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aztimm's training blog

Swimming Adventures in Arizona

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by , April 29th, 2019 at 07:57 PM (1610 Views)
All I have to say is WOW! The past week has been a whirlwind; I had swimming adventures in some of the most idylic lake settings together with a world-class aquatic center.

This might be long.... I'll go through the adventure by day.

Tuesday Apr 23:
* Arrived at PHX around 9am
* Picked up my rental car, drove out to Saguaro Lake (stopped at a Circle K in Fountain Hills for Tonto Passes, water, and Gatorade)
* Met, mingled, and swam with swimmers from around the world during what is dubbed, "Patty's Party Swim."
* We got in about 1.75 miles of swimming (my Apple Watch says over 3!). Mostly just a loop around the main part of the lake.
* After the swim, I drove back to Scottsdale, got settled into my Airbnb. Went to a nearby supermarket, relaxed for a bit.
* My kayaker met me and we drove over to the Mesa Country Club for the pre-race dinner.
* Went to bed at a decent time.

Wednesday Apr 24:
* Woke up around 5am I think (I was still on Central time). Ate what I thought was a good breakfast (spoiler: it wasn't)
* My kayaker was at my place and we drove to Saguaro Lake for the pre-swim briefing (some people didn't go to the party swim nor the dinner) at 7:30
* We were taken all the way to the other side of the lake in shifts. I lived in AZ for 20 years and had been to Saguaro Lake many times...but never way over to this side.
* We hung out on a beach area where we helped kayakers get set up.
* Swimmers were then boated further out to the dam (between Saguaro and Canyon lakes).
* Jumped off the boat, an easy swim to the buoys, and off we went.
* Because the dam area is narrow, kayakers waited about 1/2 mile or so away. I had a tough time finding mine...eventually I asked a kayaker nearby if there was one without a swimmer. Then I asked him to yell for mine. Then they found him and directed him to me.
* I swam along for what seemed like ages without stopping. Finally I decided I needed water and found out I had been swimming for an hour. I felt fine. After that we got somewhat structured with feeds (water-gatorade-water) about every 20-25 minutes.
* There is some awesome scenery along Saguaro Lake! I did some backstroke so I could take it in.
* Somewhere around the 5 mile mark (5.2 on my watch) I knew that I wasn't ok. I stopped for feeds...and I struggled (but managed my way) for a while.
* I was in the main part of the lake (where we did the party swim the day prior), could see the marina (the dam is just beyond), when my left calf got an uncontrollable cramp. I did breaststroke... Another swimmer's kayaker asked if I was ok, and offered me some drink that is supposed to help with cramps (tastes like Coke but has a bit of salt). That didn't agree with my stomach and I started throwing up. I was still swimming breaststroke, trying to make progress...but then I realized that my head was going further under with each stroke. There was much more boat traffic, I was getting sea sick and continued to throw up.
* A woman (who I know and swam with for a few years at Mesa) was on a paddleboard nearby, and I decided it would be best to exit the swim. I hopped on with her and she took me to the dock.
* I really can't say how horrible I felt...both from exhaustion and felt like a failure for not finishing. I've run 3 marathons, biked a few tours (one 112 miles), and always finished. With running it is always possible to walk...or even crawl. But with swimming, I really felt like I might drown.
* After I finally got to my car (I couldn't help pull the kayak up at that point, someone else helped him with that), I started eating everything single snack I had packed. Thought I felt better as I drove back to Scottsdale.
* When we first got back and unpacked the car, I pretty much just crashed on the couch. Then I started to throw up all those snacks that I had eaten in the car.
* Thankfully one of the things I had picked up at the supermarket the day prior was Ginger Ale. I started to drink it.
* My friend from Washington texted me that he had landed at PHX (I had arranged to pick him up). I thought I had some time before he got bags and would be ready. Next thing...he texts that he's ready (I'm still in the Airbnb).
* I text back, saying I'm just leaving, tell him to wait inside (it was hot outside). I picked him up. We started to head back to Scottsdale, when we hit a parking lot of traffic. I got off of the freeway, and went through Four Peaks. We had a nice dinner there (and they had ginger ale). My stomach settled somewhat.
* We got back to the Airbnb. I showed him around, we walked over to the pool. Since I was still in my swimsuit, I jumped in, and it felt really good. The water wasn't heated, but I'm guessing it was 75, and I felt ok.
* Was in bed around 9pm.

