Waves were BIG mothers today. Here, in brief, is how to swim in the ocean:
1) Watch it. Really. Just stand on the beach and watch it. The ocean moves in cycles, sometimes 10, 20, or 30 minute patterns. Watch it for at least five minutes to know what the wave pattern is like so when you’re charging the surf you know if there’s a small double followed by a monster, or a long lull between big bastards. Big waves will create trenches in the sand which can cause tripping, or a twisted ankle. Therefore watch the water and observe the pattern, it will inform your entry.
2) Drag your feet as you walk towards the surf. Stingrays don’t like being stepped on and if you drag y =our feet you can kick aside any beasties waiting at the sand bottom. Turn sideways as waves come in under the hips.
3) As you’re past waist-high water, watch out for incoming waves. Your goal is to dive UNDER the wave as it comes towards you, BEFORE it breaks. Dive for the ocean floor and hold your breath as the wave passes over you. Your ankles will tell you when the wave has passed and it’s OK to surface. Stay down longer than you think, even a count of five seconds is good. When you come up be prepared for another wave, or if it’s calm hit your stroke.
4) Sight your target and check it at least every three breaths. Choose an immobile target (not the sun) far enough in the distance (a buoy is good) to see steadily, and on your return choose a distinct building or structure you can see over the waves. Don’t use trees (they look the same) or lifeguard towers (they also look the same).
5) Never turn your back on the ocean. As you come back to shore monitor your distance and recall what you observed on the beach. If you know there is cross-current or early breaks, head check behind you as you swim in to shore to make sure you don’t get picked up and thrown around in the washing machine by a big wave. You can ride waves back in to land, or if you’re not expecting it you can drown. NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON THE OCEAN.
6) Bring your shoes and run after. (Optional.)
Preview: Friday’s long article is going to be about Herbalife, and to some extent, multi-level marketing. The endurance world is an open market for these kinds of predatory schemes and all athletes should beware.
Notes: 3 ocean laps in 37 minutes, a new record. Ran for 45 minutes after. Stopped when the Venice stench made me nauseated.