Friday, March 30, 2012

Schooled in San Diego

So, after our northern exposure, on Wednesday, Michael and I went south to spend a quick night in the San Diego area visiting friends.  We enjoyed the evening with them, spent lots of time playing catch up and feeling awed at how much energy children take (they have two - a boy and a girl, almost 3 and 5).
The stay in Oceanside, Ca was brief - just an evening - but it felt like a total getaway!  I realize that San Diego is a mere 1.5-2 hours (or 4, depending on traffic) away from the LA area, but in the six years that we've been in LA together, this was our first time to the San Diego area together.  We are officially lame. What is funny is that we'll be returning in a few short weeks, so maybe we'll become well-acquainted with San Diego and its environs.
Despite the brevity of the visit, we were able to take in some of the beach culture.  We had a pre-dinner snack at a taco stop called "Bull Taco".  They weren't the best tacos ever, but we hit happy hour, so they gave us a free taco which we happily scarfed down.  As we ate, we felt very non-beachy.  Or, at the very least, we weren't cloaked in skate-boarding or surfing culture.
Since we were by the water, I had big plans for Thursday morning:  Open Water Swim.  You know, we were right by the beach, staying close to the start line of the Oceanside 70.3, slated to take place on March 31 which is tomorrow.
So, yesterday morning, I suited up, and Michael and I hit the beach just south of the Oceanside pier, despite knowing that the water was in the mid 50's.  I learned last year that swimming, for me, is pretty much a mental game.  So, while I feel stronger in the pool in these days, translating that to a lake or ocean is a completely different experience.  I thought about my last ocean swim - in Santa Barbara on a fairly balmy August morning.  That wasn't a fast swim, but I felt comfortable in the water.  Seemed like a stark contrast to the chilly, grey morning in San Diego.  Still, I managed to not freak out when my feet touched the cold water and kept going out.  That is, until one wave after another started to crash.  And then kept crashing.  I finally got beyond what I thought was the break point and then a huge wave hit me and pushed me 20 feet back to the shore.  Really?  I think I spent 15 minutes trying to get beyond the waves before I decided that it was ridiculous.  By the time I had moved beyond the waves (if that ever happened), I'd be too exhausted to swim.  So, I decided that the fact that my feet were numb and that I had gotten in a few strokes and that no hyperventilating had ensued, it was a productive open-water experience.  Not a swim, but an experience!
As I struggled out of the wetsuit in the bathroom, right by the Expo area for Saturday's race, a woman who was volunteering starting chatting with me.  She was in charge of the swimmers entering and exiting the water - kind of cool!  I felt like a fraud because it looked like I had been a badass, going out for a morning swim.  Not quite...
The other two thoughts that came to mind yesterday morning had to do with the Oceanside race.  Back in the fall, I seriously contemplated signing up for Oceanside.  In fact, I would have pulled the trigger, but by the time I decided that I wanted to sign up for it, the race was sold out.  Now, I feel that I dodged a bullet.  Maybe I would have been ready.  Maybe.  But that swim would have killed me, unless the waves are less brutal just a bit north of where I was swimming.
The second thought was "HOLY SHIT".  Because, while I am not participating in Oceanside tomorrow, I *am* signed up for a 70.3 race in Boulder.  I've suddenly realized that while I'm in good shape for an Olympic tri in May, I've got a lot of work to do before August 5!
So, the swim - kind of a bust.  However, we returned north to LA, stopping briefly in Santa Ana, CA for some street tacos (amazing! and I need to start eating better now!), and then I put in a good swim at the pool.  Not the same, I know, but definitely more productive in some ways than just getting battered for an hour by the ocean while not really swimming at all.
And the trip south - overall, a good trip that makes me want to head back south when it's warmer!  And I'd like to dip into the water for a real swim one of these days.

No comments: