Thursday, March 29, 2012

Out of body experience

I went to the temple this morning with Cathi so my morning swim was sacrificed.  However I knew I was going out to GSL tonight so I wasn't too upset.  It gave me a good reason to "Man up" and do a tough swim.  I set a goal this morning to do the "Gridley Straight".  It was mostly cloudy all day and not the warmest day.

When I got to the marina to change, the bathrooms were out of order so I had to do a quick change in the car. I saw that Chad was there.  Jim as usual, and then Goody and James Jonsson, and Josh, and Victor!  I think this was a record.  There were seven of us!  Anyway the water temp read 55°F.  Jim got a head start as he had to leave early, so when I got to the marina opening he was on his way back in.  He mentioned that the water was colder outside the marina.  Huh?  The past few times I noticed it was the other way around.  He was right.

Once outside the marina I immediately started heading towards black rock.  The waves and wind were pretty intense.  This was the most chop I've seen out here.  At least that I can remember.  I was getting "pushed" to black rock, and I was thinking how am I gonna get back.  I stopped once about halfway there to look back to see if anyone else was joining me on this router.  Nope, I was on my own.  I couldn't even see any of the other guys.  I was starting to get cold cramps, but figured this was fantastic practice for channel conditions and got my face back in the water and heading to my goal.

When I got to the Blackrock I stood up, notice some guy sitting in his truck watching me.  I opened up my SSD and got my purple perpetuem mix, drank it and started back.  It was painful going from standing up to immersing myself in that cold water all over again.  The air temp was definitely warmer than the water.  This time though I was heading in to the waves and the wind.  Looking forward to sight was only occasionally effective.  But I knew I was going straight.  I was just checking "How much further!"

I no longer felt bone chilled, just rocked around like crazy.  My arms were going at a good pace, yet I wasn't tired at all.  Just tried to keep them going in the most efficient form as possible, and fast.  My mind was numb the last 15 minutes of my swim.  I didn't think about how cold I was, how much further I went, just went into "cruise control with medium effort".  Although it sound like I was in "the zone".  I wasn't.  The conditions were just so crazy that I felt like I was having an out of body experience.

If I had a support boat in these conditions, the paddler would most definitely be in danger.  There are times when I am so relieved not to have a support boat to worry about.  Isn't that weird?

When I got near to the marina opening I felt like I was on a treadmill.  I was going at a sprint pace yet didn't feel like I was moving at all.  There was Chad, Josh and Goody all at the end of the marina wall at the opening already dressed and cheering for me at the finish.  It sure felt good to get inside the protective walls of the marina.  The last 300 yards went fast.

Comparing where I am at now in open water compared to last year is fun.  Last year at this time I was happy to get one mile.  Today's distance doubled that, and in colder conditions than last year.

Total Distance: 2.2 miles in 1:04

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