A Review of a Different Sort

Instead of getting into how I’m going to DNS the Cherry Tree 10 Miler for the third time (I am never registering for the damn thing ever again), because nobody is interested in listening to me whine about my broken heart, I am going to replace the would-be DNS review with something else.  It isn’t really a review per se; it’s more like a very loquacious way of getting around to a very simple point.  But anyway.

Despite my whole “I am too depressed to have the motivation to do anything” mindset, I planned a dive trip anyway, banking on feeling glad about it once I was actually diving.  And that kind of did happen.  I mean, I stupidly neglected to pay attention to the water temperature, assuming it would be, you know, warm; I did not realize that it would be so cold in Key Largo at this time of year, but even though I was freezing for most of it, I did love that I was finally diving again.  I hardly get to do it.

My happy place!

My happy place!

These dives were a bit of a novel experience for me, though.  In the past, I’ve always gone diving with a group.  Even though we did pair off into buddy teams before hitting the water, it was mostly for the sake of propriety; we generally all stuck together.

This time, it was more like, “Here’s the dive site, it’s called ____, this is the history behind it.  The time right now is whatever o’clock, be back here in one hour.  Have fun!”  And off we went on our own.

It is quite fortuitous that I was deemed the timekeeper of the team instead of the navigator.  It baffles me how I ever passed the Underwater Navigation portion of the Advanced Open Water test, because I couldn’t find my way around with a compass on land if you paid me.  I really need to work on that.

Now, for that simple point… I wear a 7mm wetsuit.  Always.  Even in the Caribbean in August.  Yes, I get a little warm, but I’d rather be a little warm than have a dive ruined because I’m too busy shivering miserably to enjoy it.  The downside of having such a thick wetsuit is that it increases buoyancy, which means I need to add weight.  It’s a fine balancing act — if I add enough weight to get myself easily to depth, I am then dragging along the bottom.

This isn’t such a big problem when in a group with an instructor.  They’re good at buoyancy no matter how much weight they have — so they can help me get down there in the first place, and if I have too much or too little, they can help out, there, too.  But since we were on our own this time, I warned my buddies that I’d probably take a while to make my way down from the surface.

And you know what?  That didn’t happen.  When left to my own devices, I was able to make it down just fine.  This is even true of my second set of dives, when I had an additional 3mm of protection.  I added four pounds of weight to compensate for that, and I basically sank like a stone; I used quite a bit of air on that dive, since I needed to inflate my BCD a little.  (Not something I love to do, but I figured it didn’t matter since having dived with this buddy previously, I knew I was vastly more efficient with my oxygen consumption.)  I dumped those additional four pounds for the second dive, and still had no problem descending.  I went with the where the head leads, the body follows thing — instead of trying to get myself below the surface just by inhaling/exhaling, I upended myself and swam toward the bottom.  Which I have tried before, and it hasn’t always worked.

What this tells me is that being left to your own devices is the best thing that can possibly happen.  Lacking an instructor to bail me out, so to speak, somehow I miraculously had the ability to make it work on my own.

I was right.  I did love diving, even though I was freezing.  (Yes, even with 10mm worth of exposure protection!)  I wish I could do it far more often than I do.  It isn’t quite the same, of course, but it’s what comes the closest to running for me from a mental perspective.

And then I came home and ran outside for a cumulative fourteen minutes and twelve seconds.  Which helps me not at all with this weekend’s ten mile race.  What else is new?


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