Thursday, September 20, 2012

McGyver in his new home!

McGyver has made it to his new home! Doesn't he look happy?
Having fun with McGyver! Hearing the kids laughter and watching their smiling faces makes every inch of every mile worthwhile.Thanks again to everyone who had a part in making this a reality!!

Friday, September 7, 2012


The gator is fresh with new paint!! Doesn't he look like fun?!
We have named him McGyver in honor of the McGyver in many of our pictures who faithfully guided us back to the starting point in most of the 50 swims.
McGyver the gator will soon be taking the trek from Playtime in Colorado to Brainerd, MN. Sadly, due to obligations here, it will not work for Margie and me to go out to pick him up, but we anxiously look forward to his arrival.
Thank you again for all of you who supported us along the way. It is greatly appreciated!
Thanks to our local Taco Johns and Marcy.
Thanks to Playtime for all their involvement and allowing us to make the purchases at a reduced price.
Thanks to Evelyn - the wonderful person with whom I worked with at Playtime. Evelyn patiently answered all my numerous emails and gave us encouragement throughout our endeavor.
Special thanks to Margie for keeping me safe on all the swims that she kayaked with me, for swimming with me on the occasions we had others to keep an eye out for us, for setting up 90% of the lakes we swam in (including places to start/end at) and, in general, just for being there with a smile on your face ready for whatever the day would bring!

Friday, August 17, 2012

We did it!

We met the challenge! All 50 lakes are completed now in the 50 days! The final swim capped off a very fun adventure and today was no exception. We were joined by 13 other swimmers and one other kayaker along with many, many people on the beach. All the support has been overwhelming and so very much appreciated!

We swam in a triangle pattern tonight due to the size of the lake. This worked out very well and kept us all relatively close together increasing the safety factor - always a good thing.

I haven't heard the total dollar amount raised as of today, but I know we are VERY near our goal. Thank you to those that have donated! If you haven't yet and would like to, it is not too late. Please help us reach our goal and in return see how our endeavor benefits the kids in our community.

I've said it before, but this has been an amazing experience. From learning about our beautiful lakes area up close and personal; from meeting wonderful people along the way; from personal growth and challenging ourselves; from receiving so much generosity in so many different ways; from support of numerous people from a myriad of walks of life; etc.... I could go on, but suffice it to say that this entire project has been a blessing from day 1 to day 50.

We are hoping the story doesn't end here... Margie and I are dreaming of "road-tripping" out to Colorado to pick up the alligator and the safety pads (this would save literally a few hundred dollars over having them shipped). That could be another adventure in itself! Timing and other responsibilities are the issues we are trying to figure out before we can make this a reality. Look for more blogs to come on this and a final grand total in the future.

The first picture is all the swimmers in action at the start of the mile, the second is some of us at the 1/3 mile safety check mark. Unfortunately, no pictures of all the supporters on the beach purely because none were taken with my phone. I will post some if they become available to me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One to go!

Only one lake left! We completed the 49th in Serpent Lake. Today we were joined by Margie's cousin, Judy from Vermont in another kayak, Mickey, Ben and Pete. It is great to have others cheering us on! After the swim, Margie, Mickey and Judy went out for dinner to celebrate Margie's birthday - Happy birthday, Margie!

It is probably a good thing we are almost done - Margie is getting so buff from all the kayaking that she broke her paddle today. That made it very difficult. Good thing Judy was along so they could trade off who had the broken paddle - thanks Judy!

While we didn't see the Serpent, we did see something playing around that may have been an otter. It didn't act like a muskrat or a beaver - the two most common water animals we have seen. After the otter attacks this summer, it made me a little nervous so we gave it a wide berth!

All these cool nights of late have made a significant difference in the water temperature. With the air in the 70s, mostly cloudy skies, light breeze and the chilly water, I never lost my goose bumps for the whole swim. It was still fun though as always!! :)

Thank you to all of you who have donated - we have received over $11, 000 dollars now!  If you haven't donated yet, please do so. Any and every amount is greatly appreciated. Just 50 days ago the big goal of $12,400 seemed very farfetched, but now, thanks to our generous community, we are almost there! Simply amazing!!

