I, we, other local hardcore swimmer friends, also avoiding swimming in the pools for another day, are still swimming in the lake, though it is September 29th, in New Hampshire, fall foliage, blazing under the blue sky, along the edge, it is shallow and warm there.
At the waters edge, no one else on the lake at the moment, with my SwimRun wetsuit, full sleeves but short just above the knees, insulated swim cap under my regular cap, sneakers on if I get chilled I’ll pull out and head down the trail for a run to generate some heat, I push the buttons on my Suunto watch to “open water swimming”, wait for the beep, then gingerly slide in.
A bit of a breeze makes it a little slappy as I breathe and sight. I am fine, it might be about mid 60’s for a temp. Doable.
Finishing the first loop of 1000 yards, I will swim two loops total, I pop out to do a 25 yard run across the shore, before sliding back in where I started. Plunging in for loop number two, the water seems warmer, after exposing my wet self to the chilly air, it feels more welcoming than the start of my first loop. I run to be certain I don’t get one of those deeps chills, it can take me more than an hour post swim to warm-up, at the big rocks, 200 yards in on the second loop, I climb out again, or at least I try to but slip back a few times on the steep pitch of the boulder, eventually get some traction and go. Down the trail I trot in soggy sneakers, to another entry point to slide back in. Again the water feels toasty, comfortable even with the wind. I spy the trees, from water level, at moments the water is flat, then all squiggly across the surface as the wind kicks up, the trees, reds, yellows, some still green, more time needed or a good chill, tonights forecast is frost. Sundays group swim at 9 a.m., post frost, is going to be…crisp. But there will be pie and tea!!
As I finish my second loop, I catch sight of some splashing, out the corner of my left eye, along the far edge of the lake, from the slapping of a swimmers hand entry. Yay, another swimmer having a similar adventure. The car in the parking lot, I recognize, belongs to another swim friend, the other swimmer out there.
Dropping my swim stuff, caps, goggles, inflatable swim buoy bag, where I put my car key in a waterproof pouch to be sure they stay dry, at my car, I change my watch from swim to run then take off down the road for a 1.5 mile run to heat up.
I feel good, chilled, but good, like I got away with something, something special and delightful. On my way down Mirror lake road, I am heading for the trail, I see more swim friends driving toward me, toward the lake. It excites me to see others coming, taking advantage of the day, the lake, being alive, part of nature.