Open Water Swimming, Take Two

I hesitate to post this photo because you can only see two of the buoys.  The one where you start, and then the next closest one.  The other two are much farther away.  They look really, really small when you first get in.  Read: I want you to be impressed, and I don’t think picture will have this effect.

All the way around all four is one mile.  I have swam a mile or more before, but it looks different to see all those laps laid end to end like this.

My second attempt at open water swimming was much more successful than the first.  I was a little nervous to go by myself since my normal training buddy couldn’t come with me. 

We’ve been swimming at Bowles Reservoir with Mile High Multipsport.  It’s $11.54 for a one day pass or $9 per session if you buy a five or ten card punch pass.  I got a one day pass the first time and then bought the five punch card.

My first swim was all about getting acclimated.  Where do we park?  Check in?  Can I put my wetsuit on on the grass or am I supposed to put it on in the locker room?  Is it cold?  It’s cold.  Only 55 degrees!

I felt like a big lame-o since I sort of flailed around the buoys, doing very little actual swimming.  I can swim for ages in the pool, and I wasn’t freaked out by fish or lake monsters.  Why was my heart beating so hard and why was it so hard to breathe?

Doing some googling, I learned that it’s a physiological response, your lungs constrict in cold water. And that made me feel much better about feeling like I couldn’t catch my breath.

Yesterday’s swim, I felt a lot better.  I knew where to park!  I knew it was fine to put my wetsuit on in the grass.  And the water was a bit warmer. Still cold, but not quite as shocking.

I still had a harder time catching my breath than normal.  I did a few “bobs” (ducking under water and then jumping up as high as I could) to warm up.  I switched off between breast stroke, side stroke, and front crawl.  Front crawl is, of course, the fastest, but my lungs were still protesting a bit.  I tried to use mostly my arms and take it easy on the kick.  That worked pretty well.  I was able to go around the three rightmost buoys in less than 25 minutes as opposed to more than 45 last week.  I think that was about 750 meters.  I was feeling so good, I struck out to do another lap, but halfway to the first bouy I was like, “Okay, Mel.  That’ll do.”  I think I went about a half mile total in less than 30 minutes.

Next time I think I would like to do one lap around three bouys, stop for a rest, and then do it again.  Or perhaps even go around all four for one mile.  Honestly, it pains me to pay $9 for a 30 minute workout (plus more than an hour round trip to get there) and I’d like to get more workout bang for my buck!

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