I can't believe it's warmer in Lincoln, Nebraska, than Manhattan Beach, California, right now. When I arrived yesterday, the skies were overcast and it was about 63 degrees. Still, that's better than the frosty morning I left, just not quite the sunny 75 I was hopoing for.
After taking every wrong turn possible and adding a good 2 miles to my walk, I made it to Manhattan Beach. The waves were pounding, there was NO ONE in the water - no even those die hard, psycho surfers who'll board in anything - and the cold wind was wailing. I figured I would at least get my toes in the water and test the temperature, so I ditched my shoes and walked against the seabreeze to the shore. Imagine my surprise to see a woman walking casually into the surf in her swimsuit. Damn girl. Turns out this was Karen, one of the other channel swimming clinic participants.
So, of course, I'm not going to just stand there gawking in total dismay, I had to get in. I went to the changing room got into my suit and strode into the water with nervous determination.
The water stole my breath and my courage. I thought there was no way I was going to be able to swim in such freezing cold water. The people who do this must have some sort of chromosomal adaptation. But I dove under to avoid a huge wave and then started swimming and just concentrated on getting each arm up and over, up and over, and pretty soon, I wasn't freaking out over the freezing cold water anymore. I was just swimming. And get this ... it was FUN! I felt like a seal dodging the waves and pulling through clots of kelp. There were a couple of huge tankers off the coast and I was swimming next to the long Manhattan Beach Pier. I had a moment where the awesomeness was overwhelming - I was really swimming in 62 degree sea and it was beautiful!