One way to finally get in some open water swimming! Don and I joined a group of about 10 others to swim Reeds Lake at sunrise. A couple of others were "supposed" to be there until he remembered they swim on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Today was Wednesday. Oh well, we're here, let's go!
I was anxious to get in the water and get going. No dilly dallying around because I had to get back home and get ready for work. This lake is about 10 minutes from home and the best thing is its free! There is no public beach or public swimming allowed on a regular basis, but apparently we triathletes are "tolerated" by the police. They've gotten used to us, and as long as there is no incident, let us do our thing. Most, if not all of us, realize you are pretty much at your own risk doing these things anyway, and we all feel if you think you can't handle swimming on your own, then you should probably stay on shore or in a pool.
I didn't know any of the people, at least that I could tell in the semi-darkness and with everyone already in wetsuits and caps. A couple of them had accents, there were young and old, men and women, and one woman with the worst breath and underarm hair so thick I could only stare (please don't swim by me!).
Even though we arrived before 6 am, the others were already suited up and ready to go, so after checking with everyone to see what they were doing, that group took off. Don and I decided to swim more parallel to the shore until we got our bearings. We both have swam in the lake for the triathlon, but the course goes straight out and back; we aren't familiar with the shoreline on the rest of the lake or focal points. There weren't any boats in the water yet, since they were not supposed to dock until 7 am, but there were a few already lined up ready to go at the boat ramp, with their engines idling and filling the air with the thick smell of exhaust. And then the boat owners were standing around pacing almost, smoking like fiends, waiting for the magic hour to approach, so they could hopefully find one of those northern pike they have found in the lake recently.
I was glad to find that my goggles worked just fine in the semi light, one less thing to have to worry about for the upcoming race. We dispersed the ducks floating aimlessly, probably still dozing, until we disrupted their quiet. They took to the beach quacking a little perturbed about getting kicked out of their domain. The sea gulls were a different story. They lined up on the second boat ramp at the yacht club until we swam by and then they started circling and diving overhead, acting like we were breakfast or something. I was surprised when I could finally see that while we had covered a huge amount of territory, it had been less than 5 minutes to that point. We decided to continue on and stayed fairly close to shore until we got into some thick weeds. Thick is an understatement! I have swam in weeds many times, and they don't really bother me too much, but these were thick to the point where they were entangling my feet and I couldn't break loose for a minute and my watch caught on them with each stroke. We were forced out farther into the lake to get out of that mess. Besides, who knew what lurked beneath??
We made our way further along the south side of the lake, an area where I had never been and couldn't see from the park on shore. I didn't realize that a few of the houses next to the school also had lake frontage. They were huge! Once we hit 16:44 on my watch, we decided to turn back. There really wasn't another focal point close enough to continue on without getting too far away, and I really wanted to be safely out of the water before the boats set sail. This is a pretty busy boating lake, even that early in the day.
My focal point returning was pretty visible, but I had no idea what I was sighting on until we got much closer, and then I could see easily that I had swam too far out and past where we were to exit the water. Total swim time was 32:23, so that was good for me. I only wish I had started this earlier in the season!