Thursday, December 13, 2012

13Dec12 - Going out with a BANG!

Something happened today that I can honestly say I've been dreaming about for over a year.  Today I swam an Ice Mile!  I swam one mile in 41 degree F water for one mile.  Only thing I had was a cap, goggles, and a speedo.  No help was give or aid rendered during the swim.  This is THE pinnacle of cold water swimming achievements and I did it!!!
Gords and me before swim

Here is how it went.....
I start prep surgery tomorrow and chemo starts Monday so I knew this was my last cold water swim of the year.  MAYBE I could get one short one in between my 1st and 2nd round of chemo but I'm not holding my breath on it.  I just wanted to get one more cold swim in.  I posted on Facebook that I was going to the marina one last time for a short swim.  Lucky for me Josh and Gordon showed up.
I did a temp reading and it said 41 degrees.
USP official water temp = 41!

I DID think...well if I do try the ice mile, this is what it will be like.  I told myself that I mainly wanted to just do 2 laps that would equal 1/2 mile.  If I did that then we'll see but doubtful.  We all got in and I did some heads up to get adjusted.  I finally swam normal but could only do 30 strokes at a time because my face hurt too much.  It finally adjusted after the 1st lap.  I did the 2nd lap and my feet hurt and hands were REALLY in pain but I felt fine otherwise.  I was seriously considering calling it good and I'll do it next season but something inside of me just snapped.  GO AND DO IT NOW YOU P***Y!!!  Meh, let's see what happens.
Finishing 2nd lap...halfway there
  I did another lap.  It was halfway down the 3rd lap when I noticed I was starting to get more and more affected by the cold.  My stroke was slowing and I was struggling with intense salt water leaking into my goggles. I got back to finish my 3rd lap and I really had to focus to start my 4th and final lap.
3rd lap finish
  I could already tell that it would be a severe mountain to climb physically and mentally.  Words will never be able to describe the level of pain I felt when I started back.  I actually felt THE moment when my brain switched from "fun cold swimming" to okay....this is officially survival mode.  The blood from my feet and ankles had receded and my hands were just dead weights.  My chest felt fine but I could tell my body was going numb and my core temp was dropping.  I had to dig deep.  A beautiful but profane thing happened at the same time.  My body was numb and definitely on shut down mode but my mind started to get VERY active.  I started to get mad...real MAD.  This is my last shot at this for an entire year.  I'd do more but F-ing cancer is taking it away from me.  I then was chanting the full words, "F Cancer...F U Cancer"!!! over and over.  It worked.  I was so stinking mad that I started to swim faster.
4th lap....all those bubbles are my probably my profanity
4th lap turnaround...getting dark.  Home stretch now!

It was getting dark when I got out and the air temp was quickly dropping which only made it worse when I got out.  Gordon and Josh were there cheering me on like mad men! It was great to have them there.  I tried to get up but my legs were dead.  I couldn't feel my feet and Gordon had to help me out.  They dried me off then put me in Josh's van with the heater on full.  It did NOTHING.  I had piles of clothes and towels on me but I was too cold to notice.  Luckily there is a shower facility at the marina with hot water so Josh drove us there.  He turned the shower to warm and I sat in the car for several more minutes shaking violently and moaning from the pain I was in.  The recovery was BRUTAL.  I've never felt pain like that.  Pure pain right down to your literal bones are in pain!
Thawing out

Lovin' that hot water!...and the speedo I borrowed from Josh. ( I actually forgot mine)

They had to help me to the shower where I just sat there and let the warm water slowly thaw me out.  As I got warmer, I turned the water up warmer.  I can honestly say that this was the first solo warm shower I've had in several months.  Normally I hate hot showers but under these conditions it felt GREAT!
I had SO many reasons that I wanted to do this and I was just as amazed and shocked as Josh and Gords that I did it on what is technically a "whim" of me wanting to go out.  I never planned on doing this just happened.
As I was warming up, a LOT of emotions about what this swim meant to me and all the mental and emotional pain I've been through the past few months came out.  I cried like a baby in front of my 2 friends and felt no shame in it.  I am comfortable enough with them that I didn't care.
I don't want to go through chemo and have something to "look forward to" when I'm recovered.  I want something I can LOOK BACK ON when I'm feeling miserable and use that as motivation to get better.  I need to submit some paperwork but I should be the 6th person in America to ever do this type of swim since the IISA was established.
I can't thank my friends Gordon and Josh enough for being there today and helping me.  There is no way I would have made it without you two.  The help you gave me when I needed it was beyond friendship.  I just keep thinking about how the 3 of us met just less than 2 years ago to do a 200 yard "cold water swim" at a lake when the water was 49!  LOL  That's a joke!  Look at how far we have come as friends, swim partners, and cold water enthusiasts.  It's been a hell of a ride to get to this point and I'm glad you 2 were there the whole time.
Official swim route

Distance - 1 mile
Water Temp - 41 degrees F
Air Temp - 50.5 at start.  Below 45 at finish.
Wind Temp - 35 degrees
Time in water - approx 40 min.
Time from water entry to full recovery - 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Here are their accounts.
Josh - Utah Open Water
Gordon - Gords Swim Log

Here is the video Gordon made.


  1. Totally awesome! Totally inspired! Well done and best of luck with the Chemo. Thanks for sharing. :-)

  2. Goody,

    That's hardcore! Congratulations. Attack you next challange the same way. If you need any info. I do cancer research in the Boston area.


  3. Goody, Nick emailed me this message to you:

    "What a legend and inspiration. Please pass on my huge congratulations and big love.

    Best of luck to him on his next challenge, one he hasn't chosen for himself!!

    Big love

    During today's swim, again only one lap. Can only imagine what it would have been like doing three more. Oh the craziness! Hope you're doing OK. We missed you today.

  4. One he hasn't chosen for himself? What does that mean?
    Thanks again for all the positive thoughts and love sent my way. I think I might keep the nickname "Ice Man" for least during the winters!

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  6. stay focused goody! see you on the other side of this thing. positive thoughts, good memories and all the love and support from your family, friends and community will see you through this.

  7. That is sooooo AWESOME Goody!!! A few of us are going to work on acclimation in the next few weeks. Last year's little jaunt to Arrowhead was brief but brutal. round: Go out and kick that cancer in the behind!!!

  8. An awesome swim. I completed Canada's first ice swim on Dec 23rd 2012. We are in an elite club my friend.


  9. Goody, Your story is so incredibly inspiring! We posted to our facebook page- Keep up the good fight! Cheers! SKY and LIVI