I did it. I got in the lake and I still float. The water was a little cool at first, but just right once I got moving. I’m guessing the water ranged from 72-74, which I can’t verify because Gary’s fancy-schmancy digital thermometer only works when it’s got a live battery installed.
So what happens when you don’t get in the water for over 6 months and grow a belly in the interim? Well…when I pushed off the bottom to swim, it didn’t feel like any time had passed. I remembered exactly how it felt to swim in open water along with the feelings of relaxation, smooth movement and oneness with the currents that I’ve developed over the years. Those are nice feelings. The thing was that I remembered exactly how it felt to swim without a belly in the path of my underwater stroke. I remembered exactly how it felt to swim with power and strength in my back, shoulders and lats to drive my body forward and up over the small chop. So, feeling a little awkward and weak with my hands brushing the Remy belly on the back half of their underwater path, I slowly meandered forward and immersed myself in the sensations that hadn’t changed so much. I lasted a little over 30 minutes and barely covered a mile. Gary admits I looked a little funny, especially as it became more of a struggle to get those arms up and out and around as I continued past the point of current endurance levels. Which didn’t take long.
The swim outfit worked fine except for one minor detail. The ladies will know that it’s important to have the chest-covering part of the suit fit nice and snug, or else suffer the consequences of chafing in unfortunate places. So, anyway, kinda ouch. No worries, though. This is a minor issue that can be fixed.
The power issue will fix itself with a little consistent swimming. For those of you who don’t realize this, the winter prior to the 2007 season I didn’t swim for about 5 months (mid-October to mid-March), yet managed to do just fine thank you very much. I did supplement with some dryland, mostly on the sled, so that helped maintain some swim-related strength. I didn’t do quite so much of that this winter. For one, the most relevant sled exercise is done lying on one’s stomach, which isn’t possible right now. Secondly, it irritated my left shoulder that has a thing going on in it that doesn’t ever seem to go away even though I’ve wildly minimized shoulder strength work and make efforts to stretch the area with some moderate consistency. It’s time to visit the chiropractor and get that worked out once and for all, along with the obligatory prenatal lower back and hip adjustments. Anwyay, the point of bringing up the previous winter’s non-swimming approach is that I was pretty close to back on form within a month of reintroducing a couple weekly swim workouts to the mix. That’s the benefit of 10 years of intensive swim training during my child and teen years, I guess.
So there it is. The bummer part of the process is that any time I get a little lake water up my nose (pretty much every time), I finish the day out sniffling and sneezing. It’s not as bad as the effect of chemically chlorinated pool water, but it was enough to get me to break out the Benadryl, which incidentally knocked me out into a dozey daze while Remy turned into Mr. Kickypants. So while I really enjoy swimming, I’m having some struggles with how I feel after. I’m going to swallow my ex-swimmer ego and buy some noseclips and see if that helps. Yes, they are dorky looking, but what the heck do I think I am? I’m a stick-armed out of shape somewhat awkwardly pregnant floater upon the water. It’s time I embrace the dorkiness that is the character I’ve become and put a clip on that old nose of mine.