Weathering Hawaii’s Elements


Hawaii has a reputation for beautiful, year-round weather. And for the most part it is. However, there are times when it isn’t so great. A few years ago we had rain for 40 days and 40 nights. If you booked a vacation that year from February through March, you had a wet and rainy visit. No sunshine. I remember a November when the wind blew every day of the month. This was back in the 80s. I remember because I was just learning to windsurf. It was even too blustery for the young me. Like NOW!

Getting ready for the Sunset to Pipeline mile swim. Look how calm I am!

This year it seems like Hawaii is windy nearly every day. I have signed on and am training for several events: triathlons, runs, swims, bicycle rides. When you sign up for these events earlier in the year, you expect the ANA Lanikai Triathlon or the North Shore Summer Swim Series to be conducted in calm and tranquil seas. Nope! During last weekend’s first swim that started at Sunset Beach, wind-driven waves pushed at us, sucked us back, and spit us out on the beach at Pipeline. I didn’t do too bad, actually! But there are three more events to go. Will it ever calm down?

Getting into the water. See? I held back. Part of my strategy. Cloudy and breezy.

I don’t much mind the training in the wind, although it does take a lot out of you. Riding bike and running into the wind are exhausting. When you’re through you feel like you burned twice the calories the Garmin indicates. Swimming at The Oahu Club isn’t affected that much by the wind, but when I train with my Try Fitness Hawaii teammates at Queen’s Beach in Waikiki for the Honolulu Tinman, bumpy waves are constant. We’re getting used to it.

About to get spit out onto the beach at Pipeline. It was OK. I landed on my feet. A surfer girl never forgets.

Although there is the element of Hawaii’s fickle weather, this past Saturday at the Sunset to Pipeline 1-mile swim I was most dreading swimming in a frantic scrum of hundreds of other swimmers. After my personal panic in the ANA Lanikai Triathlon, I wanted to pin this beast once and for all. As I was getting ready for a warm-up swim, Rachel Ross was running by and stopped to say hi. She told me she had read my blog, that I would be fine, that this was a great event, and the women would be nice. What timing! She delivered a reassurance just when I needed it. Thanks, RR! You were so right! Rachel had an awesome fun swim, trash talked her honey part-way through, and found a beautiful shell. She’s always THAT GIRL! LOL. 

I’ll keep training, because I wish I were faster. But I am OK with completion if I can’t beat the competition. I do wonder how well I could have done had I been training and doing these events in my 30s, back when all I did was enter surfing contests (and I have a few trophies to prove it!). But there isn’t time for what ifs, should haves, or if onlies. Nope. There’s only time for why nots!

Author: lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer is my new opponent. Writer, super sub teacher, triathlete, awesome cook, ocean girl with head-to-toe sun protection.

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