Monday, August 31, 2015

FLASH! BREAKING NEWS!

On a post script to the last post, I mentioned another training swim was on tap for Sunday.  Michele got a bottle of ginger capsules on Saturday and I was eager to get back into the water after taking one with breakfast.  A relatively minor bout of seasickness caused me to call it a day just prior to completing the usual 2.4-miles on Thursday and my hope was that the ginger capsule might prevent another episode.  With the race just six days away, it's important to have an answer.

For those of you who didn't see the last post, here is the ginger root supplement.   

Ocean conditions were forecast to be a repeat of Thursday, with 2-4-foot waves.  We entered the water at 2:20PM.  The only things different from the last swim were the ginger capsule and nothing to eat since breakfast at 8:00AM.

The rolling swells were just like the last swim, hitting me side-on as laps between the Hilton Pier and Outrigger jetty keep me parallel to the beach.  This time, however, I was aware of their potential negative effects and did my best to focus on coral, or anything else on the bottom, except for those wavy lines in the sand.  I also concentrated more on my stroke as a diversion from the up-and-down heave of the swells. 

I completed the full 2.4-miles in a personal best of 2-hours, 20-minutes, but best of all was how great it was not feeling nauseated!!  Unfortunately, I don't know if the ginger had anything to do with it.  Maybe it was simply being aware of the problem and not allowing it to happen--a mind-over-matter sort of thing.  Perhaps it was the placebo effect, but it's difficult to say.  Anyhow, what a great confidence builder for Saturday's race.  It appears the second hurricane headed our way will turn to the north and not be a factor in the race.  Whew! :)))

Have a great day and week everybody!


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hurricanes, Heavy Rains And A Big Full Moonset

Hawaii has had many near-misses by hurricanes and tropical storms this summer, but still received lots of rain, along with flash flooding and a sewage overflow caused by the gross incompetence of two city departments not communicating with each other.  Ala Moana Beach Park was the sight of the mess, and it was closed for a few days while water samples were taken.  All has returned to normal, thanks to the healing powers of the tides and sunlight.  Waikiki was also shutdown, but not for sewage, rather it was for what's called "brown water", which is simply runoff and debris from local streams and streets.  Again, due to city officials incompetence, CNN reported that this iconic beach was tainted by sewage.  It was not, but people were warned to stay out of the water for a couple of days.  Many tourists did not heed the warnings and enjoyed their day at the beach without any harmful effects.  Whew!  We're in hopes of being missed by two more hurricanes as I write this post.

Depending on the track of hurricanes Ignacio and Jimena, the Waikiki Roughwater Swim, scheduled for September 5th, may be in jeopardy, though race officials seem confident it will go as planned.  And speaking of the swim...Thursday, at the two mile mark of another training swim, I began to feel a bit queasy.  The storm-generated waves were rolling me about pretty good and between breaths, looking at the wavy lines on the sandy bottom made the queasiness worse.  Not wanting to vomit, I headed for shore and called it a day.  Once on shore, all was fine. 

When we returned home, I did a computer query asking, "Can a swimmer become seasick?"  The answer was yes.  Apparently, it's not unusual for open water swimmers to become nauseous and even vomit.  The causes of motion sickness and certainly my symptoms convinced me that's all it was.

Further investigation revealed many swimmers take ginger pills to help avoid the problem.  I hope to  find them at one of the several Chinese traditional pharmacies nearby.  I'd like to try them for my next swim.  Of course, it may simply have been the conditions that day and won't likely happen again, but...If the race goes as scheduled and the water is unusually rough due to the passing storms, it would be nice to know something would stop it before it begins.  Even if it's only the placebo effect--I'll take it!   

Here are some photos taken during one particularly huge afternoon thunderstorm on 26 August and a few taken this morning as the full moon was setting.  Tonight we'll see what's called a "Super Moon", as it makes it's closest approach to the earth and will appear to be bigger than normal.  Hope you get an opportunity to see it where you live.

