Cold water swim log 001, 2018 Nov 18

I am stealing the idea of a cold water swim log from Margot, so here we go. I am going to do a rough back log since I can’t recall all the details, culminating in today’s swim, which was the worst after drop I’ve had so far. Since the official-ish yeti calendar starts on October 15th, we’ll go from there. Well, I was Hawaii at that time, so we’ll go with the first swim back.

Date: October 23rd
**Time in water: 43:38
Water Temp: 53/54°F
Air Temp: 54°F

Where: **Firedock

I recall being quite nervous about my first swim back from Hawaii. I thought I would have an impossibly hard time. If hazy memory serves, I recall the water felt cold (well… duh), and I got an instant headache that gradually dissipated. I also wasn’t wearing two swim caps yet, so that was when I decided it would probably be a good idea. I almost made it the Tillicum Bridge, but the crew was swimming much faster then me so I just followed them back in when they passed me coming back. Once the headache was gone I actually felt pretty good and don’t recall being particularly cold.

Date: October 27th
Time in water: 40:51
Water Temp: 53/54°F
Air Temp: 55°F


Vampire swim! I felt confident and had no trouble getting in or out. I even paddleboarded directly afterward at the witch SUP!

Date: October 30th
Time in water: 30:50
Water Temp: 52/3°F ???
Air Temp: 52°F

Vancouver Lake

This definitely felt cold getting in, and I started getting the claw for the first time. I think I could have gone another 10 minutes, but I felt better safe then sorry on this one.

Date: November 4th
Time in water: 43:03
Water Temp: 52/53°F
Air Temp: 57°F**
Where:** Milwaukie boat ramp

I felt great, was enjoying the sunshine and overall was finding it easier and easier to get in, and even have been staying in the water a bit extra before getting out. I do recall being a bit sad I couldn’t keep up with the crowd.

Date: November 6th
Time in water: 1:01:19
Water Temp: 53°F
Air Temp: 55°F**
Where:** Firedock

Wow my first hour in the mid-fifties, I felt amazing, like I could just go forever.

Date: November 11th
Time in water: 32:51
Water Temp: 50/51°F
Air Temp: 46°F**
Where:** Milwaukie boat ramp

I wore fins and it was fun keeping up with everyone. This one was true swimming bliss and felt a lot of the swim feeling grateful.

Date: November 13th
Time in water: 21:45
Water Temp: 48/49°F
Air Temp: 46°F**
Where:** Firedock

Yikes, shit is getting real. After multiple successes and building confidence, I really started to feel the cold with this swim, and began to realize it wasn’t going to be an endless road to easy street with this. Originally I had decided I would only swim out 10 minutes, no matter what. I was a bit nervous about the shift below 50 degrees. And despite the fact that everyone else seemed to continue on, I forced myself to turn at about 10:30. I had sat up to see where everyone was and got a severe amount of vertigo. It was really bad, so I put my head back in the water as quickly as I could and started stroking back as fast I could go. I ended up going much further into shore then I normally do and when going under the Hawthorne bridge I actually got a bit confused about where I was, for some reason I started thinking I was going to hit the pilings. When I hit the stairs and managed to get over them, I almost fell over sideways I was so crazy dizzy. It didn’t take long to go away, but still it was a bit freaky to be so disoriented  and nauseated in the water. I haven’t been wearing ear plugs and everyone told me I have to start wearing them.

Date: November 18th
Time in water: 25:39
Water Temp: 45°F
Air Temp: 48°F**
Where:** Milwaukie boat ramp

Well, today. The water temp took a huge nose dive from Tuesday. And after writing the account of my previous swim, I’m not really sure why I thought I could swim 20-30 minutes today. I guess I thought all my problems would be solved with ear plugs? I also had developed a nasty deep cough earlier in the week, which I had started recovering from, but it was still present and still effecting my breathing.

Getting in was the same as always, it’s cold. I don’t think too much about it, I just get in and get going. I can’t stand around for very long or I’ll start to feel like I can’t get it at all. My “trick” is that I start my Garmin, and my ego makes me get going to avoid a longer time.

So off we went. The earplugs did their job and kept me from getting disoriented or dizzy. I noticed that we went past the 10 minute mark, but thankfully we turned around soon after (and in the future I should always just turn around when I need to, not when the group does). I was swimming harder then normal, really focusing on having a strong kick to keep me warm. On the way back, I was toward the front of our little pod which was odd, as I’m used to being in the back with people to sight on. It seemed like people were going every which way so I kept stopping and looking around, but there were people behind me so I kept going. When I got close to the dock, I noticed my hands and feet starting to hurt in a new, very burning way. I looked around and saw everyone going back out. I didn’t feel cold, so I began to follow. But my hands and feet were getting worse. “I do this for fun and I’m in pain, go back,” is what I thought. So back I went.

Unfortunately, I was in the water too long. I had trouble trying to get myself dressed and Anita had to put half my clothes on. Once I finally had all the warm things on, suddenly it felt like the outer inch of me was absolutely on fire/aching in the extreme and the cold was deep. I wrapped my entire head and body in my blanket and cried. The intense cold and pain was making me panic, and then I started coughing because it was making me nauseous. I was finally thrown into a heated car which really allowed me to return to some sort of normal shivering state.

Today I learned not to take what we do lightly. While years of year-round cycling has hardened me to some degree, I don’t ever recall experiencing an after drop when getting off the bike (except that one ride mentioned in an earlier post). I need to stop comparing myself to the rest of the group and be conservative in my time in the water. There’s always tomorrow.