2013 Fundraiser

Emily von Jentzen is an Ultra Marathon Swimmer who completes lengthy endurance swims to raise money for children with special medical conditions.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Falling short

Hi....sorry it took me a few days to post.  It sometimes takes me a little while to organize my thoughts.

My Canyon Ferry swim began at approximately 3:45 on Sunday August 18th.  We had a bit of delay due to a beautiful lightening storm that was quite the "send off" (some of my crew thought it was like fireworks celebrating the swim).  It took about 45 minutes to get situated with the boat in a good position/speed so that I could spot off the dim lights on the side of the boat and the boat could use the brighter lights out front to scan the shoreline.  The water temp was comfortable as was the air temp.

When the sun came up the swimming got a whole lot easier.  I felt awesome from sun up to the first crew change.  There were helicopters doing training exercises filling up large "buckets" with water for dumping on fires.  One of the "fill ups" was within about 100 feet in front of our path...it was so cool to see-although my USA swim official on this crew said if I got picked up in the bucket I would be disqualified.  :)  There were also several wildlife sightings that were super cool.  Several pelicans that swam over, many large jumping fish and a little deer on the side of the lake.

The second crew that came on around 9:30 consisted of the "injured" crew.  Miss Savannah has a broken arm (mountain biking accident the night before she was traveling to Helena) and my niece Hannah has a boot on her leg.  Despite their injuries, they were a great crew.  I was really happy with how I was feeling between hours 10 and 12.  I started having some trouble thinking about the swim length as a whole and had to keep bringing my mind back to smaller increments (one more mile).

At the next crew change around 3:30 I was still feeling pretty great.  This was probably somewhat ironic, but many of those who had been with me on Lake Chelan continued to note how much better conditions were on Canyon Ferry in comparison.

By around 6:30 the waves started to pick up...and they just got worse and worse.  Then the sun went down.  I had to fight pretty hard to make progress in the waves. A crew change at 9:30 pm brought fresh faces out to the boat, and I had a cry down due to the exhaustion of the waves.  By midnight the waves were smaller, but still there and this was when the colder wind started effecting me.

I didn't know this at the time, but the boat was having trouble steering-which complicated the wind and wave problems.  The boat was having trouble staying in front of me, which made it hard for me to swim fast enough to stay warm (if I got too far in front of the boat I had nothing to sight off of).

The water temperature wasn't really too cold, but the wind was extremely cold, so every time my arms left the water I got chilled.  I tried switching to breaststroke, but couldn't get a fast enough turnover to keep warm.  I kept trying to calculate how long I had to hold out before the air would start to warm up. Nearing the 24 hour mark, after I had stopped swimming and was treading water for near 10 minutes (in tears)-I agreed that it was best that I get in the boat.

This was an incredibly hard decision for me.  I felt disappointed in myself.  I felt I had let other people down.  I felt I had wasted the time of my crew and supporters.  I was so upset that I threw up several times.  However, I think that listening to my body and ending the swim when I believed continuing might endanger my health, is a sign of a mature athlete.  I received medical attention once on shore.  Dan the paramedic gave me an IV.  Despite the fact that I was VERY cold, several people who felt my forehead thought I had a fever.

The mileage totals appear to have been approximately 34 miles (so about half of what I had hoped to accomplish).  The whole swim I had held an incredible consistent 2 miles an hour with a stroke count that varied only 2 strokes the whole swim.  Although I think the decision to exit the water was the right one, I am disappointed the weather conditions prevented me from finishing this swim.

I am trying really hard to pull the positives from this experience.  We had MUCH better preparation and planning for this swim.  The process for medical support worked like clock work and once I was pulled from the water I was quickly brought to shore.  My body held up well and I used minimal pain medication during the swim (as well as after).  Chafing was minimal.  And here 4 days post swim, my muscles are feeling pretty good and with the exception of taking many naps throughout the day, my recovery here seems to be going much quicker than my previous swims.

I think my training worked.  I feel my shoulders were in good shape and could have held up for 12-18 more hours.    I feel my nutrition worked, my energy levels were good and I only got sick of eating a few different options. I had an excellent support crew both on shore and on support boats.