This Friday, August 17, will be the 50th swim on the 50th day. We will be swimming from Whipple Beach at 5:30pm. If anyone would like to join us watching from the beach or paddling along in a kayak with us (or other mode of water transportation), you are more than welcome! The more the merrier!

The first picture is Ben (nice shirt, Ben!), Margie, Mickey, Pete and Judy. The next is the serpent (glad I did not run into him in the lake!).

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bay Lake

Another fun swim - this time in my favorite lake! Margie's family reunion was at Ruttgers this weekend, so we left from there. What a great place to have a reunion or vacation! It was a very calm beautiful morning. Quiet on the lake with no wind, very few boats and just the loons calling. Margie and her nephew, Robert, swam with me today. Margie's cousin, Tim/Tom (yes there is a story there) paddled in a kayak along with us - thanks! Thanks also to the entire Enright Family for letting me "crash" your reunion with a swim! Hope I didn't make you get out of bed to early :). It was fun to have you all as part of our adventure!

The first picture is me, Robert, Margie, Tim/Tom and Mickey (Margie's mom) holding #48. I cannot believe we only have two to go. This has been such a fun thing to do that I am sad it is almost over. Time to come up with a new adventure!
The other picture is the Enright gang with beautiful Bay Lake in the back ground.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Upper and Lower Mission

Margie's sister, Jane, made the adventure with us again today. She is a lot of fun! I think I have laughed more in the last three days than I have in the last month.

Upper Mission was the first lake today. The air was a lot cooler (low 70's) and the lakes are not as warm. Margie and Jane were comfortable, but I was chilled. I miss those 90 degree days when the water was in the mid-80's! Upper Mission was another beautiful swim with the exception of a pontoon boat over-loaded with people. Maybe they thought I was a big fish - they had 6 lines in the water and kept driving nearer and nearer to us increasing their speed. Not sure what that was about? Anyway, we did not get run over and I did not get hooked, so all is good.

Lower Mission was next. On the way there, I put my wetsuit on and was glad I had it along. The wind was starting to pick up and the dark clouds that were floating around all afternoon were increasing. Lower Mission had many random, thick, tall weed patches that caught me by surprise every time. Between the dark water, dark clouds and dark goggles I never saw them until I felt them on my hands and face - not pleasant, but at least they were not throughout the whole swim. On the way back in, the wind had picked up considerably and I felt like I was getting a free ride as they pushed me along. I enjoyed that! Margie and Jane were serenaded by many loons flying overhead - they make such a beautiful sound! Once on shore again, we noticed the sign that said "Infested Water". A good shower for me and a good rub down of the kayaks is in order. It's sad to think many of our beautiful lakes could be taken over by invasive species. Just a reminder to everyone to be extra careful to de-weed and empty any water wells before moving on. We live in such a beautiful area and hopefully we can keep it that way for generations to come.

Thanks to Taco Johns and all the people that came to support us yesterday. It was a very successful evening!

Our next swim will be in Bay on Sunday morning.

The first picture is McGyver and Jane at Upper Mission; the second is at Lower Mission. Only three lakes to go!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kayak ready to blow???

Today we were joined by Margie's sister Jane for another fun afternoon! Jane has a blow up kayak identical to Margie's. Looking at the picture below, you can see Margie's has grown - considerably!! It must have been getting larger and larger every time it was pumped up and we just never noticed. Now we are wondering when it is going to blow - when it does, I want a video tape of Margie flying around the lake like a balloon does when the air goes out! I'll have a tough time keeping up to her if that happens!

Both of our swims were in Aitkin County today. The first lake was Round. I could really tell we have had some cooler weather lately - the water temperature has gone down considerably. This was especially evident in Round as it is very shallow. It is also very clear - I could see bottom  (a beautiful, relatively weedless, sandy bottom) over a quarter mile out.

