Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ohio Street, August 28

When we left our meeting place for the loop this morning there was not a trace of wind, a nearby flag was totally limp. Two younger but very strong swimmers from our morning pool have signed up for big shoulders so they finally decided to accompany us this morning. But they did drive together but separately from us. We were expecting a possible parking hassle with the triathlon this morning but although there were noticeably more cars parked near Columbus drive it was typical Sunday morning by the Lake. We motioned our fellow swimmers into the prime spot by the entrance to the tunnel under LSD and we parked just around the corner on Ontario. We first realized we were in trouble when we had a hard time just opening the car doors because of the wind whipping down Ontario St.

Conditions were not as bad as two weeks ago, according to Leo and Jody who were here then but not at all nice either. A strong northeast wind, and 2-3 foot waves, water about 73 degrees. One of our new swimmers felt seasick by the quarter mile mark and came back and left the water. Leo had a hard time making any progress at all so he and Jody got out of the water and walked to the quarter mile mark and swam back. I did swim to the quarter mile mark and then came back in time to see our friend Sue just starting out. Shortly thereafter Leo and Jody appeared and Sue and Jody took off for the quarter mile mark and back, Leo and I got out and waited. Our other newbie, who is hoping for an "elite" designation at Big Shoulders did swim all the way out to the Oak St. turn, it took him 30 minutes. He came back with the wind in 14 minutes, still slower than his hoped for Big Shoulder pace. If Big Shoulders had been today the only reason it might have been doable is that we would have the wind for 2 out of 3 legs and the third leg, although directly into the wind, was more protected from the waves.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Evanston, August 27

Forecast: High winds, large waves, rip current warning, small craft warning. No forecast of low flying geese but that seemed to be the major hazard we actually encountered. As I figured at 6:30 this morning the Lake was flat, the sun was shining brightly (in my eyes, unfortunately) and we could see buildings in the Loop. Another Zen experience swimming outbound, no movement at all by the flags on shore. Coming back the chop began to pick up a bit. Jody and I had work related absences from the pool this week and needed more swim yardage so when we got back to the near wall we continued on to, but not in, Chicago. So we got in almost 2 miles. By the time we were done the wind had picked up and there were small waves. The last leg reminded us of what normal Lake swimming is about.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ohio Street, August 21

The clouds moved out right on schedule so we had a cool partly cloudy morning with light winds. Parking was a bit more congested this morning perhaps due to the air and water show later this morning but we were able to park across from Starbucks where we planned to have coffee after the swim anyway. We left our land stuff in the Mayor's new lockers by the bike rack. Apparently while I was gone Leo had had this conversation with his honor who had ridden up on his bike and wanted to know where to leave his stuff while he swam. Leo suggested lockers would have been handy and like magic they appeared within the week.

The water was 74 with a little chop and occasional swell from a boat somewhere on the lake, but not visible to us. Leo, Jody and I swam to the far end of Oak St beach and back, about a mile each way. If conditions hold for the next 3 weeks, unlikely, Big Shoulders will be a piece of cake for us.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Evanston, August 20

I felt better Sunday but decided to stay home anyway. Leo and Jody went and reported surfing quality waves at Ohio Street, something I have never seen. They had fun in the surf but not much swimming.

Today the forecast was for possible storms and a strong north wind with 1-3 foot waves. So we decided tentatively on Ohio St if possible. But the morning dawned partly cloudy with only light variable winds reported and no reported waves anywhere on the Lake. So Jody and I changed our plans to Evanston. We were glad we did. It was a bit cloudy but otherwise conditions were perfect, flat 74 degree water. There was a fair amount of activity on the beach but we had the water to ourselves. It has become more and more clear to me over the years that swimming can be either a high energy adrenaline inducing sport or a serene form of activity akin to meditating. Today was the later. We paused for a while at the turn enjoying being the only two beings in evidence on a calm orderly planet. We had no interest in hurrying back to reality.

Later in the morning, after we were safely home, there was a totally unexpected thunderstorm lasting almost an hour. So much for the serene orderly planet idea.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Evanston, August 13

I am finally back after a 3000 mile car trek taking me from Kansas City to Quebec City and back. I was looking forward to a nice swim this morning, even though the weather report was questionable. But I woke up feeling poorly and decided not to swim. I thought I had left it that Jody was to call me before coming, but she arrived anyway 15 minutes before the appointed time. I decided "what the hell" I might as well give it a go.

I was feeling not 100% but not terrible on the ride to the Lake and the conditions we found there were very good, low swells by the beach and 75 degrees. But it soon became apparent that I was not able to do the swim. I fell behind Jody quickly and was hoping she would stop or come back to me, but she saw me making some forward progress and figured that I was following her. Actually visibility of each other was not great because of the swells. Finally she decided to turn around since the swells were much bigger near the wall. So I caught up with her and told her I was, for the first time ever, in recorded blog history, quitting in the middle. She didn't want to swim alone so joined me. We exited over the rocks of the little park halfway and took the sidewalk back. It did not take a long time.

I felt worse and worse as the day wore on, I'm not sure what I have, so I will skip what looks like an hard wavy swim at Ohio tomorrow. Maybe next week.