This post may change if I decide to “improve” the story.
Or if I remember more details.
Yesterday morning, my alarm kicked off at 4 am. I had gone to bed about six hours earlier, so I had enough energy to get out of bed, without snoozing. Skipping the shower, I dressed in jammers, tech shirt and Tevas, grabbed my tri bag and headed out the door.
Eric Church played in the truck as I steeled myself against the day. The furthest I’d ever swam was 4.5 miles at a training swim with Patrick Phillips, at Deer Creek, a couple of years ago. Swimming at 8 lakes in a day would be no picnic.
I met up with the SLOW group at Josh Green’s house, where we were excited, but subdued as a group. We piled in to Gordon’s van and started our adventure. Today’s team of swimmers would consist of:
I took some notes after each swim, because I knew I wouldn’t remember anything about anything, once it was over. Here’s what I came up with (notes have been expanded upon for readability. The small thumbnails that belong to each lake can be clicked through for a larger image.)
1. Causey Reservoir (Weber County)
Distance: .60 (guessing on all of these stats, because for some reason, my watch didn’t record this one.)
Started at 7:00 am?
Avg pace: 56:00 minutes, maybe?
Temp: 70 degrees
The air was cold. I started shivering before we even got in. We started off by swimming toward some cliffs, where we exited the water to jump from some small cliffs. It was very fun. The water that we navigated was extremely clear (and deep!). Compared to Utah Lake, this was a bit of a shock. I don’t swim in pools, usually, because Utah Lake is just so close to my house. So it’s a little bit of an adjustment when I see such clear water. I can see my hands and arms in front of me and even read the display on my watch!
I fell behind fast, compared to the other swimmers. Each time I get together with friends, I realize how slowly I swim. I’m not sure what the problem is, exactly, but it falls between two categories, I’m sure:
1. I just paddle too slow.
2. My technique sucks.
This might be the year to get this figured out. Either way, I realized that while most of my peers would be swimming at each lake for about a mile, I’d have to swim about a 1/2 mile, in order to not slow down the schedule.
When I exited the water, I spoke to Gordon a bit about his earplugs. I had felt a bit nauseous and wonder if earplugs might be a good solution. According to a quick search on Google, this is very possible.
2. Pineview Reservoir (down hwy 39 from Causey, in Weber County)
Distance: .59 mi
Started at 8:09 am
Avg pace: 56:21
Temp: 76 degrees
At Pineview Reservoir, we swam an “l” shape. Nausea came back when I started swimming, so I tried breathing more on each side (this required a slower stroke to get full breaths.) It seemed to help for a while. There were a lot of boats on this lake and I noticed other swimmers “prairie-dogging” their surroundings, as I did. The water wasn’t nearly as clear as Causey, but I soon learned that Causey had set the bar very high for our swimming, this day.
3. East Canyon (just south of Morgan, Utah)
Started at 9:53 am
Avg pace: 45:19
Temp: 72 degrees
There was a large hill that we had to hike down in order to get to Eastview Lake. We did so, only to hike further though mud. A lot of mud. Basically, there was a big, muddy rim that evidenced the lack of water in our reservoirs and lakes, here in Utah. It’s humbling to realize that we depend so heavily upon snowpack and rain for our sustenance.
Before we pushed off for our swim, I heard a boater say something about “dumbasses are swimming” and something about what it did to his fishing. For the entire swim, I worked on something creative and funny to say to him when I got out of the water.
I had a decent pace on this swim, it seemed. A good stroke and I felt strong.
When we exited the water, I realized that it was raining. Later, I asked my van-buddies if they knew it was raining, while they’d been swimming. None really had. But we hiked back up the muddy trail to the van and finally reached the top. I was breathing hard.
I admit- during this swim, some of my breakfast came back up. It made me nervous about the rest of the day.
