As I’m sitting here enjoying a warm bowl of oatmeal and a mug of white tea, I’m reflecting on one of my best open water swims I’ve ever had. I have a hot compress to my feet, my heater is on full blast. And my cats are nodding off.
It’s warm, cozy. Snuggly even. About the exact opposite of what it was like this morning.
I got the text sometime after 6:40am today that my (friend? co-worker? insta-swim buddy?) was outside my apartment. We parked his bike in the garage, dropped some goods off inside my apartment, and headed down to Terry Pettus Park.
Seriously though, I will never be able to leave Eastlake. I mean, look at this.
After wriggling into my wetsuit, I hung out on the deck for awhile. I let him jump in first. He didn’t make too big of a deal of the water temperature, so I gingerly climbed in. The best and worst feeling of jumping into cold open water is the feeling of water leaking into the wetsuit. It’s like long, cold fingers reaching all over you until it gets a grip on you — and then the warming begins. I did a few strokes before I dunked my head under water. The moment your head goes under is really the moment of no return.
We swam out about 20 yards to start. Then we went another 20. Then another 20. And pretty soon we got into a groove of just doing laps. I felt at peace, almost one with the water. I swam like I never stopped. Reach, turn, pull, reach, turn, pull, sight, breathe, repeat. It felt so automatic, so natural. I thought the same thing that I think when I finally do something for the first time — what took me so long? Why didn’t I do this sooner? I wish you could have been there to see what I saw, to hear the music in my head, to feel the cold envelope me and carry me through the motions.
It was beautiful.