Yesterday I had my first open water swim of the season. It was time to start acclimating myself to the cold temps to come at Oceanside. Sandy gave me some last-minute advice Saturday night, “Be prepared for hypothermia.”
I must admit I was a tad intimidated about this workout. I met Kristen for an 8-mile run before we donned our wetsuits. It was a sunny day, so we were good and warmed up after our run. Still, I was prepared for the possibility of mild hypothermia with water temperatures ranging for 56-59 degrees. I had a thermos of hot Cytomax and my biggest beach towel. I had blankets in the car.
When Kristen realized I didn’t have neoprene booties, she opted to leave hers off to make it equitable. What a trooper. She’s a much better, much faster swimmer than I am. We were in the Bay, which is lined off by buoy markers for the swimmers. I felt very safe with her there to keep an eye on me if my body acted weird in the cold temps.
While we were on shore, some other swimmers helped lighten my mood. “You’re wearing wetsuits? What wimps!” They must be members of the Polar Bear Club. They swim year round in their swim suits. Kind of put the whole workout in perspective. “I guess you have to wear those to match that triathlon image, huh?” an older woman in a bikini asked. We laughed.
By then I was eager to get in and face my demons. It was a bit of a shock, but not as bad as I thought it would be. My feet felt it the most. I realized after about 500 yards that I really hadn’t been kicking my feet much. But I had a pretty fast arm turnover. I made it to the dock and back – half a mile. My goal was stay in the water for 10 minutes. The swim took 11 minutes and change. I noticed the water passed by me remarkably fast. I felt Bionic. I must have had a current helping me out. Either that or I am much, much faster when I'm motivated to get out of the water in a hurry.