Saturday, April 26, 2014

Beach Triathlon

I am contemplating starting a Beach Triathlon event, but I think I am probably the only one who would ever participate, so it would be more of a "competition of self improvement".  Here's the two variations I am considering:

Beach Parkour Triathlon:  Start off at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point.  Wearing Merrell hiking boots, running shorts (or jeans, if you're not confident), a backpack with camera & binoculars, sun screen and hat, you sprint across the beach and at the very first rock, you begin to parkour, leaping from rock to rock, the 3/4rds of a mile from the beach to the farthest western point.  Then, when reaching the point at low tide, you take out your camera, take as many pictures of wild life as possible, in the air, the tide pools, and on the water.  Controlling your breathing is essential, to be able to focus.  After taking the photos, return the camera to the back pack, take out the black garbage bag and dark brown old ratty gloves you have packed, and pick up as much garbage as you can, enroute back to the Ocean Institute's parking lot that careless tourists and self-entitled locals have strewn along this other-wise pristine coastal area.  Variations on the parkour include
- stepping on only rocks whose base is wet, as the tide recedes
- avoiding certain colored rocks, for a degree of difficulty (like no pink, or green rocks)
- adding on 10 seconds every time you don't step on a rock and your foot touches sand (like "hot lava" when you were a kid)
- subtracting whatever time it takes to explain to curious tourists what this bird or that creature is, when asked, and then doubling that subtraction for good karma.
I did this form of parkour last Saturday when I returned from my GA/SC trip, and it was invigorating.

Beach run / climb / photo Triathlon:  Start off at Strand Beach parking lot.  Wear running shorts, a sweat wicking shirt (like my Nike Combat shirt), and Columbia Velcro'ed all terrain sandals, carrying a face wiping sweat rag.  RUN down the stairs (all +200 of them) to the bottom and then sprint down the vehicle ramp at the bottom until you get to the sand on the beach.  Touch the "No Dogs Allowed" sign, and SPRINT Back Up the ramp and the +200 stairs.  Repeat - repeat as many times as you can until your legs feel like lead.  That was 5 times for me yesterday.  Then, jog down the board walk on lead legs, and try to jog up the zig zag on the South side of Strand Beach.  Take photos along the way of the hummingbirds, raptors, pelicans, skunk, lizards, and any other living non-human creatures you see that are appealing.  When you get to the top of the zig zag, go back down, and repeat.  I did this 3 times yesterday.  Then walk back to your car on your own power, and drive home for a relaxing Stout Ale and hot tub soak.

Each variation has its advantages.  Both require being able to have a steady hand and breathe normally while shooting photos.  Both require significant physical exertion.  The parkour variant (I believe) helps to stave off Alzheimer's and senility by ACTIVELY engaging the brain, as the leaping pace from boulder to boulder is RAPIDLY calculated, and eye-foot-balance coordination is paramount to avoid a nasty misstep that will rip open one's shin, knee, or hand upon falling.  The parkour variant also helps the environment by collecting trash on the way back, and helping to educate tourists.  This variant is best tried during low tide, as the parkour course is widest at low tide.

The Strand Beach variant however, is not tide dependent.  It affords much safer running surfaces, and greater physical exertion.  While there's little to no aquatic life to be photographed in the Strand Beach variant, there is no shortage of land and air based wild life to photograph, and it doesn't track sand into your wife's convertible when you drive home.

So each has its advantages.   I am going to hone my skills practicing both variants this summer, and I will try and comment this Fall, as to which one I've enjoyed more.

Come visit us here in California, and I will let you race me in the triathlon if you want to!  =)

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