4. Echo Reservoir (Coleville, Utah)
Distance: .84 mi
Started at 11:14 am
Avg pace: 51:17
Temp: 72 degrees
This lake had shallow mud. We had to wade out about 200 feet until the water was deep enough to swim. This was one shallow body of water. I definitely felt sick, while swimming. We had a bit of a headwave (word?) going out and didn’t feel too much tailwave (also: word?) coming back in. By the time I got out, I had some slight left shoulder pain.
This was not my best swimming experience. Let the record show, we really need more water in our lakes and reservoirs.
5. Rockport Lake (south of Colville, Utah)
Distance: .48 mi
Started at 1:06 pm
Avg pace: 55:60
Temp: 71 degrees
My notes on this swim simply say, “Waves! Went into choppiness and came back with current.” My memory is fuzzy, so I’ll defer to the other race reports to fill in the gaps.
6. Jordanelle (between Park City and Heber)
Distance: .72 mi
Started at 2:27 pm
Avg pace: 49:40
Temp: 72 degrees
I went out way too fast on this one. My notes tell me that my arms hurt, which seems accurate, because all I remember thinking after each swim, was, “Huh. My arms really hurt.” On this swim, we followed a series of buoys.
Overall, I know that I enjoyed the swim, even though by now, my whole body was exhausted. The notes are slim on this lake, too. But I know I enjoyed this place.
After this swim, I had a chocolate milk. Which. Was. Delicious.
Chocolate milk. I will be drinking much more of that stuff after serious workouts.
7. Deer Creek (just south of Heber)
Distance: .50 mi
Started at 3:55 pm
Avg pace: 68:22
Temp: 75 degrees
My notes from this swim are sufficient: They say:
“I felt more nausea on this one. Weak arms. Me no want more swimmy.”
8. Utah Lake (near Vineyard in Orem)
Distance: .30 (these stats are messed up)
Started at 5:37 pm
Avg pace: 90 min (ish)
Temp: 76 degrees
Everything about this swim was jacked up. My watch recorded something, but nothing that matched what I remember. When we walked down to the water at Vineyard, all I saw was waves. Big waves for tired arms. Fearlessly, everyone else swam off, toward the Pacific Ocean. With trepidation, I walked slowly down to the waves and eased in. I felt sicker than ever and was grateful (that was completely understated) that this was our last lake.
I was also proud, to a degree, to be back in Utah Lake. After all, this is my lake. Also, waves are really fun for me. But not this day. My arms were just flapping about, no real technique. No real purpose. Just trying to put some distance on so that I didn’t totally cheat this one. But I was going nowhere. While everyone else was out, probably getting close to Oahu, by now, I was doing my best imitation of a moron advertising for Endless Pools. I was going nowhere. My puny arms dutifully windmilled, but the results were doubtful. Finally, my watch told me that I’d been out for 20 minutes. I knew that the waves would just push me to shore, so I turned around, waiting for magic to happen.
All of those waves that had spurned me as I swam out sort of did nothing for me. Other reported great success with body surfing to shore and such, but I was mocked by the Carpy water. I wanted to protest to the group that I really do swim this lake, that I have some measure of success in it, but words are useless when the results are so clear. I was a minnow, swimming among patient sharks who humored my efforts. At least that’s how it felt.
And so the 8th lake ended with me gasping in waves, paddling toward shore like drowning wet cat. It was humbling, to be mild about it.
Afterward, we all piled back into Gordon’s van and headed to Chili’s, where I met Wendy, who had left the kids in Alpine with her sister. I ordered steak, mashed potatoes and hot chocolate, but ate only a little. I knew I’d enjoy the meal more at home, sprawled out, watching TV.
When dinner was over, Wendy drove back up to Alpine. I jumped back in the van to retrieve my truck up at Josh’s house, in Salt Lake. It was a nice, quiet drive. Everyone was exhausted.
When we arrived, I thanked everyone for the experience and jumped back in my truck. Again, Eric Church played on Spotify as I drive 40 minutes back home, reflecting on the day.
What an accomplishment!
Special thanks to Josh, who put this crazy thing together. Also a big thanks to Gordon for driving us all over Northern Utah!
Total Mileage: 4.83 miles