The afternoon storm came from the west, causing much of the island to disappear in heavy rain.

It was rather ominous, to put it mildly.

When this downpour arrived over downtown, it was of "Biblical proportions".  I decided not to jog that afternoon! :)

This was taken at 5:46AM today.  I awoke very early this morning to find the lanai bathed with light.  The full moon was big and yellow, so I grabbed both cameras and my phone in hopes that one of the three cameras would do justice to this scene.

This was taken a minute later.  I wanted to emphasize the reflection on the water.

This is the view to the southeast at 5:50AM, showing the first hints of sunrise.  Sunrise this morning was at 6:13AM.

By 6:06AM, the moon was fading fast.  This image doesn't do a very good job of showing what I saw, but you get the picture...pun, intended. :)

Thought I'd end this post with...what else?  A rainbow.  This photo was taken back on August 21st, from our elevator lobby, looking north, late afternoon.  You're looking at the Nu'uanu valley and the Ko'olau Range.

Have a nice Sunday!

Update:  Michele returned home from shopping yesterday and brought me a surprise:

Ginger capsules!  It's Sunday now, and I took one of these with breakfast.  We'll be heading to the beach in a couple of hours and I'll soon know if ginger makes any difference with seasickness-related nausea during my swim.  Of course, it all depends on the waves and swell conditions  Stand-by for an update.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Swim Clinic And Other Stuff

Sunday, August 16th, I attended a swim clinic at the Hilton Hawaiian Village beach, put on by veterans of the Waikiki Roughwater Swim.  About twenty people attended to learn more about the race, with particular emphasis on the final 842-meters.  The clinic took place at what will be the finish line on race day.

Michele went along and snapped this photo of the group, all paying very close attention to the speaker(s).  That's me, on the right, in the white shirt.

All aspects of the race were covered and many questions were answered.  Most of those present will be swimming the race for the first time, so the clinic was very informative.  After the discussion, swim caps were given out and we headed for the water.

The caps are leftovers from 2014.  They have a different sponsor this year, so the caps for race day will feature a new logo.  I've begun wearing this during training swims and what a difference!  Stand-up paddlers, aqua cyclists, snorkelers and other swimmers actually see me. :)

For the swimming portion of the clinic, two of our hosts were on paddle boards--one at the front leading the way and the other bringing up the rear.  Another swam with the group.  They led us out the Hilton Hotel channel, stopping along the way to point out navigation aids, discuss waves and currents and possible routes to best make it to the finish line.

It was a good experience to be sure.  Not only did I learn a great deal about the race, but finally got to swim a portion of the course.  To my great relief, the training I've been doing served me very well.  I felt very comfortable and there were no surprises.  At the end of the swim, one of the mentors offered me some tips to improve my technique.  I had no idea what a horrible swimmer I was!  He said my breathing was terrible and later, that I was a "weak swimmer".  I have no idea why I was singled out for this "help".  I dunno...maybe he didn't like my face. :) 

I explained that my "horrible breathing technique" came from a book written by a highly-respected swimming coach.  He was a little older than me and my thought was he was incapable of believing there could be anything knew, different, or better than his way.  By the way, "his way" is the old standard free-style method.  Nothing wrong with it, but I'm not set in my ways from a swimming standpoint, unlike him.  I told him that I'd been training by swimming the full-length of the race, in a decent time, but he either didn't hear me or had already decided it could not be possible.  Instead, he recommended I go to Ala Moana Beach Park and work there?

I was curious to hear him say that, and asked why that would that be better than training at Ft. DeRussy.  He muttered something about swimming from one point to another over there and it would add up to a mile.  I chuckled, and repeated my current training regimen, certain now that he just didn't hear me the first time.  About then, one of the younger mentors jumped in and asked me if I swam the eight laps non-stop.  I answered him and his response was, "Wow!".

