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.