The next lake was Farm Island. Being bigger and deeper, it was quite a bit warmer. Amazing what a significant difference that makes! Word must have gotten out that I love swimming in waves because we sure had a lot of them in this lake. Between the wind, a jet skier, a pontoon boat and another boat pulling two tubers around us, we were really bouncing! And, yes, it was fun! :)

The first picture is the two "identical" kayaks. Anyone want to place bets on when Margie's is going to blow?!
The next is Jane, Margie and McGyver at Round.
The last is Jane, McGyver and I at Farm Island Lake. 45 down, only 5 to go!

We will take the day off tomorrow so we can be at Taco John's. Don't forget! 5-9p, 20% of all sales go to the Aquatics department. Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Taco Johns!

Thanks Marcie and Taco Johns! We really appreciated your support!
Hope to see everyone there between 5:00 and 9:00pm this Wednesday (Aug 8)!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

We survived the big lake!!

This morning we tackled Lake Superior. It was a very fun race- 2.1 Miles from Bayfield to Madeline Island complete with lots of big waves!! It was so awesome to have other Brainerd competitors there with Margie and I. They all swam well and so did Keith, our friend from Ashland who, along with his wife Judy, generously opened their home to us. Thanks Judy and Keith- we had a blast with you!

I should have gotten reports from others, but forgot in the excitement after the race. For now, I'll just give you mine. There were two waves for the start (450 competitors!) - a men's wave and a women's wave. Starting 8 minutes after the men, we had plenty of time to watch our fellow male friends take off. Sean, with his unique stroke was easy to pick out as he pulled away from the large group with the lead pack. After seeing them fade into the distance, it was our turn. The water temp was 72 - perfect for in a wetsuit. The course had buoys set out every third mile, but somehow I managed to miss all but the first and last. With the big waves, it was hard to sight - probably 80% of the time when I took a peek, all I could see was water. There were plenty of support kayaks, so I put my trust in them to steer me back on course if I strayed off too far (which they did!). I felt pretty alone most of the race with the exception of the person who tapped my feet every 300 yards or so. That was kind of annoying (after all, it is Lake Superior, there should be plenty of room for two to swim without hitting each other!), but I tried not to let it bother me. I only hoped they would not go flying past me in the last stretch to shore - thankfully, they did not. I felt very relaxed and comfortable in the water today and found a good rhythm that seemed to work okay in the waves. For a long time, I just keep swimming enjoying every moment before I really had any sense of where I was going. Suddenly, however, on a chance sighting, I saw the finish drawing near. The race was coming to an end already - I was almost disappointed because it was so much fun being tossed around in the rollers. At the finish, I learned I was the 2nd woman there and first in my age group - that was just the icing on the cake of a very fun swim! Soon Matt and Matt were there too and we cheered on the other Brainerd swimmers as they came in. Everyone swam well and seemed to have fun. Matt R. placed third in his age group - what a great way to celebrate his birthday! Happy 26th Matt!!

The first picture is Margie, me (don't I look great with bunny ears?- thanks, Margie!) and Laurie after our swims.
The next is of Keith, Margie, Matt R (with #43), me, Matt D and Amanda in the back; Sheila and Laurie in the front. The only Brainerd swimmer missing in the picture is Sean.

We will be slacking - or recovering :) until Tuesday when we plan on swimming Round and Farm Island both in Aitkin County.

Please keep those donations coming in - we are getting VERY CLOSE to the big goal for both the alligator and the lily pad crossing safety pads. THANK YOU to all those who have sponsored us so far. We are so blessed to have so many generous people helping us do something cool for the youth and others who use the aquatic facilities at our YMCA!

And...don't forget to have dinner at our local Taco Johns this coming Wednesday 5-9p. 20% of all sales will go to our endeavors!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Huntington Mine Pit

Another beautiful lake and fun swim. Tonight we were in Huntington Mine Pit. This one has no boat access, just canoe and kayak access. Kay accompanied us again and she had fun exploring. (Thanks again, Kay!) We were the only ones on the lake, so there was no need to worry about boats running us over.

It just amazes me how the pits are so close to Crosby, but yet, they feel a million miles away. It is so serene and peaceful there - a place one never wants to leave. Sometime in the near future, I would like to kayak on them and see them from that point of view too.

Both pictures are of Kay preparing for our adventure.

