Monday, July 19, 2010

Thank you!

I know you have all been waiting for my thoughts on my swim, the last few days have been overwhelming, honestly. My hits on this blog were at 600 or so on friday and have doubled since then. I had over 100 facebook notifications, at least 50 text messages and a full voicemail box. Thank you for all the kind words. To hear that I have inspired others, that I have touched lives and that I have left my tiny mark on Montana history has been a wonderful feeling. This is going to be a long post (not 18 hours long, but pretty long : ) ).

I went to bed Friday night at 10:00 pm...most of my family had come into town on Friday. The last of the arrangements were being taken care of, my mom made me spaghetti and I settled into bed with my kitty Delia and my nerves. My first alarm went off at midnight, I awoke for my standard pre-race/event breakfast of a bagel and peanut butter 4 hours before start time. Then I went back to sleep until my second alarm went off at 3:00 am. This was the first time, since I set this goal to swim the Lake in January, that I thought to myself "this is completely crazy!" But, I had the attention of too many people to sleep in now, and I had a little girl to be a hero for. So I put on my swim suit, then my sweats and a t-shirt and my brother drove me to Somers.

Once at Somers my crew was already working to get the boat ready to go, and I prepared myself. I taped a small heart shape rock my sister had found at Somers two days earlier to the outside of my swimsuit with pink duct tape, then I carefully put my wetsuit on, patted the heart, knowing that at the end of my swim I would give this rock to Karmyn, and tell her it had gone the whole way with me. Then my crew assisted me in applying Aquaphor, sunscreen and bug spray. I put a neoprene shirt over my wetsuit, then two glow in the dark bracelets and a glow in the dark necklace. Then after a small "where is the key to the boat" problem, we were off, 24 minutes after 4 in the dark, with only the stars and a GPS as our guide. Those first 4 miles felt great; smooth and relaxed. I knew I had a long day ahead of me, I was taking in liquids every 30 minutes (alternating Cytomax, gatorade-diluted 50/50, and water) and food every hour (my solid food consisted of goldfish crackers, pretzels, gummi bears, sweedish fish and half peanut butter sandwiches).

My first struggle with my swim came in the form of a course dispute with my crew. I wanted to get to the center of the lake as soon as possible, but my crew (with a GPS) thought a new route would be less mileage--more on that later. I ended up just going with what the crew said. The trouble was I wasn't getting firm information on how many miles I had traveled, my sister and Jessica Kato developed a good way to estimate the mileage, that kept me focused, but even at this point, I have yet to learn the exact mileage I actually traveled (waiting on the GPS information to be uploaded).

Visitors during the swim were integral in keeping my spirits high. Carrie Mo and her boat were the first of many friendly faces along the way. Nearly my entire office showed up with a pontoon boat around 10:30 and stayed at my side, paralleling my crew's boat the entire way. Laurie Gregory made several trips out, once to bring my dad out, which I greatly appreciated.

I was taking advil every 4 hours for the early portions of the swim, but had to increase to nearly every 2 hours towards the end. My shoulders were aching so badly at certain points. I knew I had to keep going. It was just like life honestly, there were some dark spots, but with the support of family and friends I was able to get through those dark spots. At the halfway point I had to take my watch off, I was discouraged. At half way, nine hours had passed, I knew I would not be to shore anywhere near the targeted time I had anticipated (mostly because I ended up swimming WAY more miles than I had planned). The thoughts running through my head were worries about no one still being at the finish, and more importantly, it being way past Karmyn's bed time and my concern that she may not be there.

When I my focus got off, various people hopped in and swam with me for sections of the swim. This allowed me to take a break from spotting and have other swimmers help keep me in a straight line. Some of my swimming buddies included Simone, Jim, Roger, Kyle, Laurie, Jennifer and Carrie. This was so helpful at times. Another swimmer alongside me gave me a change in scenery from the dark blue I had been focused on for hours on end.

Once into Polson Bay, I was exhausted, the shore deceivingly looked way closer than it actually was. The beginning of that last stretch was marked by a pep talk from the always encouraging Carrie Mo. Carrie jumped into the lake, with no wetsuit, swam up to me and drew parallels between the marathon running that she is so skilled at and the last portion of my goal that I still had to finish. Carrie talked to me about that last mile, she said the crowd would pull me in, but I had a little more to go before I got there. I told Carrie I was worried no one would still be there because it had taken me SO much longer than I had anticipated. I told her I was concerned about the park closing and every one's cars being locked in the park. Carrie told me not to worry about those things. She said there were at least a dozen people there right then waiting for me. Carrie said the news was there and that the park wouldn't close (I didn't know this at the time, but Carrie jumped out of the boat and called George on shore and told him to get a hold of whoever needed to be contacted to keep the park open--Carrie gets things done!).

So I kept on trucking, through the shoulder pain and tightness, through the thoughts that no one would be waiting for me and through the creeping self doubt that sometimes arises when exhaustion hits. I hit another wall with about 3.5 miles to go. Simone was in the water with me and he said "what's wrong, talk to me," and I told him my shoulders hurt SO bad. Simone told me to cry scream or do whatever I needed to. It was like once I had permission to cry, the flood gates were open. I wasn't even crying for more than one minute, when Simone said, "okay, deep breath, now, you are done. You are stronger than that. Lets keep going, stretch out your strokes and try and kick a little."

