Monday morning I lifted (see previous post), and then Monday afternoon Sean and I surfed Indian Beach. We were among perhaps five foolhardy surfers out on a gray rainy afternoon near high tide. It was actually really fun. Five to six foot swells, the north side channel was a bit dicier than usual for paddling out but totally manageable. The inside was sloppy, the outside was junky, but we waited and repositioned, and occasionally got lucky, and a magical right or left suddenly would take hold. I had a couple of flying good rides, and a lot of exercise for about an hour.
Surfing 12: Oswald on Tuesday Morning
Tuesday was beautiful; we showed up during a pretty low tide at Oswald. When it’s like that, those waves are so far away from the rocks on the beach that you can’t tell how things are out there until you go. We went north on the beach for a ways and entered the surf in the middle. The sea temperature was warming up, from a southwest wind and a southwest swell. The waves were a bit smaller, but still above five feet, and the wind was blowing this way and that. The sun poured down on us in the north end and we paddled after many squirrelly waves, and caught some nice rides. This was about an hour.
Random Strength Session: Tuesday Rock Moving
I moved another 15 heavy rocks up the path, moved a bunch of smaller rocks, and dug many shovelfuls, bucketfuls, and wheelbarrowfuls of sand and gravel, moved some large wooden log rounds, and generally made my self labor at heavy things in a useful way. I did a lot of power cleaning (with 75 lb rocks or so) and walking with heavy weights in rack or overhead position. I also moved and rolled rocks, and deadlifted and farmer’s carried a few rocks around 150 lbs or so. I worked with the 15 kilo iron digging bar removing buried rocks from the sand and path and moving them up to the top of the path, where I am doing some gross-level landscaping. This workout/project was about an hour in length.
Surfing 13: Oswald on Wednesday Morning
This morning conditions were calmer. The surf was slower and lower, and the wind was less. The water was still pretty choppy. Sean and I went back to Oswald, it was gray and ugly and the surf was still way out. We took a long time dressing and talking about the waves and the surfers. Most surfers were clustered in the middle and on the north end. From a distance, the swell — even smaller than the day before — seemed like a small shorebreak. But I believe firmly: it’s always bigger than it looks from the rocks. We went out on the south end and it was on. Nice shapes, if you could negotiate the somewhat random wavelength presentation of the swells, and remain in position against the current near a working peak. I surfed right a couple of times, and as the tide came in, the elevator started working. The channel puts you off into a distinct northbound current and from there there were rights (towards the rocks) or lefts (towards the middle). I rode so many waves, and my arms felt the strain, that’s for sure. The session ended up being about 90 minutes or so. As we dressed, we noticed that it seemed like every surfer had followed us into the south end, although most were just playing around in the white wash in front of the waves. Nobody had been out there before we arrived and started.
I am feeling it. I should rest. But tomorrow morning the surfing might be on RIGHT HERE in Arch Cape. South winds are gently blowing, or not blowing. Wind chop is lessening on the sea — or was, before it got dark. I can only hope that conditions continue to remain calm. The swell is dying down even more for tomorrow. There might be some mellow riding to be had here. I can’t miss that can I?
Friday morning I went out into the gray drizzle around Green Lake and did a brief warm-up and work out.
Light running, karaoke, suicide sprinting down the lines of a soccer field. Stretches. 10 squats, 10 elevated feet push-ups, 10 kipping ring pull-ups.
The green lake bleachers; satellite map by Google
5 rounds of:
10 burpees as fast as possible followed immediately by
1 sprint up to the top of the Green Lake Boathouse Bleachers (click for a map). Rest as needed between rounds.
I did the burpees on a wet floating dock, it bounced while I did them. I did them full out flying flat into the ground each rep, and when I dropped down on number ten I took off up the bank, climbed or jumped onto the first (35 inch) step, and then sprinted up the 22 or so 16 inch steps to the top.
At the top I nursed my racing pulse and breath… this little WOD left me feeling out of shape! It’s a good one. It was an experiment, and I didn’t bring my watch, so I’m not sure how long it took. Next time I’ll time it. Plenty of guys would not have rested on this workout, but I wanted to really blast each set. Each set was an all out sprint, leaving me collapsing at the end, so, that was pretty fun.
I felt too winded and weak, something seemed wrong. Though my wife pointed out I was still recovering from Giardia and Flagil (I’d stopped taking it on Thursday). Feeling so winded became another good reason why I ran the next day, Saturday. Time for wind training!
Jump rope, minutes, including double under practice. Shoulder dislocates. Overhead squats with 45 lb bar (10). Broomstick shoulder press. Broomstick deadlifts.
