I swam 2048m today starting at 14:30 at the PC 32m outdoor pool. It was sunny, cool-warm, clear. The water was just a hair under 18 C. No wetsuit today!

  • 512m,    26 SPL,    1.12 tempo,     8:52
  • 512m,    28,            1.12 tempo,     9:13
  • 512m,    29,            1.08 tempo,    9:27
  • 512m,    29-30,    1.08 tempo,     9:34

I was hot in my core when I jumped in, but that first lap was tough! I wanted to jump right out- I was thinking, “This is NUTS! Why am I doing this?” But I hung in there. I had the Tempo Trainer set to 1.12 but I was compelled to crank a lot faster than that to fight off the shock. Perhaps I went too hard for ‘warm-up’ sake, but on the second lap the reassuring fiery chest sensation kicked in and it seemed like I would be ok after all.

I focused on the tempo, but scrapped my original plan to speed up by .02 per 2 laps. My arms were immediately sluggish and I knew I was only going to lose mobility as they got colder. So I focused on trying to hold 26 SPL and keep my fingers snug for a full catch. I breathed a lot more often, even every cycle until about the 3rd 500 when I was dialed in and holding a 3-stroke breath as normal. I felt warm enough, or should I say, not so numb or shivering on #2 that I decided to keep going despite the fact that the pool was quickly falling under shade and I could feel the loss of it’s warmth even more. Toward the end of #3 I wasn’t as chilled as I had felt in previous swims (though more numb in the hands) so I thought it would be more satisfying to do 2000 rather than a plain, everyday ol’ 1500. I had the wetsuit laying on the deck like a lifeguard, just in case I bailed, but I didn’t want to use up one of it’s lives in the chlorinated pool today. (I am not decided how worth it it will be use it in chlorine when I really need it for the sea).

I pushed for one more 500. However, I clicked up the tempo to 1.08. 1.12 was just not fast enough to match how fast my body wanted to stroke to generate heat. My toes were stiff and my pinkies and ring fingers were losing muscle control so I couldn’t hold a snug hand and was losing SPL like a leaky boat taking on water. I realized, even if I could bare another 500 I was losing my propulsion quality, which, moving slower and slower would only compound the chill. My splits were climbing. It was interesting to note however that I was working hard, but I was not even close to feeling fatigued at the end. It was just the seeping chill and stiffening that slowed me down and prevented even more effort. I felt like I was holding good form (through a sensory-dulled brain) but still it was like swimming through pre-formed jello. I was even getting more than usual amounts of water in my mouth on each breath- little details showed me that form was distorted by the conditions.

This felt good as an accomplishment, but I would not label it as fun.

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