This swim still was the first length wise crossing of Canyon Ferry Lake (I made it all the way down the lake and part way back up).  This being my first non-wetsuit swim, 24 hours is still an incredible accomplishment.  My prior two swims (18.5 hours and 36 hours) were both wetsuit swims.  I think I can build on this experience.  And we have raised approximately $8,000 for Carter (we are hoping to get all the way to $12,000 to ensure we have the funds to cover all the training needs for Carter's dog).

I appreciate all the facebook notes, emails, text messages and phone calls.  I have yet to decide what the future will hold for my swims.  There is a chance I could come back to Canyon Ferry again, or I could select a different lake to attempt the record again.  I'd like to review all the information from this swim and make that determination at a little later date, after I have recovered.

So please continue to donate to Carter's Cause so we can raise the additional $4,000 we need to cover the costs to train Minnie.

Thanks for reading!  Will post photos shortly!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

First Night

Hello Swimming Fans!
Kate here.  I am about to go out to Emily for my "night shift."  I hear she continues to do well and her spirits are good.  All the posts and comments from friends and family are AWESOME and really help her keep going.  We had to adjust the route slightly here by Silos to get some more miles behind her before we head up the west shore.  Right now, the winds are picking up a bit and causing some some waves ... but as expected Emily is pushing on through!
Boat crews are super and our drivers have been great.
Hoping Krissy will post an update when she gets back.
Keep the good vibes coming!

Makin' Waves in Canyon Ferry

Hello Swimfans!
Kate here; Emily is doing great!  She is cracking jokes and threatened to bite a pike if it bit her.
She hasn't complained at all!  Shoulders feel sore sometimes, but it works out easily. 
She has enjoyed nutter butters; starburst; kiwi (slippery little suckers); UCAN; Powerade; and of course water.  :)  We even saw two pelicans!  Lots of fish jumping -- giving High-Fins to Emily!

We were lucky to get started on time this morning; Em began @ 345 am, MST --all despite a "slight" lightning storm that blew through around 230-300.  But all was well and we began in the pitch dark.

Emily had two young swim fans come to see her off @ 330 am!  Adorable little girls, ages 4 and 8.
Em signed autographs before applying her Aquaphor.  :)

On the boat now is a great crew of Cooke, Savanah, Hannah, Jess, Kyle and Vickie.  

Emily's sister, Krissy, and I will keep blogging to update.  
Thanks for all your support!  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Last pre-swim post

Hi everyone!  This will be my last pre-swim post.  I'm not sure if we will have blog updates during the swim, but I'm hoping there will be some Facebook updates, just not sure who will be doing the updating....

We had a great meeting this evening and I'm really excited about all the folks who are helping out with this event!

I'm feeling pretty good right now.  Had a nice pasta dinner and I'm drinking down some Generation UCan right now before bed.  I'm feeling sleepy, so I think I'll be in bed at 8pm which will give me 6 and a half hours of sleep...so I'll be ready for my 2:30 am wake up!  It's about a 30 min drive out to the lake so I will eat my breakfast on the way.  The support boat will already be in the water so all I will have to do once I get down to the lake is lube up with the aquaphor to prevent chafing and attach my glowsticks and we will be off!

To follow the swim tomorrow there are several options:

"like" my athlete facebook page for updates:


Follow the Spot GPS tracker:


Or.....come out to the lake!

Thank you all for the support, love and encouragement!  Good night!


This time tomorrow....

So my emotions are far ranging today.  I have moments of total calm and relaxation....then a seed of worry pops into my head...those darn "what ifs"....and I get extremely nervous.

But I guess it all comes down to this.

Tomorrow, I'm going to get in the water at 3:30 am, and I'm going to do my best.  I hope my best will be completion of 70 miles of swimming, a world record...and of course I hope this crazy dream of mine will have sparked enough buzz to raise the money necessary for Carter's dog Minnie's training.

I have accepted that there are a number of things out of my control that may come my way, but I've got a great support crew that will hopefully problem solve through anything that comes up.

