Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Evening Swim Oceanside Pier

     I got in the water tonight at about 6:45 P.M.   It was rougher than yesterday's beautiful calm.  The waves were small-horizontally-so smaller waves were breaking all over the place.  Even out past the waves the water was sloppy.  I'd say the temp was 70 degrees.  I just saw about two feet of visibility because it was getting a bit dark.  No crowds.  Nice atmosphere. 
     I swam for about twenty minutes parallel to the sand and enjoyed it.

     I just remembered something else from last night's beach visit.  After the swim, with the water being clear for two feet, I looked for shells for 10-15 minutes.  While doing this I felt good and decided to test out my legs.  Very slowly I jogged a bit in the shallow water--for 50 yards or so.  Now this seems silly, but I have not been able to pick up my legs in a jogging mode for a few years.  Maybe this means my low back muscles are getting stronger.

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I just returned from a gorgeous swim

     It is Tuesday evening.  I drove down to the beach at 6:45 P.M.   Bu the time I strolled into the water at the north side of the Pier, the sun was in the process of setting.  I was stressed out, because I should get some sort of part-time job, but nowadays one can't be just a pharmacist anymore, we have to be educational superheroes with all sorts of extra crap on our resumes.  Blah.  I'll keep looking for an old-school pharmacist who works a store and gets along with customers.

     I may do the registry thing and travel overnight to find what is comfortable for me. 

     My swim tonight was lovely.  The water was a warm 71, I'd say.  Not crowded at all.  People aren't flocking to the water after sundown.  There are surfers who do surf well after sunset; perhaps in another young life I could have been one of those.  I swam out in flat water, no chop, small waves, and a smooth swimming surface outside.

     I swam about 1/4 mile north, parallel to the sand, and turned around and came back.   I didn't have a watch on but I estimate at least 1/2 mile of a swim-a real swim-in about 20 minutes.  Oh, I'm not a fast swimmer.  Latest weight is 222 pounds on a chubby 5'10" frame.

     I'm a new man after a swim like that.  I hope to repeat it tomorrow. 

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

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Crowds Saturday at the Oceanside Pier & Surrounding Beaches

     Just a quick dip at 7 PM to play in the water tonight.  The sun was low, making the beach water look gray-brown in hue.  2-3 foot waves, very sloppy.  Temp 78 air and approximately 69 water.
     I don't feel like writing much, mainly because there isn't much to talk about.
     It may just be better to wait until Monday evening to swim next time.  It does relax oneself, just taking advantage of that ocean buoyancy even for a short while.  Until next time.

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

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Today Was a Good Beach Day

     Wow!  I decided to take my fins to the beach today to test them out on my low back.  I was expecting the washing machine choppy water and I wanted the fins for propulsion and for working on my strength.
     It turns out that the water was not as choppy and sloppy as prior days.  It wasn't smooth, but just less rough.  First off the water was a bit colder; I'd guess 66 degrees.  It was very refreshing for a change.  Visibility just a few feet.  Waves 2-4 feet.  Outside waves were crashing down straight down.  I, with my fins, just kicked out through the rough stuff on my back like I knew what I was doing.
     I'll pat myself on the back for getting farther out and pushing myself more today.  I almost felt like a person who belonged in the ocean.
     Now, for a general Oceanside beach update, I will report that Camp Pendleton has at least two fires going today, possibly a smaller third one.  From out in the water one gets a good view of Pendleton in the distance.  Because it is Thursday and there is a street fair in downtown Oceanside, everybody and his brother were driving there looking for a parking spot.  Too much! 
     The sand at 6:30 PM was near empty--just how I like it. 
     A bit of excitement walking back to my car--one of our homeless, schizophrenic wretches--a man of about 35-40, shirtless, ratty shorts, red/brown weather-beaten face, way out of our reality, was ambling down Surfrider calling out repeatedly in a screeching voice "I'm gonna die; I'm gonna die; I'm gonna die..."
     I'm being harsh in my description but I actually am terribly upset with our society that has pretty much eliminated our social service system for the mentally ill, the homeless, the addicts in need of rehabilitation, etc.  There are so many of these throw-away people now that we pretend we don't see them anymore.  I don't know. 

