Thursday, August 16, 2012

The ocean is gross . . . but awesome.

Hates California - it's cold and it's damp. That's why the lady is a tramp.

This is my friend, Erika. She likes the theatre but never comes late. She also convinced me to do the Dip & Dash last weekend.

I grew up in the Midwest. The middle states. The fly-over states. Or as people in California like to call it (mistakenly), "back East." A college friend who had never been very far outside of the Bay Area went to Indiana once, and when he returned he said, "I just felt so landlocked!" Really? There is plenty of water in the Midwest and we even have beaches! If anyone has seen the Michigan/Indiana side of Lake Michigan, it's quite lovely. We also have rivers, lakes, streams . . . you get the point. We just don't have an ocean.

Ahh, the ocean. As a kid I had only a movie/TV/books understanding of that big body of water that covers 3/4 of the Earth's surface. An ocean, paired with a beach where you can frolic in the waves and the sunshine, and see cute sea creatures. . . must be awesome. My CA friends will be astounded to know that I saw the ocean for the first time when I was 18 on a road trip to Seattle. Now that I've had some serious swimming encounters, it occurs to me that the ocean is actually pretty disgusting. It's cold, it tastes salty and awful, it's full of huge, slimy plants that you get tangled up in, and the animals smell like they just ate a bunch of stinky, raw fish (because that's actually what they eat - stinky raw fish - oh yeah not to mention that the ocean is their toilet).

My friend, Erika, invited me to do a Dip and Dash in Santa Cruz this past weekend. I was a little reluctant to do another event so soon after Barb's race, but I'm still training for the Triathlon at Pacific Grove, so I went with it. Even before my alarm clock went off I was dreaming about calling Erika, faking some kind of lame sickness, or just flaking out. When the alarm finally did go off, I dragged myself out of bed, grabbed the neoprene suit and was out the door.

"Don't be such a freakin' baby." I thought.

While we set up in the transition area in Santa Cruz I kept thinking, "Ugh, I'm so over this. I don't want to get in the cold water. The ocean is gross." We had some fun with all of the 15 or so competitors for the Dip and Dash while we got all lubed up and put our wetsuits on. I realized that this was going to be a much more technically difficult swim than the Russian River, and started to get nervous. Then we headed down to the beach to test the waters (literally). . .

I had a great swim. I was relaxed, all of the buoys were on my best sighting side, the water was a warm(ish) 59 degrees. It was probably my best swim ever. I'm reminded of how far I've come from my first triathlon last year. I finished Pacific Grove in 3:06 and thought it might be possible to be under three hours by working on swimming alone this year. This swim convinced me that the goal is possible.

9/7/2011   Pac Grove tri swim = 1500 meters = 41 min, 32 sec
8/12/2012  Dip & Dash swim = 1500 meters = 33 min, 35 sec
= 8 minute difference

The main difference between Santa Cruz and Pacific Grove is the kelp (yuck). So as long as I can crawl really fast through the slimy stuff, I'm looking forward to another swim in the awesome ocean.

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