Date: November 17, 2019
Time in water: 20:19
Water Temp: 50-51°F / 10°C
Air Temp: high 50s
It was a lovely day although the wind was a bit brisk, and I kept it short because I didn’t feel like being challenged. Tons of sailboats were out, and few came into our swim area. I couldn’t tell if they were just checking us out, or if they were having to swing wide to get up river against the wind.
Date: November 19, 2019
Time in water: 35:47
Water Temp: 50°F / 10°C
Air Temp: high 50s
Finally, a non Broughton swim! It was just Cindy and me, and I was prepared to push myself. The day was gray and the light was fading. We swam out to the end of the marina, past the last boat. It felt… dark. Quiet. But in an eerie way, not in a peaceful way. I’m not sure how to describe it. I started getting pretty cold in the last 5 minutes. I probably could have pushed it to 45, but a switch flipped in me and I just didn’t want to turn back to get in the extra time.
I know if I actually want to do this ice kilometer, I have to get more serious about challenging myself to stick with it, even when I start feeling cold in the water. I really haven’t been doing that, and honestly I haven’t felt very motivated to do it.
Up until a few weeks ago, I felt very happy about cold water swimming, but lately it’s felt a bit more of a chore than a joy. I do love being in the water, but I feel like I’m losing sight of why I do this, and without a strong sense of why, it feels really impossible to stick with it when every ounce of your being is telling you to get out of the water.
Cold water swimming is so different from the endurance challenges I’m used to, I feel like I’m faced with my edge so quickly. And by “edge” mean the tipping point where it’s not so much my body that’s facing the challenge, but my mind. My body can persevere, but only if my mind can get over whatever walls it keeps putting up. I need a reason to push past “I’m cold and near my robe” to turn around and keep swimming.
At that moment, between the boat houses and the ramp, I felt the line of panic, my mind’s way of shooting me right back to shore. Do I try to push to 45? There was a moment when I thought “yes definitely I should” and then “my legs are starting to shake I have to get out.” I’ve been sticking with playing-it-safe all season, so once again, I decided if I was cold, I should get out.
If I want to challenge myself with an ice kilometer, I’m going to have to get used to pushing past that first instinct to get out. I know I can tolerate much more than I’ve been doing. I’ve been a cold, shaking mess in the water, and I worked through it and didn’t even have a bad recovery. Right now I’m regretting not joining the swim today, but I think only in this moment am I ready. Another day.