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

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Choppy Swim Again

     I don't remember the beach being so choppy for so many days.  I swam for about twenty minutes on the south side of the Pier this afternoon, earlier than usual for me.  The water was warm, about 70, with visibility up to six feet, I'd say.  A few surfers, but nothing to surf:  1-2 foot waves with lousy shape.
     The Lifeguards again had everybody crammed in a much smaller area than last year.  There's gotta be a new boss.  I swam out, then south along the beach, and back in to the sand.  I was tired halfway through and stopped to rest several times.  But I'm ready for some smooth water out here.  I need to make some progress.
     Oh, I just remembered.  I was bothered by the scuzzy young adult blocking the underpass walkway to the beach with the "Kick me in the balls for $20" sign.  But the large-bellied Latino man who was picking his bathing suit liner out of his butt in the outdoor shower was too much.

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

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Monday August 10th, Surfrider Beach

     It was not crowded Monday at 6 PM for my dip in the ocean so I was happy.  There was an unmarked police car working its way through the alley streets and side streets in the Surfrider area today.  Good.  Various homeless types, druggies, and ne'erdowells were about doing their furtive thing.
     Water.  First, because the sand was near empty, I just enjoyed looking at it.  I like when the sun is moving downward to its resting place for the night.  It still had a good hour to go but it's a neat time of afternoon.  Same warm water, sloppy chop, and mild rip south to north.
     I got into the blue sudsy stuff and headed out--no big waves--and floated a bit.  Not to brag, but I'm a pretty good floater.  I swam southward in the chop for a hundred yards.  Then in half-way and out again for a brief swim.  I think I'm doing the right thing--just short distances and building back up over time.  I'm planning on a lot of time. 

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

August 7th, Surfrider Short Swim

     I got in at Surfrider Beach at 6 PM and it was still crowded.  Things have changed.  I used to have it alone to myself in the late afternoon and evening.  Well, it WAS Friday evening so it's understandable.
     Sloppy water.  Warm, mild northward rip current as is oftentimes the case there.  No big waves to fight through to get out tonight.  Past the waves I swam a couple of hundred yards.  I can't think of anything notable about this quick trip.  There was a good chop outside so I wasn't able to navigate it.  No stamina yet but the back was good in the water. 
"The first time you quit is the last time you try."

Monday, August 3, 2015

Beach Swimming Oceanside CA South Side of Pier

      I hit the south side of the Pier today for a swim.  Today is a great day in Oceanside.  78 air temp at the beach.  The lifeguard's tower board said the water temp was 66, but I'd put it at 68.  Below 4 feet it was colder-maybe 64 degrees.
     The swim area was very crowded.  I don't like that.  And for some reasons the Lifeguards are staking out large sections of sand with orange cones for vehicles--really ridiculous large areas.  I don't know what's up with that, maybe a new boss. 
     There was one surfer in water with 2 to 4 foot waves and lousy shape.  I swam out past the breakers but it took me a heck of a while to cover 150 yards.  The water is very choppy today.  I wanted to do a swim but I couldn't make much progress.  I went south for a hundred yards or so and headed in.  Chop, chop, chop.
     Nevertheless, the water was clean, 5 foot visibility, warm, and enjoyable.

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

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Swim the Beach in Rough Water Oceanside

     I went to my home beach, which for the time being, is Surfrider Street in Oceanside, CA.  It's become a bit more interesting recently, it seems.  The homeless people who hang at the mouth of Surfrider have become a bit vocal, but I think it is just a manifestation of untreated schizophrenia, not intentional hostility.
     The Oceanside Police Dept. keep an active presence at that area of the beach with a couple of cops patrolling the sand in a little golf-cart on steroids kind of vehicle.  Maybe a Binford XT-2000.
     I think there is an unofficial toilet somewhere around that circle turnaround because it smells somewhat foul.  But not to worry, the City thinks they may get a restroom built there soon.
     The bright side is that we do have hookers available in the Pappy's vicinity for servicing locals and tourists visiting our area.  The two I saw today were scary, but who knows...some guys may like that kind of chick.  Also crack or meth must be selling there due to the few homeless that have fallen victim to the drugs.  Those folks have a particular skinny, desperate, disheveled look to them that can't be missed.  They are now on the sand in numbers of one or two--that must be the reason for the police presence.
     Water.  Salt water.  That's what I wanted to describe.  We had a hot, muggy, and cloudy day today.  The air temp was 83 at the beach and the water was about 73.  Very hot water.  I wanted to try to swim out past the waves and see what I could do but the last large waves were coming at an interval of ten seconds.  I tried to get through...I tried again..I tried about ten times.  Finally I actually swam through the outer wave, which was 3-4 feet today. 
     No sooner am I through and taking a rest than a lifeguard on a jet ski comes by me to check me out.  I'll say it again:  We have GREAT lifeguards in Oceanside.
     There was a good chop to the water, at least a foot, and I tried swimming out in it for a little bit.  I was too winded so I turned around and headed in.  With all the water movement it took me a bit to swim back in to standing room.  It was a good workout nonetheless, and my back held up great.  I continue to make progress in rehabbing my back. 

