November 02, 2021

2021 has turned out to be the “year of physical challenges” for me. As each year goes by, I try to come up with another challenge to celebrate the passing of time. Maybe this is to prove that while I’m aging physically, my mind and body think otherwise.

This morning I looked at the hour-by-hour forecast and I decided that I had a window of partly sunny skies that would prove perfect for a crisp November morning open water swim.

I have been swimming all summer outdoors and well into the fall season. But, when the calendar turns to November, it always seems a bit crazy to me. While the water is always warmer than the air, it’s still a mental challenge to get in the lake.

I decided not think about it too much. I drove to a local lake in my wetsuit. I was planning to jump in the water as soon as I got there. I had a sweatshirt, towel pants (yes, it’s a thing) and my rubber ducky thermometer (see photo on right).  It’s good to know the water temperature, even if it’s pretty cold. All fall I have been training myself to swim outdoors with just a sleeveless wetsuit, no gloves, no booties, no neoprene cap. In previous seasons, I would layer up with a full long-sleeved wetsuit, a rash guard over my swimsuit as well as neoprene booties, gloves and a cap that covers not only my head but my ears and neck! I even wrote a blog post in November 2015 that shows me all dressed up and ready to swim.

But this year it’s different. Less is more. This year, I have changed my strategy of entering the cold water. I do not enter the water slowly. I do not take time to acclimate my body. I tighten my goggles on my cap and I just run in. No time to change my mind, it’s all or nothing. It’s exhilarating and exciting and I look forward to it!

Because there is no anticipation, I find it easier to get in the cold water and start swimming.

Have I inspired you to give it a try? If so, let me know how it goes.

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