The sun went down a short while later and I was still probably two miles from shore, I had trouble spotting until vehicles at the park began to turn on their headlights. I spotted off those headlights, with nothing else to guide me in. I wanted to cry again so badly, I was in pain and the lights didn't seem to be getting any closer. I was counting my strokes, I would get to 100 and then start over, it helped me focus on something other than the pain. Then I continued to focus on the car lights, and I started to sing "this little light of mine" over and over. It was all I could do to keep going. At one point my crew tried to coax me over to the boat to eat more and one of them said "only about an hour left"--they didn't know that I had been telling myself "only an hour left for the past two hours"--so I angrily snapped I DO NOT HAVE AN HOUR LEFT, I refused any more food from that point on, I put my head down and swam. I fought back tears and pain and my focus was on Karmyn, I imagined what she has had to go through in her life so far, I thought about what a tough cookie she must be, and for those last two miles, Karmyn was my hero.

As I got closer to the shore and the welcoming headlights, I heard the crowd, and it was way more than a dozen people, I could tell by the cheering. I almost hit the docks but the friendly voice of Carrie Mo told me exactly where to go. Those last strokes into the shore I was reaching towards the bottom to try and feel the ground, anxiously awaiting the point where I could stand up. When I got there, I tried to stand and I immediately fell, into a puddle of tears, on the shore where at least 50 people had been waiting for me. It was nearly 11pm and so many people wanted to see me finish. Several strong arms helped me to my feet, stripped my wetsuit off and led me over to the grass. Once on the grass, a crowd formed around me, but the first people to come and greet me were Karmyn and her mother Tiffany. I untaped the heart shaped rock from my swim suit and handed it to little Karmyn, and told her it had traveled the whole way with me. Karmyn was shy, but I would be too with the crowd surrounding us taking pictures and video. Karmyn gave me a collage she made of her and her family that said "thank you Emily" and was signed by members of her family. She gave me a bouquet of flowers and then some licorice. She gave me a hug and I had pictures taken with her family and then with other people in the crowd.

My mom later told me that she spoke with Tiffany earlier in the day and she had said that not only would her family be waiting for me to finish, but they would stay until I left the park. And they did, they helped me get to the car and waved goodbye.

This was such an incredible journey for me. I pushed my limits farther than I ever had before. I felt the support of friends and family as well as complete strangers. The advice I have for you reading is this: Dream big...follow those dreams, with all your heart. Doing so may leave you vulnerable and open up the possibility for failure, but I promise you, the dividends that come from big dreams are great. And if you don't have anyone who you think will believe in you, I will believe in you, just like all of you believed in me.

I do not know my fundraising totals yet--many people have asked me that, since I directed most of them to the PO box in Missoula, I won't know the totals there til I make a trip to Missoula (which I think will be this Saturday). Another question that keeps being posed to me is "what is the next big goal"--I don't know yet. I think it is important to rest and recover before setting a new goal. This goal has been my focus for so long, and to be dedicated to something for that long, there has to be a period of rest after. Another question I keep being asked is how many miles I actually swam. My estimates are between 32 and 34 miles, but I am still waiting to hear from the members of the crew that had the GPS for a final mile count after the information was uploaded. Multiple people have encouraged me to write a book, or start a foundation to continue raising money for kids, but again, right now, I want to ride this wave of satisfaction and really enjoy what I have accomplished.

I would like to thank my boat crew and onland supporters: My sister Amanda, who tracked my nutrition, answered my cell phone, and posted updates on Facebook until my phone died. My former YMCA swimmers Simone Musco, Roger Gerhart and Jessica Kato who were so supportive and encouraging along the way. My current athletes Jim Kuffel (training for an English Channel swim) and Cassie Cranston (training for her first triathlon). I would like to thank my parents, Fred and Sue, for always believing in me and supporting me. My brother Paul, for his excellent photography skills and for always being at my sport events. I would also like to thank Wild Wave Boat Rental in Lakeside for donating the use of the pontoon boat for the day.

Thank you so much for your support! I couldn't have done this without the support of you all! : )

Friday, July 16, 2010

What do you mean "try"

So my sister Krissy said to my niece this morning: "at this time tomorrow, Auntie will try to swim across Flathead lake," to which my niece replied "What do you mean try?!?!?!?!" I love that kid....thanks Hannah Banana! : )

The last of my dedications, and I apologize, they will just be a list, even though these people are just as important as the others I have listed, however, it is 9:12pm and I've got to get up at 3:15 tomorrow.

5-Simone--my good friend who has trained with me many times, even on my birthday set of 27-100s

6-The Gerharts-a very supportive family at the Y who I worked with in the pool

7-Joshua- my "little" brother

10- The Happs- Bea and guys rock, thank you for all your support.

11-Ellen Parchen- Ellen was very encouraging to me as a coach and even when I had big ideas, she always helped me make them happen.

12-Charles Woods- Editor at the Montana Lawyer magazine, did an GREAT article on the swim.

13-Amanda- my sister, supporter and friend....

14-Katie’s cousins- eased my fears of the water temperature by taking me out on their boat for a dip in the middle of the lake

16-YMCA swimmers- this group of people helped define me as a coach and helped prepare me to move forward to the next chapter of my life.

17- Katie Mazurek-Katie once counted for me as I swam a 10,000, she pretty much rocks!

19-Extended family- so many people have sent me emails and letters of support, I cannot even begin to express my thankfulness to call you all family.

22-Mrs. Stone-she was my first grade teacher who encouraged me to join swim team.

23-Katie Schulz-my publicist, puppy sitter and possibly my biggest supporter in Kalispell, I could NOT have done this without you.

24-Nicole Erickson-my best friend since 4th grade...I miss you.

27-Paul- My brother and superfan....he's held season tickets to the Emily show since as long as I can remember.

