Dec 27, 2009

Successful early winter test - 10,000 meters (6.3 miles) for fun?

Completed my 10,000 meter swim this morning (100 x 100's) averaging 1:30 per 100 on an interval of 2:10. We have 5-6 folks per lane so it was a little crowded early on before others dropped out. The last time I did this was either high school. Rachel, my daughter came along for moral support.

My distance coach, Marcia Cleveland has said a curious statement several times when describing training for the Channel; you have to "let go ... don't try to control things". Little did I know how true this was to be when no sooner did I walk into the pool to learn yards became meters.  The pool was a meter vs. yard pool, that means about 10% longer distance. My original 10,000 yard swim quickly became a 11,154 yard (10,000 meter) swim but this didn't phase me as I knew the distance was not an issue. My goal all along was consistency of time per segment.

I knew to play it cool early on as the "kids" thrashed away the first 20 or 30 sets while I averaged 1:30's per 100 meters. I felt very relaxed the whole way, keeping my heart rate at 130 beats per minute. By the end I was swimming as fast or faster than a good portion of these same kids consistently finishing between 1:20 and 1:25 per 100 for each of the last ten. Then of course Rachel, my daughter, said "come on dad can't you go faster, she said dad I swim my 100 free in a 1:03? ... with only the look of a proud father she could see, I said good point and said "well I probably should make the last one the fastest, so I clipped off a 1:13 and with that finished just a hair over 3 hours.

In the end a nice training swim and thats another 6.3 miles in the bag or as I am becoming fond of thinking ... that was 25% across the English Channel.

Dec 15, 2009

Alcatraz swim with my sister

Forgot to tell everyone early this fall but the day after I swam my Alcatraz race, Katie did the same as part of a triathlon race. Her she is with her husband Ted after.

10,000 for Fun

Decided that an early winter endurance test of my training might be fun and something different to see how both physical as well as the mental training (i.e. spending long periods of time going back and forth in a pool) are shaping up. Decided to try the 100 x 100 yards (10,000 yards or 5.6 miles) race at the Latoff Chicago YMCA on December 27th. I figure it should take me a little over three hours at a relaxed pace of 1:30 per. This should be simple for the first 50-60 but later as the mind begins to tire I suspect it will become a little harder, but thats the point, work on the mental toughness since 400 laps.

Training otherwise keeps plugging along at 20k yards this past week.  Adding weights has gotten my shoulders sore but working through it. Last night at practice we did a whole workout in sweat shirts. I brought along my trusty old heavy duty Indiana sweatshirt (what the hell was I thinking??). Needless to say I felt like a drowning rat but managed to keep going through 4000 yards (2+ miles). for awhile I thought i was back in Goshen swimming a "Rathke" practice with Steve Conder in lane 1?

Dec 6, 2009

Deep in winter workouts

Workout yardage continues at 20 - 25,000 yards a week but now have added 2 weight lifting sessions per week and on those days cut back yardage a bit to balance my energy needs. This of course means I had to up the yardage on the remaining days. Pretty sore, so taking these weeks slow and steady to protect my shoulders as I build up muscle. Despite being tired and a now able easily repeating 100's at 1:15 minutes and typically hold these for 1000 - 2000 yards within a total workout of 5000. So despite be sore and tired the base conditioning continues to improve which is a nice step forward.

For all you old Goshen swimmers you'll remember this classic christmas swim set ... 100 x 100 yards ... The Lattoff YMCA nearby my house is hosting a swim meet in December and the only race is 100 x 100. This will be a good test of both my mental and physical conditioning (thats 10,000 yards or 5.6 miles but in a very boring 25 yard pool). I'll be able to test some of my nutrition supplements and timing of taking them for longer swims (high glucose gelpak's and electrolite replacement drinks).

I continue to seek out a charity to link/support with my efforts. I sent an email to the CEO of "Swim across America" to see if they might be interested, they sponsor all sorts of swims throughout the US on behalf of the american cancer society. Waiting to hear back on this one. I also have given some thought to setting up a specific scholarship drive for Goshen athletics that folks from Goshen could support and the same for the town I live in now Barrington, IL.

