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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Brad Lundblad Overcomes Lyme, Completes 4-Day S.C.A.R.

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Brad Lundblad completed all four S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge swims in the desert of Arizona last week. Considering his condition and journey, it was quite the inspirational accomplishment.

His journey got underway when he completed the 9-mile (14.4 km) swim across Canyon Lake last year. “I also kayaked 9.5 miles (15.2 km) across Saguaro Lake last year for a lane mate. I think that really helped me mentally going into this in knowing what to expect.”

Because Lundblad did not do any open water training before these swims, the experiences in Canyon Lake and Saguaro Lake were key.

But underlying his accomplishments was Lyme disease. “It is a crazy disease that will literally rob you of your life. I'm always tired, but it's not a normal tired. It's more like your head is in a fog. At times it hits me and I just want to pass out. It affects my digestive system and the foods I eat. I've cut out a lot of dairy and breads. I have good days and bad days.”

Lundblad deals with the disease as best he can. "As for swimming, I never know how I'm going to be until I'm in the water. My doctor thinks I was born with it. She feels that you can carry it around with you and some traumatic event can trigger it. The crazy thing is the symptoms can be anything and you can just write them off like the fatigue to working too much or not getting enough sleep. I remember telling a friend how tired I was before moving to Arizona."

After a six-month layoff to join the Army Reserves, the Mesa Aquatics Club masters swimmer. got back in the pool. "It would take me 2000 yards to feel somewhat loose. [But] my stamina was really bad and I could barely keep up with a swimmer that I use to be much faster than. That is what made me think something is not right. I found a doctor and went to him and told him what I was feeling. Hhe told me I had Lyme disease, but it took over 2 months and 3 tests to conclusively diagnose me. I think this disease is much more widespread than is known or being reported."

Despite his condition, Lundblad is fortunate and appreciative of his situation in life. "I function on a high level for someone with this disease. I don't function on a high level for a normal person. Swimming has been a huge blessing for me in my life. Not only the physical benefits I get out of it but also the mental ones too. I always feel like I'm ready to tackle the day once I get my swim in."

But Lyme disease has created a new normal for Lundblad. "I can't go all out and I can't go into another gear like most people. Sometimes during spring sets I can feel all the energy drain out of my body. Usually I have to pace myself. Having Lyme, I have lower oxygen in my blood cells. I knows this because when I go hard on sprint sets, I'm gasping for air at the turns before I hit the flags. Also muscle tightness is an issue for me.”

Yet going into the S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge, his goals were clear: to complete all 4 swims. "Having Lyme, my immune system is next to nothing. You can imagine what one swim will do to your body, let alone 4 in a row. After day one, I was feeling flu-like symptoms and went and bought an over-the-counter medication called Oscillococcinum to alleviate the symptoms. It helped. Mentally, it was tough to get through the first two swims and make it to Apache, the 17-miler on day 3. I was really struggling with that. Originally my goal was to just do Apache since it was the longest of the swims, but then I thought the real challenge is to do them all back to back to back to back.”

He accepted the challenge and pushed his body further than he has ever before:

Saguaro Lake – completed 9.5 miles (15.2 km) in 4 hours 12 minutes
Canyon Lake – completed 9 miles (14.4 km) in 4 hours 19 minutes
Apache Lake – completed 17 miles (27.3 km) in 8 hours 25 minutes
Roosevelt Lake – completed 6.2 miles (10 km) in 3 hours 50 minutes

He impressed race director Kent Nicholas and his fellow swimmers at S.C.A.R., the most accomplished group of marathon swimmers this side of the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. "After the [17-mile] Apache swim some of the more accomplished swimmers said that I am now ready for the Catalina Channel. I would love to give Catalina a shot. Maui Channel is one channel that I have always wanted to do too. Kent has encouraged me to do S.C.A.R. and I'm glad I did."

A documentary called "Under Our Skin" that explains Lyme disease is below.



Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. It is so true, the new "normal" for physical activity has to be reset with LYME. There is no set road map and so much of it is trial and error. Sounds like you know how to listen to your body well. That is what I find works best too!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE

The Global Open Water Swimming Conference is a conference on the sport of open water swimming, marathon swimming and swimming during triathlons and multi-sport endurance events.

