Date: December 9th
Time in water: 10:06
Water Temp: 39-40°F
Air Temp: 39°F, raining
Where: Milwaukie Boat ramp
Thank god for pop up tents. The rain had only just started when we arrived at 10:30am and began setting up the tent. We basically set up a living room, as the tent was fully enclosed; I brought chairs, we had a tarp, it was quite the cozy set up. As such, we decided to just stay in the tent post-swim rather then warming up in the mobile sauna (aka someone’s car with the heat on full blast). I was a little nervous about that, but I could always go into the car if needed.
I’m glad we got ready inside the tent, so I couldn’t look out and see the rain. The second I stepped outside the tent and felt the cold rain pelting me at 39 degrees, I knew it would be a fast entry. No doddling around this time.
I didn’t really notice how much colder it was until I was fully submerged. Wow. Despite the temps, I no longer have that sharp intake of breath feeling, just the feeling that knives are stabbing me around the base of my neck. It went away fairly quickly, as did all feeling.
I swam hard the whole time, afraid to stop much. I kept having to remind myself to kick hard. I did two small laps, and it was about 7 or 8 minutes in that my arms started to feel very heavy, and pain started to shoot through my arm pits. But, my hands didn’t hurt, they just felt frozen in place. I couldn’t feel the lower half of my body so I have no idea what was going on there.
But in my core, I was still quite warm. 10 minutes seemed good enough. I managed to stumble onto shore, but I found I could not remove my earplugs; my hands were completely numb and useless. So into the tent I went, again struggling to take off my swimsuit since I couldn’t really feel what the hell I was doing (and it took me a minute to realize the reason it wasn’t coming off was because of my swim buoy still being around my waist, something I have forgotten many, many times now). I have never felt so totally numb before… just putting on my changing towel, my skin started to feel too hot too quickly. It was bizarre.
Once I finally sorted out all my clothing, I took out my brand new heat packs and covered myself in them, wrapped up in my quilt, and sat in my chair on my sleeping pad. What a combo! I got warm quickly, despite not being in a car. Being out of the wind is key, as are a million small heat packs and the hot water bottle.
So with this swim I have actually qualified to swim the Memphremagog Winter Swimming Festival! Sadly I already have a February swim on the books and can’t be gone so much. Next time.