Thursday, June 30, 2011

The one with the barge.

My friend RJ met me at the beach at 7:30 for a swim. The sky was filled with fluffy white clouds and the lake was still. It was perfect swim conditions. RJ hasn't done a lot of solo open water swimming, so we laid out a plan and got in. The water was cool, but we warmed up easily.

As we were leaving the swim beach RJ commented that she'd never seen a barge in Lake Washington before. I hadn't either. It was filled with gravel or something similar and being pushed by a tug.

As we swam northbound, it passed us, northbound as well. And then the waves came. And came. And came. Two foot swells. Relentless. And we were swimming into them. It was hard work.

RJ is a stronger swimmer than I, and swam laps around me (this is no surprise, she's incredibly athletic). There were times I couldn't see her in the swells. I switched between breast stroke and crawl. Felt strong.

Around our turn-around spot, we saw an eagle. Fish in its mouth. A few minutes later, another eagle started to circle. I feared it might be checking us out. How do you make it clear to an eagle that you aren't a fish?

We turned around and let the waves push us back. The down-stream swimming was so easy.

Water Tem: 66 Air Temp: 62 Swim time: 60 min

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Braver man than I

Back in the water today, after a week off for a bad cold. Got to the beach, tired, grumpy, hungry. As I was pulling on the wetsuit, a guy got out, wearing only swim trunks. I asked him how the water was. He said it felt great. He hadn't thought he'd get out today. I said "You are a braver man than I, going without a wetsuit." He said it was warm. So I skipped the gloves and booties.

I got in. He got out. And he was right. It was warm. And beautiful. Within minutes my swimming peace came over me. The plan was for a short swim, but once I was out there I didn't want to stop. So instead of turning around at the first turn point, I went to the second. And half way to the third. I need to find my anti-fog spray for my goggles, I spent too much time fiddling with them.

The water is back on at the outdoor shower, and the life-guards start this weekend. Perhaps summer is here.

Air Temp: 65 Water Temp: 63 Swim time: 35 min

Monday, June 20, 2011

The genisis of the idea

I was in the middle of my swim a few weeks ago, marveling at how open water makes me happy. Its just that simple. Being in open water makes me happy. And wondering how I could preserve that year round. Because pool swimming does not make me happy.

Then I thought about the winter of 99-00. The year I pledged to run outside, all winter long. I lived in St. Peter, Minnesota. Could I do the same with the lakes? Swim. Outside. Year round.

So here I am. About to find out.

I have official "approval" even if there was also an "I don't understand why you'd want to" from my partner.

So I set out to see if I can. Swim. Outside. All winter long.