to Rondi!

    We started to assemble at Andy's house in Chelsea at 8 AM... gear and feeds spread all over the lawn... introductions made... reunions and catching up took up nearly an hour... whats the hurry, the river isn't going anywhere. We loaded up 3 cars and drove to the starting point. Kayaks unloaded last minute grease and sunscreen applied, we had to come up with a game plan.

    We had a brief meeting. Identified which of us would be needing feeds... what, how and how often; assigned swimmer groups to kayakers; and decided to swim a circuit, north and south, and shoot for the same finish area for everyone... a bit north of the hamlet of Chelsea.

    I had calculated my feeds to provide 285 calories in 27 oz. per hour. To accomplish this, I prepared a concentrated mix of fruit punch flavored EFS (1st endurance) and would have hot water added to it just before feed time... every 20 minutes. After the first feed, it became clear that this method was cumbersome for Mike... removing the spray skirt... hands off the paddle... unscrewing the cap on the giant stanley thermos and trying to get the near boiling water into my feed bottle without it landing on his crotch in the windy choppy river. For MIMS, my feeds will be prepped on my power escort, then handed off to Mike or Danielle to pass to me, so this wasn't really an attempt to duplicate that feeding procedure, but after the first feed, I decided to change the plan to every 30 minutes rather than every 20 minutes. This gave Mike a little respite between feeds but reduced my caloric intake by 1/3.

    The first group of John, Bec, Rondi and Willie were out of the water and drying/warming by the time we came to the exit beach the first time. I said my goodbyes to Terry and Jordan and started swimming south with my escort Mike to intercept Jim and Danielle. We would continue this criss-crossing, north/south pattern for the next 4 hours. Its comforting to know there is another swimmer in the water.

    Jim Meier is booked for the same tide as me for English Channel this season... Aug 28 - Sept 6, so we both wanted to get this swim under our belts earlier rather than later. Jim did a 6 hour last weekend in South Jersey... but the water temp wound up being too high for the qualification swim, 63 degrees.

    As I approached the finish area for the last time, I saw a bunch of people standing on this rock ledge (about 8-10 feet tall) on the south side of the "beach". Clare and another Danielle had joined the party.... a welcome site!

    I had some trouble finding my balance on the rocky bottom and though normally a drip-dry kind of guy, I graciously accepted the large towel handed to me.

    Mike and Danielle, you guys rocked today! We couldn't have done it without you.
  5. 6 hour ec qualifier

    As per CS&PF rules:
    All swimmers taking part in a solo swim must supply proof/ratification of a 6 hour swim in water 61F / 16C or less or proof of completion in a recognised event for a period considered by the CS&PF to be an acceptable alternative within the previous 30 months.

    In truth, I have a few months to satisfy this requirement, but I would like to check this one off early (and often). It is possible that the water temps for MIMS on June 12th will qualify, it is also possible that Catalina (July 20) will qualify, but there are no guarantees. Last year, the boat I was on for MIMS took readings from 57 degrees at the Battery to 66 degrees in the Hudson near mid-town.

    Willie, Rondi and I swam in the Hudson last saturday, and we took a reading of 60 degrees at the finish (near Chelsea) which was a few degrees warmer than where we started south of Beacon.

    This week has brought some pretty cold weather for this time of year... (yes, the tomato plants are in the house) so I don't expect the water to be any warmer this weekend. It might even be a few degrees colder.

    I think we are going to have a half dozen swimmers and half as many kayakers hitting the Hudson this saturday morn. Most will do a 4 mile swim from this great pier at Long Dock Road in Beacon to this slight beach just north of Chelsea. My plans are to continue north another 11 miles and land somewhere between the railroad bridge in Poughkeepsie and Marist College in Hyde Park. I'm not sure that I will have swimming company the whole way, so we may have to fined another exit point in between. I have to go scout out landing spots where we could easily exit the river by foot and drive close enough to load up the kayaks without to much of a hike. I'm sure that I will be completely useless by then and will need lots of hot bevies to return to my normal happy self. I will shoot for a 20 minute feed interval, and will have a couple of thermoses and dry clothes packed in the yaks as well.

