What a trip, what a journey and it’s not even begun! I’ve been in Dover, England for a little over a week and it has been a beautiful, humbling, frustrating, amazing and wonderful experience that is just beginning. The travel to Dover took about 22 hours between car, flight, luggage transfer, layovers, but we arrived in one piece, exhausted and ready for a nap, BUT there was swimming to do! A quick dip in beautiful Dover Harbour to get my bearings and feet wet for what will be the most amazing experience of my life so far.
It was exhausting, I’m not going to lie and it’s h-o-t here in England. I don’t know if it’s that way all the time, but it’s warm that’s for sure! After settling in for a few days, figuring out where the best restaurants are, the pool, when to and not to swim, I’ve finally gotten rest and settled into a routine. Same swim time each day either in Dover Harbour or at the Leisure Centre, same breakfast and coffee each morning at The Little Kitchen, same wandering around for lunch from the beachside vendors and same wonderful food at Cullin’s or The Hythe. I love the stops at the Polish grocery store (the little bit of the language I know finally came in handy) and listening to the French visitors is fun especially when I can answer their questions (thanks Madame Bernier for the many years of French lessons)! The water looks beautiful, the sun is out and my swim date of August 16th was all going according to plan. Then reality of the magnitude of the event sets in when weather hits and the beautiful wait begins…..
A huge low pressure system set in and it was so deceiving because it was beautiful outside, looking Caribbean turquoise, bright blue skies and a warm breeze, but one look beyond the break wall and the white caps show off the ocean’s power. The 16th turns to the 19th, turns to the 20th, then the 23rd and then the 22nd. Hours of texts, phone calls and messages to rearrange travel plans for myself and the crew as well as going through each scenario figuring backup plan after backup plan. I’m just beginning to learn all the variables involved and I have to give a lot of credit and thanks to not only my crew for putting up with the beauty that is our Mother Ocean, but also the pilots with CS&PF and CSA, especially my pilot, Eddie Spelling with CS&PF for working so hard to fit me into a slot. It’s a fine balance between maintaining fitness and extending taper, eating right and adjusting protein heavy and carb loading, and staying positive while having to re-set and adjust nearly each day (a time when my project management skill set comes in handy). One thing I do know is that this swim will be done and I will finish. All I have between now and then is one beautiful wait.
In the moments I look out over the water during the beautiful wait, I think about all the support for my goal, this one swim, all the contributions to get me here and to help The Zoo Society’s Operation Shark Dive program, my friends, my family, my teammates, the well wishes from people I don’t even know…. the list goes on. It makes me realize this sport is special, this crazy thing called marathon swimming is actually legit crazy and it’s worth every day, every minute and every second of this beautiful wait to share this journey and love of water with others.
People have said I inspire them and I think it’s just the opposite, you all inspire me to be better, to keep swimming, to finish. This beautiful wait continues and when it’s over and I reach French shores, the beautiful wait begins for the next swim. The ocean has a hold of me and I’m going to swim until I can’t anymore. We’re going to make it and we’re going to do it together.
England to France 2017