Friday, May 11, 2007


Well, with the race 44 days away, it seemed to be a good time for my first open water training swim since 2005. In 2006, I swam in open water only 3 times, and they were all during races.

So, the alarm goes off at 4:00 am, it gets snoozed 3x (planned) and I get to the train at 5:05 am. The Carolyn Car Service picks me up at the train station. She was there bright and early, but perhaps she should have spent a few more minutes getting out of the house so that, you know, she'd remember her goggles!!

6:00 am, Carolyn, Max and I take the plunge into the cold, Carolyn sans goggles, all of us sans common sense.

It was awfully cold, felt maybe 55 degrees to me. I kinda remember how the temps feel based on how much it hurts. A guy I swam with last time I went to Alcatraz used to bring a thermometer to the beach, so after a few times we used to guess "feels like ...", then would look at the thermometer.

The worst part is the face. Hands and feet hurt pretty much but they're moving and you get used to it. Putting the face in makes me think of one word - as stated by Mr. T in Rocky III: "PAIN"

You kinda get used to it after maybe 200 or 300 yards. Suggestion for those who haven't gotten in: don't wait, get in now. Waiting til June and 60+ degree water temps will make the swimming easier to deal with, but you really need to feel this a few times and swim through it. It REALLY throws you off. Seriously, I thought of just stopping and getting out, so it's something that you may want to learn to deal with, though you never really get used to it.

The stats, if you care: 17:30 half mile going out for the warm-up, 15:00 half mile coming back in.

There was some discussion this morning about how Alcatraz looked REALLY far from the shore in the picture I posted. Sorry about that. Seriously, it's not that far, it just looks far. It's only a mile or so out there (the swim's 1.5 bc you go in an "L") which is not far, but a lot of the pix make it seem far.

Here's the classic shot from Columbus (I think it's Columbus) where it kinda looks 800 yds off shore at most, especially in the second one. So, when in doubt, these are your "happy place" shots you should think of.

Good flashback, in 2000 we stayed in a hotel on the top of Columbus, so it had the view in the first picture. Race morning I went out in the dark to ride to the start and saw that view, but picture a full moon above the island and a bunch of floodlights on the island lighting it up. Wish I had the camera.