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

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Carlsbad Beach Swim

     Today, late afternoon, I was at Carlsbad's Tamarack Beach to meet a couple of swimmers that I connected with through
     Well, I wasn't sure of the time, and as I was walking toward the beach, I saw two ladies starting a swim past the breakers.  I figured that was the meetup and I missed it.  Not to worry, I like to swim by myself. 
     I have not been there for many years and it looks better than my memory of it.  We had a real good day with big swells that were building from 150-200 yards out.  Then big waves were dumping hard right on the steep downward entrance to the water.  The sand dramatically falls off to the water, emphasizing the wave impact.  The young boys LOVE it!.  They were surfing and boogy boarding in these big waves for a two-second ride before bailing out and crashing and burning on the sand.  About a hundred people were watching them; a few were taking photos.  Those young kids were COOL!
     The water was warm, probably 72 with some spots far out about 66.  Visibility 8-10 feet, I think.  The swim was definitely a rough water swim.  It was neat because there were about a dozen swimmers here and there, and you run into somebody and have a quick hello chat.  I liked that.  The ladies I ran into were nice.  I  swam north about 200 yards from the sand to tower number 5.  Maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of a mile?  Then backward I tired somewhat.  My back was very good.  A funny thing happened when I was close to my starting point past the swells.  There was a lineup of about ten swimmers who started to swim all of a sudden toward me.  I thought I'd angle in to the breakers before they hit me but I didn't make it.  I was too tired.  So, these poor swimmers were probably wondering who the idiot was who was treading water right in the middle of their lineup.  Funny.
     Last interesting thing that I enjoyed.  I'm back in close to the crazy big, short waves and I swam fast in but got rolled around 3 times on 3 different crazy waves and ground into the rough sand beach.  I couldn't walk in so I lay on the sand and dug in my elbows to prevent the backwash of the waves from pulling me back in.  After a bit of fun and, I'm sure looking like a fat fool, I stood up and hustled higher out.
     Then, last thing was that my shoes and clothing and back support were washed up farther up the sand and separated by a wave that must have been a giant.  I wore a wet, gritty t shirt home with my wet bathing suit impregnated with sand.  That cold, gritty sandy feeling took me back to Navy days of discomfort.  Enough said.  Carlsbad is beautiful!

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Swim at Surfrider in Oceanside, CA

     I am happy presently.  After getting out in the water several times a week to two weeks ago, I fell back into laziness.  Today I signed up with the Carlsbad Swim Group at Tamarack Beach on and I went to the beach today to check myself out.

     I'm suited to late afternoon swimming more than other times.  Today the water was warm; I'd guess 72 degrees.  It was on the cusp of being too warm to be refreshing.  But one could have worse problems, eh?

     A strong rip current south to north along with a rough lineup of waves kept me from getting through the last big wave to get past the breakers.  I was in the water for an hour.  I loosened up swimming straight out past the second wave; then I swam relaxed back in to standing depth.  After a few reps of that I made a solid attempt to swim out and failed.  That big wave was five foot and was breaking straight on, dumping five feet of sudsy water on top of you. 

     I was pulled north a hundred yards in the attempt, so I got out and walked back to my starting point.  I gave it a second attempt to get past but I could not find a lull in the wave interval to sneak through.  The interval was about 10-12 seconds. 

     I walked back to my starting point and wavered between a third attempt and enough for the day.  Enough for the day won.  I felt very comfortable in the water today and all my body parts were working without pain.  We had partially cloudy skies, light blue foamy and sudsy water, lots of water movement from the high water line to the end of the surf zone, and no crowds.  I was very lucky to have gotten wet today and I'm just so relaxed after a good, vigorous swim.

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

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

One Dolphin Seen Today

      I got myself into the water again today.  It really was exceptional.  I stood by and observed the water for about ten minutes before entering, and I was fortunate to catch the big jump of a larger dolphin about 200 yards off the sand.

