Cold is my friend

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I swam for 1 hour tonight at Lake Jordan with my friend, Russell, who is also doing B2B.    We had planned on swimming  4000 m, or about 6 laps of the cove.  But it was way too f’ing cold, so we bailed after 1 hour (4 laps).  I wore my neoprene booties, so my feet were fine.   I skipped my neoprene cap because I hate the way it digs into my neck.  As soon as I put my face in the water, I wanted the cap.  But it was such a long way back to the shore to get it, so I decided to just suck it up and start swimming.  I figured I’d warm up soon enough.  WRONG!

The cold was such a shock that my whole body became tense.  My hands, ears and face were incredibly- uncomfortably – cold; and, I couldn’t wait for the workout to be done.     I breathed every two strokes, rather than the preferred every three, because I wanted to get my face out of the water as much as possible!  I kept thinking about my friend, Rebecca, who did B2B last year in 37 degree air temperature.   She did not have warmer air to bring any relief from the frigid water.

After 45 minutes, my fingers were so numb that they became useless in catching the water.  They would not stay together like a paddle no matter how hard I tried.    My stroke completely degraded.    I  tried fist swimming to see if that would help, but that seemed slower.  I ended up just forgetting about my fingers, and thinking about my palm and forearms doing the work to catch the water…that helped.   The last lap was pure agony and I just wanted it to be over.  I kept thinking about how hard it is going to be to get on a bike feeling that cold.

As Cold As Ice!

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Walking back to my car, I looked down at my hands…they were BLUE!   I was so glad for the neoprene booties – at least my feet felt perfectly comfortable.  Next week I will try to tolerate the neoprene cap…it will be worth the discomfort of the chin strap if it keeps me warmer.

For B2B, I was planning to breeze thru transitions as fast as possible, even considered skipping the changing tent and wearing my tri suit under the wetsuit. But now I think the primary goal of T1 will be to warm up and make sure I am warm for the bike ride. I hate being cold!  And cold muscles do not perform nearly as well as warm muscles.  So, hopefully, a few minutes lost in T1 getting warm, will pay back in a better bike performance.

Cold was my friend today.   I am always glad for adverse training conditions.  They help me learn how to prepare, mentally and physically, for the challenges I will face on race day.    And if I am better prepared for adversity on race day than my competitors, that that gives me an edge.

Water temp: 68 degrees.
Air temp: 67 degrees.  Air sure felt alot warmer!

The Garmin 310xt does not work too well in water.  That cove is only 750m per lap max, so I swam about 3000meters.   Garmin is saying that I swam 3.7 miles in 1 hour.    No way!  And, if you click the link below, you’ll see my zigzagging… no way I am THAT bad at sighting!  Am I?

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11 comments on “Cold is my friend
  1. If you wear the 310XT on your wrist, it will measure the distance the watch travels…on your wrist. Notice the elevation change too. I’d imagine this is due to going repeatedly from pull (down) to recovery (up). Also, the water definitely makes its satellite reception a bit flukey. Wearing it in your swim cap is the way to go. Good luck!

  2. Lawrence says:

    When I read 68 I thought you meant 58. I train in the San Francisco and the water in the Bay right now is about 58. That is pretty much as warm as it gets. In March when I start training for the season, the water is usually around 51 – 53. The crazy Dolphin Club people swim year round without wetsuit.

  3. Kent says:

    I put my 310XT under my swim cap yesterday on my OWS. I got an accurate course and distance. Before, with it on my wrist, it registered about 2x the distance & major zig-zags. I know I don’t swim straight but it wasn’t that bad! Just put the watch face-up and you can feel and press the start button through the cap. Might want to attach it to a lanyard just in case.

  4. Karen says:

    the 310 doesn’t work right in the water as a GPS device. It only works as a waterproof stopwatch. 🙁 I hope they will correct this problem in the next version.

    Good job on the swim !

  5. James says:

    You might already be thinking this but remember you will be burning more calories if it is colder. This may mean packing some more food on the bike. Normally on the bike you will go from cold, to hot, to just right w/o changing what you are wearing other than unzipping. If you are getting cold again around mile 85 it might be that your tank is getting low.
    Good luck in B2B, you will do great!

  6. Mike says:

    Um, you think 68 is cold?! If you want some cold water training, come on up to Chicago. Even in the summer the water is 68 at its warmest! I did a sprint earlier this year and the water was 56. That’s cold!

  7. Scott says:

    Your right, cold is your friend, chalk this one under mental toughness training.

    I have read that the 310 doesnt communicate with the satelite when under water, later garmin came out later and announced they know this and its not going to be accurate in the water, just water proof

  8. kenny says:

    WOW, thats a lot of Ziz zazzing, why you thin it showed like that? could it be the cold or the GPS signal getting messed up in the water?

  9. Rene says:

    The hand numbing is definitely an issue, especially when you need your hands to get things ready for the ride!

  10. Colleen says:

    Oh man. I feel for you. My legs were shivering my whole second lap at Coeur d’Alene, and I’m sure it wasn’t as cold as that. Wear the cap for sure, you’ll be glad you had it! They had a hot tub for us to warm up in after the swim, do you know if they’ll have one for you guys? The trouble was not wanting to get out of it, though!

    It’s good that you got the cold experience in, I hope it’s not as bad for you on race day!

  11. Darlene Nyce says:

    It’s funny you mention a change in race plan for the cold. When I envisioned myself doing B2B — I always saw me in my tri top, shorts and some arm warmers.

    What’s funny about that is that I was in a relay for B2B half last year and swam in that cold water, so I should have known better.

    It wasn’t in my plan to change and dry off before, but I’m since changed that plan to include a trip into the change tent to get dry clothes!

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