My favorite movie of all time is You've Got Mail. I saw it at least 5 times in the theater. Obviously if I had spent more time studying and less time at the movies I probably would have graduated with higher marks. And the movie doesn't have anything to do with anything, other than when I sat down to write I was reminded of Kathleen Kelly's monologue... because it's exactly what I'm going to do... right now....
I like to start my notes to you as if we're already in the middle of a conversation. I pretend that we're oldest and dearest friends as opposed to what we actually are...
It's been a minute.
Not quite as long as I thought... but long enough. I've been writing all along. But in an actual journal. With paper and a pen. And much more private thoughts and musings. I love to write. Even when it's in digital format, it's still just me putting thoughts on paper. A diary more or less.
Last time we spoke I was in the middle of my trail running season last fall. I was trying to reconcile my desire to WANT to be a trail runner with the fact that I wasn't enjoying any of it. I had a miserable 50k. I dropped out of my 100k. And as a last ditch effort I signed up for (and finished) a 50 miler-- just not in a fast enough time to enter the 100 miler that I desperately didn't want to do anymore anyway but I said I wanted to so I had to try, right? If ever there was a case for self-sabotage.
I think I just lost steam after SCAR and TransRockies Run (TRR). I think I just wasn't excited about the goal. I realize now I never even wrote about TRR. I think I came off of that week and was just in a different place in my life. Happy. For the first time in a long time I could look at where I was at and what I was doing and know that it was exactly the life that I wanted. I was content. And contentment breeds complacency.
Or does it?
What if contentment is not a bad thing? What if the thing I had been looking for finally landed in my lap? Should I not run with it? Every damn day for 2 years: Inhale joy and contentment. There it is. Contentment. I had been seeking it out. Expanding it with my focus. Of course it's going to show up in my life!
So I took a step back, backed off the trail running, quit my job, moved to the beach.
Yeah. I did that. I swear in a very calculated manner, and not in the midst of a mid-life crisis which I know is exactly what you're thinking. Trust me, I have had that thought too, but I just needed a change. Arizona was never meant to be my final resting place and it was time to go.
So what now?
Well... ironically, I went back to the trails- only this time as a thru-hiker, not a runner. I spent the first week of July hiking the 171.4 mile Tahoe Rim Trail. I feel this deserves an entire post dedicated to it, so I'll just leave you with the link to a podcast I did with YogiTriathlete until I have time to put those thoughts onto paper. Er, or screen, rather.
And being in the mountains surrounding the gorgeous blue waters of Lake Tahoe reignited my desire to do some more marathon swimming. I had reached out to the Pacific Open Water Swim Company in January to express my interest in swimming across Lake Tahoe (they coordinate all official swims of the lake). Dates for 2020 didn't work out because the only week they had left was the same week I was in Washington Island for the bff's big bike race. I am focusing my energy on securing a date for 2021 and in my research I came across something that resonated.
The California Triple Crown of Marathon Swimming.
1. Lake Tahoe 21.3 miles
2. Santa Barbara Channel, Anacapa to Mainland, 12.4 miles
3. Catalina Channel, 20 miles
The minute I read about this challenge I knew I wanted in. I felt excited about a training goal for the first time in a long time. It made me want to jump into cold water and go for a swim. All of these swims follow the basic guidelines for channel swimming. No wetsuit. No touching the support boat. No drafting. No artificial aids of any kind (cheater panties, pull buoys, etc). It's just me and the water from start to finish.
One cool thing about marathon swimming is that, similar to ultra running, I can have a support swimmer. Generally after the first 3 hours or so, I can have a friend hop in and swim next to me for an hour at a time. They are required to take breaks between support legs. I remember how cool it was to swim side-by-side with Melody for about 9 miles out of our 17 mile day at SCAR last year. I love idea of having a support swimmer-- someone who can swim close enough to my pace to stay warm, loves swimming, and doesn't mind spending 12 hours on a boat.
There are a few logistics involved in arranging a marathon swim. Hiring a boat. Hiring a kayaker (for Santa Barbara and Catalina). Applying for approval from the various swim associations. Medical clearance. Paying the fees to the boat captain, and the ratification fees to document the swims. Not to mention training to swim in cold water at night. With my experience at SCAR I feel confident that I can train to handle the distance. And living on the ocean gives me the opportunity to train in open water.
So that's what's happening here. I'm hoping to document my training and planning as things develop. I am hoping to do at least 2 swims next year-- but I'm dependent on the availability of a boat captain that can successfully guide a channel swim. Either way, there will be a lot of open water swimming going on!