Oct 26, 2009

August 20 - 27th, 2011 - Channel here I come!

Commitment is a funny thing... You stew over these things, ponder "what if", try to answer as many questions as you possibly can before making that commitment.

I have spent the past weeks discussing the channel, the level of effort, researching everything imaginable about cold water, weather, tides, who is the best boat captian, coaches, family impacts, training, food....yada, yada, yada and in the end it just comes down to commitment.

My long winded point? I have choosen the date range for the channel swim - August 20 - 27th, 2011. Thats 664 days from today and counting.

Now the fun begins....

Oct 8, 2009

Eye Opener - Meeting one of the Channel Legends for lunch

Well, today was a big day mentally. Finally met with Marcia Cleveland for lunch (with my friend and training partner Doug McConnell) and got down to the business of whats involved, organization, how she helps as a coach, time, costs, etc. Meeting went well and feel comfortable with continued path.

I however for the first time wondered what am I getting into? Not a bad thought but just the sheer training, time, leading up and then the actual swim started to really sink into my brain.
I'll begin digesting all of this Sunday when we as a group go swim for the first time in Lake Michigan, assuming weather is ok.

Oct 1, 2009

Planning, planning and more planning

Thanks to all the kind notes and encouragement

I met with a guy and my training friend Doug McConnell last week to learn about how to use my (and Dougs) desire to swim between now and when we go in 2011 as a charity fund raiser. His name in Bob Lee and he recently rode his bike 6500 miles (yes that number is correct) all across America to raise money for several charities. He provided some great insights but the point that stuck in my mind was when he asked... what was my passion? I couldn't really say since I have been blessed with (knock on wood) little physical or mental health issues.

He really got me thinking ---- what is it beyond my selfish desire to accomplish this life goal that is important to me? So, the self reflective quest begins? The sooner the better since every mile I swim is one that could be making money. I would very much like to do something both in Goshen, IN and Barrington, IL so your ideas and suggestions are welcome. 

I continue to swim 5 - 6 days a week at 4000 yards and continue to get in Lake Zurich near my house (or actually Kevin Rillo's house for those of you that know him) with my usual training partners. The recent cold snap should drive down the water temp and make this Fridays swim, ugh cold. I prefer not to know the temp before I get in just like I didn't like having Goshen coach Brian Rathke telling me 10,000 yards of workout was coming my way. I'm in that "just do it" mode and accept its cold and swim hard. With this colder water also comes concern about how far, how long and how cold I can tolerate swimming outside. I am looking to get a kayak so my wife, Jennifer, or others can come along for safety.

Sep 22, 2009

Switching gears - season change and so must I

A little break and now back at it both in the pool and organizationally.

Masters practice has moved indoors and back to M,W and Sat. am schedule with weekedays at 8pm (ugh!) and Sat. in the morning. So looking for fill-in workouts on the other days. Good news is the winter season is a chance to work on stroke technique, duel side breathing and pacing.

Continue to swim a couple times a week in Lake Zurich at 630am. Pretty consistent at 2 miles per session feeling very comfortable. This Friday for fun thought I would go around twice for a 4 miler. Water temp seems to be staying in the upper 60'sf but I am determined to see what happens when it gets below 60f in the coming weeks. I really need to push this limit (with people along for safety in kayak's) so I know what more needs to be done. I understand cold is the killer in the channel and the only heater will be my swimming engine. Doug and others from the Lake Zurich group continue so the company is always welcomed. THey love this as much as I do. Love working out with these guys and the other masters in Barrington. Great competitive group and this pushing, especially with Doug, will pay dividends down the line.

Will begin weights and core excercise slowly over the next few weeks and keep this going all winter as I want to prepare for what lies ahead this next summer, lots of open water races and the swim portion of Tri's. My goal is to do my 6 hour hour cold water swim which is required per the channel organizing group to even qualify.

Finally, One fun note on Doug McConnel's friend, who I have yet to meet, Mike Solburg who just swam the channel last Friday in 13:31. Started in the morning and finished after mid-night. I watched his GPS tracking system live throughout the day and found myself nervous, motivated, impressed, so encouraged and yet found myself asking deep down "what in the hell are you thinking" and "am I willing to accept the punishment (mentally and physically)between now and then to accomplish this life long goal". The answer keeps coming back absolutely. I am committed, focused and will prepare myself through the next 12-24 months with milestones that will purposely test my metal. Cold, dark and rough water will become my friend.

