Date: November 25th
Time in water: 16:32
Water Temp: 44°F
Air Temp: 39-41°F
Where: Milwaukie boat ramp
I was thinking about just paddling instead of swimming all morning long, but finally I got my butt in gear and left the house sans paddle board. The fog was thick again, but wasn’t nearly as bad in Milkwaukie, but the wind was picking up slightly. There were 8 swimmers, we milled around for a while, I tried to decide between 15 or 20 minutes. I decided to shoot for 20 but wouldn’t be sad with 15. Getting in was easy once my lower half was numb; I really have to concentrate on my breathing for the first 3 minutes. Long slow breaths, focusing on the exhale to prevent hyperventilating.
I now have a system I follow once I’ve started my watch (my personal starting flag). I breast stroke forward for maybe 10 strokes, taking big medium-speed breaths to avoid panic breathing. Then I dunk my face once or twice, realize it’s all going to be fine, and then begin my freestyle stroke. For the first 5 strokes I’ll breathe every other stroke, and then force myself to my normal bilateral 3rd stroke pattern, focusing on a powerful slow exhale. Right when I start freestyle I focus on a strong kick, otherwise I find my feet will drag. It also helps keep warm.
Today I did all those things, but I didn’t keep my kick strong the whole time. I also wasn’t swimming hard enough, which made me colder. I remembered eventually that I should swim harder, but my shoulder was still bugging me and my head wasn’t really in the game. My hands were also starting to get painful, which they weren’t the day before (at least I wasn’t paying attention to it anyway). So at the end of my first lap, I decided just to go out for another minute and a half and then turn around, so I ended with a bit over 16 minutes.
The rewarming process seemed pretty much the same as the day before, despite swimming 6-7 minutes less, so it’s good I got out. I also had a hell of a time getting my wool pants on (not using those again), and I accidentally put my t-shirt on before taking off my swimsuit. Getting that damn t-shirt on under my changing towel takes like 3 minutes; I think I’m going to stop wearing it and find a shirt that doesn’t require going over the head (buttons are out, I can barely tie my shoes much less operate tiny buttons).
Still haven’t figured out the feet; I tried putting the hotties in my socks and then putting my socks into my shoes, but that didn’t seem to do much. Boo.