Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Warning: HOT coffee!

One of my favorite races took place summer of 07. After reading Lynne Cox's book Swimming to Antartica, Brian and I decided we should enter an open-water long distance swim race. I mean, we were "Ironmen" right? How hard could this be?

Oh wait, in true "open water swimming rules" you can't wear a wetsuit. And the water is not exactly tropically warm in San Diego. Nonetheless, we were undaunted.

I have never been hypothermic so often - during summer. Each practice ended with shivering on the beach and then thinking I was in heaven once hot coffee, tea, cocoa - anything warm was found.

While racing, each swimmer has a kayak escort. You aren't allowed to hold onto the kayak, but your support crew can throw you a drink, GU, etc. Steven, supporter extraordinaire that he is, was my escort. (Seriously - this is a big, B-O-R-I-N-G job! Imaging kayaking at snails pace next to someone for several hours).

Brian brilliantly decided we could combat hypothermia by drinking coffee. Just as I started to get chilled in the first lap I asked Steven for the thermos Brian had made for us about 5 hours prior. Ohhhhhh the anticipation of great tasting, hot coffee, with caffeine in the middle of this crazy swim!
FIRE!!!!! Scalding, Holy Great Balls of Fire - what did Brian do to this coffee? Not only could I not drink the beverage, but I now had burned my mouth and face where I had spilled the dumb stuff!

The swim carried on pretty uneventful, except for a few times when I ran into seaweed and had moments of pure freak-out-ishness, thinking some sea monster was coming to get me.

We finished in 2hrs 21min. It was by far, one of the most fulfilling endurance races I have competed in. We are going back to race again this year, and I am making the coffee. Sign up and join us if you are up for a chilly long-distance swim!