It always amazes me how long it takes to get your body in to shape and yet how incredibly quickly your body’s fitness level dissipates. Over the past few years I considered myself to be in excellent shape having completed multiple Ironman and half-Ironman events, sprint triathlons, marathons, and half marathons. I was able to pick up and just go at the drop of a hat. Deconditioning never seemed to phase me or even happen to me…and then I went to go surfing this week…
After a long day Tuesday, my son was with his dad and I found myself with a window of free time before my dinner plans. Normally, I would go for a quick run, but it was humid, the sun was still beating down, and there was no breeze. I just didn’t feel like going for a run. The surf report was dismal at best, but I figured what the heck. I’ll go and it will be a good upper body work out. After all, the days are getting shorter, and I felt the need to enjoy the warm water a few more times. I decided that even if there were no waves, I could just relax in the water.
I gathered my things and got to the beach. I walked to the water and looked for at least 5 minutes, in utter disbelief at the lack of waves. Fortunately, having checked the forecast, I expected this and had come prepared for this set back. As usual, I had an arsenal of triathlon gear in my trunk. I dug through all the shit and found my goggles and cap and made my way back to the beach.
The life guards were just about packing up. I had over an hour before dusk so I knew I had plenty of time to swim a decent distance. The water was a little choppy but beautiful. I had not been swimming in over a month, with the exception of playing in the ocean with my 3 ½ year-old. I knew the water was warm, but when my feet touched it I was surprised to find it was like bath water. I put on my goggles and began to swim. I had no real goal in mind, I just wanted to enjoy the water. It really was beautiful: crystal clear, warm, and calm.
After about 250 meters however, I was bored and my arms were already tired. All I could think about was getting back on that surf board. After all, the tide had come in just a bit and the waves seemed to be better a few blocks down. I swam another 250 meters and called it quits. I went back to my car, drove a few blocks down where the waves were breaking a little bit better, grabbed my board and once again headed to the ocean.
As predicted, the waves still sucked, but I paddled around for about 45 minutes and caught one or two ridiculous waves before heading home. When I woke up Wednesday morning I was astonished at how sore my arms were; after all I just did an Ironman a little over a month ago! I feel like I am starting from square one again! I could not believe the amount of deconditioning that had occurred in such a short period of time. I guess the trick is not to take 5 weeks off. It’ll be interesting to see how the bike treats me this week when I finally get a new one and hop on.