29-Dixie---my puppy, its about mile 29 that I hope to get a dose of that puppy energy of hers

30-Karmyn- mile 30 and every mile before as well as every training mile also goes to Karmyn, may you have a full recovery from this disease and then set out to achieve every dream you can imagine!

There is a possibility due to navigation that I may end up doing more than 30 miles, any extra miles go to anyone who said or thought I couldn't do this.

I will carry you all with me tomorrow! Thanks! : )

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Excited! Nervous! Ready to go!

Okay, so I got my last practice swim in today! Did a short swim and tried out my new neoprene shirt to wear over my wetsuit for the early morning part of my swim. It worked out pretty well, but its kind of tight around my neck, however I think in the morning before the sun comes up, my arms being covered will be a nice treat.

I also got to speak with Ron Stevens, the 2nd person to swim the lake. He was very encouraging and offered me some advice...and for that Ron gets mile 4!

Here's a few more mile dedications:

Mile 21: Lynne Cox. She was a pretty phenomenal distance swimmer (I should say "is"--she still swims). She wrote the book Swimming to Antarctica. A lot of her record breaking swims took place in the 70s, and she swam in REALLY cold water with no wetsuit. She's pretty inspirational.

Mile 18: Laurie Gregory. Laurie was one of my YMCA swimmers and I also worked with her one on one. Laurie let me swim out at her place on Big Arm to train and followed along spotting me in her boat. She is also providing some shuttling services on the big swim day!

Mile 2: Tha coaches of swimming past. My athletic career was shaped by so many coaches, and they all made me the athlete I am today. My first coach was Kim Olson, and without her none of this would have happened, and I honestly cannot imagine what my life would have been like without swimming. Other notable coaches include: Christie Taylor, Mark Olson, Todd Thurnau, Candi Eslinger, Jackie LeGore, and I am sure I am missing a few....

Mile 8: My office. My co-workers have been SOOOOO supportive of me in this endeavor, its unreal. They are renting a boat and will be out supporting me. They constantly are asking how my training is going and how they can help.

Mile 25: My sister Krissy. Krissy gets 25, becuase whenever anyone asks how old she is, my reply is 25! : ) Krissy was a great role model to me growing up and was always really excited about my various events/races, etc. One particular thing I will always remember was one scholarship that I had procrastinated mailing in and on the day that it was due, Krissy drove it all the way to Seattle from Marysville so it would get in on time. And I got that scholarship. Krissy also sent letters to Ellen and Brian Williams about bragging about my swim. : )

Mile 28: Erika Thompson. Erika gets mile 28 because I know at mile 28 I am going to be tired and hurting and if there is any person I know that can get through the tough spots that life throws your way, it is Erika. I hope I can be as tough as Erika on mile 28.

The rest will have to come tomorrow! : )

Two more days!

I can't believe its almost time! I'm very excited! Its been a busy week trying to get all the last minute arrangements in order. Tonight I have my last practice and then I am going to start getting my nutrition in order.

Some more mile dedications:

Mile 3: The three muskateers (Jessica, Haley and Cassie). These girls came to me as a group last fall for semi-private swimming lessons. I always looked forward to those lessons becuase they were happy and laughed the entire time, no matter what I asked them to do. They each made so much improvement in such a short period of time and it was really inspirational. Then to top that off, they are super supportive of everyone! These ladies sent me a beautiful vase of daisy's at work yesterday for good luck!

Mile 9: Mom gets mile 9. I started swimming at age nine and my mom was there for every stroke for the majority of my swimming career. She not only was the one doing most of the driving to and from practices and swim meets, but she also used to sit in the pool area and watch every practice so that after practice when the cute little 9 year old version of me asked "did you see it when...." she would be able to say yes. My mom has always been my biggest fan and best supporter. Thanks mom.

More later! : )

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I love a good taper!

Yesterday was a rest day, tonight I will get a short swim in. My sister gets into town around lunchtime today!!!! She thinks its a vacation....I think she will be my assistant for the week...any bets on how this will play out? : )

Today I am going to start talking about my mile dedications. I won't do this in order, just as they come to me:

Mile 26: the Moe Family. This is the most athletic family I have ever met. I taught the Moe kids, Jackson and Bridger, swim lessons and worked with Shawn and Carrie in the pool as well. Carrie Moe is one of the most encouraging and positive people I know. When I was struggling this past year, the Moes really helped me get through it and when I succeeded they celebrated my accomplishments as if they were there own. And I stole the mile dedication idea from Carrie....thanks guys!

Mile 1: Jim Kuffel. Jim started all this, seriously. The lake swim idea emerged at the end of a training session I had with him (Jim and some friends are training to swim the English Channel this summer). Jim NEVER expressed any doubt, never tried to talk me out of it and was always encouraging and supportive. I could NOT have done this without him.

Mile 15: Dad. Dad gets happy halfway. My dad is the hardest working person I know. As a child, I can remember my father helping just about anyone who needed help. He was the guy people came to for favors, and I can't remember him ever saying no to anyone. We were not a rich family by any means, but the five of us kids never did without anything really. My dad instilled in me my work ethic and taught me hard work pays off.

Mile 20: The niece and nephews. Mile 20 goes to Hannah, Garret and Lucas. Growing up I always had incredible role models in my older siblings. I hope to be as much of a role model for my niece and nephews. I think in a world of Lindsay Lohans' and Brittney Spears' getting so much attention for bad behavior, it is really important for kids to have positive role models (especially teen girls). I love those kids.