We have no swims scheduled for tomorrow and Friday, although I will probably get in the pool or a lake just for fun. Saturday is the competition in Lake Superior from Bayfield, WI to Madeline Island.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pennington Mine Pit

Kay kayaked for us this evening so Margie could swim with me. Thanks Kay! We swam in the Pennington Mine Pit, which was absolutely beautiful! Diving in, I could see the steep sides of the pit littered with fallen trees that quickly disappeared into a wonderful emerald green. Never having been in the pits before, I am now wondering why not? We felt like we were in a different world far, far away from everyday life.

Be sure to mark next Wednesday, August 8th on your calendars. Taco Johns will be sponsoring us - 20% of all profits will go towards our endeavor between 5:00 and 9:00 pm!!!

Tomorrow we will swim in the Huntington Mine Pit.

The first picture is Kay and Margie with #41!
The next is a shot of part of the beautiful lake.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Early morning!

We had a very early swim this morning! I arrived at the public access on Crooked lake at 5:35 am and Peter was already there!  He is a self - professed early morning person, which is evident from his cheery smiles and words of encouragement (Thanks Peter!). Now, if I could only convince him to swim with me!

The sky was starting to show some light when we took off, but it wasn't until we rounded a bend that we saw the beautiful sunrise. It was absolutely gorgeous! I kept lifting my head to see it rather than using good  technique (sorry Coach Hal!). A little way out, I noticed a fishing boat had joined us. It was a very nice couple (Marilyn and Roy) I know from the YMCA who have a cabin on Crooked Lake. It was great to have them along although I feel a little guilty because it was so early and they had a houseful of guests. To make things worse, it started raining sometime on the way back. They stuck with us until just before the landing, however, and I am sure they got soaked! Thank you for the support Marilyn and Roy, it is greatly appreciated!

The first picture is me swimming into the sunrise, the next Marilyn and Roy in their boat and the third is McGyver with Peter holding #40. As you can see in the first picture, I was obeying the Suggested Slow Speed sign, keeping my wake to a minimum. :)

Tomorrow I will be back in the pool and the tentative plan for Tuesday and Wednesday is to swim in  a couple of the mine pits (Pennington and Huntington). Our intention of this is to prepare (in a little cooler temperatures) for the open water competition that Margie and I will both be participating in next weekend. This will be a 2.1 mile swim from Bayfield, WI to Madeline Island. Fun - fun!

Friday, July 27, 2012


Another enjoyable swim! We weren't sure this one was going to happen with the weather system that moved through, but it was in and out quickly making for a beautiful evening. We swam from Janet's dock. Janet and my daughter, Stephanie, swam with us. Janet's two children, Jack and Brook, and her mom, Karen, were cheering us on from the dock. We enjoyed a nice swim out and then the competitiveness came out in my daughter - game on! :) We battled it out most of the way back. Hmm....where does that competitiveness in her come from?? I'd like to say I can still clean her clock with ease, but in reality she makes me work my tail off (and she was probably just being nice and slowing her pace to make me feel good!). All in all, it was very fun. Isn't it always when you share a passion with your kids?

After the swim, Steph, Jack and Brook took off to check out a rope swing that Jack has become an expert on. I saw the video of them - the climb up the tree looked almost as scary as the long sweep out over the lake and the high free fall into the water.
When they got back, we all enjoyed a wonderful meal that Janet had prepared for us. Thanks Janet, Karen, Jack and Brook for a very fun evening!!

Friday and Saturday we have off, but Sunday we will swim in Crooked Lake early in the morning. The Crosby boat races are this weekend at Serpent Lake and I want to make sure I am done swimming in time to cheer my kids on! Go Mike, Jeff, Nikki and Stephanie!

The first picture is the three of us on the way out.
The next shows us swimming under the tail end of the front that passed through.
The last is Janet, Margie, Jack, Stephanie, Brook and I after the friendly competition.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gull and Sylvan

Two more beautiful lakes and another fun day! Despite the rainy morning, the skies cleared and it became warm and sunny. We started on Gull from Kristi's very pretty home.  Laurie and Josh joined me in the water today and Kristi (on her water craft) helped out Margie keeping us safe. Thanks Kristi, Laurie and Josh! This made the swim all that much more fun. Gull was very calm in the bay we were at and no boat traffic at all (although we did see a snapping turtle off the end of her dock).

