Thursday, May 31, 2007

Unthinkably Cold Water

Its hard for me to describe it. I knew I had to get in the water today, and I put it off until 5pm. I ran 5 miles this morning, right past the Aquatic Park (photo to the right) so I could scout out the place. Of pain. There were 4 or 5 folks in there swimming at 7am - one guy got out and said that it's about 5 degrees warmer than a month ago. Boy, that's a relief.

The run went well. It was a VERY easy jog that took me out to the water exit (below) across from the gold-domed Palace of Fine Arts. The most striking aspect of the morning was the HUNDREDS of people out jogging and biking. I saw three groups of folks doing either Yoga, a group stretch and then run, and some neat, boot camp type of multiple station workout. Either I've been living in a cave (likely) and this kind of stuff goes on all over the place, or San Francisco is uniquely physical fitness orientated.

I ran by the soon-to-be transition area and the RD team has the equipment in place to start setting up. I'll be running by tomorrow to pick up my bike about a mile past the site, and look forward to seeing their progress. Now that I'm here, and the pieces are all falling together, I'm getting more and more excited.

Di had a crummy day today as we think she has a fever and a constant runny nose. We kept our activity to a minimum, with the hopes that tomorrow is a better day. High temperature today in the Bay area was 58 degrees. Jees. In Tampa, if it were 58 degrees, I'd probably pack up the bike, forgo that workout and do a run instead.

So the swim...I get to Aquatic Park and there's a guy with his family from Utah putting on his wetsuit, getting ready to swim. Good thing he was there - I forgot how impossible it is to zip a suit up by yourself. So now the moment of truth arrives, time to get in the water. No, I don't have a "hot head" swim cap yet - so it's just my bare skull and the frigid water. Wading out, it doesn't seem so bad, that is, until I dive in.

It was like being slapped in the face with a thin flat board - whack - over and over again. Out goes the face, and I'm a doggie paddling. Down I go for another round. And a few strokes later, I just can't take it anymore. I try side stroking for a while, just to spend some time in the water. This is serious! Face down, I manage to breath to the right a couple times and to the left a couple times. No kidding, 100 yards later, I'm ready to get out RIGHT NOW. I swim in to shore, and walk up to sit down for a minute.

This is going to be a process. Fortunately, I found my AquaSphere goggles and thought enough to bring them. I put them on, and went back in. Immediately there was a huge difference over regular speedo goggles. Less facial surface area touching the water. I swam non-stop out to the buoy line and back in - another 100 yd swim. Total time in the water was probably 15 minutes. No shark or other wildlife sightings. I'm guessing the water will be colder out in the bay - hooray.

One of the other guys out swimming was Joe, a newly graduated West Pointer from New Jersey. It was great to meet him and talk to him as we both got out of our wetsuits. With the cold wind blowing, it was good to be a Clydesdale compared to his 140 -150 lb standard triathlete self. He was shivering, while I was gabbing away, happy only to be out of the water. Good luck Sunday Lieutenant Joe from NJ! Joe actually earned his way to Escape by placing in the Escape series down in Florida in late March.

So, tomorrow we run again, grab the bike and ride a bit (it's been since last Monday since I've spun the pedals), and try and double my swimming time. Oh, and with luck we'll get to see a little San Franciso tomorrow as well!


Wrenched Photography said...

San Fransico is full of fitness freaks.

Significant shrinkage? Smuggling TicTacs?

San Fransico Poker: Played like 7 Card Stud cept Queens are Wild and Straights don't Count.

Anonymous said...


I vote for the cave too. We have yoga studios and running clubs in Tampa.

Get the neopreme for your dome as soon as possible. I had a similar problem in Feb at the unheated MacDill pool. The water was in the 50s. I had to breast stroke for the first 100 m to build up enough body heat to put my face in the water. By the time I finished my 1 km swim I had an "icecream" headache.

Get the neopreme for your gord!

Dan Seifring aka "OBRATS" said...

I must be in a cave as well. Maybe a west coast thing. When ever you meet someone from Jersey the thing to say is "What Exit". Best of luck to you and Joe form Jersey. I got my tracking all set up.

Spokane Al said...

I agree with Excel Man on the neoprene cap. I swam with one last week in some cold water and it really made a difference.

Either way you will rock and I will be looking forward to reading about it.

LoneStarCrank said...

You made it about 15 more minutes than I would have Bigun. Man I don't see how people can stomach it...wetsuit or sans wetsuit. Hats off to you (better yet, forego the hats off...keep them on and warm up!)

Anonymous said...

Growing up swimming in those frigid waters, I can feel your pain. Just swim faster. :)

They even have real bike lanes on almost every road...ahhh the old days of riding on streets.

Good luck. I'll be thinking about you...while I sip margaritas.

The Stretch Doc said...

now thats a swim!
Im so excited for you, what a race!

take it easy and have fun.


bigmike600 said...

If anyone has the will and strength to do it, it's you for sure. Go get em for all of us clydes.

S. Baboo said...

I hope that swim goes fast...maybe if you can stay in a pack it will be warmer, you know...pee and stuff.