Gotta get to work....more dedications later...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I believe in myself and that makes me stronger... behind on posts again! Sorry! Here's what you missed:

Wednesday: SHORT swim, about 30 was a bad swim due to boats and jet skis, that's all I want to say about that one!

Thursday: Got to leave the office a little early and swam about an hour at Somers. It was pretty crowded since it was such a hot day. An icecream truck driver recognized me from the paper and asked if I was swimming the whole thing that afternoon, I told him I had a little over a week before the big day. He wished me good luck and with that encouragement I had a wonderful practice! Before the swim I was interviewed by KAJ, here is a link to the interview:

Friday: I was exhausted after this week! I was trying to get some comp time so I might be able to take the Monday after my swim off, so I was going to work early and staying up a little late, on top of getting as much swimming in as I could. So I took friday off!

Saturday: Saturday I drove down to Polson to train. I swam for about an hour and it felt wonderful. Then I drove back up to Kalispell and my co-worker Katie took me to her cousin's and they were kind enough to take me out to the middle of the lake so I could check the temperature and swim a little. The temp was 68 degrees! It felt wonderful and knowing that the temp was so high really alleviated a little anxiety I was having about the temperature. After the swim I was also able to go out on the pontoon that will be my support boat. I am getting super excited about next weekend!!!!!

And today, a rest day! This is the start of my taper week, I am only swimming Tuesday and Thursday of this week and the goal this week is to rest up for Saturday. I am re-reading one of my favorite books, Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox--it's a fantastic story of a long distance swimmer who did some amazing swims in the 70s in VERY cold water without a wetsuit. Its pretty inspirational.

I will have my mile dedications posted this week! : )

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Catch up!

Sorry....I've been bad about updating recently. Here's the summary of what you all missed....

Thursday and Friday---I took off....needed the sleep.

Saturday I did a solo swim in Foys. Before the swim, some other swimmers recognized me, and we "talked shop" for a bit before I got in. One of the men knew both the guys who have swam Flathead and offered up some advice. All in all the group I ran into that day was very encouraging and supportive! My practice that day felt nice and stretched out, I swam the fulll length of Foys (which I would guess is about a mile and a half each way) and back-I negative split the swim. I felt great until I got out and realized some jerk stole my towel...I had to go home wet and cold! : (

Sunday I swam at the Happ's cabin on Lake Bitterroot. Weather conditions were not that great, it was cold and for a portion of the practice there were whitecap waves! Craig kayaked beside me the whole 2 hours and 7 minutes, although made a point to remind me several times that as a responsible adult he probably should have told me the weather was too bad to swim....but he didn't! : ) After my swim the Happ's showered me with hospitality by covering me with towels and blankets and seating me right in front of the fire with a delicious dinner!

Today I drove up to Big Arm, off to the West of Flathead and swam from my friend Laurie's place. Laurie was kind enough to boat along beside me. I got in an hour swim. The water temp at this spot in Flathead feels to be at least 5-7 degress colder than the temp. up at Somers. Lauries husband, an avid sailor, set some of my worries at ease regarding my course choice (North to South) when he described the higher than normal flow feeding into the Lake from the Flathead River as well as a typical wind flow that goes North to South every morning on the Lake. Water current and windflow in the direction of my swim course will def. be a great help!

Tomorrow's post I will begin dedicating my miles. I am borrowing the idea from my good friend Carrie Mo, who has a ritual of dedicating various miles of her marathon to different important people in her life. So stay tuned, tomorrow begins the listing of what I will be thinking about for those thirty miles!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


So I am in love with Somers as a spot to practice. Yesterday I met a Missoulian Photographer (my newspaper streak continues with an article on the swim in Thursday's Missoulian) to take some photos and then I swam a little. I only swam for about 30 minutes (the photo taking took a little longer than I expected), but I swam around three tiny little islands which had little tiny cabins on them. Someday, maybe I will have a cabin on an island!

Today, I returned to my Somers swim spot with my puppy Dixie, my co-worker Katie and Katie's dog Scout (who is also Dixie favorite dog to play with---she is also a lab). So Dixie isn't much of a swimming buddy yet, she will swim but she gets tired easily and won't go out far. But Scout is full grown and loves her toys being thrown WAY out and then swimming to retrieve them. So I came up with an alternate training regime this evening. Katie would throw the toy (at least 40 yards I'd say), then Scout and I would race to try and get it first. I was laughing so hard becuase Scout was cut-throat about getting to the toy first and she can swim pretty fast! We must have done this at least 30-40 times and Scout didn't seem to tire. I wasn't wearing my wetsuit today, nor was I wearing goggles or a cap (I thought that would be cheating), but I got an hour and a half of swimming in and I was laughing the whole time!

July is here tomorrow...and that means the countdown begins! 17 more days!

Monday, June 28, 2010


It was a LONG weekend! I swam early Saturday morning in Foys Lake. I was the only one in the Lake and it felt fantastic. I swam for about an hour. Beautiful morning for a swim!

Then I packed up the car and my puppy and I headed to CDA, ID for the Ironman on Sunday. If you've never watched an Ironman before, I highly suggest it. I love it becuase you see such raw emotions. There are the wonderful moments of watching people cross the finish line after in some cases 15 plus hours of racing, but also the disappointing ones like athletes getting pulled off the course due to exceeding time limits. The half a dozen athletes I was there to watch all had exceptional races. After a 15 hour day cheering on my friends in the hot sun, I drove back to Kalispell, getting home about 1am.

Then I had to be at work at 8, and since I don't like coffee, my only caffiene choice this morning was Chai tea. But even with that, I was very tired all day!