5/3/1 Phase II (70/80/90). Base weight: 112.5
Result: 80 x 3 / 90 x 3 / 100 x 13
This was ok. In retrospect, 13 reps at 100 seems like a pretty good accomplishment for me, considering where I’ve come from, my age, etc. But looking more at the present moment, my self image, and my desires for where I want to be, strength wise… I wanted those fourteenth and fifteenth reps. But the thirteenth was near failure. So, I did what I could.
5/3/1 Phase II (70/80/90). Base weight: 292.5
Result: 205 x 3 / 235 x 3 / 265 x 6
These sucked REALLY BAD. I had a carb binge last night, leaving me hung over today. Stupid! Blame the beach and the surfing, which creates a sense of hunger, like the body really needs a bunch more calories. The problem is it’s probably not true, all things considered. Then this morning I had coffee, a starch and carb heavy breakfast, including some dairy, and THEN I took my Flagil. Was still drinking coffee as I began my lifting. During the deadlifts, as I got set and began the lift, my stomach was pushing acid up my esophagus. It felt like I would puke. I could barely squeeze out six reps on the max reps set. I certainly wasn’t going to get the seventh without puking.
Foolish man. Get disciplined! This session would have been far better in a fasted or semi-fasted state. Time to restart my food journal. And yes, I need to write a confessional piece about diet, journaling, etc. I’m not likely to have time for that any day soon though.
Monday morning during breakfast hours I hit the surf right here in Arch Cape. It was irresistible out there: smooth, high tide, no wind except a light SW breeze, great light and temperature, and rolling, semi-predictable 3 to 4 foot swell. It was just a bit dicey getting out. Humps were approaching the shore in various places, at the same time, in different directions. And the locations seemed to be shifting. A couple of consistent spots were rolling, and I jumped onto my board … and found myself racing along edges and over reform swell, into new breaks, and in need of a change of direction! Good thing my board cooperated. I did some of the best surfing I have done in Arch Cape during this session. Flat waters rock.
The only problem was I missed the gloaming (I was too tired)… but it looked brilliant. Cerelli and crew were out there into the last glimmers of day (see video, below).
Sunday was father’s day and I went surfing with my dad at Oswald. Totally great times! 2-3 foot swell, minimal wind and chop, and “high low” tide conditions. It was overcast, but there was good light and some hints of the sun.
Overall the conditions were not as cool as they were on Saturday, but they were decent enough to have a lot of fun. For a while my dad and I had the south end to ourselves. Maybe a dozen other surfers were there on the north end. I was riding on the same little consistent right break, having a fun little surf into the rocks, although it was a bit harder to trace (different swell, wind, and tide conditions). Still, I got a bunch of rides. Then, after a while, I let some other guy who moved in crowd me out of my little right breaking face. I tried going to his north, and finding a comparable break in the middle, but it wasn’t the same. It’s all good. Anyway, we were leaving, it was flattening out. I didn’t mind the hike at all, as on Saturday.
My mother was the first one to suggest that I might have Giardia. Yael was describing my illness to her on Wednesday and she just immediately spat out, “Giardia. He has Giardia.” She is an intuitive, armchair doctor, and always thinks she can diagnose things over the phone. So, initially, I refused to even consider the possibility that she was right.
But then, I decided at least to check into it. I did some reading. The more I looked at the reports, the clearer it became that I did indeed have Giardia. I will spare you my own detailed narrative of the symptoms of my dis-ease of the bowels. Instead, if you read the overview of Giardia Symptoms on WebMD, you’ll get an exact description of what happened to me. Diarrhea. Smelly and gross belching and gas. Extreme fatigue. Cramps. Symptoms coming and going. An extended period of symptoms. Definitely Giardia. I also had anorexia, i.e. loss of appetite. But as it happens this is a good thing for someone with the disease, about which, more in a moment (see below).
So, Giardia, yes. But where would I have gotten it? Symptoms began on Saturday the 13th. Ten days before that, I finished a river trip on the Deschutes. It’s possible that, ahem, at the end of the bleary second night, I might have brushed my teeth with the water from the handwashing bucket. I can’t be sure. Or there was my surf session on June 10th; that day the rain was so extreme that Smuggler Cove may have been flooded with contaminated with millions of gallons of giardia infested freshwater. And the surf was rough. I definitely swallowed water out there that day. It might have been out there. Other than these occasions, I couldn’t think of when or where I could have gotten this water borne fecal parasite.