    We will need to have some support crew on standby to retrieve swimmers where they exit. It will be important to have a dry bag with clothing and a cell phone for each swimmer past the 4 mile point....... it takes a village!
  6. The mighty hudson

    Its been very exciting to hear of hoards of swimmers hitting the open water this past week from Dover to Chicago and points beyond. In many areas, the temperatures are squeaking above 50 degrees, and the swimming is rather short. My first "local" OW swim of the season was last saturday in the Hudson River a couple of miles north of Beacon..... just north of a little town called Chelsea. We (Rondi, Willie and I) crossed the Metro North tracks and entered the river at a small rocky beach where there were a couple of men fishing. We swam north for 30 minutes, turned around, and swam back to our entry point. The trip back took 30 minutes as well but the pace was faster as we were now against a bit of current.... the Hudson flows both ways. The water temp was between 56 and 60, with few spots of the latter and many more of the former.

    Yesterday, we decided to do a one way swim, and shoot for 2 hours. We recruited a couple of kayakers (Danielle and Mike) to escort our group of 4... same cast as last week with Terry joining us. We started at a small north facing cove at Denning Point which is about 5 miles south of our enty/exit point of last week and exit point for this swim as well. Terry and Willie started first and Danielle paddled alongside them while Rondi and I did our final prep and hit the water a couple of minutes later. This was my first swim with Mike and Danielle. They will be my Kayak escorts for MIMS so I was excited about getting some H2O time alongside them. The water temp was about the same as last week, but the air temp was approaching 80 and the sun was shinning which made it comfortable for me, but I think Rondi was catching a chill. Our two groups merged a little bit north of the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge and then split up again.... Willie and I changing places.
    Both Mike and Danielle were excellent escorts giving us a larger presence among the recreational boat traffic, and they carried our clothes and hot drinks in the boats so they were handy at our exit. Rondi and Willie finished about 5 minutes before Terry and me and we were just a couple of minutes under the 2 hour goal.

    The water this far north is fresh and there were very few twigs drifting since the weather was mostly clear last week.

    We started the swim around 10:30, 40 minutes after low tide which means we were swimming with an increasingly favorable current. Sometime in the next 2-3 weeks I would like to do a bridge to bridge swim (Mid-Hudson to Newburgh-Beacon). This is about 13.5 miles. I think we could swim it in 4 - 4.5 hours if we get the tides right, though we will need a power boat to get to the start and scoop us up at the finish.

    I've got a little planning to do!
  7. Penny and Chris

    Penny and Chris Palfrey swim tomorrow. Penny is attempting a 73 mile swim from Oahu to Kawai, and Chris is swimming the Molokai channel; 26 miles.

    Follow them here:

    Me.... I'll be going for a swim in the Hudson with Rondi and Willie, temp should be mid to high 50's.
  8. Tampa bay recap

    Tampa Bay Marathon Swim Recap

    The day was perfect… sunny with periods of overcast; a welcome relief from the otherwise “tanning index” of >10. Water temperature; between 68 and 72 degrees, though I was hoping forecasts from earlier in the week would prove correct and the water would be closer to the mid 60’s.

    I slept well Friday night but woke up rather early for the 7AM start… around 3AM. I tried to get myself sorted out without waking Clare from her slumber, as I would need her to be awake enough to handle my (what turned out to be) 32 feedings.

    The Feed Program
    With the guidance of Steve Munatones, I constructed a fabulous telescoping feed stick with two (one black and one white) double swiveling cup holders. I searched far and wide to find some wide mouth stainless steel, flip top containers that would hold about 12 oz each and fit nicely into said b&w cup holders… but to no avail. I had to settle for Rubbermaid plastic substitutes. Though these containers have slightly raised graduations depicting volume, I marked them off with blue electrical tape at 4 oz and white electrical tape at 9 oz. Each container holds 20 oz so having them less than half-full keeps the weight at the bottom and reduces the chance of having them tip out. I am embarrassed to say that I left my glorious feed stick in the back of my Yaris at JFK International Airport and so Clare had to resort to the old string and caribiner standby to get the feeds to yours truly. For each feed (40 minutes from the starting bell and then every 20 minutes) Clare would toss me 2 bottles tethered together… one containing my nutritional concoction and the other containing good old H2O so that I could pick and choose whichever combination my body required at that moment.