Thursday Apr 25
* My friend told me that the main pool would be open for warm-up at 6am. I told him he was welcome to take Uber I think we got to Kino around 7:15. We both checked in for the meet (swag bags). He was doing the mile, first event. My 1000 wasn't for several hours, so I left.
* Drove to Eldorado pool in Scottsdale. Got my own lane, and did about 1000 easy. I started to do some of my 25, "variables," and told myself that if I couldn't make 25 on 15 that I didn't have to swim. Of course I made it...4 times. Then I told myself that if I couldn't do 100 @ 80% I didn't have to swim...but I did that too.
* So I headed back to Kino. Still drinking ginger ale (my stomach wasn't fully recovered). Met up with my friend...and a bunch of others. I told a few people about my adventure the day before, but decided to press on. I did about 500 w/u.
* I brought several, "tech," suits of mine, but ended up wearing a very old Speedo Fastskin brief (I hate how tight jammers are on my thick legs).
* I don't remember what time my 1000 kicked off, but I do remember climbing up on the block and thinking to myself, "I haven't been up on a block for almost 2 years! I hope I can do this."
* The first 500 of the swim went by so quickly. I was in a decent heat with some people nearby close in speed (male and female). I do remember around the 800 mark thinking to myself, "I hope my stomach holds up for 200 more."
* My stomach did hold up. I finished in 13:07.50:
* Somehow even feeling like I was, I still blew my 13:40 seed time out the window. I had never swum the 1000 in a meet before (I much prefer LCM for distance events)
* My friend had counted for me, so I counted for him (he is a bit faster)
* After he was done, we went back to Scottsdale. Went to the community pool for a bit to unwind (I had done a cool down at Kino, he had not). That pool felt so nice.
* We met a friend/co-worker of mine for dinner in Old Town Scottsdale (Old Town Gringos)

Friday Apr 26
* After my 1000, I decided I didn't have any excuse not to swim the 500 or 2breast. I wanted to get to Kino so that I could so a few block starts. I think we arrived around was much busier.
* They seeded the 500 (men only) by age group, oldest to youngest.
* My friend and I had arranged to count for each other again. Our heats weren't too far apart.
* I changed into a Speedo Fastskin jammer. It is at least 2 years old, probably more.
* Although I was afraid of getting blown away, I ended up in an, "oddball," heat. Just 4 of us. Yes, I did get lapped (I initially tried to fight it, but then realized it would push me too much). I only have records of swimming the 500 once before (in 2000), and this was about 7 seconds faster: 6:13.35
* was able to do a quick warm-down, then counted for my friend's 500
* there was quite a bit of time before my 200 breast. I was tempted to change, but probably wouldn't have put the jammer back on, so just kept it on.
* my 2breast felt ok. I haven't really been training much breast (it was not a PR), but considering it was ok. I didn't get lapped. Yes, someone did finish 30 seconds faster, but the guy in the lane next to me was 12 seconds faster....enough that I still saw him even on the last lap. My time was 2:55.
* After that, I did a warm-down swim, showered, and left.
* Stopped at a nearby Rubio's for fish tacos on the way back to Scottsdale.
* Mostly just relaxed during the afternoon. At some point I went to the pool, stretched out a bit.
* Met some friends for dinner at Nando's in Gilbert.+
* Got my bottles ready and in the freezer for the Roosevelt swim.
* Was in bed around 9:30