I will know before I even get in the channel water..I have already done what is necessary. Then it is up to the gods.

In honor of Mikes accomplishment, here are some pictures from his swim:


Sep 17, 2009

Mike Solberg - A friend-of-a-friend's channel attempt Friday

If you care to know what its like swimming the channel. Here is Mike Solberg a friend of a friend (Doug McConnell) that will make his attempt Friday. You can track it live via GPS by following the instructions on his blog. Here is the link:

Sep 12, 2009

Alcatraz race

Early morning up at 5:30am after a night of windy rain and of all things in San Francisco thunderstorms and then down to the docks for race sign-in along with 700 other "nuts" for the 8am jump. Water at the "Rock" was a balmly 58f and seas with a slight 2-3ft chop. Needless to say I was happy this was not happening when I got to swim time;)

The entire race group walked down to the boat (ferry actually) listening to the scottish bagpiper blaring away which I love. Kind of cements the committment to what you are about to do.

Made it off the boat in the first few groups of three (you jump off one of the tourist boats from each side door three at a time four feet into the bay water just off Alcatraz Island). First time without a wetsuit so alittle nervous, water temp didnt bother me but the usual thrashing of many people and getting yur orientation to Aquatic Park takes a few sightings (lifting your head) to get on track. During the middle part was getting tolled around with what I am guessing was ocean freighter bow waves but made the way through and kept a good line to the harbor entrance. Finally was able to get into that forever stroke pace and was reayd to enter the harbor. As planned made it to the harbor entrance in a small pack of swimmers and kicked up the pace to drive to the finish. Made it to the beach and as usual stumbled a bit getting up the beach to the finish. Why in gods name do they make swimmers get out of the water to finish a race, were swimmers, not runners??

Anyway had a great swim, finished 11 overall and first in my age group in 29:47 minutes (1.4 miles) which was significantly faster than my 33:07 from two years ago and without a wetsuit which I guess saves you 10-15% effort so I am very happy with this result, happy with how I felt in the 58f water and chop and know I could easily kept on going. Gives me confidence to continue my training for the English Channel..

It was nice for everyone (mom,dad, rachel, ted, kate, thomas and griffin) to come watch and support. Katie (my sister) is doing a similar race Sunday morning so we'll do it all over again.

Sep 11, 2009

Aquatic Park, San Francisco training

Arrived in San Francisco in the early afternoon and was met by mom and dad and then went to sister kates house where we hung around for a few hours. Great to see evveryone but miss my wife, Jennifer, since she needed to stay home. This trip was really a daddy/daughter excursion kind of like Indian Princesses we used to go on so fun by all. Kate and I made our way down to Aquatic Park to join a group of swimmers at 6pm for a swim in the Bay and around aquatic park.

Probably 35 folks were there most in wetsuits and a few in bareskin (love that just like me). Got right at it after initial course instruction and enjoyed the 61f water for almost a mile. I found myself struggling with salt water in the mouth (just not used to it) for a bit but just like anything else will learn as time/trining miles pass. I felt strong and was able to increase my tempo freely as we swam back into the protected park area from the open bay. Warmed down a bit and got out. It was windy and got the shivers until I was able to rinse off salt water and get dressed but this passed quickly.

In all a good solid first test of swimming for probably 30 minutes in cold, murky slightly wavy water. Cold training is the key past basic endurance. Get some more in Friday and the race Saturday morning.

Sep 9, 2009

Alcatraz, final prep swim in lake zurich before leaving

Got in another early morning swim in lake zurich. about 2 miles, water temp 66f, air temp 67f. I went by myself this time which is probably something I will need to deal with as I intend to swim until water temp goes below 55f and then perhaps switch to a wet suit. The more cold water time I can log the better. Also at some point I will need to add a safety kayaker when temps go below 60f as I really dont know what potential body reaction to hypotherma could be at this point.