Last night myself, Katie (President EWF), Krissy (my sister and secretary EWF), Hannah (niece), Garret (nephew) and Cooke (friend) went over to Carter's house for dinner.  We had a nice evening.  The kids had cooked up all sorts of ideas to create a floating island for them to follow the entire swim.  :)  We got some last minute logistical items taken care of and then I got to go have a nice quiet night sleep at the Red Lion (Thanks to the Red Lion for donating my room for two nights).

This morning I went with Katie out to breakfast and we worked through some more little modifications we had to make to the schedule...a small crisis that arose (one of our crew people broke an arm last night) and of course...we ate a lot of food.... :)

It's time to pack up all my food items...I will post again later!  Thanks for following my journey!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Putting out fires....

So today there were several planning panic attacks....but all have been resolved and I will be sure to describe them in detail....AFTER the swim, when I can laugh about them.  I'm surrounded by some great fire put-er out-ers!  :)

My after swim medical arrangements are finalized.  I will be getting an IV of fluids when I am done with the swim to avoid dehydration while I'm sleeping (this was a learning experience from my last swim!)  :)

I wrapped up everything at work...it is tricky to plan for a two week absence, but everything pretty much was all caught up.  So that's another little stressor off my mind!

I'm packing up the car in the morning and hope to be in Helena around noon.  I've got a whole list of to-dos once I get to Helena, but everything is really all coming together!

Gotta get to sleep!  Goodnight!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My gear!

So today was a nice short swim in whitefish lake...my last swim around here.  Tomorrow I have a few things to wrap up at work and then I'm off to Helena!

Some people have asked me what I intend on using gear wise...so here's what I'm going with:

GPS tracker 1: this Hydro Tracker attaches to my goggle strap and after I upload it to my computer will have a nice map of my swim course.  Thanks to Finis for sponsoring my swim!

GPS tracker 2: this lovely Spot, who I've named Nemo, will be on the boat and will broadcast my progress on to the live internet map.  The live map was a big favorite of folks following my last swim.

Cap and goggles will be finis.  The goggles are the Surge goggles and I have them in the grey/black variety too.  Each pair of goggles will have a Hydrotracker attached and I will switch them out every 6 hours (with crew changes)...mostly cause I will swim longer than the battery.  :)

This will be my cozy towel at the end of the swim....

And this will be my suit!  It's the Blueseventy Eclipse.  Since I'm not wearing a wetsuit this year, I struggled a lot with suit selection, but Blueseventy has been on both my prior swims (I've only worn Blueseventy wetsuits) and they sponsored my previous two swims.  So, superstitious me, I needed blueseventy to be along for this adventure too!  :)

So those are the key items!  :)  Will share more details tomorrow!  :)


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Love made me do it...

This has got to be one of the best love songs of all time (I love this version with the children's choir singing along)...it literally gives me chills when I play it: 

Going into these swims, that take such an amazing GROUP effort....I can't help but just feeling overwhelmed with love and support.  And that's really what carries me through.  It's not that I am blessed with athletic talent that other's do not possess, it's that I've got all these amazing people in my life, some who've been around for a while, others who just stepped in, but these people and their words, just carry me through.
"You're my back bone, you're my cornerstone.  You're my crutch when my legs stop moving.  You're my head start.  You're my rugged heart.  You're the pulse that I've always needed.  Like a drum, baby don't stop beating..."
I feel very reflective before my long swims.  I think back on some things I should have done differently or maybe earlier :), but mostly I calm my fears and my worries with the support of my friends and family...and even the kind words of strangers.

I've always believed that encouragement is what builds greatness, its nothing big, but sometimes just hearing someone believes in you is the spark that's needed to ignite the flame.  That's why I've made a very conscious effort in my life to avoid people who are negative, the people who tell you all the reasons you won't succeed, the ones who put you down and try and keep you down.  

