Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Got in the Water Monday After Long Layoff



I think that I've been sidelined for a good three weeks; Monday I got a Pier swim in.  Surprisingly the water is still warm at 68 degrees.  If one were just looking at the water Monday afternoon, the view was absolutely beautiful.  The ocean was glass, unbelievably glassy.  The waves were outstanding, with sets to five feet.  There was a light wind, but the appearance of the waves gave the impression of a mild offshore breeze, although I don't believe there was one.  The reason that I say this is because the tops of the breaking waves had that beautiful spray up and backward like they do in a Santa Ana condition.  Many surfers were out and they were getting repeated one-second tube rides in these waves.  I heard one surfer on the cell phone to his pal saying, "I'm just saying, if you can get out here, get out."  That says it.
Now for swimming.  In one of these photos you can see a ship that has been pumping sand from offshore to replace lost sand in the Buccaneer Beach area and north of it.  The negative effect of this pumping is that crap is stirred up from the bottom and reaches far north and south of the area being pumped.  Oceanside Pier water quality is lousy, dirty, silty, no visibility, and smells of oil and fuel.  We had this incredible scenic water yesterday but the water quality really impacted the experience negatively.  But I have to say that the glassiness was amazing for swimming.  So rare!  I actually had some concerns about being able to get out safely through the surfers strung out along the beac and the big waves crashing in.  I took five minutes or more to think about an entry spot; the surfers were getting long rides so I had to account for their potential movement as I swam through the surf zone.  I got lucky and waited for a good time to get out.  Between diving under a series of waves and swimming hard to reach oncoming waves and get under them before they broke, the surf passage was exciting.  And fifty yards back from the water one had a totally different idea of the surf conditions.  It looked so calm, sweet, and beautiful from afar; but the water had the potential to crunch you and drown you up close and inside it. 
I swam a big arc around the Pier in 32 minutes.  The exit through the surf was totally mild; I swam far south of the big waves.  Since the doctors shot up one nerve area of my back last week, I was able to run about a quarter to half mile on the beach afterward.  I did have to stop briefly four times to catch my breath but the back held up. 
I'm writing this Tuesday morning and I paid for the swim with some heavy duty neck pain and back pain after the swim and through the night.  Worth it?  Definitely!  The words below I really take to heart these past couple of weeks.

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