One of my favorite summer things to do is to pack up on a Thursday night and get the hell out of the hot, sweaty city for a long weekend. I don't work on Friday's, not really by choice, we don't have enough kids that need PT for me to work full-time, but I digress. The opportunity to slip onto the GWB on a traffic-free Thursday night after a soccer game was irresistible yesterday and I made it to Jersey in record time. After stuffing my face with Mom's blueberry sour cream coffee cake and laying out my gear, I hit the sack.
4:55am came quick and I dragged myself up to get ready for a sunrise swim in Bay Head with a local triathlon group, the Sandy Hookers. (love it.) I've joined a few of their swims this summer and last, and always enjoy the company. Last time I swam, the week before the NYC Tri, the water was a bathtub 75 and I had a great swim. It being August and all, I expected the water today to be closer to 78 and unbearably warm...boy was I in for a surprise. The last few times I joined them, there have been at least 1 or 2 other folks without wetsuits, but not today. 25 of us geared up to dive in, but I was the lone nearly-naked swimmer. I got a lot of "umm you're not wearing a wetsuit?!" to which I replied, "nah, I don't need one." One guy tested the water while we were getting ready and came back to the benches suggesting that it may be too cold for him to go in. In my head I'm thinking, "wimp, geezer, etc." I walked to the shoreline with all of the black fish (that is what they look like in wetsuits) and felt the icy water splash up my calves. OH WOW.
The water was NOT 78, but way, way colder. I figured it was around 69 or so because I couldn't fathom August being any colder... more on that later. I dove in and swam out to meet the other brave souls who were ahead and we treaded water while waiting for the folks on shore to hike up their skirts and get in so we could get moving. After substantial whining, everyone was in and we were off. It felt amazing! I was definitely chilly, but fine. I'm not modest so I'll tell you I was in the lead 2 the whole swim with a nice guy who was chewing tobacco before and after the swim. Gross, but unimportant. We waited at each jetty for everyone to catch up (bad plan) and I got very concerned looks each time, "how ya doing? cold?" Duh. :) When we reached the final jetty someone guessed at the temp of the water and one of the group organizers corrected them and said, "well yesterday the temp was 62, I'd say this is 62 also." I wish he'd not mentioned that because the rest of the way back I was wondering at what temp I'd get hypothermia. Oh well. The swim back was easier than out because the current was coming from the south and we also didn't stop to regroup. That was a blessing because I had no feeling in my hands or from the knees down, but it also meant I spent some quality time alone. I had one moment of "oh god, where is everyone else?" but I could see that I was barely 400ft from shore and neednt worry. I was so cold that I contemplated getting out with 1/4 of a mi or so to go, but decided that jogging along the beach would have sucked with numb feet, so I stayed in and finished it up. I think we swam about 2 miles, around 50 mins for me.
As I stumbled along with my frozen feet up the beach, the guy who didn't do the swim because it was too cold offered me sips of his hot coffee. I'd never met him before today, but I gladly accepted. I was shivering insanely and my lips were blue, but I was kind of proud to have survived the cold and had a great swim too. It took nearly 1/2 an hour to stop shivering and that 30 mins included a big towel, a fleece, the car heater and a hot latte. Once I warmed up, I began sweating because the outside temp was nearing 90 at 7am.
And then the "why not" portion of the day....
After my trip to the coffee shop (where I changed my outfit), I returned to the car and gathered my crap for a bike ride. I haven't been on the bike since the tri 3 weeks ago and have been dying to get on. I also have a tri next weekend, so I needed to get my ass back in the saddle. I puttered around and made sure I had everything before heading out with the intent of riding 15-20 miles. The tri is a sprint next week and the bike is a hilly 15mi, so I just wanted to get in some miles and 15-20 seemed reasonable and not too taxing. I did just swim 2 miles in the ocean, I deserved to slack on the bike, right? Wrong. A mile into the ride, I caught up with 2 men and a woman on bikes moving a little faster than me, but a reasonable pace for me to catch. They were friendly and welcomed me to join them so I figured "why not?" I feel much safer riding with others anyway, especially on busy roads. They asked if I was going to Island Beach State Park and I casually answered that I was headed that way. What I should have said was that I was going in that direction, because IBSP was 12 miles away from where we met. Surely I was going to turn around before that. I was having some ITB pain in my left knee, which happens often on the bike sometimes. As we approached the park, I realized that I was at 13 miles and oops, hadn't turned around yet. We were riding into the wind most of the way (remember, the current coming from the south in the water, the wind was too.) so I told myself that it wouldn't be a big deal to ride the length of the park with them and then turn around and have the wind at our backs for the ride home. They asked if I was going to go with them further and I couldn't think of any reason not to, so I did.
They were CRUISING once we hit the park- 22mph! Way fast for me, but they told me to draft and we had a nice ride out..into the wind. When we turned around, we discovered that the wind was changing and now was coming from the NW. DAMN! The ride back was hot, hot, hot and I gulped my water and chomped my GU chomps and we refilled water and I drank some more. Just thinking about the ride back is making me exhausted right now, it was long but I really enjoyed it. They were excellent company and I showed them a few back roads to get off of Rt 35 for a bit. I was sad to leave them, they were staying a mile or so past my car, but I was happy to get off of the bike and so was my knee. Ouch. I'll be icing that for a few days.
Despite my post-swim/ride savage hunger, I was so happy. I rode 43 miles! And why? Well, all I canthink of is "why not"?
I have an ocean swim race tomorrow morning- 1 mile in the chilly water! Last year I missed placing in my age group by 30 secs or so after no open water training, so I'm hoping to redeem myself this year.