Friday, June 19, 2009
First Cold Water Swim of the Season
I had my first open water swim of the season in Lake Michigan. It currently is 62.5 degrees!!! My planned workout was for a 60 minute straight swim but I had a feeling it wasn't going to go well. In the past I have had 2 other very cold swims. One was in Connecticut in the Long Island Sound. It was right after I received my sleeveless wetsuit so of course I had to try it out. Bad idea!! I believe the water temp was somewhere in the low 50's. Midway through the swim my hands went numb and my fingers started to separate. Luckily we were swimming the beach line and I immediately flipped over on my back and kicked my way in. Then I ran the half mile back down the beach.
My second cold water swim was at the Racine Half Ironman 2008. Water temps were 56 and I was freaking out! The day before I stuck my toesies in the water. Again, Bad Idea!! All evening I was psyching myself out, I even dreamed I drowned from going numb in the water. The next day it was still cold, duh! The start was delayed due to fog and the race coordinators also decided to bring the buoys in a little closer in case the fog rolled back in. The delay allowed me to acclimate myself to the water temp. Each time I would go in a little further then 5 mins before the start I went all the way under. There were a few race participants trying to be clever in keeping warm - like duct taping yellow kitchen gloves to their hands (which I totally think is against to rules). I believe neoprene caps are allowed, booties might be up to race director, but I'm sure gloves are not! Either way I had on two swim caps and my sleeveless wetsuit. Funny thing about the swim was that when they pulled in the buoys it 1. shortened the course and 2. had us swimming over a shallow sand bar. So when I felt my face going too numb to breathe or my hands starting to separate I would just stand and swim-run. Yes swim-running is a glorious thing!!
Now for yesterday. Maybe if the air temp was warmer or if it had not been raining for the past 3 weeks I might of been okay. Also since the last cold swims I have lost a few lbs and gained some muscle...there are days I miss my flab. The swim route is along a break wall with depths at 6-10 ft deep. So if I freak out or numb up there wasn't much I could do. I ended up swimming 10 mins out to the first buoy which I think is 500 meters out. At that point I was to scared to go to buoy two, another 500m. So I turned around. At the beach I debated going back out for another 1000m. At the time I was freezing but today I kick myself for not going back out. Besides the cold I did feel good. I just need to get used to the gloomy waters of the lake, suck it up, and Swim!
Here's me, the drowned Rat!