Thursday, December 8, 2011

Double bagging it

Today's Polar Bear Swim involved wearing two latex caps instead of one.  That was a good decision as I didn't get a brain freeze at all this time.  The water on my digital thermometer after the swim showed 37.8° (3.2°C).

The GSL Marina looks awesome at sunset.

Today I met Josh at the marina at 4:15pm and we went down to the ramp and got all set up.  Neither of us heard from anyone else and waited 10 more minutes talking, until it was 4:30pm so we figured that was it.  The sun was nearly at the horizon.  I paused for a quick moment to mentally prepare and waded in and immediately started my swim for a full lap of the marina opening and back.  A distance of 350 yards (1/5th of a mile).  

When I turned around to come back I started to feel like I was holding a brick in each hand, and also a brick was strapped to the soles of each foot.  Then they started to feel "dead.  Couldn't feel them anymore.  But my brain knew which way to move my arms even though I couldn't really feel them.  I knew each pull actually was making me go forward even though I couldn't feel the water on my hands and forearms to really verify that.  

Finally made it back to the ramp and stopped my watch: 4:45.  I reached over to where I had my thermometer and took a quick reading before getting out.  37.8°F.  Josh took a reading from his mercury thermometer and it was just below 40.  So somewhere between there.  I feel like a girly man only being in the water 5 minutes and calling it good.  The real winter swimmers in the Czech Republic are in the icy water from 10 to 22 minutes.  

Once we got out, Goody pulled up.  Dang!  I'm sure he was disappointed we already went.  He said that from now on that he'll let us know when he is NOT coming.  I typically put in a 15 minute buffer.  Plan to meet at 4:15pm and in the water at 4:30pm.  If you pull up at 4:30, sure we'll wait.  But no sign at 4:30pm and time's a wasting, we're going in.  We're getting cold just standing in the cold 30° breeze.   If we plan on 4:30, it ends up being 4:45, and the sun is practically down then.  About a month after the winter solstice, we can start meeting later.  The water's cold enough when the sun is still up.  It's mentally brutal as it is to do a lap in that cold water, I don't want to put darkness on top of that.   

Anyway I felt bad for him and said "You're up bro!".  He was a good sport and quickly changed and got in for his swim.  We cheered for him and took pics.  I really envy his full beard.  It looks so good.  Can't wait to get released from my Scoutmaster position so I can grow one out.  I literally look like a shaved fat polar bear.  I'd like a little facial fur to cover up my bioprene neck.  

I enjoy listening to Jack Bright's documentary, Winter Swimming, on the way home after each icy swim.  I converted the DVD to mp4 and put on my ipod so that I can take it with me.  Today Jack's quote is:
"Perhaps what makes this activity immediately enjoyable and gratifying is the release of endorphines a short time after exiting the water.  A true natural high."
I'm here to tell you, that this is very true, EXCEPT it doesn't come until after the recover stage is over.  During recover stage I'm not a very positive person.  I'm in my car moaning in pain, shaking and mourning over the feeling of having my hands and toes ran over by a steamroller, or crushed in a press.  They don't look discolored, but they feel like they're about to fall off.  I'd rather throw up than go through that crushing feeling.  And today was the worst recovery I've ever experienced.  I'm just so glad that nobody else is in the car with me, cause I'm a total baby.

This season it's only been Josh, Jake, Goody, myself and one appearance from Matt Gerrish.  It would really be nice to expand our numbers.  So this next week I'm offering (bribing) $10 to any new person who's not joined us before to at minimum get in up to their neck in the water without a wetsuit and immediately get out if they desire.  Anybody else in the club want to join me by throwing a little green in the pot?  Although we would love an additional regular, we don't expect it.  But it sure would be nice to have a special appearance by a newbie to get a good laugh and take some pics.  You actually will enjoy it.  The recovery stage after a quick "plop" is minimal.

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