About a year after beginning this blog, I got interested in open-water swimming, and it's been my passion ever since. Here's a list of some swims I've done.
Yesterday I double dipped, swimming in both the pool and the ocean. The day started at Riverbank, where it was decently cool and uncrowded—for most of the session John, Rondi, and I had our own lcm lane. The workout was inspired by a vintage HVT workout (2012.37.4).. Here’s what I did:
1000 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p, 200 d/s IM)
9 x 100 FR: 3 @ 1:45, 3 @ 1:40, 3 @ 1:35
700, FR except every 4th 50 ST (IM order)
500, FR except every 3rd 50 ST (IM order)
400, FR except every 2nd 50 ST (order)
400 various warmdown
Floating practice, with equipment
After that I headed directly to the beach, happily meeting up with a couple of other beach-bound CIBBOWS swimmers on the subway ride. It was my first time out since December, and I relished once again seeing the familiar sights and stations on the Q line as I we wended our way out. It was a nice day, still chilly (air temps in the 40s), but very sunny and without much wind.
With the cold weather, the water has been slow to warm up this spring—it just topped 40 in recent days--and up until Saturday night I wasn’t sure that I really wanted to go the beach yet. I have a race coming up in 4 weeks (a 5-miler in CT) that I would like to be acclimating for, but I’m dubious that dipping for a few minutes in truly frigid water will actually help prepare my body for hours-plus efforts in water warm enough to sustain body temperature through exertion (which is what I hope I’ll find in CT).
So it was instead sheer impatience to be in the ocean again, even if just for a brief swim, that brought me out Sunday. And it was worth it. The water at 42F was bracing, painful even, and I swam for only about 200 meters, but the salt water immersion worked its usual magic, softening me up, opening my heart, and making me receptive to the beauty and wonder all around. Lying on the sand afterwards, basking in the sun and surrounded by friends, was so very sweet.
There were eight of us out on Sunday, 5 who had been coming out throughout the winter, and two others, like me, who were beginning their season. Times in the water ranged from about a minute to over 20—there are some hardy winter swimmers in these parts! Two among us, Cara and Brad, had recently returned from winter swimming championships in Russia and Finland, so I got to hear all about their experiences in that sport. (If you’ve never heard of winter swimming competitions, think of a swim meet held outdoors, in freezing temperatures, in a big swimming-pool sized hole cut in a frozen-over lake, outfitted with lane lines and timers and the whole works. Pretty amazing!)
Sunday’s experience just whetted my appetite for more beach days, and for water warm enough that I can combine my workout and my outdoor swim instead of getting them in sequentially. I love this time of year when there is the whole season to look forward to, and just more and more people coming out to the beach each weekend.