I did another open water swim at Brighton Beach today. The sky was dreary and rain was in the forecast, but when you're in the water swimming, who cares? I was meeting up with a guy I met through my online triathlete forum, and of course, I was late. I am always late, but I can firmly say this was not my fault. I waited 35 minutes for the B train that never came and had to settle for a slower two-train transfer that took forever. I was 15-20 minutes late, and luckily he was still there. We quickly acquainted ourselves, got our wetsuits on and got in. The air temperature was about 70, much cooler than recent days, and the water was really chilly. It took several minutes to get used to it and get ready to start our swim. Our first approach was into the current, although we weren't really aware until we finished and turned around. I take forever to get comfortable in the water so I had a very start-stop approach to this entire length. Roberto, my swim partner, was really great about making sure I was still there and stopping when I took breaks. I fought through my usual open water fears and within about 20 minutes, I was feeling good for the first time.
I had a tendency to veer off to the left due to my poor sighting skills, but I got better as we continued and was eventually swimming straight. I'm not sure when I'll get into open water and feel comfortable. Even when my feet could touch the bottom, I was panicked. I was in the water and struggling when I remembered some good advice I'd been given about how simple it really should be, and that made all the difference. I stopped stressing over how I felt, I relaxed and was finally swimming. We stopped at a jetty and caught our breath, then decided to try the full distance back with no breaks. It looked far, and Google Earth claims it was about 760 yards, or .43 miles, but once we got started and I found my rhythm, I didn't need to stop. I had the Coney Island Parachute Jump to sight so it was easy to stay on course. We covered the distance in 14 minutes very comfortably.
The rest of my day was “active recovery” as I like to call it. I went back to Brooklyn to meet up with some friends from my regular Manhattan bar for a chance of scenery. This marked the second permitted break from my beer moratorium and I enjoyed every single moment. I started with the Sierra Harvest, then the Blue Point Toasted Lager, the Southhampton Double White and then the Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold. Oh beer, I miss you, but our time will come soon enough. For now, I’m back off the beer and looking forward to my toughest training weeks yet. I’ll be up early and out for a long ride tomorrow with a friend from my training group. With a little luck, that will compensate for at least two of my beers today.
Distance – 1300 yards (.73 miles)
Time – 1:20:00