Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ironman 70.3 Triathlon Day Oceanside CA Saturday & My Adventure

I didn't realize that the Ironman was a half-Ironman distance; I thought it was shorter.  When I arrived at the Pier at 3 PM, there was still a big crowd of triathletes and supporters, and the time clock read 8 hours and 30 minutes.  Wow.  Long day.  Congrats to all the participating Ironman triathletes today in Oceanside.  What a great location.  Running around the beach area of Oceanside, biking 50 miles around the beautiful Camp Pendleton-great stuff. 
Mother Nature flipped a switch overnight and the current went from running south yesterday to running strongly northward today.  How does that happen?  There was a strong rip current all along the beach to the north and no swimming.  I got in about 200 yards south of the pier without fins and swam hard into the waves trying to break through.  I felt good: good wind, confidence, and strength.  However, I couldn't outrun the northward rip current.  I repeatedly tried to break through the final big waves but couldn't do it before I was pulled too close to the pier.
I'm a safety guy, so I did a swimmer's version of an about-face and headed back to the sand.  I was in control but the lifeguards had to check me out, I guess, because of the big crowd.
I was just standing on sand when the lifeguard chatted me up.  He suggested that I get fins or swim the north side of the pier.
Because the streak was in peril, I walked back to my car and got the fins.  On my walk back a guy says to me, "Believe it or not, I just won $25,000 bucks."  I told him, "Excellent. Good for you."  He was holding a few lottery tickets in his hands.  He could have been a wacko, but maybe he did win some money?  I was just thinking that he better put the tickets in his pocket and shut up or some low-life around that area was gonna' relieve him of the tickets. 
Back to the water. I wore 2 athletic socks to cover my toe without the nail, and got in again at the same point south of the pier.  Damned if it wasn't still a challenge even with the fins.  I broke through and got around.  The water was warm and there was no significant current off the end of the pier.
I swam fast coming in and the swim was 36 minutes.  I pulled up when I felt the big swells as I was getting into the big waves.  They were freakin' fantastic.  I wish that I had a waterproof camera to have gotten pictures of the big waves-the set that I was in had 15 foot waves-and the shape was beautiful; the waves were as wide as 200 yards, I'd say.  Big, wide waves, one after another.  I hung out there and took it in.  There was a group of surfers close to the north side of the pier catching the big ones.  I had to swim back out to get under the waves several times before they crashed on me and drowned me.  No kiddin'.  Being right at the peak of one of those big waves and watching over as it broke looked like there was a 20 foot drop from the peak to the trough in the water below it.  Absolutely gorgeous and awesome stuff. 
After several minutes I kicked north where the waves were about 6 feet and looked for a safe spot to come in.  I exited the water at Surfrider Way.  An outstanding day.  My streak truly stays alive-no asterisks needed for an attempt at swimming around the pier.  And it was free.  Today was a good day.

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

Friday, March 30, 2012

Ironman Triathlon Oceanside CA Tomorrow March 31, 2012

I don't feel like writing now but I just swam around the pier in a beautiful, dynamic ocean after work.  Lots of action to the water today.  A 32 minute swim from south to north with fins.  Strong inside current running south.  Even off the end of the pier there was a mild current running southward.  Will write more later.
Saturday postscript: The water was warmer yesterday (Friday) - probably 60 degrees far out and 58 inside.  As I was swimming closer to the end of the pier, I was thinking that Ruby's Diner (I think that's the name) must be washing the dishes with hot water draining into the ocean.  Just kidding.
When I swam in it got cold again.  I just checked and it looks like the conditions are the same today as yesterday.
The Ironman short triathlon went off this morning and the pier area will be crowded until late this afternoon.  I have to get a swim in later today (Saturday) to keep alive.  I'm not wearing fins this afternoon.  I'll just go where the water wants to take me.  My toenail that got crushed under my Laz-E-Boy about 11 days ago is off and still raw.  Yesterday I had it wrapped up under the fin but it got rubbed.  I'll probably be looking at going north to south if the current is like yesterday; I hope so.

But look at these pictures from Friday at 5 PM - don't you just want to be all inside of that water?  You want to be in the surf zone getting smashed by 4 feet of white water or holding your breath to stay under long enough for it to pass over you.  Heck yeah.  You want to be past the white water looking at the swells building - soon to pass under you harmlessly or take you in for a adrenaline ride.  I look at these pictures, and my pictures are crummy, and I just want to jump from the pier and be right in that rough stuff.  Too bad that's not allowed.  I always like when it's rough like this and you have a hard time getting out through the pounding surf, hoping that your energy and breath hold out long enough; and then you break through into the clear where the surfers wait and catch your breath.  Yesterday past the waves the water was flat and great for swimming-no chop to it.

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