So now, despite the fact that the weather is perfect, I am severely sleep deprived and planning on going to sleep at 7pm! This is a key week for long practices, and I don't want to start a hard week off feeling this tired!

Oh and I was in the Daily Interlake on the FRONT PAGE yesterday! Here's the link:

The article indicated that there would be a donation location at Glacier Bank, but its looking like they won't be able to do that. Still looking for a donation location up in Kalispell. But donations can still be sent to my Missoula PO box: 3601 Missoula MT 59803; and there is a Missoula Federal Account named: 50K Benefit for Karmyn.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The things we want

"We do not get unlimited chances to have the things we want...nothing is worse than missing an opportunity that could have changed your life."

I had a busy week. A good week, but gosh am I exhausted. I heard this quote on tv today...and I liked it a lot. I want crazy things, I set big goals and I tend to just go for it. I think this swim is an opportunity that may change my life. I love big goals...goals that make you know yourself better, goals that test your limits. Find big goals and go for it! : )

Last night I took a quick dip in Foys...only about a 30 min. swim, but the evening got away from me and that was all the time I had. Then this morning, I got up bright and early at 5am and went down to Somers (right were I will be starting the swim on the 17th) and swam for another brief swim (30 min. ish). I want to start getting used to getting up and going from the nice-cozy-I-just-got-out-of-bed-feel to THIS-LAKE-IS-KINDA-COLD. I was pleasantly surprised when I got in this morning and it didn't feel cold to me AT ALL!!! I would guess it was around 64-66 degrees--which is all I asked for! : )

My only complaint about the early am swim was that there apparently were mosquitoes that were crosses between bugs and elephants...they were huge and I have 4 of the biggest mosquito bites I have ever had! So, note to self...add bugspray to the list!

Tomorrow, depending on the weather I am either going to swim in Foys for a bit in the morning, or I will swim inside at the Wave. Then I am heading CDA, ID to watch the Ironman! My good friends Savannah, George, Tom, Shandor and Randy are all racing! I love watching people race, especially big races like this--watching dreams coming true, goals accomplished--there is nothing better!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Time is FLYING by!

Three and a half weeks til my swim! I'm getting excited-nervous....more excited than anything else. I am overwhelmed by the support I have been much from people that hardly know me!

Yesterday I swam in Foys lake for an hour and 15 min. with my good friend Savannah. It was a wonderful night for a swim--it had been cloudy most of the day, but the evening was sunny with hardly a cloud in the sky.

Today I am going to try and get the boat secured for the 17th!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cover Girl

So I am pretty excited about this! I just got a donation from someone who said they saw an article about me in the latest Montana Lawyer Magazine....I hadn't yet recieved the latest magazine, so I looked it up on line and my swim is the COVER STORY!!!! Holy cow, right? Here's the link:

They didn't give photo credit in the magazine, but my very talented brother Paul took both the shots they used in the magazine. : ) Thanks Paully!

I haven't written since the Duck incident, sorry if anyone was worried about a possible head injury from Daffy...but it was just a REALLY busy week last week. Had a training out of town that kept me out of the pool Tuesday through Friday.

I took a little dip in Flathead Lake on Saturday (this was supposed to be an actual swim, but my swimmers didn't show up...and you all remember the promise I made ot my dad about not swimming alone). But the temp. in Flathead Lake is showing some promise despite the CONSTANT rain we've had in the last week. It's up to about 59-60 degrees, which is dooable, but please, for my sake, keep your fingers crossed for at least 64 degrees by July 17th!

Today, I swam for 4 hours at the Wave. I did the following:
500 swim 500 pull 100 kick 400 swim 400 pull 100 kick
4000 swim
200 kick
3000 swim
200 kick
2000 swim
200 kick
1000 swim

I was VERY tired after that practice (and VERY hungry)...but I didn't let myself take a nap this afternoon, as I am trying to work on getting to bed super early so I can start getting used to early am's and afternoon naps to nothing to help that!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Duck tails

So yesterday I got hit by a duck...but we'll get to that in a minute...

Last Thursday and Friday I took off. Saturday I did a tiny little 2000 yard swim (400 SKIPS), and Sunday I did 2800 yards in 50 minutes at the outdoor pool (short swim becuase they only have short lap swims here--I guess NO ONE here lap swims!).

Yesterday though...I swam in Foys and rocked it--except for the duck. The water was about 64 degrees--which is PERFECT! Savannah and I swam for about 45 minutes.

While swimming, a duck was initiating duck-take-off-mode and I had my head in the water swimming. My spotting pattern has me breathing typically to my right side, so I didn't see the duck start the take off to the left and it hit me in the head! I was laughing SO hard....that has never happened before.

I felt really great after that swim...I am positive I could handle 64 degrees for at least 15 hours and I feel pretty confident that Flathead will be at least that warm in 4 and a half weeks!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Feeling GREAT today

After taking yesterday off (becuase I was EXHAUSTED) and getting a good night's sleep, I had a wonderful swim today! Once again, I had the pool to myself. I did a 1200 warmup (every 4th 100 IM), then 4 x 200 free, 400 IM, 3 x 200 free, 600 pull, 2 x 200 free, 800 pull, 200 easy. Total was 5000 yards in about an hour and 15 minutes. The whole time I felt really smooth and relaxed (which was a nice change after how tight my shoulders were feeling yesterday).

I don't have the energy to write much more than that...gotta get to bed!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Oh Monday, monday monday!

Here's a little bit of how my day went:

Slept TERRIBLY! Probably feel asleep around midnight--ughhh

4:30 am alarm goes off...I promptly turn it off in a manner that may or may not have resembled throwing it across the room. Thus, I did not get in my planned 6000 yard swim this morning.

