This evening at the normal WFPBC meeting time at GSL Marina, Josh suggested a pretty insightful motto for the New Years Race: "You gotta be half nuts to do this!" It's true. Just before getting in (with Jim and Josh), Josh jokingly said, "I sometimes wonder why I do this." I'm sure I'll be thinking that later in the season when it's below 40 degrees, but now the water temp is still high enough that yeah it's cool, but nothing that I get nervous over. Yet....
I felt like I had to respond to Josh's rhetorical statement, "It's mental conditioning." Training the mind and body that your will is WAY stronger than your weakness and laziness. It's exactly what one of the Czech swimmers in Jack Bright's DVD says. Here's just a little clip of that documentary (which I would highly suggest to anyone interested in Winter Swimming. You can buy the DVD here). Jack Bright is one of the world's experts on the subject. (On this video clip, maximize the view so you can read the English subtitles.)
I got in and did a relatively brisk breaststroke to the other side of the marina. Halfway there I actually didn't feel cold, not even all that numb. I could tell that the briskness of my stroke was actually generating a little heat. I was breathing rhythmically and going fairly strong. When I got to the other side I looked at my watch: 5 minutes. Then I swam slowly back to Josh and Jim who also were swimming an easy breaststroke. Talked with Josh as we swam easily back to the ramp. I told him that I am still not comfortable taking cold showers. I tried it for about a week at Goody's persistent challenging, but realized that I much prefer nice warm steamy showers. Sure I love swimming in cold water, but warm showers are too awesome.
When we got back to the boat ramp my watch wasn't quite at 15 minutes yet so I just stood there for another minute until it read 15. Took a temp just before getting out and it read 48.8° and Jim's read 49°.
Jim stayed in for 21 minutes. Awesome!
Total Distance: @430 yards
I'm a little worried about the New Years Race. Proper preparation for a winter race involves hardening. This cannot be accomplished in a single session, or possibly even a handful. Those best prepared for a winter race start training in October when the water is still in the 50's and progressively makes its way down to the mid 30's. Going straight into a winter race without hardening not only will result in a poor performance in the race, but can be dangerous on the heart. With that, I'm contemplating still doing the race, but not taking money or providing shirts etc... That way I don't have to actually have a permit and go through all the red tape of getting EMTs, etc...
We just don't have enough participants yet to really put an event together that isn't just the normal "half nuts" guys.
If you're reading this and seriously contemplating the WFPBC race please let me know! I don't have a solid committed count yet. I'm guess it's at around 4 or 5, and if we don't get at least 8, I'm not going to pursue it as an official event.