Next we headed over to Sylvan Lake. Here we were met by Paul and his three awesome kids who were fishing and playing in the water - I see open water swims in their future! :) This lake was very busy with boat traffic and the wind had pick up incredibly. Once again, Margie got a great workout paddling and I was having a blast being tossed and pushed around by the waves.

The first picture is Laurie swimming in Gull.
The next is Laurie, Josh and I hanging out at the half mile mark.
The third is Josh stroking back.
Next is Margie, Laurie, Kristi, McGyver, Josh and I on the dock after completing lake #37.
The last is Paul and I with his three kids, Taylor, Sam and Braden hiding behind #38.

Tomorrow we will swim in Sibley Lake near Pequot.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Silver Lake, no Bass

Good thing we are ahead on lakes - we only got one in today instead of the planned two. We started in Silver only by accident - unbeknownst to us, we missed the turn off for Bass Lake and followed the next Public Access sign which turned out to be Silver Lake. While the water was nice and warm and the day still beautiful, the lake was very weedy and very windy. I was in weeds the entire way across the lake. Some of the patches were pretty thick. I am getting a little tougher (or so I'd like to think!), but I still do not like swimming through weeds that are all over my face and wrapping themselves around my arms! Fortunately it wasn't that bad all the way, just in spots. The wind, however, was a force to be reckoned with. Margie got in an excellent upper body workout!! Did I mention what a good sport she is?!

After Silver, we found our way to Bass. Pulling into the access, we could see that it may be iffy. On closer inspection, we discovered we would have about a 50 yard wade through muck just to get to the lake (probably only because of the high waters this summer). Deciding to pass on this, we will try for two lakes tomorrow instead. Gull and Sylvan are the ones planned.

The picture below is of McGyver blowing in the wind at Silver.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Clearwater Lake

Today we headed over to Clearwater Presbyterian Forest Church Camp to swim in Clearwater Lake. Thanks Elise (Head Camp Director), Rick and your adorable girls - Elizabeth, Anna and Sophie and thanks also to my son, Mike (Waterfront Director), for a fun swim! Clearwater Forest is a beautiful camp with lots of land, water front and unique old stone buildings. The staff is awesome too! :) Definitely a great place to go to if you are looking for a good Christian setting for you or your children to attend camp. Checkout their website: 

Clearwater Lake is just as the name implies - very clear! Margie kayaked as usual, Mike join us in his kayak and Rick joined us on a Hydro-bike. It's so great to have all this support and always fun to have some time with my son! As you can see from the pictures, it was another beautiful day for a swim.

Tomorrow I am off to Iowa for a family reunion and 95th birthday celebration for my Dad's cousin (whom, by the way, is still sharp as a tack and fit as a fiddle!). Monday we are slacking again on the swims and taking a turn at the soup kitchen. Tuesday, however, we will be back at it in Bass and Silver.

The first picture is Rick on the Hydro-bike, Elizabeth and Anna on the paddle board and Elise and Sophie on the other Hydro-bike.
The next picture is McGyver and Mike with #35 - officially 7/10 done!

Friday, July 20, 2012


We are closing in on $8500 in donations now! We are so overwhelmed by all your support.Thank you! Please keep the donations coming in - our big goal does not seem so far out of reach anymore!!

Two more beautiful lakes today. We started in West Twin and were greeted at the finish by Jill and her kids, Andrew and Rachel. They then led us over to Sojoblads on East Twin. Thanks guys and thanks for your support! Jill is the one who made the AWESOME map that is just inside the front doors of the YMCA! On East Twin we started from Sjoblad's dock and had lots of their family members and friends there. Thank you!

Everyone must have thought it was the perfect day to be out on the lakes (and it was!). There was quite a few fishing boats, kayaks, personal watercrafts and boats pulling wakeboarders and skiers on both lakes. This kept Margie entertained by waving at them (everyone has been so friendly!) and me entertained by rocking and rolling in the boat waves - very fun! With the extreme heat today, I actually felt warm on my back which was in the sun and cool on my front in the water . Half and half - interesting concept!