Anyway, off to California and two days of 61f salt water training thursday and Friday before the event. Last time I did a 33 minute swim for the 1.2 miles but in a wetsuit. It will be very interesting to see how I do this time time wise.

Sep 6, 2009

Labor Day Weekend swim - Grandview lake, southern Indiana

Visitied friends Andy and Kristi Lugo at the southern Indiana lake house for a welcome day on the water. Enjoyed libations but made it to bed after several wondering how I would feel in the morning during my swim? Woke up at 6am which in Indiana is 5am Chicago time, thus I forgot that it was completely dark and wasn't going to wake my wife to accompany me in the kayak while swimming. So we waited until 730am and got underway. Water was very comfortable (guessing mid 70's) and made my way around getting in 2.2 miles. I did checck my time but was ablee to pick up stroke tempo as I continued so likely well on good pace.

Thanks to Andy, Kristi for hosting us and Jennifer for kayaking alongside...

Sep 3, 2009

Sharing a fellow swimmers real time channel effort

I wanted to share a link to a friend of a friend who is in Dover as we speak and waiting for his "window" to open for his attempt at the channel. He is a friend of Doug McConnell who I have been swimming with and thus learning a great deal about the prep needed and challenges along the way. We wish him the best

Sep 2, 2009

Lake Zurich training

Swam a comfortable 2.2 miles this morning with Doug McConnell and a new and welcoming group of Lake Zurich regular's for a beautiful 6am (66f water, 47f air temp) swim (of course w/o wetsuits) and got to see the sun come up, steam rolling off the water as we made our way around. This group swims three days a week so this is a welocme addition to the indoor masters training practices. Water was very clear and had fun chasing fish around while easily stroking in the calm water.

Sep 1, 2009

Ohio Street swim - big waves and surfing

Went down to Ohio street beach Sunday September 30, 2009 for my usual swim and to my liking big winds were driving from the north down lakeshore and driving big surf with it. Wate temp was 62f. Neither were a problem and good experience in guessing 3-5 foot waves. Being within a couple hundreds yards of the sea wall also brought reflection waves out against me. Focused on being relaxed and stroking through (or in most cases down the face of waves). Was a shorter swim but fun. Oh yeah, no wetsuit.

Aug 26, 2009

Alcatraz Swim

Found a you tube post of the Alcatraz Swim from two years ago that was my first. What a blast!!

Aug 23, 2009

Training swim - Madison, WI 2.4 mile race

Had fun in Madison, WI yesterday with the 2.4 mile open water race. Finished in 1:11:03 very relaxed and comfortable. Could have easily kept going a long time and that made me feel good. Swam with DOug McConnell and he had a great swim at 1:01. He has a very base and excellent stroke mechanics. He will continue to be a good inspiration and training partner as we go to these elsewhere.

My first official mass start was all the arms, legs, kicking and "bumper cars" of the 288 person start,,,,something. Threw me off a little bit especially when you really dont get a chance to warm up correctly. Doing more of these races in the future will be training but warming up a good idea if allowed.

Once out threre, got settled after 1/2 mile and worked through into the second mile. This came easier and I was able to focus on stroke rate and long pulls catching wet suit folks consistently. Swimming without a wetsuit is a great mental motivator to me as I look at it as "I'm tougher and still go as fast or faster" I think with some more experience with these starts I'll do even better. Overall a nice experience and good start to the racing side of open water swimming. As for finishing, Doug got I 15th and I finished at 38 out of 288. We both were pleased since this was a tough field. Many major tri-athletes were there gearing up for the Ironman and let me tell you some of them are really in shape!

In all, I am most pleased with how comfortable I felt, giving the level of training done to date (20k per week with no weights, cross training, etc) and know as I bring in other cross training and activity I will only get better.

Aug 21, 2009

Old saying - age, cunning & deceit...shall over come youth, brawn...

Well this week has been harder than expected on the body. I finaaly gave in and had to go see a orthopod. neck and left shoulder been bothering me with dull low grade pain. At this point (e.g. without MRI) it appears to simple overwork and lack of conditioning. The physical theripist has me doing some basic stretching and weight work to strengthen the neck and shoulder muscles back into balance.

