Saturday, January 14, 2012

Swim Adventure/Challenge Oceanside Pier/Beach Sat Jan 14, 2012

 Good shape, smallish waves.
 Patiently waiting for the right wave to come along.

 On the very right of the picture, inside the wave, a lucky surfer catching a wave.

 A nice one for one person.
Oh, yeah.  This may be the ride of his day today in the small surf.

At noon I was ready to hit the beach today (Saturday).  After yesterday's swim, a gentleman came over to me and inquired if I was training for a cold-water swim.  I responded in the negative, adding that I was trying to swim the year-round with just swim trunks.
He said, "Oh, so the Pier is your thing."  "Yes," I answered.  "I just do the Pier a couple of times a week.  I love it here."
"It's great," he agreed, as he leaned against his bicycle.  "We are blessed," he said, and I agreed.  He told me that he had done a lot of coaching and training of swimmers, most especially his sons when they were younger.  He lit up as he told me of records that his sons hold for a leg of the English Channel Relay Race.  His wife had swum the Channel.  One could tell that he was very into the training knowledge of cold-water swimming and distance swimming.  He told me that he'd be happy to work with me if I wanted to go farther out and increase my distance--he'd kayak with me as support. 
I looked him and his family up on the internet after I got home, and he is the real deal.  So, if I get into setting a goal for a swim, I have that going for me.  Nice guy.
So last night and this morning I was looking at the Mapquest map of the Oceanside Beach and approximating distances for swims--and thinking about setting a goal.  My feeling on goals as I have aged is conservative--as a friend once told me: 'Inch by inch, it's a cinch; yard by yard, it's hard.'
I'm a step-by-step guy; set small goals: achievable ones, but also allowing for a physical & mental challenge. 
Back to my swim today.  It's 5 PM, and I'm wiped out--just exhausted.  My plan for today's swim was to stay in the water for two hours--57 degrees--and swim a course of 2 miles plus.
And to make a long story short: I did it.  My 2 hours was actually 1 hour and 52 minutes--close enough.  My swim was between 2 miles and 2 1/2 miles, and I estimate conservatively.  It was hard.
My extra gear for today was to wear a jockstrap underneath my swim trunks--because your 'bits & pieces' get mighty chilly.  This issue was eliminated with the jockstrap.  I also wore the neoprene hood that my wife gave me for Christmas--I hope this is not cheating.
I got in on the north side of the pier and went out past the pier and headed south, parallel to the beach.  I stayed far out and swam to Wisconsin Street--that was the half-way goal. 
Sixteen minutes in, just past the pier, I was getting used to the cold, but now I learned some things on this longer swim for me in cold water--one thing is that after getting used to it for a while, one reaches another level of cold.  This is a constant cold misery, and one can feel the different body parts freezing up little by little. 
Oh, I forgot to say that the ocean was glass--an amazing day for a swim--flatter than flat. 
My wind and my lungs were good.  Stayed good throughout the entire swim.  I could have done more.
My left heel chilled up first, then both my heels.  Then, the cold took over my left foot and worked up to my knee.  The right leg did the same thing a while later.  This was at about 48 minutes into the swim.  At about this same time my fingers stopped working properly, and for the rest of the swim I was not able to keep my fingers together on my 'pull.' 
On my return leg north, I stayed far out again, and I just concentrated on my arm pull. 
Oh, you know the Geico commercials where the cavemen are out in public doing normal things, and then they see their caveman image on a billboard--and they get ticked off.  Like they can't escape being noticed.  Well, as I was swimming, a small airplane was going down the beach dragging a big Geico banner.  I thought, 'Wow,' I can see how that would have ticked the cavemen off.  Even swimming far out, there's the Geico caveman ad.  Weird.  It actually didn't have a picture of a caveman, but that detail kind of spoils the anecdote.  After the swim, I took a long, hot shower to warm up, and put on 3 shirts and a jacket. 

