It’s been an interesting winter. Getting my mileage up to 30km+ a week has been a challenge but I have finally managed to do it and I am starting to feel confident with my base training.
This winter I challenged myself with a few different sets including swimming 5km of butterfly during a 10km workout and a lot more speed training than my heart truly desires. Although these were definitely “feel-good” workouts I continuously worry about my volume. Am I training enough ? or have I simply grown accustomed to training for swims much further than 35km?
Some of my other challenges have been in really really cold water. It’s been a colder than usual winter which has caused the water temperature to drop down to 3C. The first time I went in the water at that temperature was with Jill Yoneda. It was cold both in and out of the water and there was a pretty monstrous wind creating some gnarly waves. We walked in together, jumped over the waves, and waded around for a bit. When we were out far enough I attempted a body surf back to shore. All I can say is BRRRRRRR! and OUCH OUCH OUCH.
A few weeks later I headed up to Qualicum Beach to hang out with my cold water guru Bill Burton – a.k.a Beluga Bill. I was hoping he could give me a few tips as he has been swimming in the chilly waters of the Strait of Georgia for years. I also wanted a double check on the temperature as my thermometer reading as I am often told the water on the west coast never goes below 7C.
It had snowed the night before so it was super chilly out. And once again we had some big wind making for some funky conditions. Bill talked to me about wetting my face once I am in the water up to my knees as one of the ways I can prep for the cold. It is something he has been doing for years.
Bill confirmed the temperature at 3C. I managed to spend more time (about 10 minutes) in the water this time and was able to swim despite the conditions.
Although I leave the cold water swims feeling more confident each time, I have been trying to figure out how to go from 10 minutes to 12 hours. And then it happened! This weekend I jumped in the water with a group of people that meet up once a month and jump in the Gorge waterway. They are campaigning to keep the waterway clean and have been jumping in and out all winter.
I was pleasantly surprised with the with the water temperature. It was somewhere up around 7C and I became more and more comfortable with time. It was warm enough that we were able to have a bit of fun with some syncro while splashing around.
I stayed in for 15 minutes and could have easily stayed in longer. The last of my cohorts jumped out at 10 minutes and I didn’t want to miss the homemade vegan bread and soup that awaited me on the dock.
I hope to spend 30 or so minutes in the water this weekend.