6:10 am--second alarm goes off, hit snooze til 6:30. Played with puppy in the yard until 7, hoping I could tire her out (was unsuccesful, but I did tire myself out).

8-12 work

Lunchbreak spent contemplating whether or not to make up my missed swim in the evening or try for another 4:30 am wake-up on Tuesday.

1-5 work

5-6...another hour spent trying to tire the puppy, before heading to the pool

6:15-7:55--6,000 yards in 1 hour and 40 min! It was SUCH a struggle to get to the pool today, but once I got there, the yards came easily. I had the whole pool to myself, which again is my favorite thing ever! : )

But now...since most of my day was spent away from puppy...I must go run a little with her to burn up her endless supply of puppy energy! I am quite sure I will sleep well tonight!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Along came a spider...

I first have a confession to make...sometimes I'm lazy. I was lazy Thursday AND Friday....and didn't swim at all those days! Booooo----I know. BUT, this morning I got up bright and early and swam 11,000 yards in 3 hours and 10 min.! That's a little over 6 and a half miles! I did the following: 2 x 1000, 2 x 900, 2 x 800, 2 x 700, 2 x 600, 2 x 500, 2 x 500, 2 x 400, 2 x 300, 2 x 200, 2 x 100. I pulled any of the odd number distances. I thought I would get bored somewhere in the middle (which is what usually happens on longer swim attempts), but I didn't!

I had a distraction though...

There was a SPIDER in my lane. Yes, it was dead, but it was a spider and I HATE spiders. It kept getting WAY too close to my face for my comfort. At one point, I thought it got sucked into the gutter (I had kept seeing it at a certain spot in the pool), and just when I started getting concerned that I had swallowed it or something it ALL of a SUDDEN was at the other end of the pool. That makes me think it hitched a ride on me....ugghhhh. Now, there are probably two things you are thinking 1) I should have scooped it out and 2) there will probably be at least one dead spider in the lake (among other things). Well, to that I say, 1) I could not scoop it out, I might have accidently touched it and 2) in the lake I won't be able to SEE it!

Well, regardless, the spider distracted me enough that not once did I contemplate reducing my workout, and THAT earned me a smoothie after my swim!

Six weeks til July 17th! : )

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Good day!

My day today began at 6 am, when I tried to tire out the puppy before going to work for the first 8-5 work day that I have had in years. : ) I had a wonderful day, but was only able to fit in about an hour swim. I did 3100 yards and had the pool to myself virtually the whole time. I love quiet and all tht surrounds me is water and pool noises. The only thing that would have made it better is if they would have turned out the pool lights (which they do for the last hour, but I finished my swim before the lights out swim started--maybe next time).

Tomorrow I close on my house after work, but I am hoping I can get in an 8000 yard practice after that! And then its almost Friday! : )

Next week I've got to start going to bed earlier so that I can get into a swim before work schedule...but that involves a 4:30am wake up!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Short story today

So I didn't end up doing the IM set today. Instead I did a workout that consisted of mostly 800s. I did about 5100 yards today in about 1 hour and a half. I had a lot to get done today because the new job starts tomorrow! : )

Monday, May 31, 2010

Another reason swimming is GREAT

So, after a first-time-mowing-the-lawn adventure yesterday, it appears I may have developed a grass allergy or something...I woke up this morning and felt like I'd been hit by a truck. I felt all stuffed up and my throat and sinuses hurt! But then....I forced myself to go swim (wrote an overly ambitious workout of 8000 yards thinking I'd likely only get through half) and after about a thousand warmup I felt awesome! I think chlorine might counter alleries! I got the nearly 5 miles done in about 2 hours and 20 minutes. Afterwards, I enjoyed a hot tub break and then a berry smoothie from the juice bar--DELISH!

Tomorrow I'm thinking I might do my favorite IM set!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Slowly getting a new routine down!

I didn't swim on Friday, but I did choose a pool! I joined The Wave, which I am pretty excited about. The pool is really nice and has LOTS of lap swim times! The Wave is further away from my house than the Summit, but I will drive further for a less crowded pool, plus Savannah works there! : )

So now that I have a gym and a pool I can swim at whenever I want, I started to get into my workouts-in-the-morning routine. When I start the new job on Wednesday, workouts before work is going to be the best option. So this morning, on a Saturday mind you, I got up at 6:30 am and went to workout. First I did about 15 minutes on the eliptical (I'm trying to slowly get back into running after a period of IT-band issues and the elipitcal is a low stress way to do that). Then I did about 4500 yards in the pool (and for much of it I had the WHOLE pool to myself). It was a great workout and I followed it up with 10 minutes of hot tub time!

The rest of my day was spent mostly indoors, as it rained and rained and rained some more! Tomorrow I am going to pool swim first thing in the morning, then try out another lake (rain or shine) in the afternoon...and maybe teach my puppy to swim!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

And then it rained some MORE!

Haven't gotten to swim outside since Monday, as the rain hasn't let up much here this week. Today in particular was very rainy and windy. So rather than exploring for more lakes to swim in, today I tried out another indoor pool here. I swam today at the Summit. The pool is really nice, but I'm not sure about the lap swim availability. I used a guest pass today, and I talked to a few other swimmers about lap swim times. It sounds like the early morning times are pretty open, and I guess since the full time job starts next week, the 5 am lap swims will be my slot!

