My first open water swim (Lake Havasu)

On Saturday morning, Lynn was nice enough to launch his boat into Lake Havasu so that I could have a mobile lifeguard as I made an attempt to swim across Lake Havasu from Arizona, to California (about .4 miles).  I struggled with my new Xterra Vortex 3 Fullsuit (which is a triathlon wetsuit) as Lynn navigated to my starting point (see map).  I don’t think that I’ve every put that wetsuit on in less than 10 minutes.  It’s a real trick.  You’re not supposed to make any small incisions with your fingernails when you pull it on.  At the same time, it takes a good amount of strength to pull it up and over your legs, stomach and chest.

When I was ready, I jumped into the cool (cold?) water of the lake and made sure my goggles were on nice and water-tight.  When I started to swim, I almost hesitated.  I do the same thing before a long run.  I think to myself “Do I really want to do this?”  Then, before I get too wigged out, I’ll just start going.  The same thing happened when I started off.  I looked across the water at California.  I knew that I wouldn’t drown, because I had Lynn’s boat in case things got dicey.  But at the same time, I knew that I’d be disappointed in myself if I didn’t make it across.

As I got going, it took me a while to stop panicking and to just try to find a rhythm.  My ears were cold from the water (which was probably about 65 degrees), but my wetsuit kept me quite warm, throughout.

I spotted the lighthouse on the California shore, so that I’d have a way to get across with a somewhat straight line (as you can see from the map, I have a little work to do).  On shore, I stood on some very sharp rocks.  When I jumped back in, I must have sliced my right-big toe on some of the very sharp rocks that I stood on, because at the end of my swim, it was bleeding a lot.

On the way back to Arizona, I could feel and see the sun at my 2 o’clock direction.  As long as the sun was in that position on my face, I was heading in the right direction.  You can see on the map that this seems to have worked a little better.

I hit the Arizona coast, where there was a little structure and some people (which I also used for spotting).  They asked me if I was training for something.  I responded that I was and then asked Lynn if I’d hit a mile.  I was .2 off, so I jumped back in the water and swam north for .2.

That’s all there is to it, folks.  I’m ready to swim at the Sand Hollow triathlon.  Now, if I can just figure out biking…

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