My family has been unbelievably supportive...I think short of literally swimming along with me, there is no way I could have a more supportive family.  They drive hundreds of miles to be at my swims, they use their vacation time, they stay up all night...even though they call me crazy at each turn, they are always there, they always show up.
"When enemies are at your door I'll carry you away from war, if you need help, if you need help.  Your hope dangling by a string, I'll share in your suffering to make you well, to make you well."
My friends have joined my foundation, joined my support crew and spread the word about these charity swims.  The people who get behind all my crazy big dreams and don't try to build a ceiling over them.  My friends the go-getters that are half the reason I'm able to do these swims.  They too, always show up.
"When you fall like a statue I'm gonna be there to catch you put you on your feet, you on your feet.  And if you well is empty not a thing will prevent me, tell me what you need, what do you need."
And then there are these kiddos...these special kiddos that grab at your heart from the first time you meet them.  Anyone who asks me why I would do something like a 40 plus hour swim for someone I don't know that well hasn't met one of these kids.

Love.  Love made me do it.


Monday, August 12, 2013


So yesterday I swam in the Whitefish one-mile swim.  It was a nice race....a bit of waves, but the cloud cover made it easy to see the bouys!  :)

Plans are coming together nicely for this weekend.

I'm headed to Helena on Friday morning.  My sister, niece, nephew and brother will be in Helena by Friday evening as well.  Friday will be a last minute "we forgot about what?!?!?!!?" day.

Friday evening we will have a BBQ over at Carter's house!  Hopefully by that point we have put out any "fires" of things we forgot and it will be a relaxing evening.

Friday night is the most important sleep night for me...so we are taking all the dogs to the kennel early on Friday.  I am so relieved that Guardian Kennels is a sponsor of the swim and is kenneling the dogs.  One of my dogs Mason, is a real handful, and they had only lovely things to say about him the last time he was there.  It's really nice to leave my "babies" somewhere where I don't have to worry about them one bit! :)

Saturday I'm planning on sleeping in and then being as calm and relaxed as I can be :)  The rest of the crew will arrive in Helena on Saturday.  Saturday evening our Crew Meeting will take place at 5:00 pm at Bert and Ernie's in Helena.  Hope to get everyone on the same page at the meeting...and express my immense gratitude for all my helpers.

And early bedtime on Saturday will make an easy wake up at 2:45 am on Sunday.  In the water by 3:30 am!  

So those are our loose plans at this point!



Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saturday slow down....

Well, it was a lovely day in Montana!  I got a nice relaxing swim in Lake McDonald in Glacier Park.  I'm not sure there are many places to swim that are much prettier than in Glacier.

And we've got, from two different sources, clear weather predictions on the 18th and 19th (no thunder/lightening predictions), so we are all set to begin on the 18th at 3:30!

It was nice to have a relaxing day after how busy last week was.  I had a nice afternoon with my boyfriend, we had a late lunch in Big Fork (a tiny little town right on the edge of Flathead Lake).  Tomorrow I've got a one mile race up in Whitefish and then I plan to spend the rest of the day starting to get together all my stuff for the swim!  :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Busy week done! Check, check!

I'm not sure about anyone else...but when I figure out how to do tricky stuff on the computer, I feel like a rocket scientist!  :)  Today I figured out how to take a screen shot...yeah.  What that means is I can share my swim maps from my Hydro Tracker GPS.

This was a super short swim at Somers today....but I'm so impressed with the map function on the Hydro tracker....you can also play a little "Animation" that shows you swimming your course.  One of the two Hydro trackers that were sent to me isn't functioning correctly...but the other one is working GREAT! : )

Drove back to Kalispell from Helena this morning...had a quick court hearing this afternoon.  Next week is looking to be pretty low stress work wise.  I'm hoping to get a good swim in tomorrow, then a quick little 1-mile race in Whitefish on Sunday.  I've got a lot of preparation work to finish up this weekend.

Promise I will write more tomorrow....but I am so sleepy right now!  Good night!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Media Frenzy :)

Okay not really a frenzy...but it was a busy day of interviews and such (which I kind of enjoy).  I got a short swim in and my new Finis Hydro Tracker worked GREAT.  Super excited to have that data following the swim.

I'm in Helena for a quick visit and I had interviews on all the Cherry Creek Radio Stations this morning.  Then Katie and I went out to Canyon Ferry where I was interviewed by a newspaper reporter and had video taken by a television reporter.  I got a short swim in between these interviews.  Water was great, weather was nice..wish I could have stayed in longer....

