Isn’t it reassuring that most things start with your toes?  I mean, when you go anywhere, usually that big toe friend of yours leads the way.  And the area represented by the surface of your feet sure isn’t a lot when you think about it in relation to the rest of your body… and yet it holds up the sum of your existence!   I think that feet are amazing.

However, when your journey is into 42 degree water, your feet might not feel the same about you.

See at first they are in denial.  And they really do tell you that they are okay.  The first day I went into the water, the air temperature was approximately 22 degrees and so – at first – the water was warm.  That is excruciatingly frightening to think about for long periods of time, so let’s just leave that thought alone for now.

So while my toes were in denial I moved rather quickly in, to the point where my ankles were submerged.  Your ankles are one of the most sensitive spots on your body as far as temperature and water goes.  There must be big veins or something in there, because once I hit my ankles, my feet started aching and screaming at me.

I guess because I just thought it would be better if I moved a bit faster, I urged my legs in more quickly.  Goosebumps the size of small goose eggs were present.  This is the first time that I actually voiced that it was cold.  It was very cold.  My feet started to hate me, and there isn’t anything like the ache that they produced.

As I moved more into the water, the pain spread throughout my legs.  It was a sharp stinging and then just a tightening ache.  The discomfort of my body was begging with me to get out; my blood was concerned for its well-being and my nerves and skin were terrified of dying.  The pain was powerful, and then it faded to a grim grip of warmth.  Numb.

That was okay with me. Read more

Elizabeth Taylor and Ariel the Little Mermaid

I have been pondering the beginnings of my desire to swim the channel.  I feel the need to take you with me, oh captive audience, into the deepest parts of my childhood psyche as I am fairly certain that my ambition to swim the English Channel stems from roots deep set from even as early as five years old.  I may, in fact, owe the awakening of it to two amazing women: Elizabeth Taylor and Ariel the Little Mermaid.

Ariel the Little Mermaid was one of the first movies I saw as a child.  I adored her because she had red hair, swam around all day, and sang.  This was my perfect world.  I, too, loved swimming, singing and I have red hair.  (Disclaimer: My red hair is not the source of my superpowers.)  My imagination would positively run away with profound plots when I would watch the first part of that movie – from the seagulls up until she got legs, I was fast captured with life under the sea.   To this day, I cannot fathom why somebody would trade a perfectly good fishtail in for a man.  Holy stupid move, Batman.

Elizabeth Taylor was in a movie called National Velvet.  That movie, as you may recall, was all about a horse.  I didn’t much care for horses.  Or that movie, honestly.   I don’t remember much of Elizabeth Taylor – I think she kind of annoyed me in that movie.  The only part of it that stuck with me was the part where Elizabeth Taylor’s mother talked about swimming the Channel.  And somehow, at five years old, that was imparted to me.  I am pretty sure I didn’t even know what the Channel was… I’m pretty sure I didn’t even know that England was a country.  I might have still wanted to spell my name with both letters and numbers.  (Sometimes, I still think this would be useful, actually.)

So. Yeah.  I guess everybody has their humble beginnings.  And tomorrow, November 6th, I am going swimming in Spring Lake.

Look how far we come in life, when we dare to become…