At 5:45 am my alarm went off, and after a quick look outside, was sure we would be swimming in near darkness at 7am. The upside however was it was raining. While this is typically a downer when training for any other event, in the water it doesn't matter (you're already wet) and usually means a warmer swim. When we arrived at the HSC (Hollyburn Sailing Club) at Ambleside in West Vancouver, it had brightened up enough to swim safely, the tide was out and we joked that the seal patrolling the water near shore was taunting us with the old "C'mon in! The water's just fine". HA!
Once at the water's edge, I double check that my new purchase is securely fastened to my wetsuit zipper-pull, and that I can reach around to read it. So far, so good. I look to Tracy-Anne and relay the first reading - Air temperature: 15C - OK.
Our next steps bring our feet into the water......WHOA! Yup, just as expected. Its cold. I take the opportunity here to make the first check of water temperature. After a minute I remove the thermometer from the water - it reads 15C. This is actually GOOD news! I was afraid that the temperature would read higher, and my perception of cold was going to have to drastically change.
With our feet barely able to stand the cold ankle deep water, it was never the less time to shock the body - time to swim.
SPLASH! Head under and hands submerged all of my body parts not covered by my wetsuit instantly start their protest. The worst of which seem to be my hands, already red and stiffening up. HOLYFRIGGINCRAPTHATSCOLD! We both stand up and simultaneously start clapping our hands together. I remark that we will NOT have this luxury when jumping off of the ferry in San Fran and this seems to get us both moving again. As I dive under again, I remember a 'tip' from the Alcatraz website stating "remember to exhale when jumping into the water to avoid the gasp reflex". Good advice. As I exhale into the cold once more, I start "skulling" quickly with my hands to get the blood flowing (Coach Martina would be so happy to know I am doing drills! haha) and it works. Soon, I am in my stroke and am feeling quite comfortable. The water is actually, dare I say, NICE! Refreshing! And crystal clear! After about 20 minutes of swimming, another reading of the thermometer confirms the water temperature is indeed 15C.
Next step will be the purchase of hoods to wear and the experimentation with ear plugs - both to help retain as much body heat as possible. That and just swim, swim, swim - in every condition possible. Tomorrow however will be back in the pool for another early morning Masters. I'm sure my feet will thaw out and will have full use of both of my hands by then ;)