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How could I forget?

March 24, 2008


Hagg Lake opens for the fishing season in March.  Typically the swimmers and triatletes don’t start going to train until very late May or June.  I thought there is no time like the present.  I of course enlisted one of my swimming buddies, Tim C., to join me.  (Side Story: Tim is new to Oregon and swam the Channel in August.  I couldn’t be happier that he joined the Barracudas and now there is another crazy cold open water swimmer to join in my training fun.)

Right now the coast is running around 48 degrees.  I figured Hagg Lake would be comparable.  That was until we started driving out there and the fog became denser and I noticed the snow on the hilltops surrounding the lake.  At this point I was hoping that we wouldn’t have to break the ice.   We still went for it despite the weird looks from the fishermen.  There were about 5-6 fishermen on the shore enjoying a nice quiet morning.  Tim and I popped down with the thermometer to check the temp.  Jokingly a fisherman said “What you going swimming?”  I bet he wasn’t ready for both of us to seriously state “Yep!”.  The thermometer reading…45 degrees.

This was going to be a very quick run in and run out.  My main goal was not to scream like a little girl the whole time and disrupt the fishermen’s morning.  Tim and I decided on a 20 stroke count swim away from shore and a 20 stroke count swim back into shore.  We have been training in 84 degree water so this was going to be a shock to the system.  Unfortunately both of us are the torture type that wade slowly in the water.  However, after the water reached my waist I was going for it.  I plunged in and started stroking.  I felt like a vice was crushing my chest.  I was still bilateral breathing but it was only by sheer luck.  I kept trying to relax into the stroke.  No way was that going to happen.  After 20 strokes I quickly pointed back towards home.  Tim and I quickly climbed out of the water into our awaiting towels and warm clothes.  (Note: They weren’t that warm as we had to leave them on a soaking wet park table.)  There is no luxury of a shower, support crew or sauna here in Oregon.  I guess they never much thought that there would be cold open water swimmers.  Perhaps we can change that perception.

The thing that I will remember from this first plunge is the sound of a fisherman calling out over the calm quiet water “So how was the swim?”  I couldn’t get my jaw unhinged to even respond. 

 My plan is to be back at Hagg Lake next weekend.  Perhaps I’ll even manage to swim 40 strokes this time.

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3 Responses to “How could I forget?”

  1. Mark says:

    hey Macy

    I know the feeling!!
    keep it up ..we must be mad
    best wishes

  2. Mark says:

    Hi Macy
    thought I already commented on this one but appears not…
    I know how you feel
    Tried our local lake today….was warmer than Hagg at 48F but hardly tub temp!
    Hope all is well
    Love to your mum


  3. Leroy says:

    Ice on the lake! That’s like all kinds of wrong! But hey at least it means definately no sharks in the water! 😀

    Well that and its a lake of course 😛

Leave a Reply to Mark