Saturday Apr 27
* didn't set an alarm, but I think I was still awake by 6:30am. ate, and mostly just relaxed, watched tv, for several hours.
* my kayaker texted to make sure I still wanted to swim Roosevelt. I said yes...he said he'd be late. long story short--I ended up driving out to Gilbert to pick him up. I threw almost everything I could think of into the car.
* it is a LONG drive out to Roosevelt Lake--almost 2 hours. I was worried that we'd be late, but we arrived in plenty of time.
* on the boat ride out to the start, Patty (of Patty's swim) was sitting near me. I'm not exactly sure what I said, but I definitely had o/w jitters. She told me, "you need to get out of your head. Put that behind you. You're about to swim."
* I helped my kayaker get set up. We had a bit of a wait to get everyone out to the start (limited boats). The kayakers weren't too far away from our start, and I didn't have any problem finding him.
* I decided to just have fun with this swim. I had done a 10k before, I knew I could do it. My calf was still somewhat cramped, my stomach wasn't 100%, but I wanted to just get out and swim.
* The course for this swim was simply amazing--we swam right to the sunset. Four Peaks (you can see it from the other side in Phoenix) was just in sight the whole time.
* I wasn't as religious about feeds for this swim. I tried to just stop about every 20 minutes (I didn't do feeds at all for my last 10k), so I knew I could fake it.
* At some point I remember looking up and thought I could see the bridge, near the finish. Perhaps I imagined it, because I still had quite a ways to go!
* The sunset on this swim was just magical. My kayaker took tons of pictures of it, and some of me too.
* After the sun set, I could start to see the lights on the bridge flashing. Seemed way too long....but at least I knew where I was going.
* Finally went around a bend and could see the lights which I thought were on/above the dam (turned out they were beyond it). It was dark by then, and I started hitting a bunch of debris (branches, leaves, and who knows what else, I try not to think about it).
* I was told it was about 500m from the bridge to the dam. I picked up the pace and was in a full-on sprint for the last 100 or so. I thought the lights were at the dam, but they were further, and I actually really hit the buoys.
* Getting onto the boat....I remember climbing up a ladder and fell right down. Then once out of the water I helped collect the stuff from the kayak. I was freezing (temp was probably in the high 70s), wrapped a towel around myself. We had to wait for a few other swimmers before we headed back to the marina.
* We thought the bar/restaurant at the marina would be open, but it wasn't. People mostly just left
* it was a LONG drive back to town...and we were both starving (I did eat some snacks, but held back a bit). We ended up stopping at a McDonald's in east Mesa around 10:45 (they closed at 11). Dropped off my kayaker, and was back in Scottsdale about 11:45pm.

Sunday Apr 28
* of course I was up at 6am, despite that I didn't set an alarm. got myself packed up, ready to go.
* met a friend for lunch in Chandler and checked out our old house there (it hadn't changed as bad as I expected)
* was on a 4:15pm flight back to Austin
* home and in bed around 10pm

Monday Arp 29
* no alarm, dogs woke me around 5am. I went back to bed and slept until 6:45
* decided to head over to Sendero for a short stretch-out swim...
* got in a very easy 2250 yards (not really anything special, some stroke, mostly free)

I'm still debating if I'll register for a 10 mile swim in September. I'll probably register for the same 10k I did last August (prices go up a whopping $8 on 5/1).

At least now I know what it is like when I can't finish...and hopefully it won't happen again anytime soon.

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  1. Calvin S's Avatar
    What distance was the Saguaro Lake swim?
  2. aztimm's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin S
    What distance was the Saguaro Lake swim?
    It was billed as 10 miles, but most people said about 8.5 miles.
  3. Calvin S's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by aztimm
    It was billed as 10 miles, but most people said about 8.5 miles.
    Damn. Thats a long ass swim.
  4. aztimm's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin S
    Damn. Thats a long ass swim.
    I think Apache is about 18 miles!