    Race Day Nutrition
    While back in NY, I filled all my bottles with the various powdered mixes that the days efforts would require. They included:
    Pre-Race – 3 scoops of Hammer Nutrition Sustained Energy, 1 scoop of 1st Endurance Pre-Race, 4 1st Endurance Optigen Capsules, 3 1st Endurance Multi-Vitimin Tissue Rejuvenator capsules. This was mixed with 16 oz of water and consumed 2.5 hours before starting time. I drank another 12 oz of water 30 minutes to the start.

    Swim Mix and Schedule
    I did a long (30,000yds) pool swim in February, in part to experiment with caloric intake during a sustained effort. The results were mixed, but I did learn that having the option between high calorie and just plain water for each feed would give me the opportunity to fine tune things. I am happy to say that I successfully employed this during my TB swim:

    My feed consisted of about 285 calories/hour… this was achieved with 3 scoops of 1st Endurance lemon-lime EFS in 27 oz water broken into 20 minute servings of 1 scoop in 9oz water. At each feed, Clare would toss me two bottles; one containing “the mix” (marked with blue electrical tape) and the other containing water. For most of my feeds, I drank the mix only, but when elimination seemed to take more effort, I took some water as well. Two feeds (around 7 and 8 hours) I took water only.
    At hours 4, 6, and 8, I also took 1 Hammer Tissue Rejuvenator (but no NSAIDS). Three feeds were also supplemented with special treats… 2x rice pudding; mashed up and liquid to render it drinkable and 1x cinnamon brown sugar oatmeal given the same treatment. I also had 3 feeds where “the mix” was replaced by gels… 2x Hammer Gel Huckelberry and 1x 1st Endurance EFS vanilla.

    Post Swim
    2 scoops of 1st Endurance Optigen in 12 oz…. the most delicious thing I ever tasted in my whole life and 4 Hammer Tissue Rejuvenator capsules…
    and a Sierra Nevada draught Pale Ale.

    2 generous full-body applications of SPF 30 Banana Boat Sport.
    A slathering of my very own special “channel grease” mix (consisting of 3oz anhydrous lanolin, 3oz vasaline, and 1.5oz zinc oxide),
    liberally applied to any and all areas that might be subject to chaffing from the very abrasive nature of salt water including… groin, butt crack, arm pits, neck, shoulders and jaw line… every single hotel towel employed to remove the excess from my hands.
    Black Finis polyester brief… size 32.
    Blue 70 Vision goggles with amber lenses…. These fit perfectly and didn’t require a single adjustment the entire 10hr 49mn swim, though I must confess; I did trim my eyelashes to keep them from brushing against the lenses.
    Speedo earplugs.
    White silicon Total Immersion swim cap.
    ……. Nothing to add….. all performed well; zero wardrobe malfunctions.

    Oh yeah…. THE SWIM!
    I am not sure why this swim isn’t more enthusiastically attended.
    -It is well organized. Ron Collins and company put on a serious event in a casual environment. All this year’s solo male entrants have EC bookings for the 2010 season and consider TB to be a good measure of training (yes… I know there are many differences between TB and the EC)
    -The male and female course records are held by world class swimmers, Chris Derks and Penny Palfrey. I would think that this would attract lots of big guns to see how they might measure up.
    -Entry is easy… no lottery, no need to book years in advance.
    -Relays can a fun way to break into marathon swimming; not sure if you want to swim the whole 24 miles? Grab a relay partner or 2 and swim as much as you want. Last year I swam +/- 18 of the 24 miles (my relay partner, Patty was generous enough to grant me the lion’s share).
    -There are worse places to be than St. Pete in April. Most of the watering holes up north just aren’t warm enough to get more than a quick dip in… so get your “brine fix” here!

