Thursday, May 22, 2008

First Open Water Swim

With this post I'm trying to kill two birds with one stone: First, I promised I'd write about my experience of doing my first open water swim. Second, I figured I'd respond to TriGreyhound's call for poetry. To the tune of "The Night Before Christmas," here goes:


T'was a cool afternoon and along the lake
The breeze it did blow and the aspens did shake
The skies overcast and the temp fifty-five
With water so cold, could I even survive?

I stepped out my car and greeted my pals
IronMan Ted and two newbie gals
We'd scheduled this first swim last week in the sun
With warm sunny skies, we thought it'd be fun

But typical weather in Montana does shift
One day there's blue skies, the next there's snow drifts
Ted had swam here last Sunday, "It wasn't too bad,
Perhaps with this weather it's cooled just a tad"

So we pulled on our wesuits-- a feat of its own--
Donned swim caps and goggles and earplugs of foam
Slicked up our rub spots with cool Body Glide
To make sure our new suits didn't take off some hide

All dressed up and ready, we walked down to the docks
Set down our towels and started our clocks
We'd swim to a red boat tied to a far shore
Then regroup and see if we'd want to swim more

Ted jumped in feet first, then came up with a clatter
We peered oe'r the edge to see what was the matter
He sputtered about before catching his breath
With water this cold, were we not facing death?

"Come on now girls, you've got to start swimming"
He encouraged us all, our nervousness brimming
One by one we jumped in, the cold quite a shock
And with choppy strokes, pulled away from the dock

My stroke length felt shortened, my rhythm was off
I sucked in some water and started to cough
The other gals, too, were swimming in fits
This lake swimming thing is really the pits

After what seemed like hours, we made it to our "bouy"
It'd only been ten minutes, but I sighed "Phew-wee!
It feels like the first time I ever did swim."
Ted said "It gets better-- let's swim once again!"

We sighted this time for the end of an isle
We swam and we swam, it took quite a while
We regrouped again and complained of cold feet
I peed in my suit-- what wonderful heat

One-quarter mile doesn't seem very far
When jogging or biking or driving a car
Or when in the pool, swimming lap after lap
But back to the dock, it seemed farther than crap!

I stuck my head down and adjusted my mind
Started counting my strokes, and my rhythm did find
One-two-three, four-five-six, sev'-eight-nine and now sight
"Hey it's working," I thought, "I could do this all night"

Like any endeavor this swim was quite mental
To swim half a mile was so monumental
"Don't give up, Self, don't start to cry
Just tough it out, you're training for a Tri!"

Back at the dock we stripped off our suits,
Pulled on our sweatshirts and nice warm dry boots.
As I headed for home I thought of my race
By three weeks from now, I should swim like an ace!


greyhound said...


Robyn said...

This is fantastic! I'm so proud of you!! I'll be doing my first open water swim of the year on Saturday....with air temps in the mid '70s. I'll think of you if I start to feel "cold."