Tuesday, March 26, 2013

4:50 am Alarm, and its time for the Plunge.....

The alarm sounds off at 4:50am. I roll out of bed, stumble to the coffee maker and try to maneuver in the dark. I shuffle around the house grab my bag and drive over to Sunrise Middle School for swim practice.

At 5:25am the pool is pitch black, coach John Grzeszczak of Hammerhead Aquatics turns on the outside spot lights. A few more minutes of procrastination and I take the 5:30am plunge.

Coach John calls out our warm up for the 25 yard heated pool:

400 yard swim
200 yard Pull
200 yard kick

After about 20 minutes of warm up, the coffee has kicked in my system.  My eyes begin to  adjust, and I notice other swimmers in neighboring lanes.

There is a quiet rhythm with the morning swimmers. Its almost metronomic/zen like: the monotone rhythm of the water as swimmers go down the lane and push off the wall. The Splash of  water and breathing are the only sounds I hear.

After warm-up the coach gives us our work-out. With the warm-up, the main sets are usually a cross of breathing/speed/drill/kick and timed exercises ranging from 3000 to 3800 yards.

Friends say I am crazy. " You are off all winter and you choose to get up and swim at 4:50am". I quietly nod my head and agree, but think how lucky I am. How lucky that I am able to participate in a masters swim program in Fort Lauderdale with kindred spirits, and a spirited coach.

There is nothing like swimming 3000 + yards (80 to 90 minute workout) and watch the sun gently rise over the horizon. How lucky I am that my father took me to swim lessons as a child. How lucky that I have the motivation.

Friday, March 8, 2013

March Nor'easter 2013 -Winter Storm "Saturn"

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
                                                      -Albert Camus

Entrance to the beach and the popular beachside bar appropriately named Splash
(Photo courtesy of Rick Barber)

Mainers and New Englanders are no strangers to storms. They happen every month. Some are mild. Some are fast and furious. Some are winter storms like blizzards. However, there is another type of storm that is associated with Maine and New England: The Nor'easter.

When low pressure air moves into the New England region, and  northeasterly winds blow in from the ocean this can produce a slow moving powerful storm. These storms can produce heavy rain or snow and dramatic coastal surges.  Heavy winds are also associated with these mega-storms.  This week Ogunquit and New England experienced yet another Nor'easter, named Saturn.

Winter storm Surge. View of Perkins Cove. (Courtesy of Ogunquit Police).
Saturn was a slow moving nor'easter with wind gusts up to 40mph. Ogunquit once again was prepared for coastal flooding with high tides smothering the beach and engulfing the parking lot. High seas, and 20 foot (7m) waves belted the shore and Marginal Way.  Once again, schools were cancelled.
Entrance to the main beach ( Video courtesy of Ogunquit Police)
Ogunquit is no stranger to hard New England weather.  That's why so many of us Ogunquitians cherish our glorious summers!