Jim McDonnell Lake Swim Pre-Race Jitters

This Memorial Day weekend, I'm participating in the Jim McDonnell Lake Swim in Reston, VA.  My wife, who was unaware that she was pregnant with our daughter at the time, did the mile swim last year and really enjoyed it.  I chickened out and decided to do my first open water swim several months later as part of the Giant Acorn Triathlon.  Here's a tip for any aspiring triathletes - don't have a race be your first experience with open water swimming.

During the Giant Acorn Tri, I managed to do the 1500 meters in a staggering 35 minutes.  That was really disappointing considering the huge strides I have made over the past several years in the pool (taking off 30 seconds/100m since 2011).  Obviously, in addition to putting the time in at the pool, I have to get out and do some open water swimming, so that's what I'm doing this weekend.

If you're near the mid-Atlantic, you know the weather has been pretty awful recently.  As of about 10 days ago, the lake temperature was 56°.  Not wanting to get hypothermia, I decided a wet suit may be the best way to go.  But even a rental costs $60, and purchasing one new is triple that cost.  So I did what any person on a budget would do and looked to Craigslist.  I managed to find one close enough to my size for $20.  And while I had to drive an hour to get to it, it was literally in my grandmother's neighborhood, so I got in some bonus points by having some lunch, and more importantly, showing off my daughter to my grandma.

Of course, it's been 90° for the past couple of days and the lake temperature has shot up to the low 70s.  With no rain in the forecast between now and Sunday, I'm fully expecting the lake to not need my wet suit.  I may wear it anyway just to get used to it (though I haven't even checked to see if it's race legal).


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