I knew this was coming and now that its here will be joining the health club for weight training in the next several weeks. This will be a good break since outdoor swim practice at 630 am ends next week and back inside at the highschool. Because masters swim only 3x per week I was going to have to join a club anyway.

Tommrrow I have the Madison, WI 2.4 mile race. As this will be my first mass start should be interesting. I am planning to cruise at 30 minute mile pace so a 1hour and 10 minute finish would be nice, relax and negative split the back part. I seem to be able to make up good ground and concentrate on stroke technique for long pull cycles later in the effort but this has always been by myslef not in a pack. I need to find my own way and pace.

This should be a good training benchmark going forward.

Aug 12, 2009

Charity Ideas

I am in the formative stages of deciding what charity work I might tie into this effort. One aspect that intregues me is the potential to partner with several in a sponsorship arrangement where I do the swimming and us the miles swum as the donation metric. Perhaps they can manage the money side and folks could donat?

I would like to consider ideas from folks in Goshen, Indiana my original home town and where I live now Barrington, IL as well.

If you have ideas please let me know.

A fun picture swimming across Lake Wawasee 2007 Dad and daughter

This picture was taken in summer 2007 while vacationing back at Wawasee. Rachel decided to try a short cross morning swim with me and dad took the pictures. Reminded me of many summers, swim club swims across Syracuse and swimming the big 8 miler with Steve Conder.

Anyway - This weeks practice has been good above 4000 each day with hard sets, kicking and IM's. Fly is coming back around as shoulder strength increases. Starting to get serious about nutrition assessment and fuel for longer swims and looking at alternatives for practice as summer pool closes labor day so back inside.

Thanks to Emily Springer for joining the blog, appreciate the support. Emily was also a good swimmer from Goshen days.

Aug 7, 2009

how do you eat an elephant?

answer - one bit at a time.

goal setting both short and long term will be essential...

Aug 6, 2009

Friday lake swim

Looking forward to my usual Friday lake swim. plan a few miles hopefully its cold and choppy :).

I have a 2.4 mile swim planned in two weeks in Madison, WI called "MOWS" with US Masters so this should be fun. Since I am a loner when it comes to open water swimming, I have never done a mass tri-athlete type start, suppose I should bring my boxing gloves or I am sure my old water polo skills of grabbing swim suits should come in handy??

Thanks to Steve Conder, from Goshen, IN and an old swimming buddy for being the first supporter. Lets find a way to do an open water swim?

Aug 4, 2009

As I begin learning about what it will take to successfully cross the channel through others before me I will try to pass along key bits of information and give credit where it is due. One I recently came across is Hugh Tucker who in his own right is accomplished as a long distance swimmer according to his web site. So I thought I would share his comments and descriptions.

The Channel

Just over 800 of over 4,370 attempts have been successful since the formation of the Channel Swimming Association in 1927. THis according to Hugh Tucker back in 2004. Successful attempts are just below 1000 this year.

Captain Mathew Webb was the first person to swim the English Channel. He accomplished this feat on August 23, 1875 on his second attempt, with a time of 21 hours and 40 minutes, swimming from England to France. Not only was the swim significant as the first successful swim, but his course was altered by the tides, making the ordinarily 20-mile swim considerably longer.

As shown on the diagram of his route below, Webb was pushed west, then east, followed by another larger western push, and finally by a huge eastern push, ending with a landing in Calais. Most English Channel swimmers follow a variation of this crossing. Missing the coast is the largest single reason for a swimmer to quit the attempt to conquer the Channel. For most swimmers, the thought of swimming another six hours while waiting for the tide to change is too demoralizing, painful, and cold to endure.


The more the pilot knows about the tides, weather and the swimmer's ability, the more accurately can he plan his intended course. Pilots draw on their experience and local knowledge to forecast the best departure point and time for their swimmer. The Skipper's own observations of the actual conditions on the day, the regular advice supplied by the Coastguards and the position fixes given by modern navigational instrument all combine to permit fine course adjustments to be made en route, to the swimmers best advantage.

