I like the behind the scenes story on this swim more than the swim.
I had decided to take August off of swimming. I had pushed really hard all winter and spring and half of summer to complete the Alcatraz Sharkfest 2012, and now it was time to rest. It took three weeks before I started missing it at all; I was burnt-out a little bit.
Back up the story to a woman named Judy, who attends a gathering on Wednesday evenings with me. The last time I saw her was about a year and a half ago when she specifically came to say goodbye to me and said she needed to go battle breast cancer. I wanted to keep track of her so we agreed that Facebook would be the best way.
Judy is a light bulb, full of enthusiasm and positive energy, so it did not surprise me that on the flip side of her surgeries and radiation and chemo she was also signing for 5K walks. Then she took on open water swimming, again. I followed her postings on Facebook and from time to time she would comment on mine, especially the Alcatraz ones. So it surprised me when she posted that she was disappointed with her time during her Emerald City 1 mile swim. Others posted back: “Judy! YOU just swam a mile!” I let curiosity get the better of me and within a day or two I looked up her time. And I thought, “That’s not a bad time… actually it’s a good time if you started swimming as an adult,” and I let it go.
Then on Wednesday evening who should walk in the door to our meeting? JUDY!!! And the first thing out of my mouth wasn’t welcome back (sorry to say), it was: “What are you talking about? That was a good swim you had last week, timing and all!”
She broke into this huge grin/giggle. Then said, “The event I’m most excited about is this Sunday the Park to Park that benefits Children Hospital. We swim across Lake Washington.”
By then Hannah, a welcome eavesdropper, had entered the conversation. Hannah asked how far that race was and Judy answered 1.5 miles. Oh the same distance as the Alcatraz race? And I said,”I heard the race was closed.”
Hannah whipped out her smart phone and said, “Let’s see… Oh! It’s sponsored by my boyfriend’s company! You want to do that race don’t you?” And we were off to the registration race: “Hey Linda, how do you spell your last name?” (Don’t you think this would make a great iphone commercial?) Before I knew it I was committed to the new race.
Welcome back Judy!
It was a beautiful morning. Both Judy and I had great swims.
And Judy was happy with her time, this time.
And I think I am most happy for serendipity and quick friends with smart phones, thank you Hannah.
Next year I hope to have this swim on my radar and be recruiting others to join me.
Are you the recruiting type? If so, what and who are you recruiting today?
Posted by Linda on Aug 8, 2012 in family
, Linda's posts
, Road From Alcatraz
I am grateful for photographs. Because our brains just can’t savor beauty, but when I look at photos of where I have been or moments I have shared, I relive the feelings, savoring the moment of being there.
This is not Aquatic Park, but it is our best photo of Heather and Toni in San Francisco
Part two of our Alcatraz adventure was to ride home on a Harley. Colin and I said good bye to Heather and Toni at the Aquatic Park. They caught a cab to the airport, and we went to the Harley Shop to pick up our rented motorcycle.
Ready for part two of this adventure to begin.
As we rode up from San Francisco, it was my job to take photos. The scenery was breathtaking, but sometimes I found it a chore to dig out the camera. I just want to be peaceful and soak it in. But I knew I would want to see this beauty again, so out popped the camera and I started shooting.
I find when I step behind the camera I lose the absolute connection to now. What I love about the motorcycle is feeling the beauty in the air, not just seeing it. When I try to capture it somehow my feelers retract for a bit…it’s hard to describe. But the photo brings back the feelings of the whole experience, so in the end it’s a very good trade off. We didn’t make many stops so many of my photos are from my view on the back of the motorcycle, which adds its own flavor.
As we drove along we wondered why there wasn’t much traffic. This is summer? This is the California Coast and the Redwood Forest? This drive is a bit out of the way on very winding roads and I’m afraid America has gotten impatient–or car sick. All I can say is if you haven’t made the trip up Highway 1 in California you owe it to yourself to do it. Everything people told us about that road was true: winding, beautiful, and ending in the Redwood Forest. The Avenue of the Giants really is a MUST SEE. (I wish we would have stayed there longer.)
So in closing, here are a few of the photos I took all the way up the Oregon Coast too. May they trigger you own memories, or perhaps put this on your list as a place to see.
Hugging a Giant Redwood
Where are other must see places in the west?
Posted by Linda on Aug 26, 2011 in Linda's posts
, Road From Alcatraz
Alcatraz was the biggest event I have trained for in a while, about an imaginary mile outside of my comfort zone. The best part of the race in hindsight was the support. It was perfect. We have photos, and especially video footage, that record how hard the race was on me, in case I want to start telling everyone Alcatraz was a cake walk.
But we also have great moments caught on camera. Come on a guided tour of the morning. (M.L. Daniel or Colin took all the photos in this post. And just a warning, if you’re short on time: this is our biggest post yet because there are so many memories.)
First thing was to put on my wetsuit and the tennis shoes for the walk to the ferry. Good thing Monica and Colin were there this early, I truly didn’t know my right foot from my left.
This is our own Abbey Road-feeling photo as we walked to the ferry, 1 mile away from the finish line. Swimmer Shari in the foreground, Monica in the middle, me in the back, and M.L. checking her camera equipment a few paces behind. I love the early morning focused feeling in this moment.
Then boarding the ferries. By the way, we were among the last seven swimmers on our ferry. M.L. grabbed an offer extended to the crowd, that people could board IF they were willing to carry swimmers’ bags to the truck when disembarking. She jumped at the chance to get some photos from the other boat. These are the coolest photos ever. How did she get one of me jumping off the ferry?
She also got excellent photos of the three of us in the choppy water swimming toward the start line, which was a line of kayaks. And a nice view of San Francisco as we swam toward shore.
We come to the best part of the swim: the end. Riding the currents and the swoosh into the Aquatic Park, topped by my surprise meeting up with Shari. Yahoo!!!
At the finish line Monica had hot chocolates from Ghiradelli waiting. I drank two of them. At this point on the video Colin kept asking, “Linda, what do you need, what do you need?” I had no idea what I needed, but they were there and it was over. All I felt was relief; joy followed in a few minutes. Next thing was to get my wetsuit off and find our other swimmer, Jeri.
As I reflect on the adventure, I see the faces of supportive friends: Shari and Jeri who trained with me; M.L. and Monica who traveled with us; Toni who stayed home and cared for Heather that weekend and slid in for all those early morning workouts as well; and Colin, who shared the blow by blow and caught it all on video (and hasn’t gotten tired of telling the story from his perspective). It’s one of the best adventures I’ve had in a while, and it shows me I should keep having adventures, even ones born out of deep sorrow.
People have asked whether I will do it again. All I can say right now is that I definitely want to, but I haven’t registered yet. If and when I do, I’ll be sure to post about my next Road to Alcatraz.
Posted by Linda on Jul 25, 2011 in Linda's posts
, Road From Alcatraz
These are my friends, Jeri and Shari. In the photos below, we are fresh out of the battle. The battle we signed up for, remember. In our minds we have never looked so beat up, old, sandy, yet happy, although perhaps the last doesn’t come across here. Look at Shari, the one on the right: her happy is starting to show.
we call it our 10 years older photo.
The race is four weeks fading from memory. So glad we have great photos to record what really went down. I’m already beginning to tell the story a bit rosier than the waves and chop were that day. And as I said before, I’m already wondering if I will do it next year.
There's that smile