Frigid Swim

Today’s prescribed workout (according to the Ironman training plan I’m following at was a 45 minute swim.  I brought my wetsuit along on the cross country drive just in case I’d have an opportunity to do some open water swimming.  I hadn’t checked the ocean water temps before arriving in Hilton Head, so I was a bit surprised to hear the water comes in at a chilly 53 degrees.

The coldest swim I’ve taken may have been in Lake Washington in the spring of ’06, where I think the water temperatures were in the high 50s at that time.  At the Pacific Crest Half Ironman that summer (near Mt. Bachelor in Sunriver, OR) water temps were about 62 degrees because of mountain snow runoff. That made for a rough beginning of the race.  Photos here –
I ventured out into the water here in Hilton Head fully prepared for the pain.  After rushing into the water as if it was a running race start, my breath was taken away.  The water felt like shards of ice on my exposed hands, feet and face.  I wasn’t sure I’d be able to continue.  It takes a few minutes for the water inside the wetsuit to warm up. As I caught my breath and my hands and feet started to feel numb, I reminded myself that the conditions in a race can sometimes be unpredictable and even painful. A great deal of dealing with an endurance race like the Ironman is adjusting to the mental hardships and compartmentalizing the pain and problems you encounter. So, I decided to treat the workout as I would the actual race by working to gut it out as best I could. I set my sights on a landmark that I’d swim to and then turn around. After 58 minutes of swimming, I felt great (though cold) and had renewed confidence to overcome future training challenges.

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 16th, 2009 at 5:38 PM and is filed under Cross Country Drive 2009, Triathlons. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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