The tidal flow is most parallel to the coast and the swimmer is swimming at approximately 90ยบ to the coast. Fortunately, the tides flow first one way and then the other way, and their effect is largely evened out over a 12-hour period. Even though the swimmer may hold a steady Heading through the water towards his destination, his "Ground-Track" will be curved. So there is little to gain -and much to lose - by doing battle with the Tides trying to achieve a direct Ground Track! There are places during the crossing where one can get a little help from the tide, but there are also areas where progress will be hindered. The idea is to get a balance between the two.

The Pilots job is to guide the swimmer so that he can be in the right place at the right time, in order that the currents give the maximum assistance - and the least hindrance. To achieve this, he will need to know, in advance, the swimmer's sustainable swim-rate over the period of the swim. He needs to time your approach to the Coast so that the tides do not work against the swimmer just when he is most tired.N.B. The Coastline of France is not parallel to England. It 'drops away" either side of Cap Griz Nez.

Adequate and appropriate nourishment is vital to the swimmer's success, but has to be done briefly: an over-run of the half-hourly feed time by even as little a 1 minute every time could make the difference between landing with the tide or of having to swim on for several more hours!

The English Channel is one of the busiest shipping zones in the world, with approximately 500 vessel movements every day…..and there are ferries, hovercraft, sea cats, and jetfoils crossing between England and France at very regular intervals. Because of this, International Shipping Lanes have been agreed and their areas marked on the charts. On the English side, we have the 'South West Lane' which is for vessels travelling down the Channel to the Atlantic. On the French side, we have the 'North East Lane' for vessels, which are travelling, up to the North Sea areas.

The English Coastguards, stationed at Langdon Battery Dover, and the French Coastguards, stationed at C.R.O.S.S. Cap Gris Nez, keep radar and VHF watch on the whole area…..liasing with the vessels using the Channel. They broadcast navigational bulletins every half hour and log vessels using the lanes to co-ordinate ship movement and to monitor safety. In these announcements, they warn shipping of the presence of Cross Channel Swimmers, and give the latest known positions of the Escort Vessels.

Channel Swims differ from other swims of this distance by their complexity and the local environment. There are hazards such as jellyfish, seaweed, flotsam and jetsam. Most particularly, the swimmer has to navigate safely across the Commercial Shipping Lanes - and give way to most other vessels in the Strait.

Swimming the distance of approximately 35.8 km each way is only part of the challenge. Other factors which have to be encountered, making it the "Everest" of swimming, include:

cold water temperature
divergent currents
water pollution
waiting time
sea conditions on the day
sea sickness

In addition, there is an element of luck involved in getting everything to fall right on the day.This is why it is one of the ultimate challenges….the 'Benchmark' of Marathon Swimming.

Waiting for the conditions to materialise

One cannot plan the exact day on which you are going to swim. Whilst you may have booked your 1 week window within which you hope to swim, weather conditions from day to day may delay or even prevent a swim indefinitely - many swimmers have had to pack up and return home without even having had a chance to swim. The unpredictable English weather changes from being sunny and calm, to stormy, within a few hours.This waiting game and uncertainty plays havoc with your mind to such an extent that when you do climb into the water all your mental preparation and 'psyching' oneself up, has been long forgotten and is wasted. On top of that, being a harbour port and a military base, Dover is not the most pleasurable place to spend your days waiting. A further aspect is the relating to training when waiting. Do you carry on training while waiting or do you rest in case your swim is the next day?

Conditions on the day.

You are on continual standby and are sometimes only given a couple of hours notice before swimming. The weather may be fine when starting out but invariable changes (if not a few times) during the swim. What may have been expected to be a calm sea may turn into gale force winds and rough sea after only a few hours into the Channel.

Sea sickness.

The problem with sea sickness is that you either do not feel like taking in any liquids or foodstuff or alternatively if you do, you tend to vomit everything up, thus losing all the energy source and nutrients. If you do not replace these nutrients then, not only do you endanger your well being, but also will not have enough energy to pull trough the tough period.

Of the more than 6200 known attempts only about 474 people have successfully swum the Channel: a success rate of only about 7%

Exert from Hugh Tucker - 2004.

