11 January 2007

There is cold, and then there is C O L D

As Bob and I walked on to the beach this morning at 6 a.m. I told him my new mantra: "standing on the beach in France, standing on the beach in France, standing on the beach in France". We stepped into the water and I let out a holler. I could feel the drop in temperature like icicles penetrating every pore in my body. My head was well insulated with 2 silicon caps, a thermal cap and ear plugs, but my body felt an icy sort of pain as I entered the water. Our course was short - to Eppleton Hall (a boat), to Oprah (a buoy), to the flag and back. Yep, this was COLD water. I took my first few strokes with my head out of the water to decrease the initial shock. The swim was only going to be about 20 minutes, but with every stroke I could feel the water stinging my arm as I placed my hand in the water to start the next stroke cycle. My teeth started to ache. Bob and I stayed close together, if not for warmth, then just for the company and comfort of knowing someone is going through the misery with you. Feeling the cold attack my body I let all other fears go. Swimming in the dark? who cares! Being bumped by a sea lion? Just give me some of your heat!

I didn't really feel the worst of it until I got out of the water. I walked Bob up to the Dolphin Club and ran back down the stairs, checked the temperature (a brisk 48 degrees) and ran across the beach to South End. Usually when I am leaving the beach and other swimmers are just getting ready to get in, I tell them how great it feels and how getting in is the only hard part. This time I was shouting as I ran into the locker room. "That water is so cold, it is freezing, you have fun!" I taunted. As I ran into the club my feet became numb in parts and I felt like I had little cushions padding the bottom of my feet, because I couldn't actually feel them. I continued to warn the swimmers in the locker room about their impending swim. I turned on the shower and walked into the sauna to try and get some feeling back in my feet. Oh, so this is how Lynne Cox got nerve damage in her feet. I went back to the shower out of fear of warming up too quickly. I couldn't stay in the sauna long enough because I had to go to school, so I had to continue the warming process with what I call "car sauna". I had left my down jacket in the sauna before I got in so that I could put it on all nice and toasty when I was ready to leave. When I got to school I turned up the heat in my classroom and kept my down jacket on through 2nd period.

Amber and I are getting in the bay on Saturday after a swim in the pool. The forecast calls for possible snow at sea level. Snow on the beach in San Francisco. I'll bring my camera for that one.

"Standing on the beach in France, standing on the beach in France, standing on the beach in France."

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