    I started the swim at a pace that I thought I could sustain for 10 hours… stroke rate in the mid 60’s, and by my third feed, the field was spreading out. I didn’t express any kind of “race plan” to Clare, and our communication was limited regarding the other swimmers. At about 5 hours, I looked forward, didn’t see any boats, inquired: where is everybody?.... you’re out in front. (cool) I never saw another boat until near the second bridge… I asked: Whose boat is that? Clare replied, “don’t worry about it, its a relay team”. The wind picked up and there was a pretty good chop now so I settled into a slower stroke rate of 60SPM… no reason to get sloppy now with just a couple of miles to go. As I walked up to the beach I was surprised to see Craig Lenning sitting there already… I wonder when he passed me? It would have been a welcome diversion to have someone to swim with after 7, 8, 9 hours alone out there. Perhaps we will have the opportunity during MIMS on June 12!

    10hrs 49 mins

    Updated April 19th, 2010 at 08:21 PM by chaos


    Its 4:48 AM.... I've been awake for 2 hours already but just now ready to roll out of bed and get my feeds prepared. The swim starts at 7:00.... butterflies.......

    recap later..............
  10. Tampa bay minus ten

    1. Make lists (packing, boat provisions, communication signals, etc)

    2. Buzz down: no reason to carry extra hair through 24 miles, but i won't shave... water temp is supposed to be cooler this year according to Ron. <70

    3. Find a killer waterproof, environmentally sound sunscreen. Google search "albino at the beach". My straight zinc oxide didn't have the staying on power I hoped for..... got a bit toasted in Maui.

    4. Check the competition.... I've looked over the results for the past 10 years and the times are so varied... typical of events of this length, but its impossible to get a handle on how long i should expect to be in the water.
    Prepare for 12 hours; hope for 9 hours.

    5. Find some bottles that fit in my fancy double swivel cup holder telescoping feed stick. I thought these 16 oz. Nissan insulated stainless steel containers would work. They have a great push button flip top lid, but they are too top heavy, and fall out...... still looking.

    6. Order some spare goggles. B-70 Vision are my OW goggle of choice these days... comfortable and a wide field of vision.

    7. Schedule a pre-race deep tissue massage for next wednesday.

    8. Get lots of sleep.

    9. Re-check my nutrition plan.... might have to include a "hot drink" option. This will require Clare to mix as we go.... a bit more complicated than doing a complete pre-mix. I'm shooting for feedings every 20 minutes.
    70 - 80 calories per feed.

    10. Make sure to pack the E-Stim unit. I use it mostly for the recovery programs.

    11. Mix some grease: 50% vasaline, 50% anhydrous lanolin for pits, neck, chin, shoulders, groin, etc.

    12. Figure out some scooby snacks to have on board.... to get me through the dark hours (6-8)... I'm thinking maybe chocolate pudding, bananas, mallomars, apple sauce, oatmeal.... stuff that wouldn't be that bad coming up (always a possibility).

    i'm sure i've forgotten lots of stuff................
  11. The Crossing

    What a day!
    We slept with the patio door open last night and the sound of the crashing waves made me a bit nervous. There had been swimming restrictions at the beach and a small craft advisory... the forecast wasn't promising.

    I woke at 6 AM and looked out to the beach. The surf wasn't as big as it sounded, and the water looked inviting.

    We ordered a cab and met up with our boat and pilot; Daryl from Sea escape boat rentals right at 7:30. Daryl has escorted several relay teams for the Maui channel race in the past and was quite familiar with the course.

    We encountered at least seven groups of humpback whales on the way to Lanaii, usually two or three at a time...... mom; baby; au pair? We stopped often to watch them frolic and breach.

    The wind hit hard mid channel and it got quite bumpy for the second half of our ride to Lanaii. When we were about 50 yards from shore, Daryl pointed us to the safest path through the reef to the beach. The water was murky and it was hard to see the reef only a foot or so below my hand. The approach to the beach had a muddy bottom.

