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The ocean is flat right now. Flat with higher visibility than I’ve ever seen before. It’s crystal clear, about 70-ish degrees F and as calm as a lake with the biggest waves being wakes from passing boats. It’s perfect for swimming or just floating on your back for a bit.

ocean this morning

ocean this morning

The sea can change wildly from day to day – last week riptides made it too dangerous to even go in – so it’s my duty to appreciate this while it lasts. The warm weather on top of clear waters is the universe telling me to stop thinking an enjoy.

Lifeguards are gone, ropes are gone and the beaches are free here. There aren’t many people early weekday mornings so I can swim laps from jetty to jetty. They’re slightly less than .2 miles apart. Yesterday I did three there-and-backs (.4) for a total of about 1.2 miles. That’s nothing to run, but swimming feels like it works every muscle in your body, many of which I don’t think I’ve used in a while.

I underestimated how much the swim took out of me until my evening run. My breathing was completely off, almost like I couldn’t get beyond shallow breaths. The slower I ran the easier the breathing so I took my time. Ran to the best-tasting water fountain three towns over and tried not to moon over this one older couple holding hands, each in gigantic sun bonnets.

Returning on the boardwalk, everyone was back lit by the setting sun. There were a few other runners, but for the most part everyone walking was heading back from a tiring day playing on the water. They walked slow and unsteady, some staggered like maybe they’d had a little bit of special sauce in those opaque travel mugs. Whatever the reason, they looked like a hoard of zombies coming my way. I may have looked like one too I was so tired after the 8.5 miles.

The water this morning was even clearer than yesterday. During my laps I saw some small fish, a few crabs and some jellyfish but they’re dead so can’t hurt you. My sister pointed out that the breathing thing I felt during my run was probably because swimming puts pressure on your chest and that can decrease your lung capacity while swimming if you’re not used to it. I’m not sure why it would have thrown off my breathing during the evening run though. She makes stuff up.

I also had the privilege of watching a banana boat flip a load of people multiple times. They wear life jackets and the whole point is to give them a bumpy ride – over-boards go with the territory. Paddle boarders were out in force as were the parasails. Some are attached to a boat by a long rope, others have a big motorized fan that keeps them up on their own. I didn’t make it to the phone in time to get a picture.

My sister took a picture of me swimming laps. It’s very dramatic. I’m the dot above.

My point is swimming takes everything out you me. Lack of energy is to be expected, but it took EVERYTHING. It took my ability to take a picture without getting my thumb in the frame, as you can see above. It made me forget how to breathe. And it took a big hunk of my brain for the day. For instance, I went down to the basement to put towels in the drier. Went down an hour later to discover I forgot to turn the drier on. Went to the grocery store for coffee and returned with two bags, neither of which contained coffee. Out of coffee! Fortunately my moonpie called to say coffee is 50 cents today at 7-11 and I happened to have some quarters burning a hole in my pocket. Unfortunately the ocean still has the part of my brain that should have remembered the sale is on smalls and I grabbed a medium. Paid triple the price and the coffee tastes awful. A small price to pay for the morning swim.