I have been running lately. The anonymous wintertime kind of jogging that involves dark, cold and warm hats. You can never get the clothing correctly layered in these months. Clothing layers are tough to predict even with the weather app that tells me up to the minute temperature, wind speed and hourly forecast cloud cover. I opened the app today and three foreboding red ribbons flashed across the phone screen warning of Winter Storms and Avalanches. I live on top of a Mesa that is more like the flat prairie than the Rocky Mountains. It is snowing that light sugary snow that will eventually make a fine powder. I run warily, waiting for the accumulated precipitation to magically make its way up a hill to stop my progress. The avalanche never comes to my mesa.
I love my run. I flip on my music and lose myself in Frank Sinatra for an hour or so on most days. The run never becomes boring or redundant. But, with this in mind, I have decided to start a swim team. There may not be too many dangers on my lonely mesa. Bears, coyotes, rabid bunnies, avalanches and winter storms have never stopped me but are always possible. I have instead decided to become a open-water ocean swimmer where ocean-going barges and marine life cannot possibly impede my progress. There are a number of folks who would like to join in this pursuit and we will welcome all comers.
Swim training means predictability. The water temperature will be a relatively constant 76° F in a swimming pool and a speedo may be appropriate in all weather. Less predictable will be the ocean conditions for the open water swims. As mentioned, ship traffic and marine life will be a reason to keep your head above water.