I tried out my new wetsuit on Friday. The weather was overcast but warm enough outside to go for an open water swim. I met a friend at Little Long Lake which is about 20 minutes from me. Only little fishing boats are allowed on this small lake and the water is very clean. If you look carefully on the far side of the lake, you can see a beach with canoes and paddle boats. That's a YMCA camp but we didn't see any campers. A lot of triathletes use this lake to train, so I feel lucky that it is so close.
We swam across to the YMCA camp in about 7 or 8 minutes, so I'm guessing it's about a quarter mile. Then we swam back to the boat launch, and then back and forth two more times. We rested a few minutes between each length, so we were in the water for almost 50 minutes. The water was chilly but tolerable. The workout highlighted for me how much tougher it is to swim non-stop without those convenient little breathers every 25 yards at the pool. I try not to hang on at the pool, but I do take an extra breath or two and then get a good push off the wall. Not only are there no breaks in the open water, but it also takes energy to spot where you are going. I can see why open water training is so important for longer races.
My wetsuit passed the test with an A-. It kept me warm and was comfortable. I was able to get it off after the swim without a problem. I do, however, have a pretty good raspberry on the back of my neck where something was rubbing. Ouch! I think I can figure out what's going on and hopefully remedy it with a little Body Glide. All in all, I'm really happy that I bought it.
Today, Mike took me on a bike ride from our house to Watertown, a little town about 15 miles away. The entire route is perfect for riding with big wide shoulders and only a few stops. Mike uses this route quite a bit for training, but the ride was new for me. It was a great ride! Here we are after we got to Watertown and had a little hydration. Then it was back on the bikes to head home.
It was a total of 29 miles and it took us about 1 hour and 50 minutes. I was too slow for Mike to train with me on a regular basis, but it was a good ride for me. We averaged 15.8 mph each way and I was sufficiently tired when we were done.
After a little nap, Mike and I met our friend again for another swim at Little Long Lake. This time we swam about 35 minutes with just a few little breaks. Just two days later, the water was noticeably warmer. There were even some hot spots that were a little shocking as I was swimming along. The weather was beautiful so there were some other people fishing and swimming today, but it was surprising how peaceful and quite it was just a few yards away from the dock.
I feel pretty lucky to live somewhere where I can swim, bike and run so easily right from my house. Now that the snow has melted and the temperatures are above freezing, excuses are hard to come by. The challenge now is to squeeze as much fun in as possible while the weather is good. It's Minnesota, so I better hurry!