Back in PDX!

It is so great to be back home! And by home, I mean the Columbia River. Right now the Columbia at Broughton Beach is 47°. My first swim back was 48 a solid four to five degree drop from my last swim at Turner Lake. I forgot how much I love the 40s. Somehow it's easier to get going than in the fifties where I just want to stand on the beach and winge about feeling cold. In the 40s, there's no time for that I just have to get right on into the swimming. I love how freeing the cold water is I can have all the worries in the world and ironically they melt away in the icy water.

The day before Thanksgiving a group of Yetis and friends gathered at Broughton and shared a lovely swim. It was almost like pre-covid times but not quite. We're still not back to huddling on the beach under blankets and sharing beverages. Sadly I don't know if we'll ever go back to those practices. I will always look back on them with love and fondness and keep a little hope in my heart that they'll return. 
I've been spending a lot of time in the pool too. Currently I'm averaging 10 to 12 miles a week in the concrete ditch and I suppose that should be enough to help me get ready for my next big swim. Yesterday, I swam 10,000 yards and under 3 hours. I tried out homemade rice pudding as a feed and found that it stayed down really well and after my swim I hardly felt any crash. I think rice pudding has some potential for a long swim feeds. I'm a little cautious to make those decisions though because I've never experienced GI distress on swims under 8 hours. I think it was between the eight and 10 hour mark that I started feeling really ill for the first time on my long swim. Anywho!

 I looked into swimming in Minnesota and I'll probably join the YMCA there. I'm not sure if my fieldwork schedule will allow me to maintain my large volume of training. But I think I can at least get in swimming a couple days in the evening and longer swims on the weekend. Part of me is concerned that swimming so much while in Minnesota will cut me off from other experiences while I'm there, but then I remember that most of my good long-lasting relationships come from swimming. Plus, the YMCA is near the Mayo Clinic, so I'm bound to make connections in healthcare in the pool. I mean really, of the four swimmers I regularly swam with at Turner Lake in Salem one was an occupational therapist and another a speech language pathologist. So, odds are I'll meet one other OT while at the YMCA. I also get a little nervous that I won't have enough time to dedicate to my studies and improving clinical practice skills in acute care, but swimming is how I clear my head and refocus my mental energy. It's also how I manage stress and anxiety and overall maintain my mental health. I suppose what I'm getting at is I can't afford not to swim while I'm at the Mayo Clinic. It'll be really hard especially because I'll be walking and taking public transit everywhere and it's going to be cold, like really cold. Not the kind of cold in cold water swimming where I get to choose when and for how long I'm cold for. Rather an unrelenting cold but I have no choice but to enter. I hope all my long swims and cold swims will provide me some mental fortitude for the task of commuting everywhere on foot in Minnesota for three winter months.

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