I've been bugging Cliff to go for an open water swim with me, and since he is now tapering for the Peterborough half iron, he graciously obliged.
I picked up a rental wetsuit from Running Free on Thursday. Because this way my first time wearing a wetsuit, they suggested that I try a sleeveless model, "purely from a comfort perspective." Okay. Since I have heard horror stories from friends trying on wetsuits, I asked DH to come with me to help me squeeze into it. I tried on a large Zoot Women's Fuzion Sleeveless. To my surprise, it went on easily and I hardly needed help at all. Was it too big? I modeled it for the store staff and they said it looked fine. Okay, I guess I'm ready to go! When they asked which event I was doing this weekend, I felt a little strange telling them that I was just going for a practice swim. But really, I didn't mind paying for the rental to have the wetsuit/open water swimming experience. Also, their website says that if you decide to purchase a suit within a year of the rental, they will apply the rental fee to your purchase. Sounds good to me.
I met Cliff at Cherry beach this morning. The water felt really cold when we first waded out! We took our time getting in, then did a short out-and-back around a couple of markers. It was probably about 100m. The first round didn't go very well...I ran out of breath quickly and my face felt numb from cold. I ended up flipping onto my back a few times. This was what happened to me at Lakeside during the race. Cliff was great...he kept an eye on me and kept making sure I was okay. Once we got to the shallow water, I told him what happened and he suggested that I come up for air more frequently if I wasn't feeling comfortable. In the pool, I usually take a breath every 5 strokes, alternating sides. We went for another lap, and this time I took a breath every 2nd stroke. It helped me in terms of not running out of breath, but since I was always breathing to the right, I veered off course...haha!
At the end of the second lap, we made our way back to the beach. It was rocky near the shore and very hard on my feet. When I stood up, my legs felt like jello and I couldn't find my footing on the rocks. I fell over several times. It probably took me 10 minutes just to get out onto the beach...talk about longest transition time ever!
We went for two more laps after that, with the second one being slightly longer. I guess we did about 500m in total. My confidence improved each time, and my swimming became smoother. Slow, but at least I kept myself going.
It would have been very helpful if I had tried that before my give-it-a-tri! Had I known that the cold water would affect me so much, I would have done a better warm-up. The wetsuit also helped a lot. I might have to think about buying my own!
DH came down with me with his bike, so after the swim we biked for about 14k into Tommy Thompson park. Beautiful day for a ride. He kept up with me on the way out, but couldn't keep up on the way back. This gave my evil ego a bit of satisfaction. If DH could have kept up with me on a mountain bike when he is out of shape, I would have been quite discouraged. Apparently, my cycling training has not been all for nothing!
All in all, a great way to spend the morning!