Giardia infesting the intestine of a gerbil
Wherever I got it, it really sucked! On Tuesday, my short and shitty surf session was followed by a day of moping around, nursing a body that felt like it was falling apart. Then, on Wednesday and Thursday, I felt slightly better because of my fasting (see below), but I still didn’t feel like working out, or surfing, that’s for sure. Luckily the weather and surf were no good anyway.
Giardia is a little microorganism that infests the upper GI tract.
It connects itself to the mucous membranes of the small intestines and covers them… and then it blocks absorbtion of nutrients. Most people have difficulty digesting fats while infected with Giardia (a problem for those of us who follow high-fat diets!) and the fats are expelled with the feces, making it extra stinky. Some people also become lactose intolerant. I certainly seemed to. A second terrible outbreak of crams and diarrhea occurred on Thursday, after I had quite a bit of dairy on Wednesday night. If I had only been eating strictly paleo, Thursday would have been less painful!
The Life Cycle of Giardia (image from WikiMedia)
Before I started the meds, I found that fasting alleviated my symptoms. I ate basically only one, low-fat, meal per day on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday this week. Friday, where I ate two meals, a high-fat breakfast and a dinner, I had … um … trouble all afternoon. But on the other days, where I more or less fasted, having only a small amount of low fat fruit and protein early in the day, and a low fat, low carb dinner, I had much fewer symptoms. Fatigue was not as much of a problem, diarrhea stopped. This is not surprising, if you think about it. Instead of trying and failing to get energy from the digestive tract through eating, I was getting energy from stored sources (mainly fat) by fasting. Let me tell you: if you ever have Giardia, and you have to get anything done and you want to start feeling better, STOP EATING. Just drink water and maybe some black coffee.
Luckily for me, I only had to suffer a few days of symptoms before my parents arrived. My dad, a physician, had consulted with some infectious diseases doctors and brought me a bottle of Flagil. This stuff is toxic. I’d rather not take it. But I’d rather not suffer from Giardia, either.
On Friday evening, after beginning a course of treatment of Flagil, I started to feel better. Symptoms were more or less under control by Saturday evening. I remain on a lower-fat, low-carb, no-dairy, lower calorie regime, although it would appear that everything is better now.
By Thursday evening I could see that the weather would clear up Friday. I was still feeling ill, but I wasn’t blind or numb. The sky was clear. The temperature was rising. The winds were softening. A half moon hung over the water.
Friday morning I set out for dawn patrol at Indian Beach. I got there just before sunrise (at 5:25 am). There was a sweet five foot swell from the west, and very light WNW winds. The sky was pale and clear (the sun would not clear the coast range until after 6:30 am).But I wasn’t the first to arrive! Someone else was already working the swell. And another surfer was already making his way over the berm towards the sand.
No matter, there would be plenty of room for us all.
I paddled out through the channel by the rocks on the north end of the beach. I was in calorie deficit, and suffering from what I by this time understood to be untreated Giardia, so I knew I only had limited energy for a surf session. But I was determined to bring on the stoke and the aloha! I greeted an briefly chatted with the first surfer who was working the left break on the north end, and then nodded at the grim faced older surfer who was floating just to his south. And I paddled on towards the middle.
What a sweet session it was. Three surfers, pale morning light, plenty of room and waves for all. The glassy surface was being lifted by rolling shoulder high waves with only a minimal disturbance from cross swell and wind.
I took maybe a 5 minute paddle from the north end down to the middle of the break, so I could ride the right breaking rollers. And what rides. I got several day-makers; no, that should be, week-maker rides. These were rides that redeemed a week of illness. Long maneuvers in front of the the crumbling edge of a right breaking swell, riding right over the re-form, into the break zone, and then, finally, at the end of 30 to 40 second rides, getting clobbered by messy surf at the end. Then, after such long rides to the south end of the beach, there was a good 10 minute paddle back out to the beginning, requiring perhaps a hundred strokes of the arm (which is a LOT), and including a brief fight back through the break zone.
I only had energy for about three of these cycles from the middle to the south end. But they made me glad again, confident again that surfing is more than worth all the trouble and energy it requires. I was just so damn glad to be riding in one of the best spots in the world. I spent only a comparably short time, maybe 45 minutes, in the water before I rode a wave in to shore to think about my options. Looking out at the waves, and at the other morning session surfers who were starting to arrive on the beach, I chose to quit while I was ahead. I packed it in. It had been a brief but sweet session. I was able to get home by about 7:00 am, where I could be a dad, hang out with house guests (the Kohnstamms), and have an ill-advised big breakfast. Fun times.