I went to Lake Mead National Recreation Area for my first open water swim of 2015! I pulled up to the fee booth and saw that the water temperature was 60 degrees. I had come prepared with my wetsuit and other cold water gear. I had received a thermal cap, booties and gloves for Christmas and was excited to try them out.
I have a Blueseventy Sprint Full Suit that I bought last year. I have worn it many times for workouts and races so the money was well spent. I decided to go with Blueseventy for the additional cold water gear since I liked the quality of their wetsuit plus they matched my suit (you know, the important stuff).
I was meeting a few friends so once I got to the beach, I got dressed and ready to go. There was a guy next to me who was also putting on booties so I was able to ask him if they should go over or under the suit. He said under so they wouldn't twist while I was swimming. I also thought it would be better under so it'd be more areodynamic (or water dynamic as my husband likes to say). I also put the gloves under the suit for the same reason. I then put the cap on, grabbed my rescue can and goggles and headed down to the water.
I waded into the water while we waited on all the swimmers to get ready. I was surprised that the booties and gloves weren't keeping the water out the same way the wetsuit did. They were cold but I told myself that they would have been colder without the extra thermal layer. I stood there acclimating to the water when one of the girls said that her thermostat said the water was actually 55 degrees. Brrrrr....that's cold.
A few minutes later, we saw a coyote walking along the waters edge really close to where we were. I had seen coyotes at Lake Mead before but always along the trails further in the mountains. It was interesting seeing one so close and unafraid. He began to walk over to our stuff. I had wrapped my car keys in my towel and set them on top of my flip flops. I jokingly said that I hope he doesn't take my keys because I'd be screwed. The girl next to me said that he was only looking for food so he wouldn't mess with our stuff. He must have thought my stuff looked good because he made a beeline for my stuff and proceeded to pick my towel up and start trotting off. We all began to yell as I started running (visualize running through the water that's chest deep) towards the shore. He dragged my towel about thirty feet before dropping it and running off. I finally, and gracefully, made my way out of the water. I found that my keys had fallen out about two feet from my towel. I gathered up my things and took them back to my flip flops. I decided I should make my keys a little safer so I put them in a friend's backpack for the remainder of the swim.
Now that we had all had a good laugh and made it to the water, we started our swim. The initial splash to the face was pretty cold. I was pleased to feel that the cap was keeping my head warm enough. As I swam more, the gloves and booties warmed up too. I was worried about the booties slipping down as I swam but they stayed snug and in place. The gloves worked great too. I may not race with the gloves and booties but they will definitely be great for training.
I ended up swimming about 2200 yards and it felt great! I prefer to swim in open water because it makes the time go by so much faster. Now that I have all the proper gear, I plan on swimming at the lake once a week again.
I followed up the swim with an easy 4 mile run along the River Mountain Loop Trail. It was a beautiful day to be at the lake. I'm always down there during the spring/summer/fall but hadn't been there since October. I'm happy that I'll be able to add it back into my training schedule again and next time, I'll bring a bag down to the water to place my keys in.