It was a long hard winter.  There is still 96″ of snow in the mountains.  The river is really pushing through.

After more than enough swimming in the pool, I am staring at a daunting deadline:  3.5 weeks left.

The Pacific Crest Triathlon is in 3.5 weeks.  This seems very strange to me.  Sometimes you work for so long for something, you tend to forget that there is a purpose to all of the work.  The day of the race.  It is coming.

Yesterday, I put on my big boy pants.  Instead of going to the pool and getting dizzy doing laps, I chose to try my luck with the river.  I only had 20 minutes available…but with my deadline approaching, it is important for me to take whatever time I can get.

This specific workout was a “Test and Tweak” swim.  I didn’t have any goals other than just seeing if I could get completely submerged in the water.  So although my performance was questionable at best, I consider it a success in terms of getting comfortable in the open water again.

It took some time to settle in.  I had to get in and out of the river a few times before my core adjusted to the temperature.  Once my head, hands, and feet were in a constant cold state, I was able to go for it.

What is it like to swim in a river?

-Once you are in the water, there is no dilly-dallying.  Your workout begins working against you as soon as your body is not anchored to anything.  You are moving downriver whether you want to or not.

It is cold.  It is dark and brown.  And the water is rushing all around you.  Time to get to work.

The strangest part is (what is expected in a river)  the amount of work you do…for little to no visible gain.  It is easy to say “duh” when you are not in the situation, but when you are in the situation, you are working harder because you seek some sort of result from your effort.

I was grateful that it was a success.  If it weren’t a success, it would mean I would have to get very creative with my swim training.  Since it was a success,  I’ve got a place I can go pretty much every day to get some swim time in.

The benefit to swimming up river:

-I am very aware of my body position.  Any time my body position weakened, I would make no upstream gain.  When I held strong body position, I could feel some minor upstream gain.  From this point on, I am going to be paying very close attention to my body position and consistently applied power to my strokes.

The river is cold.  But it is accessible.  If I can get comfortable here, then I should be comfortable and quick on race day.