I was a little nervous, I must admit. I think that my monthly swim average has dropped from 7 miles a week to less than 4 for the month of June. Brutal. Depressing. Fingernail biting as the ten-mile Kingdom Swim on July 9th grows closer. And I can’t bite my nails too much because my brother is getting married in December, and I’m going to be a bridesmaid. The last time I was a bridesmaid, I didn’t stop biting my nails soon enough….
Anyway, so there I was, 6:30 am, beginning a pre-cursor ten-mile open water swim across Lake Bomoseen. I wondered about the veracity of calling a ten-mile swim a “dry run”… and not knowing enough history behind the phrase, I decided not to call it that. Well, it just doesn’t make sense to call a swim a dry anything.
I feel that I must justify my monthly average decline with the following excuses/reasons. My work has picked up ginormously. My hours went from 8 steady hours a day, to 10 to 12 a day over the past few weeks. CRAZY! And all of it has been field time which requires that I walk around in steel-toed boots all day and wear a safety vest. I work in inspection, and I do a mighty fine job of it, let me tell you. So in the midst of walking back and forth, recording everything I am responsible for, measuring, estimating, calculating, pouring over plans – I still somehow make a hard hat and safety vest look good. However, it does make it intensely difficult to find time to be underwater. My co-workers have tried to help me out with this. They have tried to get me to measure rivers, streams, and even mud puddles. Extreme sarcasm, though not a universal panacea, does help with these types of situations.
Well, needless to say, my decline showed up in my shoulders within the first 4 to 5 miles of today’s swim. I was feeling tight in the beginning (oddly enough, my fastest run) and just about the time I was loosening up and feeling really good; my body decided to remind me that I had been walking it mercilessly for miles unannounced, and my shoulders had not done a long swim like this since early May, probably. My legs complained about the steel-toed boots. I reminded them that at least I wasn’t making them swim with them on.
It took an uncommonly long time before I was back to my good old swimmer self again. Typically, I am adjusted by mile 3 and the rest is smooth sailing. I think that my shoulders did not stop hurting until 6 or 7. At that point, they just resolved themselves to a warm, singing kind of pain. While certain movements hit the high notes, the rest of the time they just sort of hummed along.
Perhaps the best moment of the day was somewhere between miles 2 and 4, when sudden revelation dawned on me. It was my hope, my beacon, my understanding, self-discovery, a moment that will live in infamy. I decided, out there on Lake Bomoseen, today, what I will do AFTER I swim the English Channel. Yes, yes, that’s right! I know it in my heart. This one thing that has eluded me all my life, will finally come to be. I have decided, at long last, that it will happen. Long ago, I was undecided and even for a short period of my life, firmly rejected the idea. But today, today changed all of that. After I swim the English Channel, to commemorate such a worthy, glorious, amazing event –
I will get my ears pierced.
And that’s that.