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Nehalem Bay – Ice Cube time

August 7, 2007

Now those of you that have seen my training schedule know that I was supposed to get in a 6 hour training swim today.  That did not happen.


Elizabeth and I arrived down to the Nehalem Bay State Park at the required start time and I got in the water as planned, but suddenly something felt different.  The water was cold.  I know it is supposed to be cold, but it felt really cold.  I had my water thermometer on and it was reading 58 degrees.  Obviously the currents shifted or a weather pattern changed things, but this was still a good training temperature. 


I finished the 1st hour and came out for a feed and removed the water thermometer.  It can be a pain dragging it around.  In for hour 2,  on the turn home the water felt even colder.  I thought I must just be having an off week.  I couldn’t hold pace on Thursday and now the water felt like ice.  My hands and feet were starting to really hurt.  At this time the song with the line “Pins and needles, nice to know you. Good-bye” came into my head.  Not very inspirational or helpful.


Elizabeth managed to convince me to go in for another hour after my second feeding.  She managed to do so by just saying, “Well whatever you want to do.”  Since I was complaining that it was so cold and I didn’t think I could get back in.  I was downing hot tea and shot bloks like they were going out of style.  It was as if I was trying to gain the 15-30 pounds that Channel swimmers always talk about putting on.  (Side note:  I didn’t put on any weight for the Channel as I already have some extra padding, which the pictures will show). 


I went in for the third hour.  Again the water just felt colder and colder.  Now my lips were numb and my ears were ringing.  Perhaps I will have to try ear plugs.  I don’t train with them as I can’t hear well and they cause more irritation for me.  I got out for a feeding and I stated I really didn’t think I could go on.  I was frustrated as 58 degrees is pretty typical for the middle of the Channel and I couldn’t handle it for 3 hours.  This was no way to make it across and I might as well back out now.  Then the shakes started.  Not those nice little ones that you get when you are somewhat chilled, but the more violent ones where at times you feel like your teeth are going to shake out of your head.  I called the swim at that point.  I knew better than to get back in.


I quickly went to the showers to warm up.  I couldn’t get the water hot enough.  After getting dressed I went back to the beach to wrap up in blankets and sit on the warm sand, as it was a very sunny day.  I finally warmed up and had some food.  I decided to check the water temperature one last time…54 degrees.  The water temp had DROPPED 4 degrees with the influx of the ocean water into the bay.  I wasn’t going insane.  It was getting colder. 


Elizabeth was a trooper as I had promised her 6 hours of good studying and now she only got in 3 and had to drive my sorry bum back to Portland.  She did bring along some very delicious cookies which I promptly ate.


Swim Notes:

  • The song that I was singing was Incubus – Nice to Know You.  I didn’t know this at the time.  Thank goodness for Google.
  • If swimming in super cold water, a one piece suit will be required.
  • Perhaps consider taking people’s advice and use ear plugs. 


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