Clearwater Lake is the plan for tomorrow.

The first picture is Rachel, Jill, McGyver and Andrew.
The next is Sjoblads, two of their relatives, Margie and McGyver.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gilbert and Rice

Two more lakes down. The first today was Gilbert- thanks Meyers for the use of your dock! Today was the coldest we have had yet and very overcast. We went out into the wind, swam in an arc to get a half mile, then turned around and came back. Once on the dock, it was chilly being wet with the breeze, so I decided to put my wetsuit on for Rice Lake.

Rice was a lot more sheltered from the wind and the water felt warmer too, so maybe the wetsuit wasn't necessary - there is something to be said for being warm though. Karen, with Shirley kayaking, joined us on this lake - they had a head start however, and were almost finished when we began. Because of the iron content and my dark goggles, the water looked like cherry coke on my skin! This was another nice swim out, back and over a little ways to get the full mile in. Margie had to contend with the current, I however, did not even notice it - it helps that I have an awesome guide! Thanks Karen and Hank for your dock and for the shower afterward. I would have looked really attractive going to the Arboretum with an iron-algae "five-o'clock shadow"!

Tomorrow we are taking the day off - we are going to be at 50 lakes way ahead of schedule at this rate! Friday we will swim East Twin Lake and West Twin Lake.

The first picture is McGyver and I relaxing on Meyer's dock after the Gilbert Lake swim.
The next is Margie, McGyver and I on Karen and Hank's dock after the Rice Lake swim. I had intended to post a picture of Karen with us too, but my phone was set to video instead of camera. The video is really humorous listening to Hank's commentary!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Turtle and Partridge

Two more lakes down! Officially 3/5 of the way there - that is very hard to believe! I think this was the coolest day we have had, but the water is so warm this summer that it was not an issue.

The first lake was Turtle Lake. We put in at Camp Holiday - thanks Erickson's! Camp Holiday is a very nice and fun resort and campground nestled onto Turtle Lake. While the lake itself is not so big, we know it has big fish in it. There was a young guest who had caught a good sized one and was very proud of it! Today we swam in an "L" pattern to get the full mile in. Surprisingly enough, this is the first time that was necessary. With the cloudy skies and my dark goggles, the water appeared to be very dark - almost black. This lake is another loon nesting area and there were several swimming around. We kept our respectful distance from them.

Next was Partridge Lake. Between Camp Holiday and the public access for Partridge, we saw a deer with two fawns. They were young enough yet to still have their spots - so cute. Partridge is another small lake, but from the access over to the far side it was almost exactly 1/2 mile. Every now and then the sun would pop out and make everything sparkle. Both lakes were very nice and I never saw any weeds at all. Another fun day of swimming!

Margie was so worn out yesterday from Sunday that she fell asleep before dinner! I was still a little fatigued today, but definitely bouncing back. Maybe I should have fed Margie before she headed home just to be sure she got dinner tonight!

Tomorrow we are swimming Gilbert and Rice Lake.

The first picture is McGyver hanging out by Camp Holiday's sign - keep this place in mind when you want to get away for a while!
The next is McGyver by Partridge Lake.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Peter to the rescue!

Good thing Peter decided to come along with us for support today! He rescued us not only once, but twice. Before we even left Brainerd, the keys to Margie's vehicle got locked inside the truck. Peter bailed us out on that one using his knowledge from his car salesman days. Finally we were off to Upper South Long, but we were not clear on the directions. Again, Peter bailed us out leading the way and he even made a connection for us at a resort on South Long where we would not have to drive so far (or get misplaced again!) for our swim there. Thanks Peter! We owe you!

Upper South Long was a nice swim although I could tell I had put a little more effort into the race yesterday as I had some fatigue . The water may have had some iron in it (just a guess). We were joking at how orange my skin looked underneath it - like I had a really bad fake tan.  The temperature for the first quater of a mile or so was unbelievably cool considering all the hot weather we have had lately. Felt good on this 100+ heat index day. Margie probably wanted to trade places with me. She sure is a good sport!