BUT...I had a boat trip with Search and Rescue.  A tour of the lake with Roger and Ron.  They both know the lake really well and we made some slight adjustment to the swim plan based on their knowledge.  We were also alerted to some random islands that are hard to see if you don't know the lake.

Tomorrow I have a television interview at the Attorney General's office and then I have to get on the road quick to be back in Kalispell for a court hearing in the afternoon...hopefully everything goes smoothly and I'm on time. : )

We had lunch today at a great little place right by the lake...The Flamingo Grill!

The pink bus in the background is one of the dining options at the Grill!  :)

Well, it's late.....have lots more to talk about...but I've got to get to bed....busy day tomorrow!


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Water Daze

Yesterday a few of my swimmers traveled down to Polson, MT for the annual Polson Water Daze 1.2 mile swim.  It's one of my favorite races because its pretty laid back and I usually run into a ton of swimming friends I haven't seen in a while.  Also every participant comes home with a bag of cherries! Yum!

My most peoples' standards, it was a rough race this year.  Waves were hitting pretty hard from the north...but you all know I love that kind of stuff.  After the race I heard a number of people complaining about the water conditions....I just smiled to myself.  I wanted to remind people that is what makes the race more of an accomplishment....enduring the waves.  Most people fight against the waves, still try and breath on the "wave" side...when the secret is to roll with them and adapt your stroke as best you can to fit the pattern.  Of course it takes experience just like anything else.

I love my little group of swimmers that traveled down for the race.  Such a positive and fun bunch of fish!

Today I'm planning on laying in bed for another hour at least...but then I'm going into the office for a few hours to prepare for my BUSY work week.  I've got a travel trip on Monday and big hearing on Tuesday and then after a few meetings on wednesday I'm hoping to get to Helena for a quick trip wed night through Friday morning.

If the weather holds today I'm going to go up to Glacier and swim in Lake MacDonald--after I've gotten my work done for the day!  I love Lake MacDonald....so I'm really hoping I get to do that today.

Well....hope you all have a great day!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Loving this life

I don't have anything too exciting to report today....lightening storms kept me from my afternoon adventures...which is unfortunate because I had a lot of pent up frustration I could have used a good workout to sort that out.....but I've made a deal with the weather that all thunder/lightening storms need to get out of mother nature's system in the next 14 days, so that 16 days from now we are all clear!

Today I'm going to write about my top 20 unglamorous things about my life as an ultra marathon swimmer...that I secretly love.

1. I'm always in a rush...every minute saved is an extra minute I could be swimming.  Going into work early means I get to leave early and swim more!
2. My arms, most of my back and half of my face are beautifully tan...the rest of me is a nice shade of winter-montana-white.
3. Mascara is the only makeup I wear...saves money and getting ready to leave the house is quick and easy.
4. My average time in the shower is 5 minutes and I prefer cold showers.
5. I usually only have the energy to shave one leg when I shower...so there's a rotation.
6. I eat a lot of pizza...mostly homemade.
7. I scrimp and save vacation/comp time at work to use on swimming adventures.
8. Sleeping in for me is getting up at 6...and my dogs are so used to the routine that they are more reliable than my alarm clock.
9. I have no social life...mostly because I go to bed earlier than most 6 year olds.
10. I'm pretty sure I am now immune to icy hot...
11. I really dislike wearing shoes.
12. I check weather forecasts more than I check Facebook (and I check facebook a lot).
13. I'm quite certain I dream of swimming in my sleep....and in my dreams there are waves or a lot of poorly executed flip-turns based upon the positions in which I wake up.
14. The only time I catch up on housework is after consecutive "off days" (but really who likes cleaning anyhow.
15. My favorite post swim snack is chocolate milk.
16. I've, on more than one occasion, chased my dog around the house while he tried to devour a water bottle I left within reach.
17. I've also had several dog chases where my favorite swim suit was the potential victim...but running is good cross training.
18. Two words...goggle rings.  Oh so fashionable.
19. Recovery days where I can literally lay on the couch all day long watching ridiculous television are common.
20. I can fall asleep pretty much anywhere and can be out within 2 minutes of my head hitting the pillow...which is what I'm about do get to now!  :)

But I love it....every bit of it.  :)