    We stood on the beach at the ready for our start.... the whistle blows.... Willie and I stand there and watch a humpback breach behind the boat, then swim out to catch up to Terry. It takes about 5 minutes to get out of the murky water and into the clear blue... deep blue... solid blue... the kind of blue that draws you in. This would be our visual universe for nearly the next 5 hours interrupted neither by flora nor fauna.

    We settled early on into a comfortable formation; Willie on the right of the boat, Terry in the middle and me on his right. There was no discussion beforehand regarding our positions, but this felt good. I fell into a pattern of breathing every 4 strokes on my left. Usually, I breathe more frequently, but my neck was pretty stiff... this felt good. The swells were large, but we held our relative positions and made steady progress. Our feed plan was: every 45 minutes we would feed together. I will feed at 20 minute intervals for solo and longer swims, but with the three of us all needing to stick together, this seemed like a decent compromise. My feed was: 10 oz. Lemon/Ginger Tea (to keep my stomach) mixed with 1 scoop First Endurance EFS (grape flavored, 96 calories), and 2 oz. water. The resulting concoction tasted like a purple Flintstone vitimin.... not bad. I was able to chug my mix faster than T and W and had to wait a few moments until we were able to start up, in formation, again.

    I noticed the whole boat crew wander off to the far side a few times and knew that were probably watching whales again... I hoped we would see some during our swim, but that never happened.

    Two thirds of the way back, the wind died down and so did the bumps. Maui was providing shelter from the head wind... it was nice being able to feel smooth in the flatter water. We finished near Blackrock on Maui 4 hours and 55 minutes from our start. On the way back to Lahina harbor, we came upon a huge school of spinner dolphins, jumping, spinning, somersaulting all around the boat... this place is magical... if only the water was 10 degrees colder, I'd call it heaven.

    After a shower, lunch, and a nap, we walked to the beach to watch the sunset.... more whales breaching a couple of hundred yards off shore.... unbelievable!

    Huge thanks to our support crew, Clare, Alice, Fiona, and Yevette.

    I will certainly be adding Hawaii to my migration route.
  12. Maui channel tomorrow

    We wrapped up our open water camp in Kona this morning with an Ironman swim (2.4 miles). Things were a bit choppy and that made it hard to find the turn buoy. The water was a bit cloudy as well; a stark contrast to the crystal clear conditions we had all week.

    The camp was quite a success.... swam 2-3 times a day and had a few memorable wildlife sightings. Lots of turtles, spinner dolphins, the largest school of trigger fish i've ever seen, a monk seal, and a shark that I couldn't identify from a distance.

    A large group of us went on a manta ray night snorkel..... amazing. These giants (the small ones had 10' wing spans) were swimming within inches of us before gracefully turning 180 degrees only to somersault back around repeatedly. Mouths agape they were gobbling up the plankton that our lights were attracting.

    We flew into Maui late this afternoon and from the airport, we could see whales breaching in the channel. Word is they have been putting on quite a show all day. My friends Nick and Sakura did this swim a couple of weeks ago and said they heard the whales singing the whole way.

    The forecast is for strong winds and small craft advisory. (10'+ swells). Our boat is a small 20 footer. THe hotel has signs posted everywhere "no swimming dangerous surf". We can hear the waves crashing from our room.... entry and exit might be interesting. We have to make sure that the women on the boat have plenty of ginger and dramamine!

    I did a lot of swimming with Willie and Terry this week and I don't think we will have a problem staying together out there. I think it might be possible to go stroke for stroke for most of it. We had a great view of the triangle of water that separates the islands of Maui, Molokai, and Lanai'i....... definitely started thinking about the next possibilities!

    I'll let you know how it goes......
  13. KONA

    Since this is the land of coffee, I thought I would make my fellow caffeine junkie friends jealous by saying how great the local brew is.

    ....and check this out:

    (makes you wonder what they'll think of next?)

    swim and photos coming soon........ stay tuned.


    I finally feel like I'm getting back into the swing of things... I eeked out 33k this week after an 11,000 yd session today inspired by Glenn Mills 100x 150 @ 2:00. I did 60x 150 @ 2:00 and another 2000 mixed up BK/FR in no particular order.

