On Monday, I ventured down to Ohio St. Beach to do my first open water swim in Lake Michigan this year.
Ohio St. Beach in Chicago is a perfect location for open water swims, mostly because it’s easy to get there on bike, you can pull right up to the beach, there are buoys with mile markers (1/4 mile, 1/2 mile), and of course Lake Michigan is nice because we don’t have to worry about any jelly fish, sharks, etc. (but make sure to check out http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com to make sure there isn’t a swim advisory or swim ban, for where you are swimming, because they sometimes do find e-coli in the water, and then swimming is not allowed). Chicago park district and Open Water Chicago (www.openwaterchicago.com) are great resources to find out what the water temperature is, so that you can be prepared before you get in!
I was expecting the water to be freezing! But, hoping that since it was 95 degrees outside, it at least wouldn’t feel that cold. I made sure I had everything I needed to make this swim as comfortable as possible, so that I could just enjoy it. The plan was to head out to the 1/4mile buoy and back, 3x. This was a recovery workout, so I was really just going to focus on being in the water, with blue skies, and not having a black line to follow, nor a wall to push off!
So, I put on the booties…
I put on my wetsuit (long sleeve xterra) and a neoprene cap underneath my bright pink cap (it’s important to wear a bright colored cap during open water swims so that lifeguards and other swimmers can see you, and if you are not in a swimming designated area, then it’s even more important so that boats can see you too)!
And off I went to go swim! It was beautiful! The water is clear, and it’s easy to sight because of the buoys. There was a strong wind, which made for a fairly tough swim one way, but overall I LOVED it! The water wasn’t cold at all either! Seriously. It was 61 degrees according to the Chicago Park District, but it honestly felt more like 62-64. People were swimming without wetsuits and were just fine! I definitely think the 90 degree temperatures helped, but honestly as soon as my body temperature began to rise as I got going in the swim, it actually felt really good to put my face in cooler water. It did not take my breath away at all either, although I did sit in the water for about 2-3min just to make sure I was acclimated, which I highly suggest doing. Throughout the swim, I just felt at peace, and calm, and really just enjoyed being out in the water. There is something about the water that just calms me, and although swimming is not my strongest suit of the 3 sports, I really do enjoy it.
Looking forward to the next one!