     There was a fifteen-foot boat stopped out there--with a twenty-foot line to a small raft containing what looked like two little kids in it.  As I looked at that, the dolphin jumped first, and it was about twenty feet from the kids in the raft.  I was thinking that those kids just got startled or just had an enjoyable experience.

     For ten minutes it swam around and showed its back in the area of the boat.  I guess the kids were cool with it because the dad didn't reel the raft in until the dolphin was gone for a few minutes.  It's neat to see stuff like that.

     I spent an hour in the 69 degree water; the visibility was about 8 foot.  The waves were 1-2 foot and a three-foot set occasionally outside.  I swam out and back in, then did it again.  I went out again, trying to think about form, and then I swam south against a mild current.  So, it was more swimming than I have done yet, and I loved it.

     Unfortunately, afterward my low back was hurting, but nothing out of the ordinary.  I'll be anxious to get in again and continue to work on my wind.

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

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Clean water after the rain. Beautiful.

     We had some rain for a couple of days and I needed a break, but today I got in for about 45 minutes.  Just a little swimming out and in.  The water was probably 68 degrees--very warm.  The waves were small--about 2 feet--and not rough.

     The conditions were great for swimming out past and also just for playing in the water.  I felt good today.  Will continue.

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wet, Warm, Water in Oceanside, CA Today

     I had the thought to skip today at the beach because I was awake at 2:30 A.M. with my back hurting.  I had gone four days without medicine.  When I went to bed again and woke up about 9A.M. I was doing much better.

     I drove to the beach early afternoon and the water was warmer than yesterday--about 65 degrees.  Visibility was better at about 8 feet.  Really great water.  I just went ahead and swam out--I felt so good.  I swam the crawl for 15 minutes and had a fresh, enjoyable dip.  No clouds in the sky; the air temp was 77-78 degrees, and the beachgoers were happy. 

     I'm hurting tonight; my ice packs are on.  I have a few important things to do tomorrow, so I don't know whether I'll get there tomorrow.

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

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A swim at the beach--Oceanside, of course

     "It's always darkest before the dawn," dates back to 1650 and is attributed to English historian Thomas Fuller.

     I am feeling more optimistic that I may be experiencing the beginnings of a new dawn.  I got into the water today...four consecutive days.  'Easy does it' is what I'm thinking when I'm there.  I really felt a noticeable increase in my comfort level, buoyancy, and elementary technique. 

     Today the water was about 65 degrees under a big blue sky.  After stretching on the sand I got in and relaxed in the water.  Visibility about four feet, no rip current like the last few days.  Also no big outside wave to traverse outward.  I think I goofed around inside for a good twenty minutes.  After that I swam out past the surf into a one-foot chop.  It was so nice.  I swam north for a hundred and fifty yards, took a break, and noted the mild current south to north.  I swam back south and started to feel a couple of things: my left low back twinge, my anterior thighs fatigued, and a twinge in my right shoulder.

     I stopped a few times and had to exert myself a bit.  Too early for that, I think.  But at least I got in a short swim outside and held together alright.  I am quite happy with it!

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

Monday, July 13, 2015

Three days in a row! I'm getting a tan.

     I parked near Pappy's and walked down to Surfrider again today.  Just like yesterday--the beach conditions, that is. 

     I felt better in the water.  Taking it easy.  Just remembering how one swims in the ocean--how one swims under the waves as they wash over--how one kicks and works the arm reach & pull.

     Same moderate rip current to the north.  Less people there (Monday) to clog things up.  I didn't dare go out to the outside break yet.  With fins--yes; without fins--no.

     Walking up the hill to my car I started reminiscing about that ocean water in Hawaii.  I sure missed out on a lot.  I was preparing to begin a Navy SCUBA school at Pearl Harbor way back when and I got shipped back due to two lumbar fractures (rodeo bucking horse).  But my good buddies stayed and I can only imagine the beautiful and exciting dives they had there.  What a cool place. 

     I'll plan for a dip tomorrow.

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

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Wow! I just returned from the beach.

     I feel good.  I broke through the saline ceiling yesterday after 16 months, and today I returned again to that place...that place from which life itself originated-- the beach.

     Two consecutive days of Oceanside beach.  Thank God!  No, thank Poseidon--the Greek god of the sea.  I've gotten water religion.

     I'm walking better.  Longer strides.  Several blocks without pain.  And I owe it to the beach!  Could just be coincidence but I like attributing it to getting in salt water.

