It was a rainy February night in 2010 when I sat at my computer in a thoroughly grievie (new word meaning “actively grieving”) state. It had been weeks since I lost two young men the same day in unexpected deaths, and I still couldn’t shake this deep sorrow. So I asked out loud, hoping God would hear, “What am I going to do with me?” I heard a whisper over the hard drive of my computer, “What’s the race that got away?” I typed in “Alcatraz Sharkfest 2010″ and up came the familiar website that I had seen many times before. I registered for this race back in 2005 and didn’t go, so I rolled the registration over to the next year, but still couldn’t put it together to train for 2006. Then I let the race lie dormant for several years.
When I looked around the website that February night, the race had a new charity, Team Hydro. I clicked on the link. It opened to Team Hydrocephalus– the disease Heather has. Team Hydro benefits the Hydrocephalus Foundation. It was an amazing goosebump moment that no one has missed the significance of when I tell them the story. I waited a week to register. When I was ready to jump in the 2010 race, the race was closed. So I decided to switch plans: do a comparable race near home in lake water for 2010, then train with a masters swim team all winter and show up in San Francisco for the 2011 race feeling like I belonged there.
These are pictures from previous years’ Alcatraz Sharkfest swims, brought to you by the NEO’s.
First the ferry ride to Alcatraz, all 400 of us. We all jump into the water for our water start.
This next one was taken as the sharks’ view as the swimmers head for San Franscisco Bay.
The swimmers are tiny, little specks in the water. The gap in the middle of your screen is the all-important entry to shore, miss that entry and well, it’s a tough go from there.