With the ocean swim clinic just a month away, I figured I'd better start acclimatizing with cold showers. Oh.My.Freaking.God. Have you ever taken a cold shower? I mean, straight-from-the-cold-handle-only kind of shower?
Even more than the distance and wave swells and puking up salt water, I dread the cold. I like to be warm, in fuzzy socks and a soft robe with a fat cat snoozing in my lap while I lounge in a big lazy boy recliner by the fireplace. The water in the English Channel is none of those things. It'll be about 60 degrees, which is much colder in water than it is in the air. Hypothermia is the most common cause of incomplete EC crossings. When a person goes into hypothermia, they are beyond shivering and start to become disoriented as the body directs all of its energy to the core. If you don't get pulled out in time, you could drown or have a heart attack.
Supposedly, taking cold showers can help your body adjust to the harsh reality of cold water swimming. I start out with tepid water, then gradually twist the temperature knob over to the cold side. When I've taken care of all the shampooing and whatnot, I turn it to straight cold and try to stay under the frigid water spray for a minute or so. That's the longest minute in the world. But, it's necessary. I have to do whatever I can to get acclimatized. I try to think positive things like the cold water is good for my muscles, it's good for my circulation and if I can get used to it - that's one major obstacle that will be out of my way by the time I head to Dover. Let's get cold.