    There is still evidence of blood in my sinus... mostly in the morning, but the amount does seem to be decreasing daily. My breathing is easier, but night time post-nasal drip does disturb my sleep. I believe this too shall pass.

    Clare and I visited with a bunch of CIBBOWS friends last night and were treated to a slide show of Cristian, Rachel, and Patricia's adventure swim of the Beagle Channel (a body of water that separates Chile and Argentina). They did a double crossing in water 38 degrees this past January.... the ladies in "fashion" swimsuits!

    There was a lot of OW shop talk as well as Cristian will be making an English Channel attempt this summer and many are still swimming at Brighton Beach every weekend.... water temp cleared 35 degrees last week.... still a bit too cold for me to make the 2 hour drive and swim for 10 minutes. I will begin making the trip weekly when the mercury hits 48.

    Lets see.... what else is new?.... Oh.... did I mention that this time next week I'LL BE IN KONA!!!!!!!!!
    Thats right... for national Coffee Party Day, Ill be sipping Kona's finest... you all will of course be in my thoughts.

    Here is something else totally random, but fun: [ame=""]YouTube- OK Go - This Too Shall Pass - Rube Goldberg Machine version[/ame]
  15. 7 DAYS POST-OP

    How dry i am!

    I haven't been in the water in 8 days and I'm starting to feel depressed about it. In truth, I would have probably missed a few of those days anyway as the roads here have been total crap with the messy mix of snow/rain/crud thats been falling steadily for the past 2 1/2 days. So many trees are down and we have been without power at the house since tuesday night.... and its not looking like it will be restored for another 2 days.

    As far as my sinus situation goes; I seem to be moving back and forth between two uncomfortable extremes of burning dryness vs. completely stuffed. Frequently saline irrigation has the effect of minor relief for the dries, but I fall off the squirt schedule when I "try" to sleep.

    In short, recovery from this surgery is very similar to the effects of a nasty major league sinus infection without the fever.... a reminder of why I had it done. I hope I'll be able to get back on track with my training plans soon, or else Tampa Bay is going to be UGLY!

    over and out......
  16. Septoplasty tomorrow

    No eating after midnight. No drugs or alcohol. Shower with an antibacterial soap, and be at the hospital at 8:30 AM tomorrow. Thats my pre-op routine.
    Doc says 2 weeks no swim.... I might have to take out my aggression on the speed bag....
  17. A learning experience

    Well, things didn't go exactly as planned, and I now have lots of data to try and analyze.....

    WARNING: Lots of talk about bodily functions to follow.

    I showed up at the pool at 7 AM, set my 2 gallon spigot container on the block next to my cup (with a bit of masking tape marking 5 oz. Into the locker room to change into an Endurance square leg (a mistake) and Willie and I were ready to start at about 7:15. I grabbed a cup of coffee on the way in and so that was the only thing in my stomach at the moment.

    We cruised through the first set:
    10x100 @ 1:30
    10x200 @ 3:00
    10X300 @ 4:30
    10x400 @ 6:00
    10X500 @ 7:30

    I held onto my feeding plan (5oz. every 15 minutes) and was surprised at how gassy I was feeling... good thing for porous textile suits. I had no urge to urinate, and this caused me some concern but after 3 hrs 45 min, I took a visit to the boys room to make an effort. The result was a pathetic little trickle and highly concentrated....
    I consumed 75 oz and neither the air nor water temps were high. Was I not drinking enough? Was my body not absorbing my feeds?

    Willie left and I began the second set:
    15x1000 @ 15:00

    I was starting to feel bloated, but continued feeding regularly. My legs were starting to tighten up, so now my push-offs have devolved into gentle tippy toe touches that do little to propel me into my next length. As a result, the once generous 1:30/100 base interval is tightening up..... I take a couple of extra minutes to let some cramping settle out of my legs.

    My friend Lance shows up about now... drove up from NYC to swim a couple of hours with me; we get moving into the 1000's.

