It is officially 8 days out from my swim! The final countdown is here and I can’t believe what a journey it has already been. For my final week before my swim I’ll be doing a blog post each day to celebrate as we approach August 6th.
Earlier this week my brother and I headed to Wellington Lake for one more long training swim together (4 hours). When we arrived around 8:00AM it was sunny and the water looked like glass. We parked our kayak-adorned mini van and stopped into the office to pay our car/day fees. The two people in the office instantly recognized us and asked, “are you the two who go out on the lake for hours swimming and kayaking??” I chuckled and said yes. They asked if we did it for fun or if I was training for something. I explained that I was getting ready for the P2P with my brother kayaking alongside. We chatted and joked and they wished me great luck on my marathon swim. They also made us promise that we would come back afterwards and tell them how it went. We left the office with huge smiles on our faces. They had totally made my day!
Anthony and I loaded up the kayak and both remarked about how nice of a day it was. For the first 50 minutes it was blue skies and flat water, THEN the clouds started to come. I was noticing (as I was taking breathes) that as we started our second lap going into the second hour of the swim that the sky was thickly covered in clouds. On a previous swim Anthony and I got caught on the opposite end and side of the lake when a lightening storm rolled in in a matter of 5 minutes. We had to fight through crazy wind and waves as we watched lightening getting closer and closer. SO, when the wind started to really act up Anthony very smartly stopped me and suggested we proceed to the other side of the lake so that in case of lightening we could much more easily escape.
For the rest of the swim Anthony and I stayed on the “safe” side of the lake doing long laps back and forth. The weather cooperated by sparing us from thunder or lightening. However, it seems that mother nature got the memo that this was my last long training swim and wanted to help me by simulating rough sea conditions! We battled against the wind and waves for most of the swim. Poor anthony got soaked a few times with whipping rain and cresting waves over the front of the kayak. Every time the wind would die down and then come back stronger than ever I would laugh initially at how ridiculous it all was. People at the campsites around the lake were looking on and pointing—I’m sure we looked peculiar swimming and kayaking around in those conditions. But I was loving it.
Over the past week and a half as the swim has gotten closer and closer, the realness, the bigness, the craziness of it all has at times felt overwhelming. I have been putting together last minute details and reviewing shark protocols and I have occasionally stopped to ask myself, “what the hell am I doing??? why did I pick this swim??” But all of a sudden in the middle of terrible conditions, in winds and waves, stroking along, looking at my brother next to me with a huge, surprising smile on my face, a moment of clarity washed over me… I love challenges. I revel in the struggle. I picked the P2P because it was a great challenge. I love open water swimming because it is an epic struggle to overcome physical and mental limits and I LOVE IT. The harder it is the more fun it is.
After those four hours Anthony and I felt refreshed and ready for the P2P. Any fears and anxiety that I had been holding onto got left in the lake.