Sunday October 17th, 2010
Air Temperature: 44 degrees, windy, hail
Water Temperature: 51-53 degrees
It snowed Friday night, I knew it was coming but that didn’t make it any easier knowing I would be swimming outdoors today with fresh snow on the mountains. Mount Mansfield was proudly sporting 12- 14 inches of fresh new white stuff, 20 inches fell but the high winds packed it down to a compact 12-14 inches. The first snow of the season creates an exciting buzz around the village, those eager to ride and ski have already hiked up the mountain first thing on Saturday morning to get those early season fresh tracks, for me on Saturday it was a toasty 8000m swim in the 82 degree indoor lap pool, today is a different scenario, I am scheduled to swim outside at the Green River Reservoir at 11:00am, Cara one of my training crew team members is scheduled to kayak with me, Cara sends a text at 7:30am , ” I am not well, Sore throat & chills. I don’t know if I can make it on the lake today. Call me when you get up. So sorry.” I call Cara to tell her she should sit tight, plopping her out on a windy and wet lake is not going to help her feel any better, ” you stay at home and keep warm I’ll be good as gold” , we say our goodbyes and I hang up.
Hmmm…….. time to regroup, Cara can’t come with me, there is snow on the mountains, the wind is blowing, it is cold out, Sunday is my rest day, I was called into work last night and didn’t get to bed until midnight, I got a call early at 7:15am this morning, I didn’t sleep well, I had a long pool swim yesterday……Wahhh Wahhh, the list went on and on, I thought of every excuse in the book not to follow through with today’s training swim, it is amazing how many excuses you can come up with if you open the door and let them come tumbling out. I head downstairs to get a cup of tea, mashed banana on toast and to mull the whole thing over. Jeff my husband is in the kitchen, as I amble in he asks ” you swimming outside today”?, “was going to but Cara’s sick, she was going to come with me”I replied in a noncommittal kind of way, ” I’ll come out with you if you want?” , ” are you sure, I haven’t figured out if I’ll swim or not, can I let you know”?, I give myself yet another out. We agree on a plan, Jeff is heading out for a workout, we will grab lunch when he gets back then figure out a plan, PHEW bought myself a little more time tucked up indoors.
Jeff heads off to the gym and I head down to the office to work on my swim log, I am entering all my swims recorded this year into a snappy little grid to give me a running total of how far I have swum in the pool and in the open water this year, it shows the water temperature, the location of the swim and my total YTD meterage, it also allows me to see if I am matching, exceeding or falling below the annual distance goal I have set for myself for 2010. As I am entering the swims for May, June, July and August I reflect on how far I have come since January 1st 2010 when I began training for an attempt on the English Channel….how can I blow off today’s training swim after all I have been through already? I can’t and I know it.
|Mini with a Kayak Lid|
Jeff arrives back from the gym, we eat lunch and pack up the gear, we have to travel the kayak on the mini today and that’s entertaining in itself, the boat is longer than the car. Everything is packed in the mini, then it is suit on, extra baby oil on the arms, back and shoulders and lots of warm clothes ontop. I let Jeff know that there is a chance we may not swim today, I explain that if it is below 50 degrees we will turn around and come home, he says ” OK”.
Then we are off, the forecast says sunshine today, it is not accurate, the skies are dark, it is damp and cold and we see small pellets of hail bouncing off the mini as we drive to the Reservoir, we arrive to find that the gate to the canoe launch is padlocked, “Rats we’ll have to walk everything down,
let’s go throw the Turtle in before we lug all the stuff” I say to Jeff, inside me there is a glimmer of hope that the Turtle will say ” too bad it’s only 49 degrees, why don’t you head home and have a hot chocolate, maybe even a nap”.
The Turtle does not say that, he answers quite confidently 53 degrees, ” lady you are going swimming”, all right then, I think, action stations, ear plugs in, cap on, pants off, I leave my big Burton jacket on as we lug the boat down to the canoe launch, it takes about 4-5 minutes, my right shoulder is aching from carrying the boat, Jeff gets in the Kayak and as I take off my heavy jacket I look out to the deserted lake, during the summer months it used to be so alive with people, canoes, kayaks, loons, people camping and fishing, no longer, it is desolate and remote feeling.
I pay my attention to the task at hand, 1.34 miles, one lap around Blueberry Island in 51-53 degrees water…” do it, do it, do it”, I mumble…and I am in, ohhhh boy that is chilly, my arms are spinning fast like a roulette wheel, I am swimming right alongside the boat and see that poor Jeff is getting soaked from the water splashing from my frantically spinning arms, I feel bad for him but can’t slow down or adjust, it is just too cold, he doesn’t miss a beat and takes the drenching.
I can see nothing today, my goggles are completely fogged up and I can’t tell if I am swimming away from Jeff or close to him, ‘ have to wing it” I decide, instead on relying on sight I swim on feel, I desperately want to know where I am but can’t see anything, then I feel the water getting warmer, it must be getting shallow, that means I am close to Blueberry Island my halfway point and turn around, thank goodness, I am quietly relived, we round the Island and head for home, the water is choppy and the Kayak is being pushed around by the wind, I can see the sky, it looks angry and dark, it makes me shudder, I drive on harder through the waves, again I begin to wonder ” am I there yet, am I there yet?”, then I feel the water warm up to the shoreline 53 degree temperature, YES, I am close, I sneak a couple of peaks, Jeff sees me peaking and I throw my head back down and swim. My stroke rate is 74 strokes per minute for the entire 1.34 miles, we pull into the canoe launch, 30 minutes, we did it, I did not want to swim today, i fought it to the bitter end and finally overcame all the excuses and got the job done, when you write down the workout you do it, even better tell someone else you are doing it too!
Post swim the plan was for me to scurry up to the car and Jeff to navigate the boat on his own, out of the water and I got my jacket on, shoes on and towel wrapped around my waist ” I want to carry the boat up now with you now “, Jeff didn’t want me too but I was adamant, I trotted up the hill behind him kayak in hand, by the time we reached the car I was spent and concentrated on getting off my wet suit and getting on the possum hat, fleece leggings, merino sweater and woolly slippers, as I was navigating all this two cars with Massachusetts plates pulled up in the parking lot, four people got out and walked by, they looked gobsmacked, I made a point to make no eye contact, they asked Jeff if ” the water was cold”, lucky I had my ear plugs in and didn’t hear their question, who knows what my reply might have been and if it would have been appropriate to share with you, yes better left unheard, they disappeared down the road to the canoe launch, perhaps to check out the water temperature for themselves.
Car packed up and we were off, hot shower, warm clothes and another cold water acclimatization swim checked off. Next up Tuesday October 19th, Green River Reservoir, the forecast is calling for cold nights 32-34 degrees for the next few nights, Tuesday may be the farewell to the reservoir for 2010, will it be, we will find out on Tuesday afternoon when Turtle is scheduled once again to take the first dip, Will he be the solo swimmer on Tuesday? It will depend on the temperature, I’ll keep you posted.
|Stormy skies, snow on the trials of Mount Mansfield, Stowe, Vermont|