Date: February 10th
Time in water: 6:38
Water Temp: 36.2°F
Air Temp: 35°F, lightly snowing
Where: Broughton Beach
That was… cold. I mean, this is a cold water swim log, so saying it was cold seems rather redundant. But this, this was fucking cold.
According to the temp readings at Vancouver, the water temp was down to 38. So, like an idiot, I thought it was 38, and I didn’t bother to ask anyone if I was wrong. OK, I swam 11 minutes at 39 and felt like I could go longer, so let’s see if I can do 12 to 15 minutes at 38.
The day had started out clear as a bell and totally still. I sat outside and enjoyed my cup of coffee when it was 24 degrees out, that’s how lovely it was. At some point it even warmed up to 40, and I sat outside and dozed in the sun.
But of course, our swim was scheduled for 4pm, and around 3, the clouds and wind arrived.
When I got out of the car at Broughton Beach, the icy wind hit me and I questioned my sanity. A few other swimmers were all huddled in Cindy’s car, a few of the support crew were milling about. It was going to be a large crowd, which honestly is probably the only reason why some of us even get in the water. FOMO, pure and simple.
I went back into my car and blasted the heat while I got finished trying to get my suit all the way on (a challenge in the driver’s seat… which now that I’m typing this, why the eff didn’t I sit in the passenger seat, smh). I wanted to get all suited up and have very little time between standing around with no pants in the ice-wind and being in the water.
Margot went in first, slowly and loudly. Cindy went in fast and started her freestyle stroke seemingly before she was even fully submerged. I threw off my Dryrobe and followed Bryan in, quickly getting up to my waist before I could notice how much my feet stung. I started breast stroking pretty quickly, a stream of laughter and loud yips spewing forth. I maintain it’s helpful for breathing.
The actual swimming part was ok, except in the fact that my hands turned into unfeeling ice paddles almost instantly. I thought maybe I could swim 5 minutes up and back and see how I felt. But when I looked at my watch at 3:30, it seemed both like I could feel nothing, and like I could feel everything, and everything was a thousand tiny knives.
I managed another 30 seconds or so before deciding to turn back, I looked up many times, wondering what other people were doing. At some point I looked up and saw Margot, and we both had this moment where we were like, “well, this is very painful, why are we doing this, time to be done now”. I feel that almost 7 minutes swimming is pretty good, especially when I found out it was 2 degrees colder then I thought.
The recovery wasn’t too bad, the worst part is getting off the suit, and the painful walk on bricks of ice back up to the car. Washing my hands and feet with warm water was probably the best idea I’ve ever had.
Cindy ran back up to her car after me, but found her car locked and the keys elsewhere, so she ran over to me, wild-eyed and without her clothing and rewarming routine. She got into my mobile sauna (car) and miraculously I was able to turn the key in the ignition with my unfeeling fingers and get the heat going.
My hands and feet ached with pain for a long time. Even long after the swim and a shower, my hands hurt a bit the rest of the day. This was also the first cold swim in a long time that wrecked me for the rest of the day. A 6 minute swim! Amazing what some hardcore shivering and near hypothermia can do!