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

Friday, January 13, 2012

Getting Accustomed to the Cold Water

A 28 minute swim this afternoon just before sunset.  No fins, no good swim caps in my trunk.  Let's check the water temp on  57 to 59 degrees again.  I wore swim trunks only.  It took 13 minutes to get used to the water temp.  Maybe 3 dozen swimmers in nicely-shaped 2 foot waves.  Flat water outside.  I felt good today. 
I need to increase my time in the water, i.e., to stay in the water longer and see if I might be a candidate for longer swims--like the English Channel (not quite).
Maybe a 3 miler would be a good challenge to set as a goal.
The tide was very low today so I don't think that my swim was very long--maybe 3/4 of a mile tops.
I'll try again tomorrow.  The body feels better today.

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

Kicking With Fins On My Back Thursday 4:20PM

My back and neck are out of control-lots of misery, but Thursday after a painful back day at work I thought that kicking it out on my back might help strengthen and work the area.  The water was beautiful--about six-foot visibility, 1-3 foot waves, and flat with small ripples in the water past the surf zone. 
I wore my shorts and a swim cap, and tried out a new, thin wet suit top with sleeves.  It was still very cold in the water--a rash guard would have helped under the wet suit top if the aim was to keep toasty warm.  Not my goal at this time. 
I took it easy.  I kicked out relaxed until just a bit past the pier, and instead of going around, I just did an about-face and kicked in.  13 1/2 minutes out and I hit the sand at 24 1/2 minutes. 
No camera today; I had not planned to swim with all my pain issues.
It was nice just lying on my back looking at the sky.  The seagulls are busy going about their business.  It seems that the pelicans--which are all over the place this year--stir up the tiny fish when the pelicans make their dives into the water to grab a fish.  Then the seagulls must look for scraps or stunned fish. 
I entertained myself by counting the seconds between the gentle swell outside that would be building into breaking waves closer in.  Twelve seconds seemed to be the time interval between the gentle waves Thursday.  The sun is setting later now, so on my way in I got to watch its descending progress and the color changes in the sky and horizon as it settled lower toward the horizon.  It was kinda' neat because a large (40-60 feet, I'm guessing) fishing boat was stopped just under the sun.  There was a bunch of seagulls (maybe Jonathan Livingston Seagull was among them) just behind the boat feeding, I suppose. 
My hands froze, but I felt guilty about wearing the jacket.  It was a nice swim (or kick) overall.  Water temp--let me check to 59 degrees.

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

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Back in the Water

 The perfect Job?

I had a day off for a doctor's appointment, so at about 1 PM I decided it was time to try out my old, creaky body in the water again.  Jan 2nd was my last dip, so that's a 7 day gap without ocean.  The beach at the Oceanside Pier was freakin' fantastic.  About 15 surfers, beautiful sky, mid-sixties air temp, big waves gone, 2-3 foot inviting waves, and a pretty flat outside ocean.
Let's check the water temp at  57-59 degrees.  Hmmm...On the low end of that-or a bit lower.  I checked my watch and at 6 1/2 minutes I was still COLD.  I hit the end of the pier at 14 1/2 minutes and had just gotten used to the water.  But no face-hurt pain, so maybe the 57-59 was accurate.
I wore my fins because there has still been talk of rip currents and rough water leftover from last week, and I like to play it safe.
There was a guy way out there stand-up paddling that I thought I'd cross paths with, but he was nowhere in sight when I was off the end of the pier.  I guess he was paddling pretty fast!
I can't really breath to my right well, except in flat water.  There was a small (up to 1 foot) chop, and breathing to the right hurt today.
My hand touched the sandy bottom at 29 minutes.  I was good with the water temp and my temp at the time.  I found a few shells worth bringing home for the collection, and that was that.  Let me just say it again, "Are we lucky or what..."

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

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I missed out on the big waves this past week.

Check out this video link of the big waves at the Oceanside Pier.

I've been unable to enjoy the big waves because my neck and back are giving me lots of grief.  It's a bummer, because I would have loved to put the fins on and gotten out past these waves.  The view from the backside of the wave is something that I crave.  Right in the break watching the surfers is great, too.  Maybe I need a waterproof camera to get some pictures and share the beauty and power of the surf better.

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