    After the 9th 1000, I have to purge big time. Goes in pink; comes out purple. Though I don't have a graduated cylinder, I would assume that this event could account for 80% of what I drank so far....sad to say, I can't make eye contact with my container of maxim. My purge-o-rama continues through the next 6x1000's requiring a visit to the porcelain every 2000. My throat is really sore, my stomach uneasy, I decide to sit it out for a bit to see if conditions improve.

    After an hour, I decide to call it a day @ 30,000. My legs are tight, but not cramped. My shoulders feel good. My stomach, not so much. I've got some nasty chaffing on my groin.. should have used some bag balm. I've been pissing like a racehorse for the last 2 hours.

    I'm not sure why I was unable to process the Maxim, but this is something I will be looking into with much concern in the weeks to come.

    Tomorrow, 7AM...... begins my 12 hours of SCY joy. Although 99% of those who said they would join me have since come up with better plans, I think I might have some company for a few hours.

    I mixed up my MAXIM tonight.... 2 gallons worth. My feeding plan is 5 oz of said mixture (flavored with some welch's frozen fruit concentrate) every 15 minutes + one endurolyte capsule every hour.

    I've decided to break the 45,000 yds into the following sets:
    10x100 @ 1:30
    10x200 @ 3:00
    10X300 @ 4:30
    10x400 @ 6:00
    10X500 @ 7:30

    15X1000 @ 15:00

    10x500 @ 7:30
    10x400 @ 6:00
    10x300 @ 4:30
    10x200 @ 3:00
    10x100 @ 1:30

    I'll break for 15 min every 4 hours.
    I'd like to think I could trim the intervals a bunch, but I think its better to play it safe (and keep it steady)

    ....this time tomorrow, I'll be sleeping.
  19. 16,600 2/4 & 2/5

    1000 wu
    1500 pre-set stuff (can't remember it all)

    Main Set:
    6x50 @ :45
    3x100 @ 1:10
    2x150 @ 2:15
    1x300 @ 3:30
    1x300 @ 4:30
    2x150 @ 2:15
    3x100 @ 1:30
    6x50 @ :35
    all the base 1:30/100 yds were "cruise" and all the base 1:10/100 yds were "fast"
    12x25 fly on :30

    300 cool down
    total 5500

    2/5/2010 AM
    800 alt 50fr/50bk
    600 pull
    4x100 kick @ 1:50

    pre set:
    3x50 @ :50 cruise
    3x50 @ 1:00 hold 30's
    3x50 @ 1:00 hold <30's

    5x (400 @ 5:00 + 200 @ 2:30)
    i swam with bec and lucas. i made the mistake of trying to keep their pace on the first round and paid dearly for it ... they were flying, and as the caboose, it was all i could do to keep from getting lapped on the 400's.

    700 cool down
    total 6000

    2/5/2010 PM masters

    1000 w/ moon paddles
    5x (50 kick @ :50, 50 fr @ :40)
    500 cruise

    pre set:
    100 build
    25 fast
    100 build
    50 fast
    100 build
    75 fast

    main set: (all at 1:30/100 base)
    100 build - 400 fast
    2x100 bld - 300 fast
    3x100 bld - 200 fast
    4x100 ez - 100 sprint
    felt pretty fatigued.....nothing heroic from yours truly on this set...
    fast ones were: 4:38, 3:30, 2:14, 1:02...

    cool down:
    200 fr
    3x100 kick
    100 bk
    total 5100
  20. POSTAL

    Well I thought I would be able to knock out 100 miles for the month of January, but I missed by a bit, completing only 92.07 with 4 no-swim days. I could have hit 100 if I had done two 3 hour sessions this weekend... instead I took off saturday so that I might have a decent hour postal today.
    My goal was 5000, 125 yds better than my best a couple of years ago. Last year, I swam the hour a couple of weeks post-op and stopped after 4500 with a minute or two left on the clock.

    5000 yds/hr = 1:12/100 yd pace

    Here's my breakdown:
    @100 - 1:06.32
    @200 - 2:17.01
    @500 - 5:48.27
    @1000 -11:40.72
    @1650 -19:16.89
    @2000 -23:25.27
    @3000 -35:21.10
    @4000 -47.22.33
    @5000 -59.27.68
    5047 total
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