Exhale – 2016 1St Open Water Solo Swim



It’ is 05:30 AM and about 57 degrees on a very cool misty New England morning. Today will be my 1st open water swim of the season.  I’m nervous….   but I’m nervous every year on the 1st day…

The parking lot is empty of course, what nut-bag in his right mind would be at the town lake at 5:30 am when she/he could be in a warm bed? I’m fighting off a litany of dark thoughts that range from the absurd to the morbid…what if I drown, get hypothermia, attacked by water snakes or tangled in the reeds, what if some guy let his pet Parana loose in the lake… Focus Fergy… Just Freakin Focus….

I strip down (brrrrrr) and slide into my wetsuit using plastic shopping bags on my hands and feet…. Sweet…. now if the zipper cooperates …after a few tries, things pull together and I apply some anti-chaff jell to my neck to prevent irritation from the Velcro faster…  Two swim caps to keep down the brain freeze, googles on and finally I’m ready…

I ease into the 55 degree water… Yup I remember how it takes your breath away… Cold water seeps into my suit and in a few will heat from my body temp to make it more comfortable….but for now I exhale as if I were a birthing coach..  He he he he he ..ho ho ho ho… I’m moving now and my body and mind have lawyered up and are making a strong case for turning back and calling it a win…

I move slowly away from the beach… The heavy mist is inviting me to the center of the lake… I disappear into a cloud and I’m warm now…(no sweat suit peeing required today).  I finally exhale once more and I become relaxed..  I’m here, I’m back, I’m happy….. Exhale!

I start to swim and muscle memory kicks in. I know how to do this…I have been here before and fought this battle and won…  I respect this place and I’m thankful to mother-nature for her gifts… and pause occasionally to take in the beauty that surrounds the lake….and breath.  I feel welcome… I have missed you….

I complete the 1.5 mile swim and it is officially done….The mist has cleared off…I create a quick video clip for my buddy Steve in Virginia as motivation…. And it is off to work…  I ask myself ….Is there any better way to start a day?   I can’t think of many…  Smile!


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