Thursday, August 30, 2012

Repeat 2.5 mile Swim North of Pier to Wisconsin St and Back

I took some pictures but my camera cord isn't working.  The sky was a clear blue yesterday evening.  I went down at 5:30 PM and it was quiet at the Pier.  The tide was low to medium, with small waves and gentle surf.  I did the same swim as a few days ago.  My time was very similar; I did the route in 1 hour and 49 minutes.  The water was flat swimming out and got a bit choppy before the end of the pier and beyond the pier.  Visibility was about 7 feet.
I'm thinking about how to describe the swim south to the Wisconsin Pole and back north to the pier.  The ocean was calm but with a constant 1 foot ripple of a wave over and over the entire way.  It wasn't a chop, like a washing machine up & down, but a defined, constant, small, formed wave that I tried to time my breathing with as I swam.  I was taking more strokes per breath and breathing on both sides as I felt which stroke would put me at the apex of the small waves on the surface to breathe easier.  There was also a mild current moving south again, as is mostly the case in the area.
I started the swim at tower 2 on the north side of the pier, and hit off the end of the pier at 14 minutes.  Then I swam parallel to the shore out at that distance from the shore to the Wisconsin pole.  I checked my watch after I circled the pole and started back; it was 51 minutes.  I hit the end of the pier at 1 hour and 33 minutes, and the beach at 1 hour and 49 minutes. 
I was starting to get tired about a quarter-mile south of the pier.  Swimming in to the beach was hard for me; I didn't had any gas left in the tank.  The warm water lulls you to laziness:  70 degrees.  I personally need more misery to make me pull harder and kick more.  I prefer my misery in the form of wet cold. I was also lazy with my kick yesterday evening.  On the swim northward it was nice to get a repeating view of the full sun descending to my front and left.  I brushed against a big, white blob with just my feet; I think it was a big jellyfish because I looked back at it--but it seemed to be chasing me, so I got the heck out of there.  No stinging at all though.  Maybe an overactive imagination?
After I was out of the water, there was an almost-full moon shining in the southwestern sky.
A good swim, but I paid for it when I woke up this morning.  I have epidural nerve block injections this afternoon to try something else for the low back.

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Marine Convoy

This post has nothing to do with ocean swimming but I'm branching out to other topics.  Yesterday I was driving from Temecula, CA to Oceanside, CA on Interstate 15.  This is part of the route that the Marine Corps drives when they go out to their desert training base at Twenty-Nine Palms, CA.
Temecula temperature was 101 degrees and these Marines were returning from temperatures in the neighborhood of 110 degrees. They may have been out there for two weeks or two months--who knows, but 29 Palms is a miserable place.
As I drove along at 60-70 miles-per-hour, being passed by most cars going faster, we all passed this slower, long convoy of 8-wheel military vehicles with Marines in full combat gear sitting on top of the vehicles, hanging out of the vehicles, standing inside with their upper bodies outside getting fresh air, etcetera. 
The vehicles were traveling at 50-55 miles-per-hour. 
Now here is what what special about this encounter: At least 3 of every 4 cars that passed by EACH armored vehicle (I'm going to refer to them as LAV-25's--the top picture) slowed down and waved to the Marines aboard each LAV-25, and ALL of the Marines waved back to all of the cars.
I personally passed by about 16 LAV's in the rear portion of this convoy, and I waved to all of them.  I saw other drivers switching lanes to get to the lane adjacent to the Marines to give then the 'thumbs-up,' a smile, or a wave. 
I was struck by a very deep admiration and respect for these men, and I got goose bumps as I drove along. The striking thing to me was that most of the drivers on the highway were hit by that same feeling of patriotism and an appreciation for the work the Marines are doing for us. 
These men are the best that we have, and to see them being thanked and appreciated was quite touching. 
(And I do hope that they get a swim in when they are in Oceanside)

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