Saturday, July 9, 2011

Oceanside Labor Day Pier Swim Sep 5, 2011 "To Swim or Not To Swim"

Annually, the Oceanside Swim Club hosts an event at the Oceanside Pier to raise money for the good work it does. This year's swim will be held on Sept 5th. I have not swum in this event as of yet because I have never wanted to pay the entry fee for a swim that I do so often. However, this year I think that I may spend the money, get the t-shirt, and wake up early to do the one-mile swim.
Really, the money has not been my primary obstacle to participating in this event. The reason is that I don't like to get up early on my days off. That's it-I need my sleep on the weekends. I HAVE swum the pier for free later in the day on previous Labor Days, but it's just not the same, is it?
So, the question of "to swim or not to swim" is one that I can't answer at this time. I know that I should do it, but I also know how pathetically lazy I am early in the mornings. I know that soon I'll start to see a few ocean swimmers here and there doing the pier in upcoming weeks as they prepare for Labor Day. When I see them each year, I feel a bit of territorialism, or localism, for these swimmers in the water at MY beach.
It's probably high time that I write the $35 check for the swim and put it in the mailbox, eh? Maybe I'll do it right now...
DONE! I'm In!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Swim After Work 5 PM Oceanside Pier

The tide was high and the waves were messy but up to about 3-4 feet. The water was a little cooler than yesterday, which was refreshing, but there were warm patches throughout the swim. Choppy-about 1 foot. The current was mild-north to south. I swam into the current intentionally but no big deal today. I got around the pier pretty quickly today. The Friday evening crowds were coming into the pier area to stroll around as I was leaving. It was a beautiful day. How lucky we are to have the beach so close and accessible.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

80 Degrees at the Beach Today

The heat and humidity should be breaking after today, I hear. The ocean is still warm. They say 67 degrees but it feels warmer. Low visibility and very choppy & sloppy water today. I swam the pier with fins and webbed gloves, fighting the 2 foot chop. It was ok, nothing great. Here's a few pictures.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Learning to Swim in the Ocean, Oceanside Pier

Our weather today was warm and humid compared to the usual "just about perfect" weather. The beach was 78 degrees air temp with mild to moderate humidity. So, I was looking forward to a crisp, refreshing swim in the ocean and the ocean was TOO WARM again. What the heck...
This just doesn't happen here. I guessed the water current direction correctly today after observing the motion of flags in the mild breeze, people in the water standing up and backing up in the same direction to maintain their positions, the surface of the water, and the breaking of the waves.
I just wore the Churchill Slasher fins today-no webbed gloves, no swim cap. Now, after all of the swimming that I have done, one would think that I might be improving. I don't know. It seems that the more I swim the mystery of swimming efficiently and properly confronts me. The chop of the water today-about a good foot or more-hurt the swimming exercise today. However, it's more than that. Today my body position was not flat on the surface-the legs and feet wanted to sink below the surface. The arms didn't cooperate. Should I extend my reach farther in front or not over-reach? Why does the old "S" pull of the arms always want to return automatically to haunt me? Should I rotate my hips more or less when I kick? Etcetera, etcetera...
When the chop is up, I need to time my breaths with the rise of the water and throw in a strong, timed kick to get my head up high enough as I rotate my head to the side to inhale air, not water. There's a bit of body-surfing the wave there when swimming in the ocean. Each day is a learning experience-or stagnation-or trying something different. How about you?