Interesting thing about the Summit is that it is half salt water! Now those of you that swim probably know that different pools "taste" different, but the salt water mixed with Chlorine really tastes different. I swam in a pool back in Washington during club swimming that was a salt water mix. Those kinds of pools are REALLY fast pools (buoyancy is increased), but I'm not sure that I will be able to stay in for long without swimming with gum in my mouth. : )

So my swim today was only about 3000 yards in a little under an hour. I hope to get an outdoor swim in tomorrow if the weather is better. But should the rain clouds stick around through the weekend, I will decide which gym I am going to join tomorrow and I can get in a long pool swim.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Great swim today!

Today I went to The Wave with Savannah and swam 6000 yards in about a hour and a half! It felt REALLY great. The swim was about 1000 warm up and then 5 x 1000's alternating swim and pull. I really like the pool at the Wave. I am still trying to decide on which gym I join. The Wave is in Whitefish, and it is really nice and also has a lot of open pool time. Tomorrow I am going to check out the Summit, which is the facility in Kalispell.

Feeling a little bit its off to bed! : )


Learning as I go here, so for any of my worrying supporters (Mom, dad, Paul...), maybe skip this post. Swam in Foys Lake Monday (if you recall that was the lake that I lasted only two minutes in last month as it was 52 degrees). I am all moved in up in Kalispell and Foys Lake is the closest lake to my house. My friend Savannah assured me that Foys was 60 degrees, which is about what Frenchtown pond was last week. Once at Foys, I checked the temp. at the shore which was 59 degrees, however I believe the center of the lake had to have been more like 55!

We swam about a thousand yards, staying in for roughly 15 minutes. My arms were freezing, but after about 5-8minutes I could no longer feel them. I told Savannah I didn't think we should stay in much longer, as hypothermia is something I don't want. Upon getting out of the water my arms were beat red and covered in tiny welts. We stripped off our wetsuits, bundled up and cranked the heat in Savannah's car. I felt better by the time we got back to my house, but still waited about an hour to take a warm shower (jumping right into a warm shower after a cold swim is not a good idea).

Tuesday I felt terrible. From Monday night to Tuesday afternoon, I slept about 14-16 hours, and I couldn't stay warm. So yesterday I did not work out, in fact I barely left my bed. Waking up this morning I am feeling MUCH better, but I think my rule has to be no water temps lower than 60 degrees!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I LOVE swimming outside

I am happy to report I have gotten TWO open water swims in this week. Both were in Frenchtown Pond. The temp. is about 60-62 degrees right now, but felt pretty good with a wetsuit. I swam 32 minutes on Sunday (after a short bike ride). Today I got in a nice 45 minutes and I felt I could have stayed in longer (temperature wise), but I was SO hungry. I swam by myself today, but there were a few onlookers on the shore looking at me like I was nuts. I love that part. : )

I'm moving up to Kalispell on Thursday and hoping I can get a swim in up there outside too!

If you aren't an open water swimming fan, I suggest trying it. I feel more at peace in the middle of a lake by myself than I do anywhere else. I've been pretty overwhelmed lately with the changes occuring in my life and swimming sure grounds me.

Anyway, more later! Thanks to everyone who is reading, I love the encouragement and support!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Open Water Swim...attempt No. 2

Again, its been crazy lately with the move and all, I promise my posts will be more regular again next week! I forgot to mention that about two weeks ago I attempted my first open water swim of the season. Yes, I said attempted! My good friend Savannah and I tried to swim in Foys Lake up by Kalispell. It was 52 degrees. That's pretty cold. My wetsuit doesn't have arms felt like they were being poked with about 1000 needles! We lasted about 2 minutes, then retreated to Savannah's gym, sat in the hot tub, then swam for a few hours in the pool.

Today, I am going on a bike ride with my good friend Erika and I'm planning on getting a little swim in after that in Frenchtown pond. I'll post later and let you know how it went! : )

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cherry Creek Radio station interviews today!

I will be on the following stations morning shows this morning talking about my swim:

StarFM – KXDR “Today’s Hit Music”Hot
Z100 KZOQ “Missoula’s Classic Rock”Classic Rock /
Eagle 93 – KGGL “The Most Country Music”
Oldies 106.7 KBQQ “The Greatest Hits of All Time” /

You should listen! : )

Monday, May 10, 2010

Twice the speed of life

Agghh! Its been too loong since I posted I know (I was doing really well posting every day there for awhile)! Anyway, last week was another low yardage week due to getting everything into place for the big move in a week and a half! Things are moving REALLY fast in my life right now (new job, new house, etc), but my training should get back on track this week.

I had a few really good workouts over the past week, and a few I'd like to forget. Sometimes when I am training a lot I get a knot under my right shoulder blade that is REALLY painful. This hampered my weekend workouts this past week, but its getting better!

Some exciting news this week: a local radio station (Cherry Creek Radio) is interviewing me on Thursday on all four of their morning shows to help me promote the swim! Also, I spoke to Karmyn's mom this weekend and it sounds like she is doing really well. Donation checks are starting to roll in as well, I'm excited for the fundraising to get going!

Thanks for all the support and encouragement!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Unplanned low-yardage week

If I know anything about training its this: you must be flexible with your training plan. This week, I was slated to complete 45,000 yards. Unfortunately, my to-do list this week included finding a house...which turned into buying a house...which apparently takes a little time! : ) So, rather than stress out about getting all my yardage in, it looks like I'm just going to do the best I can this week.

Tuesday I took the day off. And yesterday I only swam about 1800 yards as an "at least I got in the water" practice.

I'm going to get a longer swim in this afternoon hopefully. I think I can fit in a 3 hour practice. More later! : )

Monday, April 26, 2010

A little encouragement goes a long way...

