The Swim Around Key West, 12.5 miles swim, had happened way in the past. On 6th June. I couldn’t start writing about my Key West swim experience. It was so – vast. That I couldn’t grab it and fit it into a blog post.
I could describe it as: every 30 min kayaker throws to you a bottle of water and a gel, that it was hard but beautiful thing to do, water was warm, the support for the race was great. But that was not the essence of the Key West experience for me, just the visible measurable part of it. I’ve set it to my Training Peaks.
Since then I traveled to Russia to see my family, back to US for a short period of time, during which I saw North Georgia Tri club supporting The Iron Cowboy and then went to India for work for couple of weeks, had an ample of other events in my life
This weekend experience of living through 2 days of triathlon, Lake Logan Multisport Festival connected some dots.
I was looking at the crowd that was something about 800 athletes gathered with their families and friends in a small valley near to Lake Logan, NC for couple of days.
Day 1 – Lake Logan Half Ironman distance triathlon
1.2 Mile Swim
56 Mile Bike
13.1 Mile Run
Day 2 – Lake Logan International distance triathlon
1500 meter Swim
40 km Bike
10 km Run
I did both days.
I never did back2back races, a race a day. And even though the intensity of the race was not expected to be much for me, the most hard part of the 2nd day was to get up to do it again. Once I got up – it was a matter of repeating “The Groundhog day” with a difference in the daily scenario.
I’m shouting to a friend cheering for me as I try to run after 56 miles bike:
– Remind me again why am I doing this?
– Because you love it! – she screams back – and because you can!
Day 2: I already know I can’t miss doing it.
A handful of human beings performing something which might not matter to all other world, but to these people – it does. Swimming in a gorgeous lake. Biking serpentine mountain roads. Pounding melted asphalt. Competing or just completing the distance – everybody have their reasons.
Keeping that fire burning
Just like everywhere in this world humans make something they give meaning to: work, relationships, families, art, sport – all the areas of human life. Because they love it. And because they can. And because there is something good still turning out of all this human civilization.
35 years ago This swim is the historic, classic “around–the-Island” swim begun in 1977 by Anna Fugina. Anna had suffered injuries from a car accident and she chose to begin swimming as therapy to assist in her recovery. As her health improved, so did her swimming ability and love for the sport. Anna wondered if it was possible to swim the circumference of the Island of Key West. Though she inquired, she could find no evidence that anyone had even attempted the challenge, much less completed the swim. She concluded that someone had to be the first, so on July 4th she entered the water at Mallory Square at Key West Harbor. She completed the swim in 12:59:00. Later, she found that if she studied the tidal current, the swim would be an easier task. Anna swam again in 1978 and improved her time considerably, finishing at 8:00 hours.
She started an EVENT , that became important to those hundreds of people, swimming around the Key West every year.
This is what we all must learn to do, for this is how maps get charted—by taking wrong turns that lead to surprising passageways that open into spectacularly unexpected new worlds. So just march on. Future generations will thank you—trust me—for showing the way, for beating brave new footpaths out of wonky old mistakes.
Fall flat on your face if you must, but please, for the sake of us all, do not stop.
From the article by Elizabeth Gilbert for Oprah.com:
The Key to a Well-Lived Life: Lighten Up!
For 2 days I was part of the crowd smashing the cool dark waters of the mountain lake, gliding and climbing those zig-zaging roads.
Being part of this weekend -i t’s like being part of the ocean for 8 hours. Merging myself into reality right there, right now. Being in every moment with full presence. Then living up the next one. And the next. Just like that ocean swim – one stroke at a time through the ocean-wide waters of life.
I was lucky to have so many people wishing me Happy Birthday today. Warm hugs, lots of smiles , some guy was singing Happy Birthday to me on a bike course!
One of the best Happy-Birthday wishes I got today was:
– Best wishes for having more of interesting new experiences, keep doing what you have never tried before!