First Open Water Swim of 2014 =)

Last Sunday I swam my first open water swim of 2014 and the first open water swim in about 4 months! I was joining the OakStreakers down in Laguna Beach who I hadn’t seen since November when I attended the SBCSA annual awards banquet in San Pedro. I was convinced to join them since Scott had organized a wine tasting in the afternoon. I’m in!

Several of my friends kept reassuring me that the water was “warm” although I think they’re biased since they’re in that water almost daily. I knew that I was looking at water somewhere around 60 F. The coldest water I’d swam in was 64 F which was the last time I swam with these guys in Laguna Beach. I’ve got plans to swim this coming Sunday with friends at San Francisco Aquatic Park though which is going to be about 50 F so by comparison 60 F is a hot tub.

I had met up with my cousin Jocelyn at Disneyland the night before to spend some time with her and arranged to crash at my friend Randi’s house in Santa Ana as it made little sense to drive all the way back to Pasadena and then drive right past Disneyland in the morning on my way to Laguna Beach. I’ve never gotten to really sleep in (for me) and be up for a morning swim with these guys. I woke up at 5:30 AM and didn’t have to leave Randi’s for 2 hours! Good thing I had reading material.

My friends Lynn and Carol had told me that the meeting place switched from Shaw’s Cove to Agate Street which I really appreciate since I get the OakStreakers emails as a daily digest so wouldn’t have known otherwise. Carol and her husband Peter were out sick. 😦 I scored rockstar parking at Agate Street and was soon joined by Lynn, Patsee, Julian, and a bunch of other guys. Again, I’m (not really) sorry that I brought San Francisco Fog with me to Laguna Beach. Off to the water!

Patsee had an idea of wanting to swim through this blowhole and didn’t know if it was deep enough since the tide was heading out. We decided to abandon that idea, jumped into the water, and headed south for a bit. I was hyperventilating at first as I was reminded what swimming in open water was like. I eventually calmed down, focused, and was on my way. I’m still slower than the rest of them yet I don’t really mind as they always wait for me and check on how I’m doing. We turned around at some point and headed north. A couple of the guys headed back and said the rest were going to continue to the lifeguard station. I was still up for swimming so continued chugging north. I really need to learn how to slice through kelp with the greatest of ease. I was surprised to get used to the water temperature where I was quickly not thinking “WTF am I doing in here? I’m freezing!!” Okay I did have one moment where I thought about how appetizing did I look to a shark. At least I wasn’t wearing a wetsuit (better known as seal camouflage). Heading back I was really glad we did Agate Street since there’s this arch that I can use to sight off of right on that beach. My Garmin 910 XT said that I swam 1.27 miles. It was over way too quickly. 😦

After the usual chitchatting while changing into dry clothes, we headed off to breakfast Sapphire, which is the best reward I can think of. Lynn and I hung out at her place afterwards before meeting up with fellow OakStreets Scott, Julian, Cherie, Natalie, and Sakina for drinking wine the rest of the afternoon. I controlled myself knowing that I had a dreaded weigh-in the next morning at work (weight loss challenge which I’m mostly using to eat healthier and drink less). Luckily I still managed to clock in with a loss of 1.8 pounds. Scott asked me when was I going to start marathon swimming. I told him that I am hell bent on doing Semana Nautica’s 10 KM which according to the marathon swimming rules that Marathon Swimming Forum’s guys have put together and drumming up support for (I agree with them 100%!), that race will count as my first marathon swim. 🙂

It was an excellent re-introduction to open water swimming and I’m going to make this a regular weekend thing with these guys. They’re an awesome bunch of people. I really hate being in the pool after swimming with these guys in open water. If I could, I’d swim open water every day and cancel my RBAC membership. Of course I’m not going to hit 1000 miles this year with just open water swimming. Can’t wait to rejoin these guys in a couple of weeks!

And of course after the swim is when the skies cleared up. I really love the Pacific Ocean and it’s one big reason why I’m glad that I never really moved out of state. I really couldn’t move too far away from the water. Pasadena is far enough from the coast in my opinion. I’m used to San Mateo, San Bruno, and San Francisco where the ocean is right on the other side of the hill.

This ain’t a threat but I think I better warn ya
Gonna fall in love if you go to California
— “Half Moon Bay” by Train

This weekend I’m nervous and excited about swimming with my friends Evan Morrison and Cathy Delneo at SF Aquatic Park. I was born and raised in San Francisco and have never been in Bay water during my 36 years living there. They’ve always invited me to come swim with them so I’m taking them up on that offer.

I’ve also finally added a new toy to my collection: Nikon Coolpix AW 100. It should be arriving from Amazon tomorrow! I’m going to bring it with me to SF Aquatic Park. I’m also going to finally get a photo I’ve always wanted of my home pool from underwater.

So this weekend I’ve got swimming with my Masters team, getting my Masters Levels 1 & 2 Coaching Certification, and not only swimming with Evan and Cathy again but doing it in the Bay! If you hear someone screaming at 7:30 AM on Sunday morning, that’ll be me entering the water.

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