     Surfrider again.  Approximate water temp 63 degrees.  Moderate rip current south to north at Surfrider.  Short wave interval--about 10 seconds.  Strong, surging 2-4 foot waves closed out and pounding one after the other. 

     But beautiful water.  We are so lucky here to have this water.  I tried half-heartedly to swim out through the 3 sets of waves--the outside one being the problem.  The outside wave was strong and angry, and I am nowhere near prepared for it yet.

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

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Brendan Drury Returns to the Water in Oceanside, CA

     I have to look up how long it has been since I've been swimming.  Gimme a sec.  Oh, boy, March 19, 2014 was my last brief swim in Oceanside.  Sixteen months off--I'm embarrassed. 

     Today, for some unknown reason, I felt alive, my pain was low, my body felt straighter, and I took a dip at the beach.  So what?  For me, this is a big plus.  I have been doing the stretching out and moderate strengthening exercises for the back recently and they are helping my back. 

     The beach I went to was the one at the bottom of Surfrider Way, just down from Pappy's.  The area was very crowded with cars and people enjoying a lovely 77 degree day.  The water was approximately 64-65 degrees, according to my internal thermometer.  Very warm.  I took a full fifteen minutes standing in the shallow water to adjust my mind, relax, and get comfortable with the water-which seemed chilly at first to me.

     Most of what I was thinking was 'don't pull anything in the back,' and the buoyancy of the water was terrific for me.  I eased into stretching, relaxing, swimming several short distances, and playing in the waves.  For a surf report, the waves were 1-3 feet, rough, and there was just a couple of seconds interval so the small waves pounded and pounded repeatedly.  Not surfable. 

     Three times I tried to swim out through the multiple sets of waves to get beyond the surf zone but I was not up to it.  In normal fitness, I would have been fine but not in my early recovery fitness.

     It felt so nice.  What a cool place this Oceanside beach is!  I will go tomorrow again-Sunday.  I feel hopeful. 

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

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Downstream Toward the Beach...

I wrote those words above a few months ago emanating from an inner belief that I'd get back to the swim.  The swim...for me it means getting back in the water at the Oceanside Beach, which is an intimate friend of mine. 

The physical therapist was giving me a hard time last week about my not putting in much effort with the back exercises--and she ticked me off.  She told me things like...I was dependent on my back brace...I had a mindset that I'll have lifelong pain...I need to get my act together and fight back (no pun intended).

So why am I pissed off?  I'm early in my third major life comeback and I don't know whether I CAN come back?  You see I went through this first comeback from spinal surgery for my neck once before--five years ago--and slowly, very slowly, I was able to return from it.  I did it all in the water in Oceanside; I gave up on neck physical therapy two different times because of the pain. 

I had this cancer deal for a second comeback about twelve years ago...and I haven't come back from that...and never will.  Lifelong damage.  I'm angry about that pretty much every day.  There's nothing that I can do about that but I'm supposed to be happy.  Beat cancer, live with cancer, hope for a cure, overcome cancer, jog for cancer, be happy you're alive...the hell with that!  Cancer just sucks and it strikes randomly from out of nowhere!

I write that "The first time you quit is the last time you try" on my posts.  But this time I am tempted to quit.  There's a relief to quitting, for those of us who have done so--it's an immediate relief, a short-lived end to the suffering--but it comes with such a long-term regret.  Quitting is so, so easy.  If you are running, you simply stop.  Walk....  If you are studying Organic Chemistry, you just stop memorizing structural formulas.  Change your major to Business.  If I need to do my physical therapy exercises, I just don't. 

Just do it...just don't do it...

This post is much more about quitting in life than it is about swimming in cold ocean water. 

We tell ourselves--rather we think to ourselves--that it's perfectly fine to quit;  Quitting my endeavor may actually may be the better choice for me. We rationalize our actions to reduce stress--it's some psychological principle.  Maybe I was meant for something else, maybe I chose the wrong career path early on when I was young and had choices.  Oh, choices.  They are involved in this story too.  Personally, I do much better when I have no choices; there is just one thing to do and I have to do it or someone tells me what to do.

I got far afield from my thoughts about this third comeback that I am experiencing.  Maybe I can't do it?   Maybe the old guy has run out of life force?  Maybe I'm afraid to do the hard work?  Maybe I'll take the first stroke again?  I am doubtful but not hopeless...yet.

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