Just one week until Big Shoulders, Chicago's only open water race on Lake Michigan. I'm doing the 5k this year and think (hope?) that I'm prepared for it. I've done more long distance swimming than in previous years, plus I swam during the winter with the Evanston Masters.
One of my greatest pleasures during the summer is swimming in Lake Michigan. There is something so peaceful about open water swimming (usually--sometimes the weather adds excitement). But being in Lake Michigan in the city is something else--seeing the skyline every time you take a breath...well, that is just something you have to experience.
And swimming with other open water folks is just the best. I've been swimming with a group called Open Water Chicago--great group of people. It's all about the lake and enjoying your swim-no competition and no posturing that you often see with the triathlon crowd. I'm generalizing here, but it seems that most triathletes are not as comfortable swimming, so there is a lot of nervous energy when they are down at the lake. And don't get me started with the primping and preening over their wetsuits--honestly, I think many spend more time squeezing themselves into their suits and fussing with the zippers than actually swimming.
As for me--I don't have a wetsuit. I am blessed with *ahem, cough, cough* my own natural insulation and padding :)
By the way, this is me in the photo- you'll just have to take my word on it.
Photo taken by Steve Hernan of Open Water Chicago