That stopped the older gentleman from saying anything else.  My primary goal in signing-up for the race was to simply finish.  Not anymore!  In no way do I think I can beat the time of this old veteran of the race, but I'm certainly going to try...REALLY HARD!!

This past Tuesday, I once again swam the full-length of the race in just over 2.5-hours.  That makes five times.  Michele's trainer suggested that one needn't run a full marathon while training for one.  Weak swimmer, indeed!  Different strokes for different folks, I always say!

To leave this subject on a positive note...Thanks to the race committee for setting up the clinic and to the mentors who took the time to show us the ropes.

And here are some photos taken in recent days:

Billowing clouds catching the last sunlight on August 18th.  The camera was zoomed and brought the roof and communications masts of this downtown office tower pretty close.

Fireworks from Ford Island in Pearl Harbor on August 15th, commemorating the end of World War II.

A patriotic color spread.

A final photo.  These photos were taken from our lanai, which is about seven miles from Ford Island.

Sunset, August 17th.

This most curious looking fish is called a helmet gurnard.  Both Michele and I saw one on August 18th.  She was snorkeling and you know what I was doing. :)  The tide was going out that day and much of my swim I was barely above lots of coral.  It made it fairly easy to enjoy the fish while I worked.

The afternoon clouds above Waikiki on August 18th.  They were spectacular.

An aircraft we don't see very often.  It's a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress departing at sunset.

A long-line fishing boat heading to sea at sunset, August 20th.  I don't know about the crew, but for me, this would be a beautiful time to get underway.

The fading sun does a fine job of painting these high clouds orange and pink.  August 20th.

And finally...Ta-Da-a...Sunset, August 20th, 2015.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Where's Waldo (Gary)?

The simple answer is training for the Waikiki Roughwater Swim, now just three weeks away.  As of June 8th, I've spent nearly thirty-five hours in the Pacific, swimming almost thirty miles.  Between that and jogging just over seventeen miles each week, the energy required to create blog posts, or visit my favorite blogs simply hasn't been there.  I'm still painting, too, but not as much lately.

To the countless millions of visitors who visit this blog :)...Please accept my apologies and let me assure you that a few days after the race, I hope to have recovered sufficiently to return to a normal schedule.  Thanks for your patience.

PS  I have managed to take some photos between activities and naps:

"Dueling" parasail boats catching the tradewinds for their guest's flights on July 25th.

This photo wasn't taken by me.  On July 27th, the sailing yacht, "Celerity" (yup, it's spelled correctly) crossed the finish line of the 2015 Transpacific Yacht Race.  She was the first to arrive here after sailing from Los Angeles to Honolulu in the 48th edition of the famous Transpac yacht race.  Click on the link to learn all about it.  I'd love to give credit to whoever took this great photo, however time and age have contributed to a memory fog and I'm at a loss.  The boats departed from San Pedro over three days in mid-July.  By the end of July, all boats had arrived in Honolulu and were busy with an awards ceremony and lots of parties.

This large canvas currently resides on a living room wall.  Between the physical activities, I began working on a painting for our home a couple of weeks ago.  The idea was something suggestive of a coral reef, with several realist attempts being painted over.  This decidedly non-objective effort has not bothered either of us enough for a return to the studio...yet!  Have you ever tried to paint the essence of something?  I like this one (so far) because nothing in it looks like, suggests, or even remotely reminds me of anything.  Well, other than that elusive "essence" of a coral reef. :)

Usually, I make it home from my run at sunset.  This one was on August 11th.

This was the August 12th edition.  Quite spectacular.

So, tomorrow at eight AM, I'll be at a swim clinic put on by organizers of the Waikiki Roughwater Swim.  They will probably tell us first time entrants what to expect on race day and answer our questions.  After that, we'll get in the water.  They may offer a little coaching for us, but I'm not sure.  I hope you all get to sleep-in and have a leisurely Sunday. :)