Dec 24, 2010

My Aquatic Christmas Card - 700 Miles, a parody and poem just for you.

The mileage: 700 and counting..

The parody:

Very few know I was 'this close' to becoming an oceanographer, went as far as having dinner Jean-Michel Cousteau.

The Poem:
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land, People were jumping on the open water band.

Goggles and swimsuits were selected with care,
In hopes that summer season soon would be there.

Marathon swimmers with big dreams in their heads,
After miles of training, fall fast asleep in their beds.

And pilots with boats and coaches with caps,
Had just settled down for a long look at coastal maps.

When out over the water there arose such a clatter,
Swimmers sprang from the shore to see what was the matter.

Just a boat – but no waves or wind along the coast,
It was conditions that swimmers like the most.

The season continues with coaches standing on docks
Training swimmers in the oceans and in deep, cold lochs.

When, what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But focused swimmers sprinting so dear.

With passion abundant, open water swimmers are ready,
To live up to hopes that are courageously heady.

Spouses knew in a moment it must be the ocean,
More rapid than sharks in a furious motion.

Swimmers whistled and shouted and called out by name;
"Now, Dover! Now, Cook! Now, Z├╝rich and Catalina!
On Rio! On Manhattan! On Rottenest and Messina!

To the top of the podium, to the first to the shore,
Now swim and kick and sprint all the more!

When the waves are high and the water is cold,
Keep true to the course and stay mighty bold.

And to all of you who are the sport’s good friends,
Our deep thanks to you as another year ends.

Poem, original copyright © 2010 by Open Water Source

Dec 17, 2010

Swimming a Million Yards?

Hi One Stroke At A Time followers - 

I was swimming away this morning through my 4600 yard early a.m. workout trying to think of anything but the pain and boring back and forth of the 25 yard pool. I was doing a bunch of butterfly then a series of no breath 25's, glad this doesn't happen often since as I was getting dizzy. 

I finally focused my mental game and in a compliment to my training partner Doug McConnell, started counting strokes (he does this allot, you see?). After getting into the several hundred stroke count range I of course lost track and eventually gave up, going back to my songs and pretending to chase fish and turtles. Not sure who is more unstable here me or him? Then after awhile, I seemed to hone in on some John Mellencamp tunes thinking for some reason about my inner Hoosier college days. My thoughts then focused on a meeting later in the morning with someone who was being kind enough to help me organize my charity work and give advice on mental health challenges parents and kids have in today's self imposed stressful society (My opinion, not hers).

This got me to thinking. I have mentioned in earlier blog writings the connection of my mental health (swimming all this way, not me personally stupid!) to the public subject in general. The relationship between marathon swimming and these challenges are quite profound. While I never conceptualized the depth and relationship before I started, It is clear to me now its the sheer amount of resilience that one has in any life pursuit that makes the difference. 

Since I am not an especially gifted swimmer, it takes me an enormous amount of day-to-day resilience "One Stroke At A Time' to swim a million yards and then some. I never dreamed this distance was remotely possible nor did I ever calculate, before I started, what this meant to me and my family. I knew it was allot, but...This is just like life, things happen, they stack up, the days roll on and we accumulate all sorts of bits and pieces. These affect how we feel, how we react, what we say and do to ourselves and others in all situations but most importantly how we see ourselves - our self worth, image and self respect. 

In this day of want, want, want maybe we as parents can instead teach ours kids and friends to be more resilient so they can give back. My parents did (Don and Jean) and I am so thankful. Merry Christmas and keep those 'Elbows High'

So for me this is how a million yards relates to resilience - Year to date in 2010, I have swum 684.85 miles or 1,205,343 yards or 1,102,165 meters. That's about 578,564 strokes and god knows how many hours? The plan between today and August 20th, 2011 (when my swim English Channel 'window' opens) is to average 33,000 - 35,000 yards per week (equal to the entire distance across the English Channel, one way, each week). That's an additional 1,122,000 - 1,190,000 yards; 680 - 721 miles; or 538,560 - 571,200 strokes for those of you counting. I am halfway home and still smiling :)