Aug 1, 2009

Ohio Street Swim - Friday July 31, 2009

Had a nice afternoon swim in slight chop, water temp 67, clear day. Swam 2 miles at 30 minute mile pace and felt very relaxed, pulse steady at 130 and pulse at recovery (1 minute later) 110 beats per minute. Nice finish to the week.

Will try to sign up with BAM's Doug McConnell for a 2.4 miler in Madison in Mid August, should be a good lake swim and tune-up.

Looking forward to Alcatraz in September where 2 years ago I clocked 33 minutes in wetsuit (I know...wetsuit??, it was a first time) but this time going without. It will be interesting to see time difference and feel in the water?? May also do the Tiburon mile the next day if I can get signed in.

Jul 31, 2009


I have continued swimming 5 days a week and developing a sore back shoulder, will get this checked out. so 20,000 yards per weeks (11 miles) as planned. Started introducing longer sets of 5 x 500 and trying to be consistent in time at below 7 minutes with focus on relaxed stroke work.

Will get down to lake Michigan today so it should be fun swimming a miles or two in colder water.

Need to begin focusing on nutrition, I am hungry all the time and getting energy crash in the middle afternoon.

Jul 22, 2009

Got in a quick swim in lake michigan before the rain. Secnd workout of the day so on track.

In the beginning....God made the earth, then God made man and man wanted to go for a swim


I am inviting you to share (should you choose) in one of my life dreams - to swim the English Channel. Perhaps while sharing this journey we may both be inspired.

This journey while rigorous will be fun, filled with many ups and downs but ultimately no different than life itself. It is the journey that defines oneself.

Please know upfront five things are important to me: my family, my god, your friendship, my community and the journey. Everything else follows. I have the utmost respect to know the first four tenants of my journey lead to the last and this is why I ask for your support?

Lets answer that nagging question WHY? For a moment, open your mind to when you were young and dreamed. As you got older you began to ask yourself, Why ......(you fill in the blank)? Seeking knowledge may have been your answer but deeper, wasn't there more? And today your wise enough to know it is the journey that matters as the result is a forgone conclusion to a successful journey?

For me "why" is simple - Can I swim across the English Channel? Asking"why" presumes you have an outcome, end or result already in mind otherwise why ask the question? Its the "how" that matters isn't it?

My journey is to fulfill one of my life long dreams - swimming the English Channel. It began many years ago when my parents signed me up for swim lessons in Indiana. Their desire to raise their kids in small town America was strong and grew from their up-bringing in rural Midwest states. Later they signed me up for the local swim club with the usual parental desire of helping their child become a better person by learning "life skills" via a sport that creates this opportunity through personal focus, challenge and team work. Thus my journey began and I didn't even know it?

So here are the first steps of my plan.

This blog will be the central place to update folks on where I am in this journey and to hopefully receive feedback. Ultimately I hope to incorporate charitable and maybe even sponsorship features.

During this investigation phase getting the logistic's understood and time table is key. I am already swimming an average 20,000 yards per week (11 miles for you land lubbers) but this is just the beginning. I need to do this for a year to get the base needed and then increase up to 38,000 yards as the event nears. I am gathering input from many places, former channel swimmers, teammates on the local Masters swim club - some of whom are really good coaches and swimmers in their own rite, doctors, physiologists, etc. I am seeking the advice from actual channel experiences to formulate the road map.

Physical preparation is a two year effort and will have many hard tests just to check on progress, give myself an at ta-boy once and awhile and to ensure I scale-up correctly. In this early stage, I plan for one month of work for each mile but this will change as advice warrants. I would like to devise milestones along the way that build endurance, physical, cold water and mental experiences into the journey. For this I plan to seek input from those who have come before me like Marcia Cleveland, multi-time channel swimmer and author of Dover Solo who lives here locally among others.

Weather is a huge part of the equation during the swim and this I cannot control unless Poseidon or Oceanus decide to help. I will continue to swim in all types of good and bad weather, day or night and wavy or calm as I understand the channel can change very quickly.

The cold is another key factor and this requires steady acclamation leading up to the event. Warm showers are a thing of the past and finding cold swims 56f + are preferred. This will mean early spring and late fall practices in nearby Lake Michigan.