• I participated in a triathlon this past weekend. I trained for the biking and the running ad nauseum, but the swimming I only practiced about five times in a pool and a brief jaunt in the ocean off of Venice Beach.



    It took place in Santa Cruz. 600 people got up at the butt crack of dawn and migrated to the ocean. There was a transition/staging area, and everyone was given their packets of number stickers. I was number 593. We had to wear our number at all times. We even had temporary tattoos for our arms.

    I had to take my bike to the bike doctor



    This guy escaped from the Deathstar



    The first leg of the race was swimming in the ocean. The water was in the high 50’s, so nearly everyone had wetsuits.

    Leading up to the race, friends of mine had been posting on Facebook about shark-week.

    “Shark-week is always a confirmation that I will continue to stay out of the ocean.”


    “[Sharks] are basically giant murderfish and I adore them.”

    In response I asked, “Could you tone down the murderfish to maybe friendly petting sea wonders?”

    She told me to swim fast.

    Flash forward to the 600 people standing on Santa Cruz’s beach. All of us were dressed up like a bunch of seals with our wetsuits on.

    On your mark, get set, go! We run into the ocean and it feels like trudging through jello. They all take off and I’m left behind with a few stragglers. I hear the “Oh! Oh! Oh!” of a gaggle of seals kicking it on the rocks below the pier.

    Side note: Gaggle is not the correct term for a bunch o seals (geese yes, seals no). There are several approved names: bob, colony, crash, harem, herd, pod, rookery, spring, and team. I however chose gaggle because the sounds that they were making lent themselves to being stuck with this moniker.

    My first thought was, why aren’t they in the water? Do they know something I don’t know?

    At this point my imagination kicks in. I hear them shouting “No! No! No!” A chorus of seals trying to warn their fellow people-seals that there are sharks in the water! I swim faster, terrified now. I suddenly feel something brush against my leg. There weren’t any swimmers near me. Oh crap.

    Screams erupted from the group of swimmers ahead of me, fins and frothing everywhere. I’m a quarter mile away from shore and the lifeguards are paddling away, saving their own skins. I swim towards land, and I look back for a moment to see limbs floating in a red ocean.

    I made it back to the sand at breakneck speed and ran to the transition area. News had yet to reach anyone here. I hopped on my bike and took off just as the screaming people started coming in droves from the beach. I finished the 13 miles, pulled back into the depot, jumped off my bike and started running.

    As I ran, time stood still. All the other runners, the frantic bystanders and staff, were in slow motion. I ran along the ocean cliffs savoring the misty air and gazing at the beauty of the landscape.



    I finished the entire triathlon in less than two hours. It wasn’t a great time, but all things considered I’m a little surprised I finished at all.

    *note from editor: Jonathan did indeed participate in the Santa Cruz Triathlon, and he did finish in less than two hours. However, the shark incident is a crock of (The editor’s editor edited this word out).




    When I finally got home I celebrated with a bottle of..


    2011 Domaine Pichot Vouvray ‘Coteau de la Biche’ Chenin Blanc


    “Lemons and cream on the nose, very Chenin with that minerality and some white peaches. Mostly high-toned acidity, along with some cantaloupe and a nice tart Granny Smith apple finish.”


    ..and then all was right with the world.