Cold Water / Full Immersion

That is ONE way to feel tough

I haven’t climbed back into Puget Sound again quite yet. The weather has cooled off a bit, the days have felt quite long, and taking a cold shower has felt more than adequate. But that has left me feeling like I grasped the brass ring and dropped it. Hmm, not quite- like I had flown past it, touching it each time, just missing it… then decided to go get some cotton candy instead of snatching the dang thing!

That metaphor is pretty rough. Suffice to say I felt like I should be getting back into the water, that by deciding not to I was taking steps backward when I should be pressing forward. Now, I philosophically disagree with the guilt often associated with the dreaded should. So I looked to the internet for solace and justification and found a cool site called LoneSwimmer and an article on what constitutes truly cold water. Not just “whoa, I just fell out of the canoe and this water is cold!” kind of cold water but “some primal part of my body which concerns itself with self preservation is telling me to get out right now!” water. At between 10 and 12 C the Puget Sound qualifies as either the upper end of seriously cold, or the lowest end of merely ‘cool.’

Well, one guess as to which one I believe it qualifies as. The LoneSwimmer site is geared towards crazy people attempting to do things like swim the English Channel or some such. I just wanted to know if the water which constitutes the front yard is considered ‘cold’ by those who know what they are doing. And to my immense pleasure it does, if only just. The deep feeling of bad-assery that knowledge brought with it was quite able to dislodge any guilt at going back to cold showers for a while.

At the same time…

It has often been the case that researching on the internet can kill the momentum to achieve something just as easily as talking too much about it. Look at enough websites and gather enough information and you can start to feel like you really know about something. Information and images and blogs(!) can be a key source of inspiration and focus, but it seems to me that they can also satisfy a large part of that itch to do something. See enough pictures of Machu Pichu, read enough information about the architecture and about the Inca, and eventually you feel you know all about it! Why put out the effort to go see it first hand? Watch a few nature shows and read a site about orca whales, and no need to book that trip to go out in a boat and see them in the wild!

So fewer sites, less information telling me about how cold the water is, and more aclimation. And moving in the water. Because damn if I didn’t forget that moving in the water (swimming anyone?) helps keep your core temperature up. And there I was floating in the water freezing my heiney off. Thankfully the internet reminded me of that tidbit…


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