The alarm goes off at 5 am, but usually I am awake well before that time. I don't know if its anticipation for the workout ahead or just gets to be a cycle that isn't broken until these early morning swim workouts stop.
The swims are in the lake near my house, a short 10 minutes or less drive in the early morning hours. The traffic lights are still on the blink cycle when we head to the park, the sun is not yet up, but the sky is beginning to lighten, giving the promise of another day.
Mondays, Wednesdays, and most Fridays a group meets for a swim, and some of us run after. We arrive just before sunup, some slipping into wetsuits, others go without. There is a faster first group and then me, one of the slowest, in a second group. But this year I have Don to swim with me, and not training for anything himself, he has no personal agenda requiring him to stay with the fast guys and gals. My problem isn't that I'm slow, although I am slower than most, its my inability to see in the not quite light. Added to that the size of the lake. The closest place to site to is over 1/2 mile away, and while some of the houses have night lights on that give you something to focus on, by the time the sun is fully up, about 10 minutes into the swim, these lights go out.
The park itself is quite beautiful, the lake a rather large, inland lake, with a public access boat launch, with most of the rest of the lake inhabited by some of the more wealthy citizens in the area, living in homes like these, like the $7.5 million mansion below. Oh yeah, its for real, and maybe you heard about Dr. Stokes who owned the house? Suffice it to say, he's now living off the State of Michigan in a penitentiary somewhere nearby.
This one's for sale, and quite cheap too: $270,000.
(Photos from historical society pages.) The park, which provided fun and recreation for families for decades, closed down sometime in the 1950s.
The benches you see at the end of this path is where we meet. The reasons we swim so early are two-fold: (1) most of us have to get to work and (2) the lake is a "no wake" zone until 7 am, meaning no boats with motors allowed to wake up lake residents I would imagine. That gives us a window of time of about 50 minutes before the boats start lining up to hit the water. Occasionally some do enter the water early, and its astonishing how vulnerable I feel out in the middle of the lake when I hear a motor somewhere nearby.
Another thing about this lake is that there is no public swimming, yet a group of triathletes started this early morning group swim about 3 years ago, and so far no one has said anything to us, although I'm waiting for the day the local cops show up and kick us out for good or write us up.And, while we start out in the semi-light of the day, by the time we finish it more often than not looks like this.