Mark Twain said "I could live for two months off a good compliment." I like that quote.

I strive everyday to encourage and compliment others because I understand the importance of knowing you've got people in your corner, people who believe in you without fail. I get quite frustrated at those people I like to call "dream stealers". You know the type...when listening to another person's goals or aspirations, instead of a "you can do it," or "that's fantastic," they reply with a myriad of reasons why it can't be done. I think that there is plenty of pessimism in the world, why not encourage someone and add to their energy instead of trying to tear it down?

If you're thinking someone tried to dream squash me are right. Mondays are usually my favorite day of the week, but today I was attempting to push through and get an extra workout in instead of taking Monday off (and my last day off was a week ago). My body protested and I only got through 3500 yards of my planned 6,000 yard workout. It happens, you have to let some workouts go. But then, as I was leaving the pool, eager to hop in the shower, wash away the slight disappointment and move on to tomorrow, a dream stealer engaged me in conversation. Now, I don't particularly like this woman, but I am capable of being polite even to people I do not care for. So she starts off by saying that she heard I was swimming Flathead Lake...and then goes on to list reasons why it is ridiculous. I simply put up my hand to stop her and told her I would be fine.

Now, I won't let someone like that discourage me, its not my style. But I do encourage all of you reading this to go out on a limb for someone, believe in someone, even if what they are attempting sounds crazy. I guarantee you, being a part of another person's support system is so rewarding because when they achieve their goal, you were a part of what got them there and they will be forever grateful.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

40,000 for the week!

Oh boy am I tired! : ) Today I woke up with a VERY tight IT band (from running), but luckily my workout for today consisted of a nice 4,000 yard recovery swim. With that 4,000 yards, my weekly total is at 40,000! I'm feeling fantastic! Today I am tired, but my shoulders are not really all that sore. I think my training plan is working as good as I could have hoped.

I'm still hungry nearly all the time....this youtube video depicts it quite well...I'm the German in this commercial...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Double post

I post twice today, mosly because I am quite proud of myself and what I did today! As I mentioned this morning, I was competing in the Riverbank Run's Trifecta event, which amounted to about 10 miles of running. I had a great race number, 299 and the race felt decent. I took a short nap after the race and awoke feeling terrible. My IT-band felt really tight and I wanted to bag the whole afternoon swim idea.

But I didn't.

Nope, I drug my tired body to the pool and completed 10,500 yards in 3 hours and 45 minutes! The first 2,000 was kind of hard, but after that I felt loosened up and actually quite great. I had friends with me in the pool the last hour, which really helped. After swimming I ate a gigantic salad and some pizza and watched movies...that's my kind of Saturday night! : )

Running in the rain is kind of like swimming...

Didn't get a chance to write yesterday, but it wasn't that eventful pool-wise. Surprisingly, I wasn't all that sore from the mondo-yardage the day before (but I credit that to getting an embarrasingly large amount of sleep). Yesterday I swam a nice little 1,000 yards...just to stretch out.

Today I am participating in the YMCA's Riverbank run. I will be doing the Trifecta which consists of a 10K, a 5K and a 1 mile run. I don't particularly enjoy running, but it looks like it might rain and I like running in the rain.

After the run I will head to the pool this afternoon and attempt a 10,500 yard workout (writing it means I have to do it!). : )

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A double-sided index card day

This morning I got up at 4:30 and was at the YMCA from 5:00-about 8:45. I swam 9,500 yards! The first portion of my swim I did with a tri client, Shandor. Swimming with other people really helps make the time go by faster. I write my workouts on index cards (my coach in college used to write our workouts on index cards) and today the workout took up both sides. The first 6,000 went pretty smoothly, but the last 3,000 was a bit of a struggle. I am not having any pain in my shoulders, but my arms felt pretty heavy and I was really hungry. I ate some shotblocks during the practice and discovered that my new favorite flavor is Tropical Fruit. Yum! Although I did get yelled at for eating on the pool deck!

I rewarded myself with a fuddruckers hamburger and a chocolate milkshake for lunch...not the healthiest lunch ever, but I'd been craving one for a while. After my lunch I took a well deserved 2.5 hour nap. I'm feeling a bit sore now, but very satisfied with my workout today!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Burning both ends of the night

Yesterday I swam 12,000 yards and it barely phased me. Hardly felt tired yesterday at all, which had me thinking I might have developed a super power. However, this morning, I was VERY sore and no matter how much I ate I felt starving all day! I was going to try and get 6,000 yards in after coaching this evening, but given my level of exhaustion by 7:30pm, I decided a nice light 3,000 recovery-like swim would probably be more appropriate.

The first 30 minutes felt terrible, however after that point, my shoulders started to loosen up and my stroke felt a little less forced. Swimming so late in the evening is tough, because I will turn around tomorrow morning and be back at the pool at 5 am. Luckily tomorrow I have the afternoon/evening off so I can get a nice nap in hopefully! : )

The weather has been pretty warm in Missoula this week and I am counting down the days until my first open water swim of the year (13 days--Foys Lake with Savannah!)...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

50K for Karmyn

I've created this blog to track my last 3 months leading up to my Solo Flathead Lake swim. On July 17, 2010 I will be swimming from Somers, MT to Polson, MT, a distance of about 30 miles (0r 50,000 yards). I am raising money for 2 1/2 year old Karmyn Flanagan who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in November of 2009.

Since I made this goal back in January (so in 13 weeks) I have swam a toal of 209,800 yards!

I will be tracking my fundraising efforts and training on this blog. So I'll keep swimming and you keep reading! : )