The first time I….

On Sunday Chris and Steve took me to lake Wallenpaupak in the Poconos to try out my wetsuit for the first time in open water. Chris happened upon this lake like he finds everything else….. and I have no idea how. He showed me a picture of it on Friday and I have to admit it was a little intimidating. It’s a huge lake.  There are three or four companies that rent boats that you can take on the lake. The plan was to rent one of the boats, and have them follow next to me in the boat as I attempted to swim for the first time in this skin tight suit…..

Since the boat rental places close up shop the first week of October, we were left to figure out plan B. The lake is so big, it has 52 miles of shore line, we thought we’d find a public entrance. Every accessible opening had a huge No Public Swimming sign. Plan C was to go back to one of the docks and jump off the end and swim from there. Plan C was thwarted because just at that time, the docks were being dismantled for the season by a fork lift. We found a little alcove that we were guessing was about 100 yards wide and plan D was hatched….

I was going to swim back and forth along the shore line as they followed me on the rocks. Being in lake water is so different than being in the pool, and having a wetsuit on is very different than being in my swim trunks. I figured out right away how buoyant the suit is though….

I’m guessing it took me about an hour to get used to the feeling of not seeing lines on the bottom of the lake to make sure I was going straight, not having feeling below my neck and getting limited feedback from my body because of it. The suit was really tight and in the future of wearing it, if I think I’m going to have to adjust anything, I’d better do it before I get into the water. I had trouble breathing out of my left side and the times I attempted it, I swallowed water. That’s not good (taste wise either). So a majority of the time I breathed out of the right side. That was fine when I could spot Steve’s red hat on the shore line to know if I was going straight or getting too close to the rocks along the shore. Going the other direction, however, was a little more challenging. Since I had no sight line on the right, I often pulled to the right and ended up pretty far out. I’d stop stroking to look left to find Steve waving his arms for me to come back in.

I got out of the water 2 hours later and did a total of 30 laps of 100 strokes each direction with a total distance of just less than 2 miles. I’m going to have to get faster if I don’t want to be stopped because I didn’t make the swim time cut off!

Overall, it was a great day. The weather was perfect, the lake was secluded, the company was fantastic, I got experience swimming in open water in a wetsuit, and I feel 1000 times more comfortable because of it. You always remember your first.

6 comments to The first time I….

  • Brian Hester

    Really enjoy reading your blogs and seeing your updates. How is the training going overall? I am doing the half next week here in Tempe and then I will see you at the start line in just a few weeks. Let me know if I can help with anything.


    • admin-tom

      Hey Brian! Thanks for the note. The training is in the eternal state of ‘getting there’. That’s wonderful about doing the half! Let me know how it goes…. or maybe I can figure out how to track you. Oh yea, by the way…. don’t remind me it’s only a few weeks away! I really can’t wait to do it. It’ll be fun knowing you’ll be there too.

  • fawn

    Great first time out in open water! I love the photos.

  • Jeff Stone

    Is that the Loch Ness Monster out there in the water?

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