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th Oceanside Pier Swim Thanks to the Oceanside Police Department for Their Courteous Work Maintaining a Comfortable Beach Atmosphere

OK now. The water was TOO WARM today! Really. It must have been 70 degrees. I parked my customary five blocks away from the water when it is busy (no parking meters). At the corner of Surfrider and Cleveland there was a party and band playing for a house party and also for the benefit of passersby. They were very good and I enjoyed it. They were a mix of Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers, Leonard Skynrd, and similar music. Close to the beach there was a large police presence (I love it) keeping cars away from the water strand street. They were even stopping bicyclists which I don't mind at all. The bicyclists fly through the strand and scare the crap out of me at times. Thanks to the Oceanside Police Department for their presence and courteous, hard work maintaining order and reason on the 4th.
Now, for the water. Too warm as I said. Dirtier than yesterday. Stirred up with more kelp leaves and bits of kelp floating around, along with smaller dirt particles in the water. Visibility was down to about 4-5 feet. The waves were tiny-2 feet. It was flat out there and I had a slow, relaxing swim with my fins. I did a double-around the pier and back. I didn't have good energy because yesterday tuckered me out. Fortunately, I didn't have to face a strong current this evening-there was hardly a current at all out past the pier. I'm tired now at home and will relax and listen to the fireworks going off in the neighborhood. Happy 4th of July! Thanks to our troops in harm's way and my deepest, heartfelt respect for the excellent work they do!

4th of July Weekend Pier Swim (double) & "Why I Swim?"

It was hot Sunday so everybody went to the beach. I went late-about 6PM-and still parked about five blocks away. The water was WARM. It was about 70 degrees, I'd guess. The tide was medium and the waves were small. It was a beautiful day for swimming out there-glassy. Yes-glassy. You don't get to say glassy that often. I had my fins on but didn't need them swimming north to south. However, I felt good and decided to swim back. I ran into a fairly strong current on the return trip. It surprised me-the water being so calm but moving kinda' secretly southward. I was past the pier, south of it, and swimming away. Out of the corner of my eye as I swam it gradually hit me that I was swimmin' and swimmin' and the pier just wasn't getting closer to me like it should have. I'm kinda' slow in the head, and finally I realized that I wasn't going anywhere so I had to put the fins to work and really PULL hard to get around the pier. It worked me. That current thing is puzzling. I was seriously considering turning around and getting out on the south side when I was off the end of the pier but there was a whole crowd of fishermen and beachgoers checking me out. I just know they were all saying to each other, "You think he's gonna' make it?" "No way. He's been swimming for ten minutes and hardly moved ten feet!" And how about "Hey Daddy, that guy sure is slow, huh?" "Yep, he's one slow swimmer, no doubt, honey." I'm not putting up with that stuff. I got my tired, old butt in gear. I DO love those Churchill fins! After all was said and done it was a GREAT swim!
An unfortunate aside in my trip occurred when I was walking to the beach, I saw five teenage boys skateboarding two blocks from the water. They were what I might call "Trouble in the making." A couple of smokers, blocking the sidewalk, looking bored, hanging near a trouble Motel. I stopped and asked them, "How come you guys ain't in the water-surfin' or something?"
Now, I don't know why automatically or subconsciously I came out with the word "ain't" but that's what I said. I only realized it a few minutes later, as I replayed the brief conversation in my head.
"We don't have any money," one of the young men said to me, making eye contact with me. "Surfboards cost a lot of money." Another boy said, "We skate." I felt bad for the guys. I just sorta' nodded my head and said, "That's a bummer." We went back and forth with pretty much the same comments and I continued on with a, "See ya' guys. Take care."
So, it did make me kinda' sad that these young men didn't have much to do except wait for trouble, while this gorgeous beach was two-hundred yards away. Life isn't fair. Not for these kids. So, on my swim out I just thought about them and wondered how could one help such kids. Could I look for old board and wet suit donations for such kids? Could I talk to them when I next see them and get them interested in ocean swimming? Even a boogie board and fins cost money...
I'll probably do nothing, though. I get ideas but I'm not good at the work necessary to implement them. Too lazy. I need lots of free time to keep my sanity. Out past the breakers there are no world problems to fret about-nothing is urgent out there but staying above water and returning alive. It's a mind cleansing-a temporary reprieve from the mundane worries that life presents. That's why I swim, I suppose.