Saturday, January 29, 2011

Oceanside Harbor Choppy Before Sunset 1-29-11

The water was nasty and very choppy this afternoon at Oceanside Harbor. No problem getting a parking spot. The tide was low with a cloudy sky, for a change. I couldn't swim very well in the chop. I went about a half mile or so and it got dark on me. In my mind, that's when the sea monsters come out to eat. Instead of worrying about them incessantly, I made my way in with some effort and jogged back to my car, wading through the mucky water at San Luis Rey Creek.

I was disappointed to see the water looking nasty and choppy this afternoon.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Swim Oceanside Harbor to Pier

After work, I thought that I would spread my wings a bit and try a longer swim. I have recently been inspired by this Rob D fellow after reading about his swimming routines in the ocean near San Luis Obispo. I say San Luis Obispo because I go there to visit my daughter at college, and that is how I heard about Rob when he was doing his 10K New Years Swim.
So, it's nice to read about a person pushing the limits, and since I swim in the ocean, his story struck a chord within me. I decided that it was time to step it up a bit in my routine and increase my swim distance and speed. I use the term "speed" quite loosely and inappropriately, since I am a very bulky, heavy, slow swimmer.
So Rob motivated me to swim without my treasured Churchill fins. So far it has been a good experience. I have been out three times sans fins, and each swim was fine. I still am using my webbed gloves, though. I'm a step-by-step kind of guy.
I started at Oceanside Harbor and swam south to the Pier. I made it comfortably, albeit much slower than a "real" swimmer. Then I jogged back up to my car. The water was about 59 or 60, smooth, beautiful, with a breathtaking sunset. Typical weather again. Wow! Aren't we glad that we live here.
While swimming I was trying to concentrate on my arm stroke-the catch and pull, the angle of the elbows, keeping the elbows high, and keeping my stroke smooth. I did ok. Driving home I could feel that I had worked my triceps.
I need to try to figure out how Rob D puts that BING map on his blog posts that shows his swim routes and distances. Bit-by-bit.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday Swim After Work Oceanside Harbor

Smaller waves today & chilly water. Surfline says 54. Maybe a couple of degrees over that because my face didn't freeze. Waves 2-3 feet. Not too many surfers. Mr. G. and I went in at Oceanside Harbor between the jetties and swam southward for about 1/2 mile. We jogged back up the beach to get the blood flowing again. It was fun. Nice and mellow.
The sun was setting as we swam, always nice to see. We had to wade about three-feet-deep across the San Luis Rey Creek to the parking lot and...yuck...nasty stuff floating down that creek. I'd call it floating, foamy fecal matter.

Tuesday, Jan 25, 2011 Oceanside Harbor Swim

This afternoon after work the tide was low but the waves were still big with great shape for the surfers. The water was chilly-about 58 degrees. I wanted to see how I could swim without my Churchill fins, so that's what I did. I was comfortable swimming horizontally southward without the fins. I've been feeling that I'm cheating with my permanently-attached swim fins, so I need to wean myself off of them. Sunday after my swim I was reading up on the internet about kicking technique in ocean swimming: 2 beat kick, 4 beat kick, style, etc. on multiple web sites. I had e-mailed a fellow named Rob at with a question about fins vs. no fins.

He responded amiably with good information for me, which got me counting my number of kicking beats per stroke cycle on Monday. Rob suggested pool training techniques to improve and strengthen the kick but I really am not a pool guy. So today, without the fins, I counted that I have a natural 4 kicks per stroke cycle (2 arm pulls), which was quite comfortable and effective for me.

I am sore today in the shoulders and back so I must have been doing something better yesterday. Tomorrow I'll go for a longer no-fin swim and see how I hold up.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday, Jan 24th Oceanside Harbor

Just took a relaxing, slow, thirty-minute swim at Oceanside Harbor after work today. A decent number of surfers out there enjoying good waves, good shape. The water was flat and glassy past the breakers so I swam back and forth a bit. 59 degrees. Not much to report for today.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jan 23, 2011 Oceanside Pier Swim

There is a large surf advisory out and now I know why. I swam around the pier and back at about 1:00 PM today and the waves were gorgeous! I took a few pictures from a distance that I will post here. Getting in and through the surf zone kicked my butt. I was hurting for air after getting out there and had to rest to catch my breath.

I don't know how swimmers without fins in the ocean get anywhere. I would have been able to get out today without fins but it would have taken me fifteen minutes and waiting for lulls in the sets.

The water was 59 degreees; I wore my thin wetsuit, fins, and cap. Around the pier and near the lineup of surfers at the south side of the pier, I hung out to watch the beautiful conditions. The waves were smooth, great shape, long rides, the big ones about 6 or 7 feet. The surfers were hooting with anticipation when the big swells were coming in. They were happy (stoked, I should say), and couldn't hold it in like they usually do. From my observations, surfers are very quiet, suspicious, territorial, and unfriendly in general. Today they couldn't help but let out their innate happiness at the beauty and power of nature. It was neat to see and hear it. I get tired of seeing sullen, quiet surfers when I swim; they eye me like I don't belong there. And I don't get in their way. Oh, well. That's the subject for another blogger. At least with surfers I share their love of the ocean.

I swallowed some salt water and it didn't mix well with the coffee that I drank before swimming. I had to stop to puke for a minute and the Oceanside lifeguards on a jet ski with a tow board stopped by to ask me if I was sick or OK. I was OK, but I appreciate their vigilance and hard work. They were probably doing several rescues today in the big surf.
The water conditions changed from the time that I swam southward to the time that I swam northward to where I went in at Surfrider Way. A chop stirred up and a current to the south came up. I had a more difficult time swimming back into the current and the choppy water. It kicked my butt. When I was getting ready to exit the water, I was afraid. There are rare times at the beach when the waves are so big and surging with white, foamy, roaring power that I need to wait for a slot to rush in between sets. Today was one of those neat days. Between sets I backstroked in, flipped over and rode the white foam as it passed me, then repeated the cycle a few times until I hit sand.
One last thing about today: I stopped by a kayaker who appeared to be getting ready to go into the water. He had a wetsuit on and was chatting with his girlfriend. I'm guessing that she was telling him to skip it; and he was debating whether to go for it, or take the wise (non-macho) route and save the kayaking for a calmer day. I chatted briefly with him telling him that it was serious out there and was worse than it looked. I lingered for fifteen minutes and they were still on the beach. I walked up to my car, changed, and walked back to see them still sitting on the sand. Thank goodness. They had the good sense to postpone the kayaking.
The very last good thing that happened to me was that a meter guy was checking my parking meter, which had just run out of minutes. He cut me some slack; he was very nice. Thanks, Oceanside parking meter guy. I always pay the meters and I think that I just missed my time by a few minutes because I was looking out for the kayaker, hoping that he wouldn't go out. If he had, I was going to be available to assist him. End of story. Success.