South Long was not as orange or as cool in temperature with the exception of  the starting point. There was creek flowing in there with quite a strong current. We went out into the wind, but it was letting up by this time and was fairly calm when we finished. This lake had many floating weeds and lots and lots of snails floating way out in the middle -  the snails were a new encounter. Fatigue had really set in by now and I was glad to be done. Margie told McGyver "It took 28 lakes to wear her out, but we finally did it!" Hopefully, I will recoup quickly as the plan for tomorrow is Partridge and either Turtle or (Aitkin County) Round. 

The first picture is McGyver, Margie, and Peter at Upper South Long.
The next is McGyver hanging out by a rather intimidating sign at South Long.

28 done, 22 to go!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Awesome race day!

We had an awesome open water competition today! Margie got to swim rather than be my safety guide as usual. The competition was at the YMCA Camp Manitou near New Auburn, WI. The following is Margie's swim report:
"A two mile lake swim is the way to start off one's morning! The course was layed out with 7 buoys all about  1/4 mile apart. My goal was to bilateral breathe for the whole swim. The first 1/4 mile, the sun was on my right side, just over the tree line and directly in my eyes. My initial thought was I should just breathe to the left (my natural side) and not have to worry about the sun. Oh-oh... straight out of the gate, I was already coming up with a reason not to accomplish my goal! Then, out of no where, a voice says 1-2-3; 1-2-3; 1-2-3... I chuckled to myself and went with it. I got to the 1st buoy and turned left which immediately took care of my sun issue. After spotting the 2nd buoy and several swimmers around me, I hunkered down heading mostly west for 3 more buoys. I really tried to focus on my rotation thinking how great it was to not have walls that would break my concentration. Getting to the 4th buoy, I turned left again so that I was heading south. The suns rays streaming through the water were very cool - too cool in fact as I forgot to sight. Oops! When I  finally looked up, I had strayed off course and was heading into shore.With one loud "darn it" that I am sure scared all the fish away, I got back in line with buoy #5. The thought of Jane already being on shore and changed into dry clothes made me laugh, but onward I went. Buoy #6 came up and I turned left again now heading east. 1/2 mile to go and I am having a blast! With my rotation still feeling good, I shifted my focus to my hand entry and the start of my pull. Gosh this is fun! Passing the last buoy (#7), I headed into shore (the correct shore this time!). The swim was over and I accomplished my goal of bilateral breathing the whole way. It was a very fun morning!"

Now for my swim report:
I started off behind - my own fault - I was lolli-gagging gettting in the water and was not ready for the race start. Oh well, my total attitude for the day was "just swim and have fun". I had only gotten about 2 1/2 hours sleep and we left my home at 3:45am to get to the competition on time, so I had no great expectations! I let the first group of swimmers get a little ahead so I would not be mixed up in that "washing machine' of arms and legs. The water tempurature was perfect - way too warm for some - but for a freeze-baby like me,  it was wonderful. I felt relaxed and smooth. After a little ways, I noticed I was starting to catch up to some of the swimmers in front of me. This started my competitive juices flowing so, still feeling good, I just tried to keep my stroke long and efficient. The buoys kept ticking off and now I could see the lead pack in front of me. Each buoy they were getting closer but I never did quite catch them. I was very happy with my time however, placing 1st in my age group and 4th overall. It was great to have Margie in the water with me today. I missed her guiding me, but her "going- straight" kayaking abilities have helped me to tweak my stroke, so I believe I was swimming mostly in line with the buoys today (obviously a huge advantage in open water swimming!).

Thanks Pam for all your hard work in gettnig this race organized! Thanks also to the lifeguards in the kayaks keeping their watchful eye, and congratulations to Josie, the 10 year old and youngest in the race, who completed her first 2 mile open water swim!!

The plan for monday is South Long and Upper South Long.

The first picture is Margie on the home stretch.
The second is part of the group of swimmers who competed and helped Margie and I celebrate the completion of lake #26! Nice job everyone!
The 3rd is the excellent support staff keeping us all safe!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Half-way there!

