Cold Water Swim Logs 2.02 – 2.04

Last year I numbered my swims with a leading zero, and I can’t really tell you why other than perhaps it looked cool. I decided to make the system more convoluted and start it with a “2” to mark the second season, and start the swim number back again to 01. Enjoy.

Swim 2.02 DateOctober 20, 2019
Time in water: 55:22
Water Temp: 53°F / 11.6°C
Air Temp: 50’s°F, windy
Where: Broughton Beach

This was the first good shiver of the season, I think because of the brisk wind. Felt great swimming, although at one point I stopped for a while because I tied what I thought was a piece of trash to my buoy, only to realize it was actually a dog toy, and the dog was circling me trying to get it. I had to try to untie it with frozen hands, thankfully Laura was there to save the day. That likely contributed to a strong shiver, as I think we treaded water for probably 3 or more minutes.

Swim 2.03 DateOctober 22, 2019
Time in water: 55:11
Water Temp: 52°F / 11°C
Air Temp: 60s°F, still
Where: Sellwood ramp

Warm morning! Despite cooler water, the air temp was positively balmy and I had barely a shiver once I was warmly dried and dressed. Swimming in the morning seems to help the water feel less cold, as my body temperature feels much warmer for the first few hours in the day and it tanks in the afternoon.

Swim 2.04 DateOctober 25, 2019
Time in water: 37:39
Water Temp: 56°F / 13.3°C
Air Temp: low 50s°F, cold wind
Where: Frenchman’s bar (first time!)

What wild weather. It was socked in and raining on our drive out; it stopped by the time we parked but the wind was still fierce. I could see a line of blue far off in the west, and the wind was blowing east, so I was hopeful we would see sun before we were done swimming.

I had never swam at Frenchman’s Bar before, and given the lack of protection from the Columbia’s strong currents, people often report “swimming in place”. So naturally we went up river first; however, we seemed to be making headway at a normal rate. The wind was with us, pushing us forward against the current. I had been cold all day, so despite the warmer water temps, I felt cold. A few large boats went by, recently set free by the recent fixing of the dam.

We turned at around 15 minutes, I was nervous for the headwind back, and we had a friend potentially joining us. Fighting the waves whipped up by the wind was fun, and we ended up taking a bit longer downstream then up. When we later looked at the tides, it was coming in, about an hour from high tide. I decided to call it when we got back, and after we got dry and dressed, the sun finally graced us with her presence, just in time to walk the beach as our friend did his swim. I hardly shivered at all and didn’t need the car sauna, so I guess I wasn’t really as cold as I thought.

swimming in the river with a sunny sky

I’m still working through how to tell if I’m actually get-out cold versus the normal my-skin-is-cold-no-big-deal cold. It’s such a mental game, one that I’m not sure I’ve totally appreciated in the past. The factors of feeling cold ahead of time, being in a new place, being nervous about the currents, all swirled into letting me think I was cold enough to get out, when really I could have kept swimming. Not to say I always have to push myself, sometimes I can just play it safe and not worry about finding my edges. But I think if I do want to push my limits, I have to be very intentional about it ahead of time, and ensure I’m set up for success.