The conference which has been attended by enthusiasts and luminaries from 6 continents, is devoted to providing information about the latest trends, race tactics, training techniques, equipment, psychological preparation, race organization and safety practices used in the sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons.

The conference's mission is to provide opportunities to listen and meet many of the world's most foremost experts in open water swimming, and to meet and discuss the sport among swimmers, coaches, administrators, event organizers, sponsors, vendors, officials, escort pilots, and volunteers from kayakers to safety personnel.

Dozens of presentations at the 2014 Conference at the Mount Stuart House cover numerous aspects of the vast and growing world of open water swimming where attendees can learn and share the latest trends, race tactics, training modalities, swimming techniques, equipment, race organization, logistics, operations, and safety practices for open water swimming as a solo swimmer, competitive athlete, fitness swimmer, masters swimmer, triathlete, multi-sport athlete, administrator, race promoter, sponsor or referee.

The conference was first held in Long Beach, California as part of the 2010 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships. It has since been held on the Queen Mary in California, at Columbia University and the United Nations in New York City, and in Cork, Ireland. This year in September, it comes to another iconic location, the Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.

"The Global Open Water Swimming Conference was started due to the desire and need for athletes, coaches, referees, administrators, race directors, promoters and sponsors from around the world to share, collect and learn information about the growing sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons," said founder Steven Munatones. "Other swimming conferences usually offering nothing on open water swimming or perhaps a speech or two, but we thought open water swimming deserves its own global conference. It is great that the community shares its information via the online social network, but there is nothing like meeting other open water swimming enthusiasts face-to-face and talking about the sport from morning to night."

Speakers at the conference include English Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, record holders, renowned coaches, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, renowned race directors, officials and administrators from the Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

"Because the audience is passionate and educated about the sport and its finest practitioners, the Global Open Water Swimming Conference is also the location of the induction ceremonies for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the annual WOWSA Awards that recognize the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Special Lifetime Achievement Awards are also occasionally presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport over their career."

The 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Programme

Wednesday, September 17th
Leave Glasgow to commence 2-day tour of Scotland [closest international airport is Glasgow]

Thursday, September 18th
Stay Mainland, North of Scotland

Friday, September 19th
14:00 - Swim Loch Lomond
17:00 - Head to Isle of Bute
19:30 - Scottish Banquet
21:30 - Dinner Dance

Saturday, September 20th
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
12:20 - Lunch and WOWSA Awards
13:40 – Speeches
15:40 - Round Table
19:00 - International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony

Sunday, September 21st
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
14:30 - Swim in St Ninian's Bay on the Isle of Bute

The luminaries of the open water swimming world who will be honored in Scotland will include:

* Sandra Bucha (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Jon Erikson (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Claudio Plit (Argentina), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Judith van Berkel-de Njis (Netherlands), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* David Yudovin (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Mercedes Gleitze (Great Britain), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* George Young (Canada), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Dale Petranech (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Contributor
* Melissa Cunningham (Australia), 2013 Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award winner
* Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* James Anderson (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Dr. Jane Katz (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Indonesian Swimming Federation, , International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Organisation
* Elizabeth Fry (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year
* Olga Kozydub (Russia), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
* Bering Strait Swim (international team), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
* International Ice Swimming Association (Ram Barkai, founder, South Africa), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year

For additional articles on the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, visit:

* Olga Kozydub To Be Honored In Scotland
* Pádraig Mallon To Be Honored In Mount Stuart Castle
* Mount Stuart House, Splendid Setting For Swimming
* Colleen Blair To Kick-off Global Open Water Swimming Conference
* The Man Who Swims Better Than He Walks
* Joining In The Sea Goddess At The Hall Of Fame
* Mercedes Gleitze To Be Honored In Scotland
* The Incredible Career Of Merceded Gleitze
* Jon Erikson To Be Honoured In Florida
* The Incredible Career Of Mercedes Gleitze
* St Ninian's Bay To Host International Swim Conference

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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