I am not sure if it is coincidence or if the murkiness (from run-off caused by the massive amounts of rain we had earlier this summer) is finally clearing, but the lakes in the last couple of days have been so clear - just beautiful for a swim!

We started in Lower Cullen today and Margie's dog Espn joined me in the water! I got tired just watching her legs go a million miles per hour underwater, but she just kept going!! She got to take a nap afterwards though- it truly is a dog's life! Swim - sleep - eat - repeat. Well.... I guess in a way that sounds like me too. :)

The second lake today was Lake Edna. The wind was kicking up pretty good by now. We headed out from the access right into it. Margie got a great workout! She is going to have the strongest shoulders, arms and abs by the end of this! Coming back, she could relax and I could just ride the waves - it took about 100 strokes less to get back than it did going out!

Both lakes were absolutely beautiful- I am beginning to sound like a broken record on that, but it is so true!

Tomorrow and Saturday we are taking the days off due to prior obligations. Sunday, we will be driving the long trek over to the YMCA Camp Manitou (New Auburn, WI) to compete in a 2 mile open water competition. We'll count this as one lake even though we will be "over acheivers" swimming twice as far.

The first picture is Espn and I in Lower Cullen Lake.
Next is Espn sporting #24 and Margie.
And the last is McGyver doing cart-wheels after finishing #25! No clue what I am doing?!?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Very fun day!!

Today was a blast! We started out on Edward Lake at Jevnings Cozy Bay Resort. The resort is just as the name implies - very cozy and some place you'd want to come back to year after year! Thanks Suzette! Joining us there were some of the YMCA members and daycare staff. It is so awesome to have a cheering section!- Thanks guys! Lake Edward was incredibly clear - as in 16' of clarity. Amazing, especially this year with all the rains and run-off.
In hind-sight we made a tactical error and took off with the wind, meaning we had to swim back into the wind. One of Suzette's guests pointed this out to us - you'd think we haven't done this before! :) Oh well, no worries, we made it back just fine.
On a side note - another of Suzette's guests said he had a grandpa on Roy Lake. When we asked if it was a possibility to use his beach, the guest said his grandpa would probably make us mow his lawn first! Hmmm.... we'll have to put some thought into that one! :) You gotta love those guests at Cozy Bay - what a great bunch!

The next lake was Lougee Lake - another very clear lake with a very entertaining bottom. The water was so clear that I could see many different kinds and sections of weeds. Some were tall and narrow with short fuzzy 'leaves", others were shorter with wider "leaves" and many different variations of colors ranging from pale green to bluey-green to bright green to all shades of brown. Most of the lake was shallow, but every now and then there would be a drop-off for a short ways, then the weeds would be back. I was so into watching the underwater world unfold, I almost over-shot where we were to land. Thanks Sandy for joining us on your paddle boat and thanks Curt for cheering us on from shore.

The third lake was Pelican. Here we were joined by 16 other swimmers and two other kayakers! Thanks Lakes Area Multi-Sport group for your support - it was very fun to swim with you! Thanks also to Marva for letting us use your beach. I hope your neighbors have recovered by now from the vehicle invasion!

On the way out we got turned around and took a scenic drive at least a half hour out of our way. But after such a fun day, even that was not a downer. This is such a beautiful area with so much to see and explore. We passed by many public assesses that we may use in the upcoming days, but then again, we may never know -  I am pretty sure we could not find them again!

23 lakes down in 13 days. Never thought we'd be this far this soon into the adventure. We have been blessed with a long string of perfect weather, so we are taking advantage of it -after all, this is Minnesota and you never know when it is going to change! We are still planning on the last swim to be in Whipple at the beach on Friday, August 17th (weather permitting, of course). It would be awesome to have many swimmers, kayakers and supporters there, so keep it in mind!! We will post a time when it gets closer.

Tomorrow we'll swim Lower Cullen and Lake Edna.

The first picture is of guests and YMCA friends at Cozy Bay on Lake Edward. Doesn't it look like a great place to stay?
The second is Curt, Margie and Sandy at the access in Lougee.
The third is the LAMS gang both in and out of the water at Pelican.