Today was another trip back to freezing Nehalem Bay. Luckily some of my friends have started thinking for me. Jane suggested since I was able to make it until 2 hours before high tide we should use this as our starting point and work backwards. This would put the start of the swim at 9am finishing at 3ish. Hopefully the water would have a similar effect and I would be swimming in the warmer river water for more of the swim. Kim R also decided to join us at the beach, which was great. Even if my friends don’t swim, it is nice having the support on the beach. I realize that many people put their own schedules on hold to assist me. Again just saying thank you doesn’t seem to be enough.
We arrived in Nehalem just on time to start the swim. Unlike yesterday the weather was overcast. I checked the water temperature and it sat right at 58 degrees. I made sure that I was wearing a one piece suit today. Kim took some I’m sure lovely photos of me getting greased up to go. I was using more grease than normal just to try to add an extra layer. Now I don’t grease all over. I only use it in the thin skinned places and places most likely to chaff. These include my inner arms, armpits, neck, groin, back of legs, and the seams of the suit. (Note: my grease consists of 3 part petroleum jelly to 1 part lanolin. Funny story about the lanolin later).
I got in the water and started swimming. I had work to get done. I took my normal route but to pass the time I started to collect interesting shells. Since I couldn’t catch the crab, I went for the next best souvenior. It kept me entertained as I swam up and down the beach. Jane joined me for the second half of the first lap. She, Kim, and Elizabeth all took a dip in Nehalem Bay to get in some cold water training before we head to Alaska next weekend.
Then for the next few laps I would go out for an hour. The plan was to feed every hour for the first 4 hours. Then feed every 30 minutes for the last 2 hours. I thought that by breaking the swim down into smaller sections the task wouldn’t be so daunting. This a tool that many Channel swimmers have suggested. Today it really worked for me. I could just think of it as a swimming set then. For feedings, Kim and Jane met me at the water’s edge with hot tea, shot bloks, canned peaches and words of encouragement.
I made sure today that I wore the water thermometer for the whole swim. I wanted to monitor the temperature when I started to feel cold. This way I could see if it was my inner core or if it was the water coming in from the ocean. Well, the swim started at 58 degrees and the last 45 minutes was swum in water 50-52 degrees. I managed to get in 5 hours and 30 minutes dealing with these extreme temperatures. I think I was just better mentally prepared today. And I was able to keep my mind of the numbing cold better than yesterday.
All in all I was very happy with my performance.
- Taking swims in small sections makes it more manageable. If I think I have to swim for 6 hours it is very difficult mental task, while if I consider it as 4x 1 hour swim and 4x3o minute swims then it all seems possible. I will have to remember this at the Channel.
- No real song soundtrack of the day today. Sorry.
- Managed to pick up about 20 good shells.
- I looked very interesting with a water thermometer tied to my front and with shells shoved into my suit. I’m sure that I provide some humor for both Jane and Kim on the beach.
- Funny side story about lanolin (not for the faint of heart):
- Now I was provided the formula for the grease mixture from a fellow coaching friend. Now I assumed that lanolin was some sort of heating agent like Icy Hot. Armed with this knowledge I went in search of lanolin in the first aid section. Well it wasn’t found there. I’m usually pretty comfortable asking questions, so I went up to the pharmacy to get help. The pharmacist, whom I’ve gotten to know over the past few years, turns to me and asks. “Do you have chapped or cracked nipples?” I’m sure I looked horror stricken. I almost fell to the floor in shock, as I thought “WHAT THE HECK???” I responded with a resounding “NO”. He asked what I needed it for. Now it was time for him to have the horror look on his face. Turns out lanolin is used often for nursing mothers to tend to their sore nipples. It can also be found in the baby section of stores. Good to know, maybe I’ll be a little bit more cautious with my questions in the future.