Monday, August 19, 2013

In and on the lake

I had a long swim at Branched Oak Lake on Saturday - 6.3 miles in a little over 3 and a half hours, which isn't all that fast, but I felt good about it. The day was absolutely gorgeous -- little fluffy clouds floating in the blue summer sky, sunshine and flat water. I couldn't have ordered a swim any better from a catalog.

I have a route that I follow at Branched Oak. I swim from the beach at area one to the buoy line and then swim along the line to the point and back to the beach, which is roughly a mile. This is convenient to get a feed about every 35 minutes, which works well for me, but by the 3rd or 4th feed, I turn from a mere curiosity to something alien and perhaps a little monstrous from the looks I get. "How far are you going?", "Why are you swimming away from the beach?" "Are you afraid of the boats?" "What are you doing?" and then, inevitably, the stories about the friend of a friend who drowned at a lake, or got some flesh-eating bacteria, or was hit by a jet ski, or some other tragic tidbit that I suppose is a way of making conversation. I try to be a good ambassador for open water swimming and I always like chatting with people, but I'm relieved to slosh back into the lake and get on with my next lap.

Swimming gives me time to think, which is how I decided that we'd be better off buying a kayak than taking a trip to a beautiful coastal beach area this fall for some sight-seeing, great seafood, museums and - oh yeah - a 6-hour qualifying swim in 60 degree ocean waves. There will be plenty of nippy lake water around here and with Paul in a kayak, I'm less likely to get hit by one of those boats the beach humans are so worried about.

Paul bought this idea for some reason, so Sunday afternoon we went out and picked out our new kayak: the Pongo 120 by Wilderness in mango. Isn't she pretty? 

We took the kayak out to Wagon Train Lake, met up with my friend Tony and his kids, and took a practice ride/swim in the lake. I think we did pretty good. I told Paul I liked having us even and he did a good job of kayaking slowly enough for us to stay right next to each other for the most part. I'm looking forward to more supported swims in the next couple of months, which is about all we'll have left for lake swimming in Nebraska. I'm curious to see how quickly the temps plummet. Too fast, I'm sure.

Knowing me, I'll probably figure out a way to justify that trip in my next long swim. :-)

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