Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another open water swim in SF Bay

This morning I took my brand new BlueSeventy Synergie wetsuit out on its maiden swim in the San Francisco Bay up at Aquatic Park by Fisherman's Wharf.

Even though I am battling a cold, I had to get in the water with the San Francisco International Triathlon at Treasure Island just three weeks away.

My friend Thom and I drove up to the city at 7am, and you could see the marine layer was pretty thick at that hour. No sunny swim for us. When we arrived at Aquatic Park and met up with our third swimmer, Warren, the air temperature was only about 56 degrees F which made changing into our wetsuits on the stairs quite a chilly procedure.

Swimming a loop around the buoy line at Aquatic Park covers .35 miles. The swim distance for the upcoming tri is 1.5km (.96 miles), or just shy of three laps around the buoy line. With the water in the Bay is all of 62 degrees, and my feeling out of sorts anyway, I set out from shore with designs on doing one and a half laps. I just wanted to get accustomed to swimming in my new wetsuit and being out in the chilly water and try to gain a little confidence in my open water swim abilities.

It took about 400 meters for my face to finally numb up enough that it no longer hurt having it in the water. And wouldn't you know that I was actually enjoying myself by that point, too!

Without the walls of the pool to necessitate turns, I was able to really focus on my form. Believe it or not, I found I actually could relax as I swam along, watching my arms pul through the water below me and feeling the crown of my head pierce the water line as I moved along.

Before long, I was finishing up my second lap of the buoys and decided I'd go the full 1.5km before climbing out.

I don't know if it was the new wetsuit or the refined technique or just the pure enjoyment of being in the water looking up at Russian Hill early on a Saturday, but I really had fun out there today. And when I climbed up onto the beach, I still had gas in the tank and know I could've gone for a run or a bike ride if I'd had my equipment with me.

Moreover, I've got all kinds of confidence in my swimming abilities now. Considering it's my weakest leg of the three triathlon disciplines, that's a major accomplishment for me.

I can't wait to finish the racing season out on Treasure Island in three weeks.

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