Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rainy Oceanside Pier Non-Swim Swim

I didn't make it to the water Friday, when I was off for Veterans Day.  Too much low back pain.  I wish that I could figure out whether the swimming helps the pain or exacerbates it.  However, regardless of that answer, I'd still have to get into the water for other reasons.  One of those reasons is the old saying that I remember from years ago, that I have begun to write at the close of my web entries. 
Today we have rainy weather and I went to the beach to swim.  I took some pictures before entering and some of the shots have raindrops on them.  The water looked beautiful; all one needed to do was eliminate the rain from one's view.  There were surfers stretched out along the beach both north and south of the pier because the waves were big and beautiful.  The waves were coming in at shorter-than-usual intervals but with a beautiful, curved shape to them-excellent for the surfers. 
There was a big problem though, making it a day for the higher level swimmers and surfers, i.e., there was a very strong rip current to the north combined with crashing, strong waves one on top of the other, making it very difficult to get out past the breakers.
Well, there were no high-level swimmers, as usual.  I got in on the north side of the pier and worked for a bit to get through the waves.  Beyond the waves the ocean appeared flat and good for swimming.  However, after fighting the incoming wave power and flowing with the rip current, I decided that it wasn't going to happen for me today.  I only stayed in for ten minutes.  In that time I was moved about a half-mile northward.  Sometimes it's better to pack it in and be safe.  The surfers seemed to be going through a similar decision-making process.  They were going in, being moved up the beach, and getting out-some of them.  The best guys were able to get through the stuff and ride 4-6 footers, at least. 
At least I tried, and that can be enough at times.

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cold, Glassy, Sunset Pier Swim-Oceanside, CA

Today the water was completely different from yesterday; it was flat and glassy out there-great for swimming.  I'm still holding off on the wet suit and I was very cold coming in today.  I was wishing that I just could be beamed up and out of the ocean without having to finish the swim.  I had a beautiful view of the post-sunset, horizontal-striped, colorful sky as I swam out and a bright full-moon view on my way in.  Really cool scenery.
I even noticed when I was out past the pier that there was a blimp flying southward at about 400 feet or so.  I don't know what that was all about-maybe the Goodyear blimp?
The waves were small for about a dozen surfers-but they know how to work 'em to get the most out of a small wave. 
A gorgeous, colorful evening at the beach.  Tomorrow I won't be swimming because I work until 6 PM - after sunset.  But I guess that I'll be back at it on Friday.

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Channel Swims, Marathon Swims, etc

Honestly, I just don't know how the long-distance swimmers can do what they do in the open water-with the rough conditions, the effects of the cold water on one's ability to swim, problems with visibility due to waves, etc.  I am getting a better appreciation of the difficulties of doing a swim of a few miles or a swim across one of the Channel Islands, or the Catalina to Long Beach crossing. 
It is tough out there.  With the cold water now-probably 58 or 59 - the body quickly doesn't want to perform.  The hands chill up and the fingers don't want to stay together during the arm pull; the legs just want to hang there and don't want to flutter kick; and keeping on direction gets tougher.
Tuesday's swim was fine, but I only swam for 31 minutes.  Without a wet suit, think of the swimmers in colder water swimming for several hours...Just amazing.
I swam north to south and guessed correctly-with the current.  I've been watching the surfers and the direction in which they face in the water.  The chop was 1-2 feet.  The last two swims of mine I swam through the surfers coming in even though I was looking out for them to avoid them as usual.  It's hard to see with the chop now.  I rounded the pier before the sun set and had a view of an almost-full moon coming in. 

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Time Change Swim After Work

Neat, rough swim after work today (Monday).  The time changed, so it got dark early.  I got in at 4:30 PM and as I rounded past the end of the pier the sun hit the horizon.  I could see the moon behind me when I breathed to the right, and the setting sun when I breathed to the left.
The water was rough with a one-foot chop at least, but nowhere near yesterday's rodeo swim.  I swam south to north and was heading into a mild north to south current.  I swam in while it was getting dark-always a good motivator to swim fast.  The trip was 38 minutes-the current took some extra time.
The pictures show the before and after with the darkness after I finished.  I think that this will be the earliest that the sun will set now so I can look forward to the sun setting a bit later week by week.

"The first time you quit is the last time you try."