Monday, April 14, 2014

Go Jump in a Lake

Nebraska weather gave us a break this weekend and I was able to get in a few short swims at Branched Oak Lake. I scootered there after work on Friday and met Paul, who rode his new motorcycle. I didn't go far for my first dip. The cold water rattled my brain. The pinprick of 53 degree water on your face feels like what I imagine a facial tattoo session would feel like. I swam around for 20 minutes then sloshed onto shore and shivered for a good 20 minutes. I needed to get the shivers out before I could get on my scooter to ride home. I didn't anticipate the showers being locked. Doh!

Saturday was perfect for swimming - about 70 degrees and sunshine. The water felt even a little colder than it did on Friday or maybe I just conveniently blocked the chill out of my mind. Getting in is the worst. Once I got in and swam for about 5 minutes, the core started doing its lifesaving maneuver, keeping all the warmth around the heart and letting the hands and feet fend for themselves.

I wanted to try to swim the mile lap to the point and back, which I've swum dozens of times, but never in water this cold. I felt a lot more secure having Paul in the kayak. At least he could tell authorities where I went down. 

After about 10 minutes, I didn't notice the cold nearly as much, although I can't say I felt "fine." It was still freaking frigid, just not as shocking.

At the turn-around point, Paul handed me a thermos of warm peppermint tea and CarboPro. It was fantastic! It made a huge difference to get  a warm drink instead of a cold or room temp drink. I'll have to figure out how to arrange for warm feeds during my qualifying swim in San Francisco next week.

The swim back was good, but just as I was getting close to the beach, my hands and feet REALLY started freezing. My left hand became the "claw" and I was sifting water through it every stroke. Just as I made it to the beach I was joined by Alberta, a swimmer from Fremont who connect with me through DYST. I turned around to join her for a little more swimming, but was too cold at that point to swim for much longer.

It took a good 45 minutes of shivering to get over the cold. Alberta went in for another swim while I was shaking in my sweatpants and hoodie. I was amazed at how well she did considering she hasn't had any cold acclimation yet. The girl is one tough cookie.

Paul and I had our sack lunches of pbj's and kettle chips and cocoa. And then it was time to go back in again. I - did - NOT - want - to -go.

This is where it's helpful to have your spouse as your kayaker. I knew there were other things Paul would rather be doing that afternoon, so I felt obligated to make the trip worth his time. I think it's harder getting back in after a short break because your brain knows what to expect. It hasn't had the luxury of "forgetting" after a good night's sleep.

This time, I did breaststroke for a little while and dunked my head a few times before getting down to freestyle. It helped with the face and brain freeze a little bit.

The second mile went faster than the first. We forgot to bring my thermos, so I just turned around at the point and headed back. 

These were short swims but a big victory for me. I feel more confident about getting used to cold water. I just need more practice, which I'll get EVERY DAY next week. Yippy Ki Yay!!


  1. Don't you mean yippy-ki-YAK-YAY! Get it? Kiyak? :-)

  2. Dang, how could I have missed such a glorious pun? Thanks Laura!