It was a little past the middle of March in Tampa, FL. Each week, the weather's getting warmer and warmer. I looked at the weekly weather forecast and saw that the next two nights would have temps in the high 50s. I knew this would probably be my last chance to jump in some cold water until June...so I seized the opportunity!
In my previous Acclimating to Cold Water Swimming post, I slowly stepped into low-60 degree water and then began swimming. It was really tough to make myself do that! This time around, I did a few things differently. I wanted to simulate the Alcatraz jump as much as possible. Thus in addition to my wetsuit, I busted out my newly purchased silicone earplugs and neoprene swim cap that I’d be wearing on race day. I didn’t ease into the pool either; I jumped straight in.
Not gonna lie, I was pretty nervous before jumping in. After putting on my earplugs/swimcap/wetsuit, it took me at least 5 minutes to psyche myself up before going for it. I got my heart rate up a bit with some jumping jacks, took a deep breath, and made the leap! SPLASH.
WOW. It wasn't so bad! The cold water shock wasn't nearly as brutal as the last time and I attribute this to the earplugs and neoprene swim cap. From when I plunged into the water to when I finished swimming after about 15 minutes, my entire head felt as if it were wearing a beanie and hoodie, shielding me from the cold. I've heard lots of people recommend ear plugs and neoprene swim caps for cold water swimming, and can now attest that they both indeed work (see below for links to the earplugs and cap)! The earplugs kept the cold water from entering into my ears and disorienting me (as it did last time) while the swim cap aided in keeping my ears and head warm as well. In return, my entire body temperature adjusted pretty nicely to the water. It actually felt awesome!
This night was a huge mental win for me. Although the water temps weren't as cold as they'll be in San Francisco Bay, it was close enough for this time of year in Florida. When I toe the boat in June, just knowing I've been in a similar situation (back home...in Florida...at a pool, yeah...) will give me the extra confidence that I'll need.
The silicone earplugs and neoprene swim cap made a HUGE difference in minimizing the cold shock. It's a great mind boost knowing I now have some handy tools that'll help me during the 1.5-mile swim to land. Now all I have to work on is continuing to refine the engine. Me.
Banner Image Credit: Tony Rojas, Jr. aka DAD!
Banner Image Story: Had to bring back another picture of my bro and I swimming at Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe. Whenever I think of this moment, all that comes to mind is: COLD!
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