Near Death Experience – Part 1

This past Sunday I’d set up some coed volleyball games with a friend of mine to prepare for a coed tournament coming up.  These games were set to start up at noon and I’d secured one of the best females players I know to be my partner.  I was excited.  So excited that even though I went to bed after 2 AM I snapped awake before 8 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I ended up getting coffee and some egg sandwiches at the local bagel place with my roommate and spent the rest of the morning cleaning up and getting ready for the games.

My cousin called earlier in the week and wanted to go swim/dive around the pier (like we normally do).  He could only come down on Sunday, so I told him that 4PM would be okay (leaving plenty of time for volleyball).  Well, my cousin didn’t show up until well after 6PM which meant I played about 6 and a half hours of really competitive volleyball.  Add to this the fact that I’d eaten only the breakfast sandwich, an apple, a banana, half a Clif Bar, and a handful of mixed nuts.  I was pretty beat and feeling really hungry.

I told me cousin if we were going to swim that I needed some food and a nap.  Once I realized that we weren’t going to have any daylight left if I took a nap, I pounded some water and ate some triscuits with hummus.  I love hummus, I may be addicted to it.  Those olive oil and vinegar Triscuits?  To die for.  With hummus they transcend into heavenly territory.

Anyway, back to my nearly dying.  After the triscuit/hummus combo I felt vastly less hungry and thought I could make the swim.  I picked up our fins and we made the walk down to the sand, spitting in our masks the entire way (spit is a natural anti-fog, you rinse all of it out except for a thin film when you put the mask on).  Let me tell you about my cousin before I get too far along here.  My cousin is a little fat, injured (some kind of bulging disk in his neck that he had to have surgery for), and frankly a bit retarded.  However, he is 100% a character and I’ve always gotten along with him as an adult.  As a child he beat me up and terrorized me, but I forgave him after I realized that I was the only one smaller than him and he was getting beat up regularly by not just one, but both of his sisters.

Once we got to the water we got our masks and fins on and then walked backwards into the water, marveling at how much warmer it was than it had been the last time we got in (between 4-5 degrees warmer).  After a little girlish screaming from the water hitting our balls and making them ascend back into our torso (did I mention we do this without wetsuits, just trunks and rash guards), we started swimming.  The surf was actually pretty decent size (5-6 feet) so we had to do some duck diving on our way out and there was a strong longshore current.  None of this really worried me, but I was conscious of how my legs were feeling as I made progress towards the end of the pier with the cold water enveloping them.

By the time I got to the end of the pier, even though I’d purposely not been using my legs hardly at all, I was starting to get worried.  That feeling of almost cramping had come and gone more than once and I was sure that if I kicked hard with my legs they would cramp.  So I kicked super slow and without using much force as I did most of my swimming with my arms in the freestyle stroke.  I was doing okay, but at about 25-30% of the way back to the sand I started feeling like a cramp was completely inevitable.  I tried to use my legs even less, but I knew I was really far from shore.

You know that moment when you realize you’ve made a mistake but the consequences haven’t hit yet?

To be continued…


~ by aneroidocean on 04/25/2012.

6 Responses to “Near Death Experience – Part 1”

  1. Great story bro’,but with tragedy.

    Funny thing is,I live in a Caribbean island,so ppl going swimming all year round is normal.But just 2 weeks ago,a boy(17 years old)drowned,which we believe was from cramping.

    Irony is,we’re taught from young to never eat before going into the water to swim.Seems like this kid defied that.

    Awaiting the next part.

    • Yeah, there are some pretty wild currents near islands, though. You get in the wrong current and you can be fucked cramp or no cramp. My problem wasn’t eating right before going out, it was with my leg muscles getting worked REALLY hard for a long time and not providing them enough fuel/rest before working them again.

  2. […] Continued from Near Death Experience – Part 1 […]

  3. […] but it’s really not that big of a deal.  Not wanting to take any steps backwards due to my Near Death Experience (and Part 2), I played 4+ hours of volleyball to practice for my coed tournament tomorrow. […]

  4. I never thought that old wives tale was true.

    You really have to wait 30 minutes after a meal to swim?

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